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Consumer Protection Committee approves bill to set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for appliances sold in Pa.

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee yesterday approved H.B. 1615 , which would set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for new residential and commercial appliances sold in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced. “This is a good, commonsense bill that will benefit consumers,” Matzie said. “Nobody has to replace anything, nobody has to buy anything, nothing is banned. Appliances meeting these standards are already on the market and competitively priced. Implementing the standards for new appliances sold here in Pennsylvania could save consumers nearly $250 million annually on their utility bills by 2030.” The bill passed by a vote of 17-8. The committee also heard testimony on H.B. 1977 , which would require businesses to clearly post notice of any surcharges on credit and debit card transactions in a location easily visible to consumers, and H.B. 2186 , which would help protect consumers from gift card scams by requiring retailers to post signs warning consumers about these scams and train employees on how to identify and respond to gift card fraud. “Today’s hearing was an important consumer protection hearing addressing fees when it comes to using your credit or debit card at a point of sale as well as the gift card scams that are happening, not only here in Read more

Matzie: Nearly $140,000 secured for District 16 school food service equipment upgrades

(Apr 29, 2024)

ALIQUIPPA, April 29 – Food service equipment upgrades are coming to schools in the 16 th Legislative District thanks to $137,800 in new funding from the PA Department of Education, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie said the funding includes two separate grants of $44,400 each to Aliquippa School District, $33,500 to Hopewell Area School District and $15,500 to Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit 27. “School food service upgrades like these allow our school cafeterias to ensure that food is stored, prepared and served quickly and at optimal temperatures,” Matzie said. “That means kids get the freshest, most appetizing meals possible; school food service workers are able to serve large numbers of students quickly; and taxpayers benefit from savings achieved by modern, energy-efficient equipment. It’s an excellent investment all around.” More information about the funding is available here: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/education-details.aspx?newsid=1460#:~:text=Harrisburg%2C%20PA%20%2D%20The%20Pennsylvania%20Department,food%20service%20equipment%20for%20cafeterias . Read more

Matzie: Nearly $1.2 million secured for area school security and mental health resources

(Apr 26, 2024)

ALIQUIPPA, April 26 – Nearly $1.2 million in new state funding is coming to bolster school security and expand resources for student mental health in the 16 th Legislative District, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the competitive school safety and security grants awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will bolster resources for students and school staff throughout the region. “Our kids deserve to spend their school days learning, developing confidence and discovering their abilities, and this new funding of nearly $1.2 million will ensure they do so in the safest, most secure environments possible," Matzie said. “We have worked hard to help keep these grant programs well-funded because we know these dollars are going to support one of our most important priorities – ensuring students and school staff are safe and free to focus on the business of learning and teaching.” Matzie said the grants – which include both school safety and mental health funding – include: $172,548 to Ambridge Area School District. $168,502 to Central Valley School District. $166,517 to Hopewell Area School District. $151,288 to Freedom Area School District. $150,426 to Aliquippa School District. $139,931 to Rochester Area School District. $74,500 to CLASS Academy. $70,000 to Beaver County Career and Read more

Matzie urges local governments, nonprofits and service providers to participate in broadband survey

(Apr 25, 2024)

AMBRIDGE, April 25 – With more than $1 billion coming to expand high-speed internet in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Robert Matzie is urging local governments, nonprofit organizations and internet service providers to participate in a critical survey to ensure those dollars reach their intended targets. Matzie – a board member on the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority and majority chairman of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee – said the BEAD Challenge will provide essential feedback to ensure the new funding is allocated properly. “With major broadband infrastructure in place and new funding of more than $1 billion on the way, PA is finally poised to bring essential high-speed internet connections to the unserved and underserved areas that so desperately need them,” Matzie said. “But it’s critical to ensure that the funding goes to the areas where it’s most needed. We have to get this right. “I’m urging local governments, nonprofits and service providers to complete the BEAD Challenge to ensure those dollars are put to the best use.” Matzie said complete information about how to submit a BEAD Challenge is available at this page: https://www.broadband.pa.gov/funding/broadband-equity-access-and-deployment-bead-program/bead-challenge-process/ . The new broadband funding comes from the Broadband Equity, Access and Read more

House adopts Matzie ‘Safe Digging Month’ resolution

(Apr 17, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 17 – The PA House with overwhelming bipartisan support today adopted state Rep. Rob Matzie’s resolution designating April 2024 as “Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month.” Matzie, who is majority chairman of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee, said he introduced H.R.300 to make sure Pennsylvanians understand that calling the 8-1-1 “Call before You Dig” hotline is not just a convenience but a legal responsibility. “State law requires anyone planning to do digging – whether they are a homeowner, a contractor, or an excavator – to dial 8-1-1 at least three days before starting the work,” Matzie said. “Making the free call alerts utilities so they can mark underground pipes and cables before excavation begins. It’s a quick, simple step that protects workers, prevents underground utility damage, minimizes service interruptions and can even save lives.” Matzie said calling the hotline is required even for shallow digging projects and those located directly on a homeowner’s private property. More information is available here: https://www.puc.pa.gov/pipeline-safety/pa-one-call/#:~:text=Homeowners%20and%20contractors%20must%20call,begins%20to%20disturb%20the%20earth . Read more

House adopts Matzie ‘Limb Loss Awareness’ resolution

(Apr 16, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – The PA House today adopted state Rep. Rob Matzie’s resolution recognizing April 2024 as “Limb Loss Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Matzie, D-Beaver, said he introduced H.R. 299 both to highlight the challenges and triumphs of Pennsylvanians living without a limb and also to raise awareness about prevention. “More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss, and it’s estimated that every single day, more than 300 people in the United States lose a limb. We see many of them navigate the world around them with tenacity and success, but what we don’t see are all the challenges – physical and emotional – they face and overcome every day. “I introduced this resolution to honor the courage and achievements of all Pennsylvanians living without a limb – whether the limb loss resulted from congenital causes, trauma or disease. But I’m also offering this resolution to raise awareness that the No. 1 cause of surgical amputations – vascular diseases such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease – is at least partially within our power to control. “While we can’t control risk factors like age and family history, other risks – including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, inactivity and excess weight – can be changed or treated. “By learning the risk factors, talking to their Read more

Matzie: $700K secured for major Aliquippa building project

(Apr 11, 2024)

ALIQUIPPA, April 11 – The city of Aliquippa has received a $700,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to support a major project that will transform the former St. Joseph School into affordable residential units and retail space, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the funding – awarded through the Community Revitalization Fund Program – will support the city’s growth and revitalization efforts in the wake of its exit from Act 47 distressed status. “As Aliquippa embraces its new independence and forges a path to a stronger, more resilient future, a key part of those efforts will include securing state investments that help revitalize and rebuild the downtown into more productive spaces,” Matzie said. “This new funding from PHFA is going to help fuel that change by supporting a major project that will add jobs; expand affordable housing; and transform the landscape in ways that invite new businesses; stimulate pedestrian traffic; and restore the kind of healthy, vital activity that goes along with building a stronger local economy. “I’m grateful to PHFA and to the state and local partners who worked with us to secure this funding, which will be key to seeing this project through to completion.” Matzie said that the completed site will include 11 new and affordable residential units; retail space that will be Read more

Consumer Protection Committee approves Matzie bills to add safeguards and protect ratepayers in municipal water/wastewater system sales

(Apr 09, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on Tuesday approved a package of bills introduced by Majority Chairman Rob Matzie that would add protections for ratepayers when private companies acquire municipal water and wastewater systems. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the legislation is needed to ensure consumer interests remain front and center. “When public works like municipal water and wastewater systems are sold to private companies, ratepayers can end up bearing the burden of inflated sales prices through increased rates,” Matzie said. “Our legislation would help prevent that by adding greater transparency to these transactions, ensuring that PUC has sufficient time to review proposed sales, and easing the burden on consumers by limiting the purchase price of healthy systems and spreading out any future rate increases. “It’s inevitable that these sales are going to happen. When they do, we need the proper safeguards in place to ensure consumer interests remain a central part of the equation.” The specific bills include: H.B. 1862 , which could impose enhanced notification requirements for private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems. H.B. 1863 , which would give the PUC more time to evaluate proposed private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems. H.B, 1864 Read more

Matzie: House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee approves bills on mechanical insulation, AI content disclosure

(Mar 27, 2024)

HARRISBURG, March 27 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on Tuesday approved two bills, including legislation to promote the use of an energy-efficient insulating material and a measure that would alert consumers that the digital content they are viewing was generated by artificial intelligence, Majority Chairman Rob Matzie announced. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the committee unanimously passed an amended version of H.B. 491 , which would facilitate the use of mechanical insulation on pipes, equipment and machinery by clarifying that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission may not reject an electric distribution company’s required energy efficiency and conservation plan solely because the plan involves mechanical insulation. “We want to encourage use of building materials that save energy, save costs and protect workers, and mechanical insulation does all of those things,” Matzie said. “We’ve been working on this bill for some time, and I’m glad it’s finally headed to the full House for consideration.” Matzie said H.B. 1598 – which was approved by a bipartisan majority of the committee – would help safeguard consumers by requiring a disclosure on all AI generated content. “The use of artificial intelligence is becoming more and more of a consumer protection Read more