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Governor Wolf Signs SB 3 Legalizing Medical Cannabis

Governor Wolf Signs SB 3 Legalizing Medical Cannibis. Watch Coverage Here
April 17, 2016: Governor Wolf Signs SB 3 Legalizing Medical Cannibis. Watch Coverage Here

Just a few days ago, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law, legalizing the use of medical cannabis in Pa. This landmark legislation will revolutionize treatment for patients and families who now struggle to deal with chronic pain, debilitating illnesses and serious medical conditions. I was proud to stand alongside my colleagues and more importantly the families and their children pushing for this legislation to pass.

While there are still many details to work through and regulations to be drafted, one thing is for certain – hope is on the horizon for families. It took us far too long to get this critical legislation across the finish line, but we got it done.

Breaking Down Barriers to Treatment for Opiate/Opioid Addiction

Poilcy Hearing
Part 1 | Part 2
Senate Democratic Policy Committee Opioid Addiction Treatment

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee addressed the issue of opioid and opiate addiction and treatment at a recent hearing in Pittsburgh. Last year 246 deaths in Allegheny County were attributed to opioids according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office. Our hearing focused on removing the barriers to treatment and what resources are necessary to help those struggling overcome their addictions.

Apart from the devastating human toll on opiate addicts and their families, there is a correlating financial consequence on state and local health agencies, prisons and service delivery systems. To help people get off and stay off drugs, we have to find a way to give them access to appropriate levels of treatment. Otherwise, we’re doing little more than recycling addicts, adding to police blotters, crowding our prisons and draining limited social service and healthcare resources.

My sincere thanks to everyone who joined us for the hearing and provided such heartfelt and compelling testimony. These issues aren’t easy to address, but the discussions open doors to changing and saving lives.

Celebrating National Police Week

Senator Costa Offers Resolution to Recognize National Police Week and Police Officer’s Memorial Day in May
Senator Costa Offers Resolution to Recognize National Police Week and Police Officer’s Memorial Day in May

I was proud to join my colleagues recently in offering a resolution to recognize National Police Week and Police Officer’s Memorial Day in May. Police week is all about honoring and remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. While we can’t ever replace what each of these families has lost or repay them for the sacrifices made, what we can do, and should do, is celebrate who the officers were, and the hopes and the dreams they had for the future.

My support of this resolution and the CELEBRATION of Police Week this year, is my renewed commitment to never forget their names, or their faces. To celebrate them is to always do everything WE can to support their families for the rest of their lives. My thanks to each of them for their service and their sacrifice.  God speed.

Access MOB Meet and Greet

Access MOB Pittsburgh held a meet and greet at the Three Rivers Center for Independent Living.  This event provided a great chance for me to meet with folks and learn more about accessibility issues and how we can make improvements for the future.  My sincere thanks to everyone who organized and attended the event. 

MOB Pittsburgh

Honoring a Hero

During Senate session earlier this month, I was honored to say a few words about Maj. Gen. John L. Gronski, who will be leaving for his new job on active duty as the Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army in Weisbaden, Germany. 

Maj. Gen. John L. GronskiPennsylvania should be proud of Gen. Gronski who has served with distinction since 1978, when he was commissioned through the ROTC program at the University of Scranton.  He commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Division in Ramadi, Iraq and has served overseas in Germany and Lithuania in addition to other posts over his long career.  

He holds the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal in addition to combat and service medals, ribbons and badges that demonstrate his commitment to service, love of country and years of sacrifice as a member of our armed forces. 

Our military is led by an officer corps that features leaders like Gen. Gronski.  They are dedicated, determined, resolute and strong fighters for freedom and liberty. 

Pennsylvania is truly blessed to have a person like Gen. Gronski who has the stature, experience and expertise to lead our military in times of distress.  He has proven leadership skills and is positioned to do even more as he assumes this new role as Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe. 

I hope you’ll join me in wishing Gen. Gronski good luck in his new role as Deputy Commander of U.S. Army units in Europe. 

Campaign Finance Reform

Campaign Finance ReformCampaign finance reform has been an issue I've tried to address through legislation for many years. On the ballot this year are critical seats of statewide interest and local importance.

I recently introduced legislation (Senate Bill 11) a measure that provides for campaign finance limitations, along with several other important reforms. The corrupting influence of money in politics is known objectively and anecdotally to most Pennsylvanians. Our citizens are not alone in thinking that too much money in politics corrupts. Nationally, according to a Gallup poll, 79 percent of Americans support limits on campaign fundraising.

This election season has reminded all of us of the need to clean up the campaign finance system and our campaign finance laws. We can do better than to hope that things get better. We must act and build fairness and equality in our electoral system by providing reforms for how candidates raise money and disclose shadowy donors.

The measure I introduced will put these stringent restrictions in place:     

  • Limit the expenditures and donations by and to a candidate, political action committee (PAC), political party or other person, for the purpose of influencing election;
  • Require disclosure of super PAC donors;
  • Require stockholder approval of expenditures on political activity.

Pennsylvania’s uncapped campaign finance rules, confounding Supreme Court decisions, and outside influence by national super PAC’s underscore what is wrong in our political system. Campaign expenses are increasing exponentially and driving elected officials and candidates to spend more and more time raising money instead of focusing on important issues or solving challenging problems. Fact is, in Pennsylvania’s most recent gubernatorial election, candidates spent a combined $82 million dollars. Races for the state Senate are frequently rising above the $2 million benchmark.

We must act soon to restore confidence in our electoral process and shield our citizens from a bombardment by outside dollars and outside contributors who have no interest in quality, responsive government. This can be accomplished by adopting tough, but fair, campaign finance reforms such as those prescribed in my legislation.

View Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda »

A Prescription to Crash the Millionaires' Party in Pa. Politics: Editorial

By PennLive Editorial Board | March 30, 2016pennlive

In 2007, Philadelphia-area philanthropist Ronald Krancer  donated $600,000 to support his son, Michael Krancer's, Republican bid for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

In 2014, Louis Appell Jr., of York, a former head of Pfaltzgraff Co., contributed $725,000 to now-Gov. Tom Wolf and now-Lt. Gov. Mike Stack's successful effort to capture the state's top spot.

In 2010, charter school magnate Vaughan Guereghian dumped $325,714 into Republican Tom Corbett's ultimately successful campaign for the Governor's Office.

Read More »

Found in the 'BurghFound in the 'Burgh

What's your favorite thing to do in Pittsburgh or the best place to visit? You love it? We want to know it! With so much to see, do, eat and discover in Pittsburgh we've started a new segment we're calling "Found in the 'Burgh." We'll be visiting places all over Pittsburgh and posting videos to really showcase just how great being from Pittsburgh really is! Get in touch with us on social media or call one of our district offices with your ideas!

This month's "Found in the 'Burgh", I visited the Rock Bottom Brewery located in Homestead, PA. Click on the videos below to learn about my visit!

Rock Bottom Brewery
Rock Bottom Brewery Tour Rock Bottom Brewery Tour

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

calendarUpcoming Events

Our calendar of events keeps growing with new opportunities for you to join us for Tele Town Hall meetings, community shredding events and more. We’re always interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions for community events. Please feel free to contact my district office or comment on any of our social media pages to give us your ideas or let us know what you think!

Click here to view the events calendar!

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 you 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
Events Rock bottom Brewery - Part 1 Rock bottom Brewery - Part 2 Rock Bottom Brewery Tour - Part 3 pennlive