District 19 News: State Rep. Abney
Hello, Northsiders! I’m eager to share with you some of the important work I’ve been doing in Harrisburg and here at home.
My House Democratic colleagues and I made substantial progress in the late spring months in Harrisburg, resulting in one bill becoming law, another passing the House and four more moving out of committee to the full House for consideration.
In early May, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed his first bill into law as governor which passed unanimously at the end of April. The new law requires insurance companies to cover supplemental breast cancer screenings for patients as well as genetic testing and additional proactive procedures. Removing these costs from patient responsibility will remove a significant burden to ensuring their health is properly monitored.
The Fairness Act, spearheaded by state reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Jessica Benham, passed the House after 20-plus years of advocacy by state Rep. Dan Frankel and many others. Its provisions would ensure that no person can be denied employment, housing or public accommodations based on sex, sexual orientation or gender. No one deserves to be denied these basic rights because of who they love, and I was proud to help move Pennsylvania one step closer to eliminating such discrimination.
Two gun safety bills passed the House and moved to the Senate for consideration. They provide for universal background checks on all firearms and institute red flag laws to temporarily prevent people at risk for doing harm to themselves or others from having access to firearms.
I’ve already introduced legislation, along with Rep. Ben Sanchez, which would ban assault weapons in the Commonwealth, so these two bills would be a great complement to limiting firearms violence and protecting neighbors statewide.
Back home in the Steel City, I had the opportunity to stand with state Rep. Sara Innamorato, state Sen. Nikil Saval and housing advocates to support the Whole-Home Repairs Program. Homeowners can apply for grants totaling $50,000 to address habitability and weatherization issues with their properties. The Whole-Home Repairs Program will help keep people in their homes, in the communities they love and help to reduce displacement.
Pittsburgh Public Schools received a $75,000 Department of Education grant to grow dual-credit enrollment programs. Giving students the ability to experience college classes while still in high school will help grow their confidence and empower them to work to their highest potential upon starting higher education.
Crossroads of Pittsburgh was also awarded a grant of up to $400,000 to establish or expand substance use disorder services, community outreach and education to underrepresented and minority communities struggling with the opioid overdose crisis. Countless people struggle with addiction and require assistance to get their lives back on track, so these grants are vital contributors to extending a helping hand to all those in need.
In addition, I recently joined Mayor Ed Gainey, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and others to celebrate the launch of Riverlife Pittsburgh’s Sister Bridges Experience. The project will renovate Allegheny Landing and Allegheny Riverfront Park, while enhancing the three bridges on each side of the Allegheny River to improve overall connectivity.
I’m proud that the state provided $1.5 million towards this project!
See you next month!