District 19 News: State Rep. Abney
Hello, Northsiders, and happy spring! I’m eager to share with you some of the important work I’ve been doing in Harrisburg and here at home.
Last month saw the Commonwealth Court issue a historic ruling that Pennsylvania does not adequately or equitably fund its public schools. Every single school, no matter its location, deserves the funds needed to prepare the next generation for adulthood.
February also saw multiple hearings of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee, of which I am a proud member. My colleagues and I met at multiple locations in Pittsburgh and across Allegheny County to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our neighbors and what we can do to facilitate meaningful change.
We kicked things off with a hearing spearheaded by my county peer, Rep. Arvind Venkat, that included testimony from community health care workers about the struggles they face on a daily basis to provide quality care for their patients. These individuals were tested beyond what they expected during the darkest days of the COVID pandemic. They faced the challenge head on and performed their job faithfully and honorably. These essential and selfless workers deserve all the support and assistance we can provide to them.
At a subsequent hearing, the committee and I heard from laborers across multiple sectors who are in the midst of a fight to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. This hearing was headed up by state Rep. Anita Kulik. Corporations are not just cutting corners but cutting compensation and access to crucial benefits for employees and their families by misclassification. They must stop meddling and give workers everything they’ve rightfully earned.
The following week, another colleague, state Rep. Sara Innamorato, led a hearing concerning the preservation of election integrity and implementing pre-canvassing. All of you know that keeping our elections free and fair is one of the most important issues to me and one that I’ve devoted much energy toward. The right to vote is a hallmark of a strong democracy, and I will not stop working to make sure all voices are heard at the ballot box.
State representatives Dan Miller and Emily Kinkead also put together a hearing about the importance of unions. Unions are essential to supporting and defending the rights and well-being of workers and are an essential asset for them to foster and facilitate enriching lives for themselves and their families.
In other news, I joined state senators Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Mayor Ed Gainey, Councilman Bobby Wilson and others to present a $2.5 million check to the Allegheny YMCA. These funds will allow for significant renovations to the 96-year-old institution, and this investment from the state will go a long way to improving the social fabric and quality of life for so many residents.
Allegheny County fire and EMS departments also received a total of $2.5 million in grants, with $25,000 of those dollars going to the City of Pittsburgh Fire Bureau. For keeping us safe each and every day, we owe them our unending gratitude.
Be well, everyone, and talk to you next month!