Subscribe to this e-update.
Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana spoke at a press conference on March 10 at Wiggle Whiskey in the Strip District
Senator Fontana spoke at a press conference on March 10 at Wiggle Whiskey in the Strip District
where Governor Wolf spoke about the executive order he signed that increased the minimum wage for state employees under his jurisdiction.

An Increase in the State’s Minimum Wage

Min WAgeLess than a year ago, I stood and participated with members of my caucus in the “10 Days of Action for $10.10” that reaffirmed my stance that the time was then to invest in the hard workers of Pennsylvania and make minimum wage a living wage.  I talked about how an increase in minimum wage is about human decency and doing the right thing for the residents of this commonwealth as the wage gap continues to widen.  I campaigned to give low-income workers a fighting chance. Unfortunately, our voices were not heard and the Majority Party of the General Assembly has continued putting off moving forward the working-poor. 

I was very pleased when Governor Wolf signed an executive order last week immediately raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.15 an hour for Pennsylvania state workers under his jurisdiction.  This executive order would also be extended to include vendors that negotiate contracts with the commonwealth starting July 1, 2016.  The wage requirement will be indexed to inflation and is rounded to the nearest nickel. 

Gov. WolfThe majority of the workers that will see this increase are seasonal clerical workers like part-time clerks, tax season typists, custodians, landscapers, delivery and food preparation.  The state Department of General Services and administration estimates about 109 vendors, or 450 individuals out of approximately 79,000 state workers will be affected by the executive order.  However, not included are contracts with the Department of Human Services and state universities at this time.  The increase would also not apply to a contractor’s workforce whose time is spent on non-commonwealth related work. 

Asking for an increase in the state’s minimum wage is nothing new.  The Senate Democrats have had proposals for decades.  At the same time, this has been a priority for Governor Wolf as well.  During his budget address in February, Governor Wolf requested the General Assembly raise the minimum wage to $10.15 an hour statewide.  If such an increase would happen, the administration estimates that it would aid 1.2 million working Pennsylvanian adults and would boost state revenue by $60 million annually. 

The commonwealth has not seen a significant increase in the minimum wage for some time.  In 2006, the Pennsylvania General Assembly voted to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.25.  Minimum wage went up again in 2007 to $7.15 an hour and then in 2009, the commonwealth’s wage increased to the federal minimum level of $7.25 where it currently resides. 

Unfortunately, even if an individual works 40-hours a week, it is very likely they fall below the poverty line forcing them to continue seeking additional assistance from the state through social services. And contrary to stereotypes, a typical minimum-wage worker is not a suburban teen earning pocket cash in the summer. In fact, 88 percent of minimum wage earners are adults; and more than half are women according to the Census Bureau. 

Overall, 29 states and Washington D.C. have a higher minimum wage than our current $7.25 an hour.  I would also like to point out that nearly all the states and cities that have increased their minimum wage have seen economic growth – especially when compared to states and cities that haven’t.

I applaud Governor Wolf for taking leadership and for signing the executive order.  Although the number of individuals and families affected by this increase is minimal, it is a starting point.  I hope it propels legislative action for a statewide increase for all Pennsylvania minimum wage workers.  After all, this issue is about fairness.  It’s time we increase the statewide minimum wage so that we can reduce turnovers at workplaces, boost productivity at businesses, get families out of poverty and infuse spending dollars back into the economy. 

Did You Know…

Did you know that all the states bordering Pennsylvania have increased their minimum wage?

Senator Fontana participated in a legislative forum hosted by the Fox Chapel Area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  Senator Fontana participated in a legislative forum hosted by the Fox Chapel Area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). 
Senator Fontana participated in a legislative forum hosted by the Fox Chapel Area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  He was joined on the panel by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Representative Hal English along with representatives from the offices of House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and Representatives Dan Frankel and Dom Costa. Panelists and AAUW members are joined by students from an AP government class at Fox Chapel Area High School who attended the panel.

Lawrenceville Mobile Office

I want to remind everyone that I will be opening a mobile office in Lawrenceville on March 31.  The mobile office will be open each Thursday, beginning March 31, at the Carnegie Library - Lawrenceville, located at 279 Fisk Street, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  This office will replace the Strip District mobile office at the Pittsburgh Public Market.

Below is an updated schedule for all of my district offices including satellite and mobile offices.


932 Brookline Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA  15226
Phone – 412-344-2551
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Beechview (satellite office)
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15216
Phone – 412-343-2080
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza, 500 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp., PA  15136
Phone – 412-331-1208
Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Northside Mobile Office
Carnegie Library
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Lawrenceville Mobile Office (BEGINNING MARCH 31)
Carnegie Library
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Voter Registration Deadline

The deadline to register to vote in the April 26 Primary Election is quickly approaching.  Anyone not registered to vote who wishes to vote in the April 26 Primary Election must register by March 28.  Remember, voter registration can now be done online.  Simply visit to get started.  In addition to registering to vote, current registered voters can also use the online system to make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address, or party affiliation.

Vote PA Voter Registration Anyone wishing to register with a paper application can obtain an application from any of my district offices, or by downloading one at  Completed applications can be returned by mail to the Allegheny County Division of Elections and must be postmarked by March 28 in order to be processed prior to the April 26 Primary Election.  You can also register by completing an application in person at the Division of Elections office.  The location of the Allegheny County Division of Elections office is listed below.  For any questions related to registering to vote, please contact 412-350-4510.

            Attn: Voter Registration Services
            Allegheny County Division of Elections
            542 Forbes Avenue, Room 609
            Pittsburgh, PA  15219

Rebates for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

DEP Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering rebates to Pennsylvania residents to assist with the cost of purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle.  These rebates are funded by the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program, which is supported by a gross receipts tax on utilities.  To qualify, the vehicle must be registered in Pennsylvania, operated primarily in-state, and be purchased no more than six months before the rebate application is submitted.

Large-battery vehicles are eligible for a rebate of $2,000.  DEP is also offering rebates of $1,000 for plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles and battery-electric vehicles.  Rebates of $1,000 are also being offered for natural gas, propane, hydrogen or fuel-cell vehicles.  A $500 rebate is available for electric motorcycles and scooters.

There are only a limited number of rebates available at $2,000.  The rebate program offered will be reassessed upon payment of the first 250 rebates at $2,000 or June 30, 2016, whichever occurs first.  For more information on the program and to apply for a rebate, please click here or call 1-866-294-3854.

Port Authority Track Project Updates

Port Authority Port Authority The Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) announced last week some modifications to the upcoming rail reconstruction work they’ll be undertaking along Broadway Avenue in Beechview.  Many of the modifications PAT made were related to issues brought up by residents that attended a community meeting in February.  The modifications deal with work zone boundaries, parking on Boustead Street and in St. Catherine’s parking lot, deliveries to the IGA, and school bus stops and crossings. You can read about the project by clicking here and visiting the special project webpage that has been put together by PAT.  On this site, visitors can get updated information on the project, sign up to receive regular email updates, and communicate with other residents on a message board.  You may also request information or ask questions about the project by contacting PAT via email at

McKees Rocks Community Flea Market

For nine consecutive Sundays beginning April 3, the McKees Rocks Community Flea Market will be held in the Municipal Lot on Furnace Street in McKees Rocks.  The Flea Market will run April 3, 10, 17, and 24 and May 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 8 a.m. 3 p.m.

For more information including information on vendor tables please email

Scholarships for Northside Students – Deadline Approaching!

I want to remind all high school seniors living on the Northside that the Northside Leadership Conference has a Scholarship Program.  The program is available to any Northside resident in the 12th grade, who performs volunteer service in their community and who plans to attend a college or training program after high school.

The scholarship awards are for $1,000 and the deadline to apply is this Friday, March 18.  For more information on the scholarship program and how to apply please contact Kelly MacKay at 412-231-4714, ext. 201 or

Read Across AmericaFontana Fact

This Thursday is St. Patrick’s Day and in Pittsburgh, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the second largest in the country, was held downtown last Saturday.  There are roughly 33.7 million people in the United States who are of Irish ancestry, almost nine times the population of Ireland. 

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library
Allegheny Branch
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm