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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.
Your voice in government should be represented at all times, including during states of emergency. Our system of checks and balances that were initially designed in the Pennsylvania Constitution must be preserved.

In the upcoming May 18 primary election, voters will be asked to vote on four ballot questions, including three proposed amendments to the state Constitution and one referendum regarding funding for first responders.

Questions #1 and #2: The first two questions propose constitutional amendments to address the state’s handling of future declarations. Specifically, they propose limiting emergency declarations by a governor to a maximum of 21 days unless there is legislative approval representing your voice to terminate or extend a disaster emergency.

Question #3: The third question proposes to amend the Constitution to ensure a person’s rights cannot be denied based on race or ethnicity.

Question #4: The fourth question is a referendum seeking approval to provide loans to paid municipal fire departments and emergency medical services companies to improve those operations.

Please take a moment to learn more about these questions and come out on May 18 to cast your vote in the way you believe best serves your community and the Commonwealth. You may learn more about these ballot questions at www.pahousegop.com/voiceofthepeople.

Can you vote on a referendum question regardless of party registration?

The answer is YES!

The referendum allows citizens from any political affiliation to vote on referendum questions which directly ask the electorate for approval or rejection of them.

I encourage all to voice your opinion on May 18.

Valerie Gaydos
COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments to Open for All on April 19

This week, the Vaccine Task Force announced a timeline to open COVID-19 vaccination appointments to all Pennsylvanians by April 19.

Starting Wednesday, all targeted 1B Pennsylvanians (essential workers and first responders) can schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. On Monday, April 5, anyone who is a member of 1B can schedule their appointment. Starting on Monday, April 12, those who are a member of 1C can schedule their appointment. Finally, on Monday, April 19, any Pennsylvanian who wants the vaccine can call to schedule their appointment.

The announcement should be met with hope and optimism. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter every day.

To learn more about the vaccine categories, please click here.
Do We Really Need All Those Regulations?

Over the last year, the Wolf administration opted to waive or suspend a wide variety of regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look to move forward and help our state, our families and our economy recover, we should take a closer look at each of those regulations to determine if they should be restored or revised, or if we can do without them permanently.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, in cooperation with several House committee chairmen, issued letters to several Wolf administration cabinet secretaries this week seeking an update on regulatory and enforcement matters that have been suspended, waived or otherwise changed during the COVID-19 emergency.

Agencies contacted by the House include the Office of Administration, Office of Inspector General, and the following departments: Aging, Banking, Education, Labor and Industry, State, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Health, Human Services, Military and Veterans Affairs, Revenue, and Transportation.

The goal is to improve efficiency and ensure government is a help, not a hindrance, to the Commonwealth’s recovery.
Gaydos Supports Nonprofit Fundraising During Pandemic

COVID-19 and the related mitigation orders have made it more difficult than ever for first responders and other community nonprofit organizations to raise the money they need to continue their missions of service.

Being unable to host any in-person fundraisers, many of these organizations turned to technology and social media to conduct raffles and drawings; however, current regulations and procedures do not expressly allow for online sales of small games of chance and do specifically prohibit licensees from accepting credit card and online payments from participants.

To ensure these organizations can operate fundraisers legally, the House Gaming Oversight Committee has approved legislation to authorize organizations that hold Small Games of Chance licenses to conduct certain raffles and drawings online through the pandemic and its immediate aftermath.

House Bill 290 would specifically authorize licensees to conduct online raffles and drawings 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 end of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May 1, 2022, whichever is later. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
Hearing on PPE Procurement Storage and Distribution

Pennsylvania is sitting on a large stockpile of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 that is being stored at the state Farm Show Complex, putting the much-used complex out of commission. On Wednesday, the House State Government Committee held a hearing on the issue to hear from the Department of General Services, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Department of Health officials on efforts to find a more permanent home for the equipment and when the complex will be able to again host events, such as the State Farm Show.

Issues members raised during the hearing included the lack of security at the complex, that it is located in the flood plain and has flooded in the past, and that the supplies are housed in a single location, which could be damaged or destroyed in the event of a fire or other catastrophic event. One member suggested that Fort Indiantown Gap, which has an airfield and is located along a major highway, is a very secure location that could house the state’s supply of PPE.

Unfortunately, state officials do not have firm plans to move the equipment to a more secure area and they could not say exactly when residents can expect to have access to the facility.

The committee isn’t alone in asking questions about the stockpile and when the complex will be used for events again. I urge you to check out this news report from ABC27, a television news station located in Harrisburg.

To view the entire hearing, click here.
Gaydos Votes Yes to Ensuring Justice: House Adopts ‘Cody’s Law’

Rep. Gaydos and her House colleagues have approved legislation known as “Cody’s Law” that would increase penalties for anyone who causes bodily injury to an individual with a physical or intellectual disability.

House Bill 185 would elevate the act of intentionally causing bodily injury to a person with a physical or intellectual disability to a second-degree felony of aggravated assault. The law presently dictates that “serious bodily injury” is necessary for charges to be elevated beyond misdemeanor simple assault.

The bill is the latest in the effort by the House to ensure justice for crime victims. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Commonwealth Court Rules Public Money Cannot Fund Abortions

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court ruled last week to uphold previous court rulings and restrict the use of public funds to pay for abortion procedures, except under very specific circumstances.

Pennsylvania’s courts have been consistent for decades that Medical Assistance dollars and other publicly funded programs should not fund abortion procedures. This policy is consistent with existing federal law as well. I applaud the Commonwealth Court for making the right decision and not taking an action to rewrite existing law.

This case was brought forward by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that want to make abortions more prevalent in our communities. This ruling is a victory for all pro-life Pennsylvanians.
COVID Restrictions Loosened for State Park and Forest Programming, Museums and Historic Sites

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced it will resume outdoors programming at state parks and expand occupancy limits within park and state forest buildings effective Sunday, April 4.

Among the new guidelines:
  •   Outdoor, in-person programs will resume with a limit of 40 participants per program. Masks and social distancing are required.
  •   Visitor center exhibit halls, interpretive areas and theaters will open with a 75% capacity visitation allowance. Masks and social distancing are required.
  •   Volunteer workdays will resume with a limit of 40 participants per group. Masks and social distancing are required.
  •   Virtual and self-guided programs will continue to be offered.

Additional details about changes at state parks and forests can be found here.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) announced it will resume welcoming visitors to state-owned historic sites and museums on Friday, April 30, with reduced hours of operation. Schedules may vary by site, so if you’re planning a visit, be sure to check the location’s website or social media for details.

PHMC will require all visitors, volunteers and staff to wear a face mask when entering and while visiting sites or when near others on the grounds. Visitors must also practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. Capacity will be limited, and visitors must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when entering and leaving the site.

More details are available here.
Pennie Extends COVID-19 Enrollment Period

Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-affiliated health insurance marketplace, has extended the enrollment deadline for uninsured Pennsylvanians or those affected by COVID-19 until Aug. 15.

The change aligns with a recently announced federal extension and provides additional time for Pennsylvanians to access quality health coverage and financial assistance made available as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Pennie is the only source for financial assistance to help with the cost of coverage and care and can also link customers to free certified experts to assist with the application or plan selection process. Pennie encourages anyone who has found themselves uninsured and is seeking coverage, to visit www.pennie.com to learn more or to call Pennie customer care at 1-844-844-8040.
Looking for a New Job?

If you need help finding a job, sign up for Pennsylvania Women Work's FREE virtual New Choices class. Work one-on-one and in a group setting to set career goals, create or revise your resume, develop interview skills, and build your confidence. Classes are ongoing.

Learn more or sign up today by visiting www.pawomenwork.org/upcoming-classes or calling 412-742-4362.
Gaydos Visits Amulet Farms

Rep. Gaydos and some of her colleagues recently toured Amulet Farms in Belle Vernon, a training facility which is critical to Pennsylvania’s horse racing industry.

Pennsylvania’s horse racing and breeding industry has a significant impact on the state’s economy. For example, different economic studies show that horse racing and breeding delivers an economic impact that ranges from $721.5 million to $1.6 billion annually while providing between 16,000 and 23,000 jobs in the Keystone State. In addition, horse racing and breeding result in $68.8 million in tax revenue in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Gaydos felt the tour was very informative and sent a special thank you message to Meadows Standardbred Owners Association.
Gaydos Wants ALL Constituents to Stay Informed!

Rep. Gaydos wants you to remind your family and friends not to miss important news and information from the state Capitol and the 44th Legislative District! Inform them to sign up now to receive Gaydos’ weekly Legislative Update – a comprehensive summary emailed directly to a person’s inbox! Visit www.RepGaydos.com/Email-Signup.
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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