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July 2018

A police officer in East Pittsburgh is facing homicide charges after he shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old who was running from a traffic stop. Senator Costa and fellow Pennsylvania lawmakers sought the advice of experts and police personnel as they look for ways to improve relationships between police and the communities they serve.

Senator Costa suggests some day trips you can take right here in our area this summer.

June 2018

Senator Costa’s comments on the 2018 state Budget

Senator Costa was among the lawmakers and advocates who participated in a rally at the state Capitol in support of immigrant families separated by the Trump Administration’s enforcement of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Senator Costa held another of his Telephone Town Halls, during which constituents called in questions.  You can listen to the entire Town Hall by clicking here.

On June 20th, Senate Democratic Leader Costa says members of the General Assembly have agreed to a 2018-19 state budget well ahead of the June 30th deadline.

Senator Costa was one of the lawmakers on hand for the Capitol All-Stars Softball Game Player “Draft,” picking fellow House and Senate members to play on teams in a charity softball game this fall.

Senator Costa reminds families that Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program — CHIP — covers all kids with quality health insurance.

The state Senate has passed a bill that would shift the responsibility of drawing political districts in the state away from legislators and to a commission. But Senator Costa says an amendment to the bill caused some supporters, including him, to change their vote from yes to no

Senator Costa says legislation that would have changed the way political districts are drawn in Pennsylvania has been “hijacked” by lawmakers who want to punish the state Supreme Court.

Legislation creating an independent commission to draw political district maps of the state and prevent gerrymandering was amended in the Senate State Government Committee. The new version gives lawmakers a greater hand in choosing commission members.  Senator Costa says he’d like to see further changes made to the bill before it goes to a final vote.

May 2018

May is Military Appreciation Month. Senator Costa encourages Pennsylvania’s veterans to take advantage of the benefits they’ve earned.

Senator Costa was on hand as the state of Pennsylvania paused to honor fallen police officers.

April 2018

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Senator Costa says the theme of the Awareness Month is “Embrace Your Voice.”

A recent landslide in western Pennsylvania that collapsed part of a major roadway has called attention to many parts of the state that are susceptible to landslides. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says legislation is being introduced to address the problem.

An estimated one in every 68 children in the United States is living with an autism spectrum disorder. Senator Costa says the state has ways to make life easier for those with autism and their families.

Senator Costa has introduced legislation that he hopes will be a major help in the state’s fight against the opioid epidemic, after Governor Wolf extended his disaster declaration.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Senator Costa has information about Pennsylvania’s Child Abuse Hotline that could save a child’s life.

March 2018

A state Senate committee looking into Pennsylvania’s redistricting problems heard from Senator Costa, who says he has a solution that would work more quickly than other proposals.

Senator Costa says the state Senate has approved a bipartisan package of bills to help those who are victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

Decisions by a federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court mean Pennsylvania’s districts for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are set. Senator Costa talks about what that means for voters.

Senator Costa says there are two immediate steps Pennsylvania can take in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Senator Costa says Pennsylvania is ready to help families save for college by providing a savings plan with some tax advantages.

February 2018

If you’re looking for a job, Senator Costa says that help is available.

Governor Tom Wolf has rejected a congressional district map submitted to him by Republican leadership in the legislature, saying it’s still too partisan. Senate Democratic Leader Costa says the Governor is now asking for input on the map from Democratic lawmakers

Senator Costa held another of his Telephone Town Halls, in which residents of the 43rd District could call in and get their questions answered. Senator Costa spoke about Gov. Wolf’s proposed 2018 state budget, developing new jobs, gerrymandering, and other topics.  You can listen to the entire Town Hall here:

January 2018

Democrats in the state Senate laid out their legislative priorities for Pennsylvania in 2018. Senator Costa gave a quick overview and talked about the state’s battle with opioid addiction.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court says the map that sets up U-S congressional districts is unconstitutional, and it’s ordered the legislature to re-draw the boundaries by February 9th so that a new map will be in place for the May primary.  Senator Costa is calling on lawmakers to act quickly.

Senate Democratic Leader Costa has set some goals for the legislature in the new year.

Winter weather is here, and Senator Costa is advising travelers to check with PA 511 and get road conditions before venturing out.

December 2017

Senator Costa says the Senate has passed and sent to the House “Alaina’s Law,” a bill allowing electronic monitoring in domestic abuse cases.

With only a couple of days left, Senator Costa reminds Pennsylvanians who are eligible to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

It’s the season of giving, and Senator Costa has a suggestion for a gift you can give to others — and to yourself.

Senator Costa took part in a ceremony in the state Capitol Rotunda that called attention to “Wreaths Across America.” On Saturday, December 16th, volunteers will be placing Christmas wreaths on the graves of service men and women across the country and overseas.

November 2017

Senator Costa is part of a group of state Senators who are introducing legislation that would ban the use of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment or assault settlements.

Senator Costa and Senate Democrats say the Affordable Care Act is still providing insurance to Pennsylvanians, but the time they have to sign up has been reduced.

October 2017

Senator Costa says a newly-released study shows that cultural events bring more than just art to a city or region – they also bring dollars and jobs.

Senate Democrats say they’re working with Governor Wolf and insurance companies to keep health insurance available and affordable, despite the recent decisions coming out of Washington.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Senator Costa joined with advocates and other lawmakers at the Capitol in Harrisburg to remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence.

State lawmakers still have not agreed to a revenue plan that will generate the funds needed to pay for the budget they passed in June. Senator Costa says all eyes are on one legislative chamber that doesn’t seem to be taking care of the interests of all Pennsylvanians.

PENNSYLVANIA MOMENT: Senator Costa urges everyone to help the victims of this summer’s hurricanes, but warns that you shouldn’t become a victim yourself.

August 2017

PENNSYLVANIA MOMENT: Senator Costa says now that school is back in session, drivers should keep alert around school buses.

July 2017

PENNSYLVANIA MOMENT: Experts say this year’s wet and cool weather has led to an explosion in the tick population.  Senator Costa has some advice from the PA Department of Health on how to protect yourself from ticks.

June 2017

CLEAR is the Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenues, a coalition of labor and service industry groups representing more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians.Senator Costa and lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate joined the coalition in calling for a modest 5% tax on shale drilling which they say will provide millions for the state budget as a continuing, sustainable source of revenue.

By a vote of 43-7, the state Senate approved a $32 billion spending plan for 2017-18 that provides for increased spending on education and intellectually disabled people. It increases spending by less than 1 percent above what was available to spend this year. Now that the spending plan is in place, lawmakers have to figure out how to pay for it. Talks are expected to continue on different funding scenarios.

Senator Costa joined supporters of House Bill 1520, legislation to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, as they rallied in the Rotunda of the State Capitol. The bill would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12.00 per hour on January 1st of next year, and by an additional 50 cents per hour each year until 2024, when the minimum wage would be $15.00 per hour. Beginning in 2025, the minimum wage would receive a cost-of-living adjustment every year.

Senator Costa joined Democratic members of the House and Senate gathered in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to express their opposition to the legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) currently making its way through the U.S. Senate.

A bipartisan group of state senators, along with Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, have introduced legislation to establish a public charitable trust to help at-risk children and reverse the direction of prison-bound youth in Pennsylvania. The measure would create the “First Chance Trust Fund,” which would be used to support evidence-based programs and scholarship opportunities that benefit at-risk youth.

Senator Costa is introducing a resolution urging Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to file suit against the pharmaceutical industry for deceptive and unfair marketing practices. The Senator says that the commonwealth and local communities are suffering from the opioid epidemic, which he believes has been caused in large part by opioid manufacturers. He says they have engaged in nationwide marketing campaigns encouraging overprescribing, misleading both prescribers and the public about the highly-addictive nature and dangerous side effects of the drugs.

Stunned at President Donald J. Trump’s dismissal of climate change and abandonment of the Paris climate accord, Senators Costa and Fontana joined with Mayor Peduto to introduce legislation requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection to adopt the requirements set forth in the Obama Clean Power Plan, designed by the EPA to reduce greenhouse emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Senator Costa has introduced Senate Bill 709, legislation to prevent the practice of “food shaming” children at school meals. These are instances where school meals have been withheld from students because a student’s parents owe money to the school district for meals, and schools mark children with bracelets or stamps to denote that a child’s parents are in arrears for school meal payments. The bill would require school districts to serve meals to children, if one is requested, regardless of whether the child’s family owes money to the school. It will prohibit schools from marking children in any way if their family owes money for meals.  And it will require districts to implement policies to determine if children are eligible for free or reduced price meals.

May 2017

Senator Costa, Gov. Tom Wolf and other state dignitaries gathered in Harrisburg to honor four Pennsylvania police officers who gave their life in the performance of their duties.

April 2017

Senator Costa joined Pennsylvanians who work in artistic fields and the people who support that work took in the halls of the state Capitol in Harrisburg to drum up support – and funding – for the arts.

The PA Senate has passed legislation providing 15 million dollars to the Department of Labor and Industry that will be used to re-hire unemployment call center workers who were laid off late last year. The layoffs came after Senate Republicans refused to renew temporary funding for the offices until they received an accounting of how the money was spent. The Wolf administration said they had no choice but to lay off 500 workers and close unemployment call centers, leading to long waits for those who were out of work and filing for benefits. Senator Costa says the funding should put at least 300 of those workers back on the job.

February 2017

Senator Costa held a Telephone Town Hall on Tuesday, February 7th, taking questions from constituents via telephone, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.  The discussions were about the Governor’s 2017 state budget proposal, property tax reform, climate change, redistricting, and a proposal to combine four state agencies into one.  You can listen to the whole town hall by clicking below:

Senator Costa says  Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget invests in jobs and working families and is a good fiscal blueprint to begin budget deliberations.  The $32.3 billion budget plan eliminates a $3 billion deficit while making $2 billion in budget cuts and a 1.8 percent increase in spending, all without a broad-based tax increase. The budget plan also calls for an additional $100 million in basic education, $75 million for high-quality early education and $25 million for special education.

Senator Costa and his fellow Senate Democrats are asking Governor Wolf to call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on reforming or eliminating property taxes.

January 2017

Gov. Wolf has proposed merging the departments of Aging, Health, Human Services and Drug and Alcohol Programs as a way for the Commonwealth to save money and become more efficient.  Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Senator Costa says he’d like to see more details of the Governor’s proposal.

For Pennsylvanians seeking unemployment assistance, the wait on the telephone or on line is a long one.  That’s because a funding dispute between the Governor and Republicans in the Senate resulted in the layoffs of 500 employees and the closings of three call centers.  At a rally in the state Capitol organized by those workers, Senator Costa called on the legislature to vote quickly to restore the funding

In 2003, the General Assembly adopted Senate Resolution 60, which created a special commission to study and make recommendations on the delivery of Fire and EMS services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2004, the SR 60 Commission put forth 23 recommendations, many of which were adopted or acted upon. Fourteen years later and with many challenges continuing to face our Fire & EMS community (loss of volunteer first responders, exorbitant costs of apparatus, and training needs), the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee is introducing a new resolution calling for another commission to study our Fire & EMS system. The commission will include members of the Senate and House, representatives of the fire and EMS community, and municipalities. The commission will make its recommendations by June 30, 2018. Here are remarks at the introduction of the Resolution by Senator Costa, Democratic Chairman of the Committee.

Pennsylvania Moment: Winter weather can cause hazards and delays for drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Senator Costa advises you to be prepared by checking Turnpike conditions before you head out.

Senator  Costa, re-elected to represent the 43rd District in the Pennsylvania Senate, took his oath of office on the floor of the Senate just after noon on Tuesday January 3rd  to begin the 201st session of the General Assembly.  Here’s the Senator talking about his priorities for the new session