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Facebook Live Q & A Chat – NOON TODAY


As we navigate this health crisis together, I want to be as accessible as possible for your questions. Every Friday at 12pm, I will be live on Facebook to chat about what the state is doing to combat COVID-19. Join me! 

Legislation to Protect YOUR Stimulus Money

This week, I unveiled legislation that would protect federal stimulus payments to people from being preyed upon by creditors and debt collectors.

My bill would prohibit the garnishment of federal CARES Act payments — such as the $1,200 stimulus or $600 unemployment compensation booster payment — from garnishment.

Unfortunately, in this time of extraordinary financial distress there are some creditors or collection firms that will try to prey on individuals at their most vulnerable time. During the pandemic, when so many are hurting, the last thing citizens should have to deal with are aggressive payment collection firms.

The federal stimulus funds are needed by individuals and families to meet financial obligations now and should not be subject to garnishment for past debts.

My bill would protect payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The measure would:

  • Suspend the ability of private creditors and collections agencies to attach any federal stimulus or UC benefits for garnishment to satisfy debts; 
  • Suspend state and local government debt garnishment, including for medical and student loan debt collection (this would not apply to child support);
  • Prohibit state-chartered banks and credit unions from seizing stimulus checks or UC payments; and
  • Extend the debt collection suspension period for at least 60 days after the state emergency disaster declaration has been lifted.  

Experts have claimed that one in three Americans with debts in collection could face seizure.  Governors and Attorney Generals in other states have taken step to shield the payments from bill collectors. 

Congress passed the CARES Act to provide funds for individuals and families to survive the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. Bill collectors should not be able to step in, seize a portion of the funds and put more stress on families.

Local Schools Awarded Continuing Education Money

studentsMore than $140,000 in state grants will go to school districts in the 43rd senatorial district to bridge technological gaps with students learning remotely this academic year.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted Pennsylvanians of all ages, but I’ve been particularly concerned about our school-aged children who have to complete their academic year outside of the classroom. Online education is a great option, but not all of our students have the same access to the resources they need to make use of virtual learning. The Continuing of Education Equity grants will help districts identify those gaps and correct them.

Schools in the 43rd senatorial district receiving grants today are:

  • Steel Valley School District - $75,900.00
  • Wilkinsburg Borough School District - $29,950.00
  • The New Academy CS - $11,500.00
  • Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh CS - $24,700.00

CEEG grants are designed to help provide access and inclusion for all learners by bridging the gap for students who are currently limited in their ability to participate in continuity of education.

 These grants may be used to purchase computer equipment, such as laptops, tablets, and internet hot spots, or used towards providing instructional materials, such as paper lessons and coursework.  Schools with the highest percentages of students lacking access to resources were given priority in receiving these grants.

In addition, the state Department of Education has partnered with Pennsylvania’s public television stations to provide instructional programming to students through the seven individual Public Broadcasting System (PBS) member stations in the state. Public television reaches over 12.4 million Pennsylvanians serving large diverse, rural and underserved audiences. These free “Learning at Home” resources are available to families and educators via

PLCB Announces More Curbside Pickup Options

Fine Wine And Good SpiritsThe Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today announced it will expand its recently introduced curbside pickup service to 389 more Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations across the commonwealth on Monday, April 27, to serve more customers seeking wine and spirits while maintaining social distancing practices in the interest of public health and safety.

The expanded list of stores offering curbside service is available online. Most stores will support curbside service Monday through Saturday – taking a limited number of orders on a first-call, first-served basis beginning at 9:00 AM each day and scheduling pickup appointments between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM those days – but some stores will operate on more limited days and hours. 

New Grants Available for First Responders

New federal grant funds to help first-responders secure life-saving personal protection equipment (PPE) and aid them in safely and securely responding to health emergencies will soon be available.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) indicated it will release more details of the $100 million Fiscal Year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program – COVID-19 Supplemental (AFG-S) soon. 

Information specifically about the program will be available at and  Additional resources can be found at FEMA’s websites: or

Financial assistance will be provided directly to eligible organizations.

Facebook/Twitter Facebook Twitter Instagram Stay Connected

If you haven’t visited my Facebook page, join the conversation by ‘liking’ the page and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Plenty of information is available on these pages about community events and issues affecting our friends and neighbors.  If you have questions or concerns, send me a direct message or post your thoughts.

Offices to Serve You

  Forest Hills
1501 Ardmore Blvd. | Suite 403
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
Phone: (412) 241-6690
Fax: (412) 731-2332
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
2306 Brownsville Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Phone: (412) 884-8308
Fax: (412) 886-2080
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
314 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
Phone: (412) 462-4204
Fax: (412) 462-4543
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203043
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-7683
Fax: (717) 783-5976
8:30 am – 5:00 pm