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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.
Bolstering Pennsylvania’s economy, ensuring that our citizens are safe and how we can guard against drastic unilateral shutdowns in future emergencies was on this week’s House agenda. With more than 500,000 jobs permanently lost and many businesses closing their doors, we must accelerate our recovery and provide hope for our workers, families and small businesses.

I was proud to support and help to advance a package of bills this week that would directly address the economic impacts of COVID-19, would provide enhanced protections for child testifiers and strengthen penalties for criminals.

In addition, the House Liquor Control Committee, of which I am a member, voted on legislation to help restaurants resale unused liquor to other establishments and the House State Government Committee concluded hearings on election reform and announced a package of legislation to address many election concerns.

To fix our revenue shortfalls, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed in his state budget address new taxes, fees and tolls on bridges. This would devastate local employers and employees at a time when we want to help them bounce back. Thus, I am steadfastly opposed to any new bridge tolls especially those which are crucial for residents to reach hospitals or other care facilities.

So, legislation was introduced this week that would reform the public private partnership (P3) transportation law, including the addition of provisions to halt the recent bridge tolling proposal unless the General Assembly approves it.

We hope to see these issues addressed further in the coming weeks in the House of Representatives.

Valerie Gaydos
House OKs Package of Bills to Hold Criminals Accountable, Protect Child Testifiers

The House passed legislation that will provide additional protections for those who can least take care of themselves, are on the frontlines of keeping Pennsylvanians safe and are at risk of being manipulated. Bills in the package include:

  •   House Bill 103 – Would create the offense of harassment of a law enforcement officer if a person intentionally causes or attempts to cause a law enforcement officer to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, saliva, urine or feces by throwing, tossing, spitting or expelling such fluid or material.
  •   House Bill 146 – Would preclude the paroling of an inmate at the expiration of his or her minimum sentence if the inmate was convicted of a “violent offense” or an “obstruction of justice offense” while incarcerated.
  •   House Bill 156 – Would amend the Tender Years Hearsay Act to permit the court to allow introduction of hearsay statements made by children 16 years of age or younger concerning violent or sexual offenses.
  •   House Bill 163 – Would increase the grading for a conviction of invasion of privacy if the offender is a teacher and the victim is a student or if the offender is an adult and the victim is a minor.
  •   House Bill 185 – Would provide that a person is guilty of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony, if he or she attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person with a physical disability, intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder.
Gaydos, House Liquor Control Committee Advance Four Bills

Rep. Gaydos and her House Liquor Control Committee colleagues met for a voting meeting this week. They passed unanimously out of committee House Bills 425, 427, 452 and 474.

  •   House Bill 425 would allow a licensee that closes to sell their unused wine and liquor to another licensee.
  •   House Bill 427, of which I am a cosponsor, would increase the current liquor licensee discount from 10% to 15%.
  •   House Bill 452 would remove limitations concerning public thoroughfares, eliminate fees and reduce delays in approval for outdoor dining.
  •   House Bill 474 would create the PA Distilled Spirits Promotional Board.

The bills now move on to the full House for consideration. More information on this committee and the legislation can be found here.
Governor Announces Plan to Loosen Some of His COVID-19 Restrictions, Reopens Capitol Building

As COVID-19 cases have declined across the Commonwealth, Gov. Tom Wolf this week announced plans to lift some of his targeted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, as well as increase gathering limits.

He also announced the state Capitol building in Harrisburg will reopen to the public on March 22.

The following changes take effect on Sunday, April 4:                                     
  •   Restaurants may resume bar service.
  •   Alcohol service will be allowed without the purchase of food.
  •   The curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables will be lifted.
  •    Indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75% for those restaurants that are currently self-certified and those that undergo the self-certification process, which involves agreeing to strictly comply to all public health safety guidelines and orders, including the cleaning and mitigation protocols and other operational requirements.
  •   Those restaurants that do not self-certify may raise capacity to 50%.
  •   Occupancy capacity for other businesses also will be increased, including moving personal services facilities, gyms and entertainment facilities (casinos, theatres, malls) to 75%.
  •   Occupancy limits for indoor events will increase to 25% of maximum, regardless of venue size, and maximum occupancy limits for outdoor events to allow for 50% of maximum occupancy, regardless of venue size. Maximum occupancy is permitted only if attendees and workers are able to comply with the 6-foot physical distancing requirement.
  •   Requirements such as mask-wearing and social distancing are unchanged.  
House Government Oversight Committee to Investigate Wolf Nursing Home Policies

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) this week formally referred an investigation of the Wolf administration’s handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic to the House Government Oversight Committee.

A year after the pandemic began, data reported about deaths in Pennsylvania’s nursing homes remains incomplete and, in some cases, contradictory.

Of greatest concern, more than 12,700 Pennsylvanians died of COVID-19 in nursing homes over the last year, accounting for more than half of the Commonwealth’s virus-related deaths. The friends and families of those men and women deserve to know if or how the Wolf administration’s policy requiring nursing homes to admit COVID-19-positive patients to these facilities contributed to the fate of their loved ones.
Gaydos Wants Your Help!

If you live in a Planned Community and fall under the rule of a Homeowners Association, (HOA) the House could use your input!

Participate in a survey to be used to strengthen the crafting of the resolution regarding common interest owned communities (CIOCs) and HOA fees. Here is the link to take part.

Recently, Rep. Gaydos and many of her colleagues introduced House Resolution 69 that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study common interest owned communities. 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 believes that new rules for private communities are needed as they have evolved over the years. Many residents have voiced their complaints about association fees and limited services, including a lack of full police coverage, road repairs and trash pileup.
Pennsylvania Extends Personal Income Tax Filing Deadline to May 17, 2021

The Department of Revenue announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2020 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns and make final 2020 income tax payments is extended to May 17, 2021. This means taxpayers will have an additional month to file from the original deadline of April 15. The Internal Revenue Service also announced earlier this week it would extend the federal income tax filing deadline to May 17, 2021.

The IRS said in its announcement that the extension is another action the agency is taking to do everything it can to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Pennsylvania law, the deadline for filing state income tax returns is tied to the deadline set at the federal level.

The extension means the Department of Revenue will waive penalties and interest on final 2020 personal income tax returns and payments through the new deadline of May 17, 2021.

Those who make estimated income tax payments should continue to do so on the same filing schedule that they would normally follow. This includes taxpayers with estimated tax payments due on April 15, 2021. Taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments.

The Department of Revenue is encouraging taxpayers to electronically file their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns with the department’s new, state-only filing system available at www.mypath.pa.gov.
Preparing Students for Good Jobs in the Post-Pandemic Economy

Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announced $2.6 million in Schools-to-Work program grants is available to support new partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create employment and training career paths for students.

Schools-to-Work grants will be awarded and funded competitively in increments up to $250,000 to create learning opportunities for participating students that will include classroom training, workplace visits, internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, employment opportunities, job shadowing or externships. Applicant proposals must focus on building programs that will fill current and anticipated labor market needs in a given geographic area.

Eligible applicants must be an entity that is or will be registered with L&I as a pre-apprenticeship program and which will have the full responsibility for the administration and operation of the Schools-to-Work program. This applicant or program sponsor must be partnered with at least one school in a school district, charter school, regional charter school, cyber charter school, intermediate unit or career and technical school.

Grant applications are due at 4 p.m. on April 14, 2021, and the 2021 Schools-to-Work program will operate from June 1, 2021 through December 31, 2023.
Additional details and the grant application for the Schools-to-Work grants can be found on L&I’s website.
Eligible Higher Education Students to Enjoy Resident Fishing License Rate

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today the availability of a new, discounted fishing license for non-resident students attending Pennsylvania universities.

This special license is available to all non-resident students who currently attend an accredited institution of higher education in Pennsylvania. At a price of $22.97, which is the same as an annual resident fishing license, this license can save eligible students $30 over the cost of an annual non-resident license ($52.97).

Eligible students can purchase a discounted fishing license through the HuntFishPA online licensing system accessible at www.fishandboat.com, or can visit one of nearly 700 retail license issuing agents. At the time of purchase, the student must check a box to certify (under penalty of law) that they are an out-of-state resident currently attending school in Pennsylvania. Holders of this license must be able to provide proof of eligibility, such as a current college identification card, if requested by a Waterways Conservation Officer while fishing.

Also, click here for the 2021 trout stocking schedule.
Fighting Back Against Spotted Lanternfly in Our Area

With more than half the state’s counties now in a quarantine zone due to infestation by Spotted Lanternfly, the state Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension are again encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for the pest.

Spotted Lanternfly presents a significant threat to the state’s grape, wine and hardwoods industries, and to the quality of life of all of us who enjoy spending time outdoors in the 44th District and Allegheny County.

You can help combat this pest by learning how to remove and destroy Spotted Lanternfly eggs here.

You are also asked to squash the bugs when you see them and report them by calling 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359) or using the online reporting tool.

More information about Spotted Lanternfly is available here.
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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