May. 25, 2017

Turzai, Readshaw to Introduce Legislation for Public Utility Commission to Oversee Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

 
My House colleague Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny) and I will be introducing legislation to place the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) under the oversight of the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

Over the last year, local and national newspapers have recounted many service issues facing PWSA. They include multi-million dollar debt and uncollectibles, unmetered accounts, incorrect billing, system leaks, and noncompliance with federal water quality mandates. Additionally, the system has thousands of lead service lines, many of which have not been identified or located. These issues call into serious question the sustainability of PWSA and the health and safety of those served by the system.

The citizens served by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority need safe water like everyone in the Commonwealth. The stability of the authority to serve its customers requires fiscal responsibility and best practices, both of which are lacking. We want to work collaboratively with the mayor and our colleagues in the General Assembly to address PWSAs persistent problems.

PUC oversight is crucial to correcting the authority’s long-standing difficulties. The PUC has the power to demand sound financial practices, systemic upgrades to infrastructure and reliable service delivery to customers.

The city and the authority clearly need guidance and direction that will be provided by the PUC. This positive approach addresses systemic problems with the authority and will ultimately best serve the customers of PWSA.
 
 
Bill Aims to Ensure Pennsylvanians’ Access to Flights, Federal Buildings Continues

Pennsylvanians would not have to purchase identification that complies with the federal REAL ID Act under legislation on its way to the governor’s desk.

Under Senate Bill 133, residents would be able to choose between a REAL ID or a standard driver’s license or photo ID. Residents who choose the standard form of identification would have to have a passport or other REAL ID-compliant identification to board an airplane or enter a federal building once the new system is in place.

It is not yet clear how long it will take to fully implement REAL ID in Pennsylvania, so the Commonwealth will be requesting an extension from the federal government. Assuming the extension is granted, Pennsylvanians will be able to continue using their current form of state-issued identification to board airplanes or enter federal buildings.

Offering residents a choice allows Pennsylvania to comply with the requirements of federal law while also avoiding unnecessary burdens on taxpayers who would face higher costs for the new form of identification.

Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will sign the bill.
   
 
Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights 


 

On Monday, I joined with hundreds of Second Amendment supporters and dozens of my colleagues in reaffirming our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and opposing attempts that seek to diminish these rights.

In its 12th year, this year’s theme was Make the Second Amendment Great Again. I was given the honor to speak at the rally. Click here to watch my comments.
 
 
Pennsylvania Press Club


   

This week, I was the guest speaker at the Pennsylvania Press Club in Harrisburg. I spoke to business leaders and members of the media about issues that concern all Pennsylvanians -- good jobs, pension reform, liquor privatization and the state budget.

Founded in 1996, the Pennsylvania Press Club is a monthly luncheon series that features key lawmakers, newsmakers and other individuals. The luncheons include a speaker, moderator and question-and-answer period.
   
 
McCandless/Northern Allegheny Heritage Center Now Open

Recently, it was my pleasure to participate at the grand opening of the McCandless/Northern Allegheny Heritage Center. The new facility provides a new home for local historian Joe Bullick’s collection, which used to be housed inside McKnight Elementary School.

The collection contains hundreds of household items, farm equipment, military and sports uniforms, photographs, maps, yearbooks and lots of other regional items and documents primarily from the first half of the 20th century.

The building is a replica one-room schoolhouse designed by Ralph Sterzinger of RSSC Architecture. A groundbreaking took place in September 2014. Since then, dozens of local contractors donated services for the construction of the building. Members of the town’s public works crew were assisted by students at the A.W. Beattie Career Center.

 

Caption: Pictured with me are (from left) Bill McKim, McCandless town council member; Jerry Aufman, McCandless town council member; Joe Bullick, local historian; Joanne Powers, McCandless town council member; and Ralph Ledonne, McCandless town council member.
 
 
McCandless Community Day Sept. 9

 
Circle Saturday, Sept. 9, on your calendar for McCandless’s 17th annual Community Day. Most of the activities will take place at Town Hall, 9955 Grubbs Road.

I’m sure that your entire family will enjoy the entertainment, booths from local vendors and groups, a variety of food and rides, and children’s activities.

The Frank J. Farina Jr. Memorial Car cruise will take place from 2-6 p.m. at the North Allegheny Intermediate School parking lot located at 350 Cumberland Road.

The event will end with fireworks. Planning will continue in the upcoming months and I will provide updates.
   
 
Remembering Our Heroes

 
Monday, May 29, is Memorial Day, honoring the men and women who have sacrificed their lives serving in our nation’s military.

Please consider joining me at Richland Township Community Park, located at 1157 Sterling Drive in Bakerstown, for a Memorial Day celebration. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

For more information on Memorial Day and its history, click here.
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