AudioClick below to listen to audio clips of floor remarks, press conferences and my monthly Pennsylvania Moment radio program.
On a tie vote of 24-24, the Pennsylvania Senate failed to approve legislation that would have increased the state Personal Income Tax and the state Sales Tax in an effort to eliminate school property taxes statewide. In remarks during debate on the Senate Floor, Senator Costa explains why he voted against the measure.
A bill geared toward preventing distracted and aggressive driving in highway work zones has been passed by the state legislature and sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the legislation.
Pennsylvania Moment: The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps to make sure every home stays warm during the winter. Senator Costa has more information about how to enroll in the program.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a roundtable discussion on Thursday, November 5, at the IBEW Hall in Pittsburgh on the value of adding the Arts to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education program offered in many of our schools across Pennsylvania. Click here to hear Senator Costa with your invitation.
Attention Veterans! Senator Costa wants to honor you for your service to Pennsylvania and our country with a luncheon on Friday, November 6th. Click here to get the details on your invitation.
Senator Costa joined with fellow Senators, House members, and members of the academic and business worlds to kick off the first annual Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge Week. The challenge is designed to encourage those enrolled in community colleges to complete their studies and earn their degrees.
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing the week of October 18 through 24 as “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge Week.” Here’s more with Senator Costa who says the resolution encourages community college students to complete their studies.
Senator Costa held another of his Telephone Town Hall Meetings this week in which participants were able to ask questions about a wide range of issues including the state budget, education funding, and property taxes as well as listen to a discussion on topics that are important to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. You can listen here to the complete town hall meeting.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence joined state lawmakers at the State Capitol today to say when it comes to domestic violence: PA Says No More. Here’s more with Senator Costa who participated in the ceremony that recognized and paid tribute to domestic violence victims who were killed in the past year.
A resolution recognizing the week of September 27 through October 3 as “Arts and Education Week” in Pennsylvania has been adopted by the state Senate. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the resolution.
Senator Costa says Pennsylvania doesn’t need a stopgap budget. He says the state deserves a full budget that addresses the things voters elected Gov. Wolf to do, including funding education and reducing property taxes.
Pennsylvania Moment: If you’re looking for a job, Senator Costa says the first place to check out is your local Career Link office.
Pennsylvania Moment: If you’re traveling on vacation, on business, or for any reason, Senator Costa says to check out PA 511 by phone or online before you leave. You’ll get the latest information on highway conditions, mass transit and airport delays.
In remarks on the Senate Floor, Senator Costa paid tribute to former state Senator Leonard Bodack who died July 7th at the age of 82. The Lawrenceville Democrat served 24 years in the state legislature, retiring in 2002. Click here to hear Senator Costa’s remarks.
Pennsylvania Moment: Physical, emotional and financial abuse of the elderly is a very real and significant problem in Pennsylvania. Senator Costa says there’s a way to report elder abuse when you witness it.
In an attempt to make Pennsylvania highways safer for highway workers and others in construction zones, the state Senate has approved legislation to increase penalties on reckless drivers. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the legislation.
Gov. Tom Wolf last night vetoed a $30.2 billion state budget plan. Senator Costa strongly opposed the House and Senate Republican budget proposal saying it fails our public schools, denies much need school property tax relief, and adds to the state’s deficit woes.
Senator Costa and fellow Senate Democrats introduced a new property tax plan that would eliminate school property taxes for 2 million homeowners, reduce property taxes for another 1.2 million homeowners, and provide a $500 rent rebate for more than 800,000 Pennsylvanians. You can listen to Senator Costa’s remarks at the press conference unveiling the legislation here:
As negotiations over Pennsylvania’s 2015-16 budget heat up, Senator Costa addressed his colleagues in the Senate, outlining the budget priorities for Senate Democrats.
Legislation has been approved by the state Senate that renews and improves Pennsylvania’s 911 emergency communications system. Here’s more with Senator Costa, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, and a strong supporter of the bill.
Senator Costa held another of his Telephone Town Hall Meetings this week in which participants were able to ask questions about a wide range of issues including the state budget as well as listen to a discussion on topics that are important to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and the Commonwealth. You can listen here to the complete town hall meeting.
Senator Costa says it’s appalling that Senate Republicans have voted down Gov. Wolf’s nominee to head the Pennsylvania State Police. Here’s more with the Senate Democratic Leader who says Republicans turned aside the nomination of Marcus Brown, an exceptionally qualified and experienced law enforcement official.
Pennsylvania Moment: Whether it’s a short trip or a summer vacation, Senator Costa says the PA Turnpike makes it easy to plan your trip.
State Senate and House Democrats joined at a Harrisburg news conference Tuesday to highlight the broad and deep support in the General Assembly for legislation that would create a new $1 billion natural gas extraction tax for education. Here’s more with Senator Costa who says last year’s election of Gov. Wolf sends a clear message from voters that they support a Marcellus Shale severance tax.
In remarks on the Senate Floor, Senator Costa remembered Barbara Daly Danko, a member of the Allegheny County Council, who passed away this month at her Regent Square home at the age of 61. Here are Senator Costa’s remarks.
After a rash of serious accidents in active construction work zones on Pennsylvania highways, state lawmakers are introducing legislation that’s intended to protect workers, first responders and motorists in those construction zones. Here’s more with Senator Costa from today’s State Capitol news conference on work zone safety.
Pennsylvania Moment: Warmer weather can get homeowners thinking about home improvements. Senator Costa advises them to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s list of registered contractors before the work has started.
The state Senate Labor and Industry Committee heard today from businesses, workers and economists about the plusses and minuses of increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. Afterwards, supporters, including Senator Costa, said they think a good case was made for raising the minimum wage.
Senator Costa, in remarks on the Senate Floor, says this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon held the first weekend in May was a rousing success, a true test of health and fitness, and was enjoyed by tens-of-thousands of participants and observers.
The Pennsylvania State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police conducted their 22nd annual Police Memorial Service on May 4th, honoring the memory of law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty throughout Pennsylvania over the past year. Police officers from across the state attended the ceremony, which featured an address by Gov. Wolf and Resolutions of support from both the state House and Senate. Senator Costa spoke as the Senate Resolution was being presented:
Senator Costa is co-sponsor of a Resolution to mark 2015 as the Year of the Cop in Pennsylvania, to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our men and women in law enforcement who on a daily basis put their lives on the line to protect the safety and welfare of those who live and work in our Commonwealth. Here’s the Senator joining with the Resolution’s prime sponsor, Senator John Rafferty, at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.
As Pennsylvania observes Autism Awareness Month, an Allegheny County lawmaker is also raising awareness about the everyday heroes who live with and support those children and adults with autism. Here’s more with Senator Costa who joined Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, House members, and autism advocates today at a State Capitol news conference.
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing April 19 through the 25th as Pennsylvania Family Center Network Week in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the resolution.
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing April as Autism Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the resolution.
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution designating April as Community College Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Costa, sponsor of the resolution.
Pennsylvania Moment: April is Donate Life Month. Senator Costa says organ donor enrollment is simple at driver’s license centers or when licenses are obtained or renewed. Larger volumes of potential donors would reduce the numbers on transplant waiting lists and improve the wellbeing of transplant recipients.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says Pennsylvanians who served in the military can have that fact recognized on their driver’s license.
Senator Costa held another Telephone Town Hall meeting to answer questions from callers and e-mailers. The Senator answered questions about how Gov. Wolf’s budget proposals will affect sales, income and property taxes among other issues. You can hear the entire Telephone Town Hall by clicking here.
Senate Democrats say Gov. Tom Wolf’s first state budget proposal is a bold, responsible and necessary plan that includes historic property tax relief, business tax shifts, education funding, and job initiatives. Here’s Senator Costa’s reaction to the proposed budget which totals more than $29.8 billion.
Senator Costa this week paid tribute on the Senate Floor to two important Allegheny County civic leaders who passed away recently: Forest Hills Mayor Marty O’Malley and political activist and civil rights leader Evelyn Richardson. Here are the senator’s remarks:
Senator Costa held a live Telephone Town Hall Meeting this week in which participants were able to ask questions as well as listen to a discussion about issues that are important to the residents of Allegheny County and the Commonwealth. You can listen here to the complete town hall discussion.
Senate Democrats at a State Capitol news conference today proposed a College Access Plan to lower the financial burden and open the doors to higher education for more Pennsylvanians. Here’s Senator Costa, who along with several other members, unveiled a 13-bill package that’s intended to make it more affordable for students to attend college and graduate with less debt.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says most Pennsylvania families qualify for free or low-cost health coverage for kids.
Work on Pennsylvania’s 2015-16 budget will get underway in a month, and Senator Costa says there are some big problems Gov. Wolf and lawmakers will have to tackle.
A bipartisan bill has again been introduced in the state Senate that would allow the use of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania to help people suffering from seizures and other health problems. Here’s more from today’s State Capitol news conference with Senator Costa, a co-sponsor of the legislation, who urged its approval.
Swearing-in ceremonies were held today at the State Capitol for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf of York County and Lt. Governor Mike Stack of Philadelphia who defeated incumbent Republicans Tom Corbett and James Cawley in the November election. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County who spoke on the Senate Floor following Lt. Governor Stack taking the Oath of Office.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says Pennsylvania state government has an online resource that can get people the help they need for everything from child care to mortgage problems to paying less in taxes.
Senate Democratic Leader Costa, along with Senate Democratic Appropriations Chair Sen. Vincent Hughes and Vice-Chair Sen. John Blake, said the $2 billion plus budget deficit disclosed at today’s Mid-Year Budget Briefing should be laid at the feet of Gov. Tom Corbett and his Republican legislative allies. Listen here to the Senate Democratic response to the administration’s briefing:
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says a good way to get in the spirit of holiday giving is to help out your local food bank.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County gives his reaction to incoming Republican Majority Leader Jake Corman’s comments about the possibility of a lame-duck session in early January to approve legislation before Gov. Corbett leaves office on January 20th. Here are Senator Costa’s comments:
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now taking applications to help those who cannot afford to heat their homes this winter.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg have put new limits on how long the state will aid Pennsylvania’s financially-distressed cities. But Senator Jay Costa says Pittsburgh will lose under the new law.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says the state Department of Aging has a toll-free hotline anyone can call to get answers to questions about how to care for an aging loved one.
Pennsylvania Moment: The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) covers the health needs of all Pennsylvania’s children. Senator Costa says all parents should check to see if their children are eligible.
Senator Costa held a live Telephone Town Hall Meeting on September 4th, in which participants were able to ask questions as well as listen to a discussion about issues that are important to our area. You can listen here to the complete meeting.
Three members of the Senate Democratic Caucus including Senator Costa participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge today at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh. Here’s Senator Costa’s reaction to getting doused with ice cold water to help raise awareness about and money for ALS.
A police crime lab in Allegheny County has seen its state funding shrink to nothing over the past two years. Senator Costa says if the lab closes, the effects will be felt statewide.
Pennsylvania Moment- As students head back to college, Senator Costa reminds them — and their parents — to explore all the possibilities when it comes to paying for higher education.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa tells senior citizens how they can get help paying for their prescriptions.
Senator Costa, the state Senate’s top Democrat, says Gov. Corbett should not hold Pennsylvania’s budget hostage to what he calls a “flawed” pension plan.
Senator Costa held a live Telephone Town Hall Meeting on June 10th. Participants were able to ask questions as well as listen to a discussion about issues that are important to our area.
Pennsylvania Moment: Sen. Costa advises Pennsylvania’s veterans to call the Veteran’s Hotline and check on the benefits they’ve earned.
As budget talks get underway at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, the state is looking at a one-billion dollar shortfall in revenue. Senator Costa says that will probably mean a leaner spending plan.
Pennsylvania Moment: Sen. Costa talks about PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program, designed to help both people with special medical conditions and first responders at an accident scene.
With the state looking at a possible 600 million dollar budget deficit by the end of the year, Senator Costa says Senate Democrats say they have a plan that would bring more than a billion dollars in new revenue and cost savings to the state.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says authorities can be alerted to child abuse by anyone anytime of the day or night.
More than 200 community college students and faculty rallied at the State Capitol today, urging Gov. Corbett and state lawmakers to provide an increase in funding in next year’s state budget. Here’s more with Senator Costa, who’s also a member of the Community College of Allegheny County’s Board of Trustees.
On the Senate floor, Senator Costa delivers a tribute to retiring University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.
Pennsylvania Moment: Sen. Costa reminds you that March 31st is the deadline to sign up for health insurance provided by the federal Affordable Care Act.
Pennsylvania Senate and House Democrats are questioning Gov. Corbett’s state budget assertions and successes, and so today at a State Capitol news conference they unveiled a fact check website. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa who says Gov. Corbett is distorting the facts and his record.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Costa says Pennsylvania’s Career Link offices can connect the unemployed to businesses that need workers.
Reports around the State Capitol say Gov. Corbett and some Republican legislative leaders are trying to come up with a new plan to privatize the state store system and beer sales. Here’s more with Senator Costa who, along with other Senate Democrats, says a better plan would be to modernize the way the state sells liquor.
Senate Democrats are applauding a Commonwealth Court ruling today that strikes down Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law. Here’s more with Senator Costa, the Democratic Leader in the Pennsylvania Senate, who says the court was right to find the photo identification law unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania Moment: It’s never too early to begin saving for your child’s college education. Senator Costa says the state Treasury has a plan that can help now and in the future.