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The Latest News from Your State Representative
Please do not reply to this e-mail, as I am unable to respond to messages sent to this address. You can contact me directly at vgaydos@pahousegop.com or here.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, roughly more than 50% of all COVID-19 deaths in Pennsylvania are attributable to nursing homes. When questioned about his March 2020 memo mandating that nursing homes must accept COVID-19 positive patients while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said nursing homes can accept, Wolf answered, “I’m not sure; I just don’t know.”

Many nursing home facilities which were already understaffed had no option under the governor’s mandate, even when the hospitals were not overwhelmed. The governor clearly neglected to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Sadly, the governor’s decisions are the reasons why Pennsylvania is ranked in the top 10 states for nursing home COVID-19 rates.

Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) announced plans to have the House Government Oversight Committee investigate the Wolf administration’s handling of nursing homes and other senior and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Pennsylvanians – and particularly those who lost loved ones in our nursing homes and long-term care facilities – deserve full transparency and full accountability for their actions.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Introduces Resolution to Study Common Interest Owned Communities

To help ensure fairness for homeowners, Rep. Gaydos introduced House Resolution 69 that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study common interest owned communities (CIOCs). Specifically, the study would focus on the impact the communities have on local governments and Pennsylvania, the challenges facing the residents and governing bodies of these CIOCs, and the opportunities for the Commonwealth to assist local governments and CIOCs to deliver adequate services to their residents at an affordable cost.

In 2009, the House passed House Resolution 350 directing the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a similar study. Released in 2011, it provided a more robust picture of the planned communities, cooperatives and condominiums, or CIOCs, that are located in Pennsylvania.

Gaydos said that new rules for private communities are needed as they have evolved over the years. Many residents voice their complaints about association fees and limited services, including a lack of full police coverage, road repairs and trash pileup.

Many private communities act like municipal governments, and a study is needed to determine if that is an appropriate form of governance, and if so, what their duties and responsibilities should be. They levy fees on members, who also pay property taxes to municipalities and school districts to support public schools and public roads.

House Resolution 69 has been referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee for consideration.
Gaydos Continues to Fight for Election Integrity


Rep. Gaydos is proud to join her colleagues in fighting and standing up against House Resolution 1, which is making its way through the federal House of Representatives this week. She feels that we do not want or need a federal takeover of our elections. Gaydos signed onto this letter asking Pennsylvania’s delegation to oppose House Resolution 1.

Gaydos has been working to ensure election integrity is a top priority in Pennsylvania. We need voter ID and signature verification, and to maintain chain of custody of ballots and not accept ballots after 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Click here to read an article authored by U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy titled, “The Truth Behind Democrats’ Election Bill H.R. 1.”
Gaydos vows to continue her fight to make sure our elections are done with integrity and that the results can be trusted by all Pennsylvanians.
Wolf Announces Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions, Expand Vaccine Eligibility to Teachers

In case you missed it, Gov. Tom Wolf made two announcements this week regarding COVID-19 mitigation orders and vaccine eligibility.

On Monday, the governor announced the following changes to his mitigation orders:
  •   Revised maximum occupancy limits for indoor events to allow for 15% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 15% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
  •   Revised maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 20% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Core public health measures such as face covering (mask-wearing), social distancing, and hand hygiene still must be enforced. The 20% of maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
  •   Eliminated out-of-state travel restrictions, specifically the order that required anyone over the age of 11 who visits from another state to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in a travel quarantine for 14 days upon entering Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, the governor announced he would expand phase 1A of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan to include teachers in an effort to get students back in classrooms full time. Specifically, he said the state will use upcoming shipments of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine for PreK-12 teachers and other school staff. He also will be making use of the National Guard in this effort, as authorized in a new law passed by the General Assembly last month.

For more information about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit www.health.pa.gov.
Wolf’s Budget Plan: What Does it Mean for Small Business?

This week, the House Majority Policy Committee held a hearing to discuss how the governor’s budget plan impacts small businesses in Pennsylvania. The committee received testimony exploring Gov. Tom Wolf’s “War on Small Employers.” The governor’s call for Personal Income Tax (PIT) increases, and attacks on the natural gas industry are not set in the present-day context amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn. His plan to tax Pennsylvanians out of this current situation is not in line with the struggles the panel of testifiers shared.

For example, Sam Denisco submitted testimony on behalf of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, representing nearly 10,000 sole proprietors in all industry sectors across the Commonwealth. With all of the struggles businesses and employees suffered due to the pandemic, he indicated his frustration that the governor did not propose innovative solutions to stimulate the economy but rather shared a plan that would significantly increase the cost of doing business in the state and make Pennsylvania less competitive. An aggressive tax increase on the backs of small business and a mandated minimum wage increase will devastate many small businesses.

Carl Marrara with the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association shared frustrations over Wolf’s long-lasting economic lockdown measures that impacted supply chains critical to many industries. He also expressed concern about how the governor switched his mindset and told Pennsylvanians that vaccinations were needed for our economy to get back to normal and yet not one word of his 3,267 worded budget address mentioned vaccines.

The chief financial officer for Diaz Manufacturing Company, Joseph Aldcowski, suggested that a more competitive tax, regulatory, and business public policies are what is needed to spur economic growth; however, the governor’s plans are just the opposite. He indicated the net result of a minimum wage increase would be an immediate loss of businesses and a corresponding reduction in workforce.

The entire House Policy Committee hearing is available for viewing here.
Budget Hearings Conclude

The importance of getting all children back in their classrooms and people back to work was at the forefront of the final week of state budget hearings by the House Appropriations Committee.

On Monday, the committee questioned officials with the state Department of Education about providing a plan for vaccinating teachers, implementing clear guidelines and returning our children to the classroom. Secretary Noe Ortega conceded that the 2.5 hours of synchronous online learning per day that many students are currently receiving is insufficient.

On Tuesday, the committee questioned officials with the state Department of Labor and Industry, which is charged with overseeing the state’s unemployment compensation (UC) system. Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier repeatedly acknowledged the lengthy delays unemployed Pennsylvanians have experienced over the past year and the need for the agency to do its job better. The hearing also revealed a half million jobs permanently lost following the governor’s shutdown orders and a lack of consultation with the agency about the impact of the governor’s proposed 46% income tax on small businesses.

All budget hearings are available for viewing here.
Education Committee Advances Legislation

This week, the House Education Committee, of which Rep. Gaydos is a member, passed four bills that will now move to the full House for consideration.

The legislation includes:
  •   House Bill 412, which Rep. Gaydos co-sponsored, would allow an individual with an inactive certification who is not an annuitant to be employed as a substitute teacher for up to 120 days during a school year instead of up to 90 days. In addition, the bill allows for an individual holding a day-to-day substitute permit issued by the PA Department of Education or a chief school administrator may serve for more than one assignment (for up to 20 days), instead of a single assignment.
  •   House Bill 232, which focuses on allowing school districts to change their names. Currently, there is no statutory process in place which would allow a school district to change its name.
  •   House Bill 365 would remove antiquated and offensive terminology from Pennsylvania’s School Code. The bill would eliminate derogatory terminology that reinforces the stigma surrounding mental health issues and disabilities.
  •   House Bill 416 would enable all school personnel to be trained in seizure recognition and response by an approved Department of Health (DOH) online course, and make the completion of such course creditable for professional continuing education credit.
Automated Education Portal Created for PA National Guard

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) collaborated to create a portal that automates the education benefits application process for Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) members and their families.

The new electronic process – which can now be completed from any device such as a computer, tablet or smart phone – allows for submission of applications for the Military Family Education Program (MFEP) and the Education Assistance Program (EAP), as well as the ability to change/update enrollment information, assign beneficiaries, and change credit allocations.
Officially launched today, the new portal was created quicker than expected, under budget and provides an administrative cost reduction.

Pennsylvania has the second largest National Guard in the country with approximately 18,000 members located in more than 80 armories and readiness centers statewide. To learn more about valuable education benefits that help the PNG retain and strengthen its readiness, visit https://www.pa.ng.mil/education/.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Here is some very important COVID-19 Vaccine information from Allegheny Health Network (AHN).

These are AHN’s three access points for the public to schedule an appointment when AHN has vaccines available:
  •   MyChart (https://mychart.ahn.org/mychart/Authentication/Login)
  •   www.AHN.org/coronavirus 
  •   412-doctors

You can sign up for a MyChart with the link above and that will allow AHN to contact customers via email or in the platform with updates.

In addition, AHN has various practices throughout the network and the call center making outreach calls to get patients scheduled.
PHEAA Offers FAFSA Assistance

On Wednesday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m., the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s (PHEAA’s) Higher Education Access Partners, Michael Burke and Fran McKeown, will guide students and families through the process of filing the FASFA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

They will provide an overview of the necessary requirements in order to complete both the FAFSA and State Grant application. Time will be built into the presentation to allow you to ask any questions you may have for more information.

To register click here.

The FAFSA is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. In addition, it asks for information about you the applicant and his or her family’s finances, including tax returns. Each year, more than 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

Many states – including Pennsylvania – and colleges also use the FAFSA to determine which students get financial aid —and how much they will get. In addition, it asks for information about your family’s finances, including tax returns.
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District Office:
1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com