2016 Year-In-Review

Legislation Passed

2015-2016 Senate Democratic Caucus Accomplishments

  • $650 million in total increased education funding including:
    • $415 million in basic education funding.
    • $60 million for early childhood education.
    • $50 million in special education funding.
    • $14.6 million for early intervention
    • $81.4 million for PASSHE and state-related schools.
    • $16.4 million for Community Colleges.
  • Medical marijuana
  • Alcohol reform, including substantial improvements to the operation of Wine & Spirits stores, wine-to-go from grocery stores and restaurants, beer packaging reform, and beer and wine home delivery.
  • Uber/Lyft/zTrip operation authorization
  • Unemployment compensation reform to cover seasonal employees that lost coverage in 2012
  • Implementation of the Basic Education Funding Commission formula
  • New or improved tax credit programs including:
    • Mixed-used development
    • Expansion of the film tax credit and increased cap
    • Video game
    • Manufacturing
    • Coal refuse
    • Educational improvement
    • Waterfront development
    • Job creation and neighborhood assistance tax credit program added additional eligible projects and constituencies
  • CRIZ updated to include many communities represented by Democrats
  • Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority reform
  • Philadelphia cigarette tax was made permanent and a hold harmless was established to adjust for the impact of the increased statewide cigarette tax
  • Release of RACP, Multimodal grants, and Act 13 environmental grants
  • Voluntary veteran’s preference in private employment
  • Continued prevention of an unnecessary and risky plan to expand gaming
  • Delayed implementation of the Keystone Exams
  • $75 million re-capitalization of Business in Our Sites
  • $22 million in small water and sewer grants
  • TRID reforms
  • Highway worker protections by increasing fines and penalties
  • Moved PERC duties and powers to the Auditor General and IFO
  • Naturopathic doctor registration act
  • Important updates to the School Code regarding truancy
  • 9-1-1 funding increased and improved distribution formula
  • Turnpike tolling protections
  • Reauthorizes the Cancer Control, Prevention and Research Act
  • Expanded expungement of certain criminal offenses
  • Reform and stabilization of the race horse industry through the Race Horse Reform Act
  • Enactment of the Pennsylvania ABLE act for individuals with disabilities
  • Opioid workgroup legislation re. continuing medical education, ER doctor and minor prescription protections, and querying for every opioid/ benzodiazepine prescription

Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program

  • $1 million – 7800 Susquehanna Street, Homewood – to provide affordable rental space for manufacturers, spurring local investment, bringing renewed energy and expanded employment opportunities to the area.
  • $2,500,000 – Former Westinghouse Site Project, to support efforts to redevelop the site into retail and office space
  • $2,500,000 – Edge at South Side, to assist in the development of office, retail and residential space as well as exterior building improvement and investments in multimodal infrastructure including bike and automobile parking.
  • $1 million — Churchill Community Development, to support the further redevelopment of the former Westinghouse Research site in Churchill
  • $1 million – Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre – Funding is assisting the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s expansion efforts, the construction of a 21,540 square foot annex on to the existing building which will include two new studios, male and female locker rooms, additional public restrooms and space for wellness programming to serve residents of the Strip District, Lawrenceville and Polish Hill.

Commonwealth Financing Authority – Multimodal Transportation Fund

  • $500,000 — TC NE Metro Development, Inc. for the redevelopment of a 14-acre brownfield site
  • $71,685 – West Homestead Borough, to restore sidewalks in the borough
  • $350,000 – Wilkinsburg Borough to assist with wall restoration and sidewalk improvements in the borough
  • $2,000,000 – McKnight South River Inc., for a project connecting East Carson Street and the Three
    Rivers Heritage Trail located in the City of Pittsburgh
  • $313,405 – Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County to help in the efforts to bring the Carrie Furnace ‘Hot Metal Bridge’ located in Swissvale Borough, back online.

Commonwealth Financing Authority – Act 13 Programs

  • $240,320 – Churchill Community Developments, to construct a pond and boardwalk at the Shoppes at Pittsburgh Studios located in the borough
  • $240,000 – Riverview Apartments Inc. for the construction of accessible walking pathways and outdoor activity area
  • $250,000 – Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • $250,000 – Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
  • $85,000 – Borough of Oakmont, for a gravel bar removal and streambank restoration of Plum Creek in the borough

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

  • $40,000 – Pittsburgh City,  for the creation of a master site development plan for the approximately 57 acre South Side Park.
  • $88,000 – Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, to aid in the preparation of a natural heritage data update for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission region including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.