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Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana toured the Ironworkers Local 3 Training Center renovations that are ongoing at their location in the Strip District on Friday, August 10. The $4.2 million project will upgrade and expand the first floor and add a second floor to the training center, creating more space for hands-on training with modern equipment. The union expects to increase the number of apprentices from approximately 90 last year to more than 300 next year. Jim Gallik, the Ironwokers Local 3 Apprenticeship Director provided a tour of the construction.  Senator Fontana was joined on the tour and at a press conference after the tour by Governor Tom Wolf, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and Representative Adam Ravenstahl.

Do You Have Flood Insurance?

Flood InsurancePennsylvania has over 86,000 miles of rivers and streams which is more than any other state in the continental United States.  Historically, the commonwealth has also been one of the most flood-prone states. As we enter peak hurricane season, I want to remind residents that it may be a good idea to get flood insurance for your property. Many home and business owners are unaware that their property insurance does not cover flooding and that you need to purchase a separate policy for this occurrence.  More importantly, you do not need to live in a flood zone to purchase this type of coverage.  The only properties that are required to have flood insurance are those who live in a high-risk flood area and have a mortgage that is federally regulated or insured lender.  

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps are based on geology, geography and hydrology and are continually revised and updated when new or more accurate information becomes available.  FEMA considers a high-risk flood area to be in a 100-year or 500-year plain map. A 100-year flood does not mean it happens every century.  Rather, there is a 1 percent chance a body of water will overflow its natural or artificial banks every year.  A moderate risk is in a 500-year flood plain, which equates to a .02 percent annual chance of flooding.  To put this into perspective, Hurricane Harvey was a 1,000-year event. 

Pennsylvania residents who are interested in purchasing flood insurance have two options:  the Federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or through a private insurance company.  NFIP is administered by FEMA and was launched in 1968 to provide coverage for high-risk properties while keeping premiums low after Hurricane Betsy destroyed parts of the Gulf Coast and Florida.  Owners of single family homes can purchase up to $250,000 in structural coverage from NFIP and $100,000 for contents, based on appraised value.  Insurance rates through NFIP vary significantly and are based on a number of factors including the date and type of construction of one’s home or business, the coverage amount needed, the overall location and proximity to a waterway and the deductible amount. 

After Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Super Storm Sandy (2012), huge amounts of claims came in which sent the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in debt.  Congress recently reinstated funding for NFIP to get the country through the rest of the 2018 hurricane season which usually ends around late November.  However, many opponents are calling for major reform to NFIP before allocating additional moneys in the future. 

Countless home and business owners have found lower premiums on flood insurance by seeking out coverage through the private insurance market.  Up until recently, it was rare to find a private insurance company offering coverage.  Today, there are 17 companies that are authorized by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to offer flood coverage in the commonwealth.  As a result, the available flood insurance policies in the state have grown from 1,500 to more than 5,200. 

Prices for flood insurance through NFIP or a private company can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars a year to thousands of dollars a year. There is, however, a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before a policy goes into effect. 

For homes and businesses that are not covered by flood insurance but have sustained flood damage, the only relief that is sometimes available is if the state qualifies for some sort of aid.  In that scenario, the president must declare the location a federal disaster area.  Otherwise, Pennsylvania does not have a disaster fund. 

For more information about home or business flood insurance, please visit

Did You Know…

Did you know that according to statistics from the National Flood Insurance Program, nearly 25 percent of all flood claims occur from properties located in low to moderate risk areas?

Proposed Updates to Minimum Wage & Overtime Requirements

OvertimeThe Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has proposed rulemaking that would update the executive, administrative and professional exemptions from the minimum wage and overtime requirement of the Minimum Wage Act of 1968. 

The proposed amendments to Chapter 231 of 34 Pa. Code would clarify the definitions of Executive, Administrative, and Professional (EAP) salaried workers who are exempt from receiving minimum wage and overtime pay. The proposed regulation updates the salary level at which salaried workers may become exempt to more accurately match the duties they perform. In addition, the proposed regulation allows incentive pay to count toward 10 percent of the salary threshold, and to include a mechanism for the salary threshold to be updated on a triennial basis. Finally, the proposed regulation updates the duties for each EAP exemption to be consistent with Federal regulations interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which amended the duties for the EAP in 2004.

The Department of Labor & Industry recently asked the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) to extend the public comment period for their proposed regulations by 30 days, meaning the comment period will end August 22.  IRRC is expected to provide their comments by September 21.  After the public and IRRC weigh in, L&I will consider public input, evaluate the proposal, and then submit the final regulations. 

Anyone wishing to provide public comment can do so by emailing IRRC at or visit them online at

Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Benefit Program Ends August 31

Eligible veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations from Aug. 2, 1990 to Aug. 31, 1991, have less than one month to collect a special one-time payment to honor their service and sacrifice. Applications for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Bonus are due by Aug. 31, 2018.

Persian Gulf Bonus Persian Gulf Bonus The bonus program, administered by the PA Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA), pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.

To be eligible for the bonus, a service member must have:

  • Served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard
  • Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the period from Aug. 2, 1990 to Aug. 31, 1991
  • Received the Southwest Asia Service Medal
  • Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service
  • Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty

For detailed instructions on how to apply, visit

National Night Out
National Night Out National Night Out
Senator Fontana participated in National Night Out events on Tuesday, August 7 in McKees Rocks and Beechview.

Flu Shot Clinic/Drug Take Back

Flu Shot I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Thursday, September 20 from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.  American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card.  Make sure to bring your card with you.  Light refreshments will be served.

Additionally, this year, Deputy Sheriff Joe Cirigliano will be on hand to collect any unused, unwanted, or expired medications as part of Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen’s Project D.U.M.P. initiative.  This program allows residents to bring any unused, unwanted or expired medications so they can be properly disposed.  I’m thrilled to have the Sheriff’s Office participating and am grateful for their efforts in combatting the heroin and opioid epidemic and preventing addiction and overdose.

Attendees can also visit with Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy at their “Ask the Pharmacist” table and have questions answered on medications and receive blood pressure screenings. The following terrific organizations are scheduled to participate at this year’s event: Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging; AARP; PA Attorney General’s Office; Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; ACCESS; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Office of the Consumer Advocate; Duquesne Light; OASIS; PA APPRISE; and the Public Utility Commission.

Oasis Tutoring Program

OASIS Oasis The OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring Program is hosting two free training sessions for older adults interested in volunteering as tutors.  OASIS is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains older adults (50+) to tutor children (grades K-4) in Pittsburgh Public Schools in reading and writing. OASIS has tutors in over 33 schools and serves 200 students yearly.

Training sessions will be held on Tuesday, August 21 and Thursday, August 23 from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the OASIS office, located in the Duquesne Light Building, Suite 525 at 411 Seventh Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. All materials and clearances are provided by OASIS. 

For more information on how to become an OASIS tutor, please contact John D. Spehar, Pittsburgh OASIS Tutoring Program Director at 412-393-7648 or OASIS is an affiliate of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.

Fontana Fact

In STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) training, Pennsylvania is a national leader, ranking fifth for the number of STEM graduates and is also home to five STEM learning ecosystems.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
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
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
By Appointment