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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.
This week, the House unanimously approved House Bill 649, legislation I co-sponsored which would allow a designated essential caregiver to be named for each resident of a long-term care facility. It has been more one year that the majority of Pennsylvania’s long-term care facilities have been completely closed to residential visits from friends and family, and it’s time that we stop denying family members the right to visit their loved ones.

As someone who spent more than 15 years as an essential caregiver for my mother with Parkinson’s disease, I know firsthand the important role an essential caregiver plays in supplementing care and ensuring the health and well-being of our loved ones in these facilities.

Other states have acknowledged that steps need to be taken to protect the physical health of our long-term care residents but also support their mental health and emotional well-being. As such, they established protocols to screen essential caregivers so that they may gain access into congregate care homes.

This legislation is about treating people fairly. If family members can follow safety guidelines that staff are required to follow, then at least one essential caregiver should be permitted to pass the same requirements. Likewise, if family and residents are required to quarantine then so should workers. Never again should family members be separated from their loved one under arbitrary rules or the guise of a pandemic.

I spoke about the importance of the bill on the House floor. Click here to listen to my remarks.

As I have pointed out before, there has been little to no transparency by the governor from the beginning of the pandemic and that seems to have been a big cause of so many inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary rules over the last year. This article by PennLive.com verifies what I have been articulating for months about the lack of transparency coming from this administration.

All Pennsylvanians deserve transparency and accountability from our government, and I will continue to defend our rights as citizens of this Commonwealth.

Valerie Gaydos
Bill to Boost Vaccine Access Earns House Approval

Responding to the ongoing concerns and frustrations of many Pennsylvanians looking to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the House is taking the lead in adopting legislation to boost availability and accessibility of the vaccine.

House Bill 63 establishes the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration and Distribution Act to require those permitted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services be able to administer vaccines in the Commonwealth. Additionally, this will allow those who are permitted under the federal pharmacy partnership and the retail pharmacy partnership to also provide vaccination services in the state-run vaccination program.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
House Commerce Committee Advances Legislation to Help Small Businesses Stay Open

The House Commerce Committee, of which Rep. Gaydos is a member, met this week and approved three bills to help small business.

  •   House Bill 747 would guarantee that one customer at a time could shop in small business stores during a state of emergency. It basically says that if a business can restrict its customers and workers to one each, they can stay open for business. Too many small businesses in Pennsylvania whose owners stayed in their stores to count inventory or ship goods were ordered by the governor to leave their premises last year. We can’t let that happen ever again!
  •   Incentivizing people to save money for their future and allow banks to help them do it is important to prepare for the future. House Bill 331 would authorize certain financial institutions to offer customers incentives for saving money.
  •   House Bill 267 would require businesses using the Second Stage Loan Program to be located in Pennsylvania.

The bills now move to the full House for consideration.
Make Way for Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback

House Republicans this week unveiled a pro-jobs, pro-families and pro-growth legislative package aimed at boosting our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bills would incentivize manufacturers and provide protections to small businesses, as well as offer tax and regulatory reform to bring family-sustaining jobs to Pennsylvania. When our economy is thriving, our communities and our families are thriving as well.

The package includes the following bills:
  •   Reshore to Restore (House Bill 600) would authorize the Commonwealth Financing Authority to designate strategic and targeted zones in the state to be used as the base of operations for manufacturing. Businesses in those zones would receive tax abatements for state and local taxes and would be eligible for targeted job creation tax credits to bring more quality employment opportunities to our citizens.
  •   Job Creator Recovery and Reinvestment (House Bill 198) would allow a net operating loss (NOL) deduction up to 100% of income to allow job creators a chance to recover from pandemic economic losses and reinvest in PA. The additional deduction would apply only to losses that occurred in 2020.
  •    Prioritizing Workforce Development (House Bill 602) would encourage companies and employers to invest in workforce development and skilled training programs to better match students with available career opportunities.
  •   Corporate Net Income Taxes (to be introduced as House Bill 603) would provide tax relief to low-income families and foster a climate aimed to assist struggling businesses and attract new business into the Commonwealth by adjusting the special poverty provisions tax exemption thresholds and reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax over a period of years.
  •   DEP Permit Predictability (to be introduced as House Bill 604) would establish a permitting framework at the Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that decisions on permits are rendered reliably and in a timely manner.
  •   COVID Immunity (House Bill 605) would help provide an expedited and efficient resolution of lawsuits arising out of exposure to COVID-19.
  •   Jobs of the Future Study (House Resolution 60) would establish a select committee to review opportunities for the development of new industries in the Commonwealth, including advanced manufacturing.

Next to ensuring efficient access to the COVID-19 vaccine for people who want it, restoring and rebuilding our state’s economy is vital to our full recovery from the pandemic.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program Open

Pennsylvanians at risk of eviction or loss of utility service can now apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).

Authorized by the Legislature under Act 1 of 2021, households may be eligible for up to 12 months of assistance to cover past-due or future rental and/or utility payments. To qualify, a household must be responsible to pay rent on a residential property; have at least one person who qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic; have at least one person at risk of homelessness or household instability; and have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). For further details, please click here.  

Pennsylvanians can submit applications for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program online at www.compass.state.pa.us. The majority of Pennsylvania counties have opted to collect applications from residents through the COMPASS website. If a person tries to apply through COMPASS but resides in one of the 20 counties with its own application, they will be provided with information about how to apply, including a link to the county application if available.

The program will end when all funds have been expended, which is expected to happen by September 2021. Per Act 1 of 2021, all funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2021.
IRS is Warning People to be Wary of Rebate Scams

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about a new wave of COVID-19 scams that are targeting people's stimulus payments and personal information.

In the last several months, the IRS said it's seen a variety of stimulus payment scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers.

Criminals are taking advantage of the second round of Economic Impact Payments, as well as the approaching tax filing season. The thieves' goal is to trick honest taxpayers out of their money.

Some common COVID-19 scams include:

  •   Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the promise of receiving a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment.
  •   Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with keywords like "Coronavirus," "COVID-19" and "stimulus" in varying ways. These scammers know many people are in desperate need of money, and they'll use certain buzz words to entice you.
  •   Another big scam the IRS is seeing is the sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits.
  •   The IRS said taxpayers should not engage in these types of solicitations.

To learn more about COVID-19 and stimulus payment scams, visit IRS.gov.
Committee Approves Bill to Help Fire, Ambulance, Other Nonprofit Fundraising During COVID-19

With first responders and other valued nonprofit organizations continuing to struggle with fundraising due to covid-19 restrictions, the House Gaming Oversight Committee has approved legislation to help during this difficult time.

House Bill 290 would authorize organizations that hold Small Games of Chance (SGOC) licenses to conduct certain raffles and drawings online through the pandemic and its immediate aftermath.

The bill would specifically authorize licensees to conduct online raffles and drawing, and use a mobile payment service (not credit cards) for payment. Participants would have to be verified as residing within the Commonwealth and be at least 18 years of age.

The change would expire with the expiration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May1, 2022, whichever is later. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
Think Spring! Mentored Youth Day March 27, Trout Season Opens April 3

The recent warm weather is causing many of us to THINK SPRING! For anglers, that means it’s time to buy your fishing licenses and permits and get your gear organized. Be sure to check out the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) online for licensing details and access to trout stocking schedules. Information is also available on the FishBoatPA mobile app.

This year, PFBC is hosting a single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day this Saturday, March 27, and a single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on Saturday, April 3.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced it will open 16 additional state parks on April 2 to accommodate overnight fishermen. This will bring to 34 the number of parks that will be open for camping statewide. See details here.

Finally, PFBC is offering 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). For more information or to purchase the license, visit www.fishandboat.com.
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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