Consumer Issues

Funding Assistance for Private Water and Sewer Lateral Repairs – Authored and championed recently enacted legislation that allows local municipal authorities to use public funds to repair private water and sewer laterals.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements – Authored a package of bills that would require carbon monoxide detectors to be placed in buildings such as schools, child care facilities, dormitories, nursing homes, assisted living and long term care facilities and overnight lodging establishments.

Credit Freeze Changes – Authored legislation that would bring Pennsylvania’s law to reflect the majority of states in the nation and to allow an individual to place a lifetime freeze on their credit. With the increase to this timeframe, my bill would also lower the maximum amount to be charged to $5 by each of the reporting agencies to temporary unfreeze one’s credit. This will allow individuals to sign up for a credit card or apply for a loan without having to pay hefty fees.

Licensure of Mortgage Servicers – Supported the enactment of the licensure and regulation of mortgage servicers—non-bank entities that handle daily actions between lender and consumer, such as collection and recording of payments, payment of taxes and insurance from escrow, calculating interest rates, negotiating loan modifications, and supervising foreclosures.

Prescription Waste Collection Programs – Voted in favor of the law that established prescription waste collection programs as a safe way to dispose of medications.

Refunds to Certain Natural Gas Customers – Supported enactment of legislation that allowed for customers refunds when they overpay the projected natural gas cost.

Protections for Natural Gas Leaseholders – Supported legislation in the Senate to protect natural gas leaseholders to ensure fairness in royalty payments of which they are due and to protect them from being retaliated against by drillers.

Protections for 911 Callers – Voted in favor of law that ensures protections of the identity and personal information of individuals who make 911 calls.

Protections Against Fake Medical Professionals – Voted in favor of the measure that makes it a 1st degree misdemeanor to impersonate a doctor when it comes to medical treatment or advice.

UPMC-Highmark – While the agreement in June 2019 was welcome news and a relief to thousands of patients and consumers that went a long way in establishing stability in healthcare access in Western Pennsylvania, I am still working to advance a permanent solution so that we never revisit this terrible situation again. I am co-sponsor of legislation that would require hospitals and physicians operating as part of an integrated delivery network to contract with all insurers, consumers will not be denied care, or worse abandoned mid-treatment, simply because they hold one type of insurance over another. All consumers should be afforded access to these vital hospital and physician services, regardless of which insurance card they carry. Secondly, the legislation would eliminate the ability of any dominant hospital system from demanding unreasonable rates for services from insurers, and in turn raising the overall cost of health care because they are the “must have” system in the area.

Making Wealthy “Non-profit” Corporations Pay their Fair Share – While we recognize and respect the fact that both Highmark and UPMC have been vital employers and participants in our region’s economic growth, their leadership should understand that if they continue to operate like for-profit businesses, our property tax laws will treat them as such. I have authored legislation that would require that large non-profits pay real estate taxes based on the value of their land. This would ensure that all large non-profits are paying their fair share of property taxes and reduce the burden currently being placed on individual taxpayers throughout Allegheny County.

First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Program – Co-author of legislation that would establish a First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Program in Pennsylvania. If enacted, this program would provide incentives for first-time homebuyers to save for such things as down payments and closing costs.  Pennsylvania taxpayers can save up to $50,000 over 10 years toward the costs associated with purchasing a new home. The money deposited into the account can be deducted from their state income tax. Parents and grandparents can open accounts to benefit their children and grandchildren.