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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.
The coronavirus continues to present many challenges for us. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses across the Commonwealth, which has negatively impacted our hard-working employees. It is time to pick up the pieces and work toward building a better, more prosperous Pennsylvania. My House Republican colleagues and I are working toward that goal. This week, we approved three bills aimed at supporting employers, schools and more.

House Bill 605 would protect against costly frivolous lawsuits by providing civil liability protections to health care providers, schools, small business owners, farmers, restaurants and others who did their part to help keep people safe during the pandemic. The bill does not protect those who put anyone at risk, and anybody who exhibits gross negligence can and should be held accountable. The measure is the first in the “Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback” package to earn House approval.

The House also approved two bills to aid bars and restaurants, which were particularly hard hit by COVID-19 mitigation orders.

House Bill 427 would increase the discount licensed establishments receive from state stores when purchasing liquor products from 10% to 15%. House Bill 425 would allow a licensee that closes permanently to sell their liquor or wine to another licensee, helping those who did not survive the crisis.

My goal is to make sure Pennsylvania is an attractive place to work, live and play. Providing transparency and oversight tools helps Pennsylvania taxpayers know state government is working for them. I urge everyone to please help our small businesses, frequent these establishments and take advantage by purchasing their goods and services. Your efforts are the best medicine to help jump start the economy.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Urges Voters to be Informed Prior to May 18 Primary!

Community leaders and the people of Pennsylvania must have the ability to control their lives and livelihoods.

That is why Rep. Gaydos voted for legislation to put four ballot questions on the May 18 primary ballot, 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. The first proposes allowing the General Assembly to vote to end emergency declarations and restrictions on citizens. The second proposes 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.

Gaydos feels that executive powers to declare emergencies are sometimes needed to free up resources for an immediate response to situations such as natural disasters. They should not be used to circumvent the state Constitution, the separation of powers or – most importantly – the will of the people for extended periods of time.

Please take a moment to learn more about these questions by clicking here and come out on May 18 to cast your vote in the way you believe best serves your community and the Commonwealth.
Gaydos Sponsors Legislation to Eliminate Inheritance Tax and Protect Victims of Human Trafficking

Rep. Gaydos, along with Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland), will be introducing House Bill 1148, legislation that would eliminate the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax.

Currently, the inheritance tax is imposed as a percentage of the value of a decedent’s estate transferred to beneficiaries by will, heirs by intestacy and transferees by operation of law. The tax rate depends on the relationship of the heir to the decedent and ranges from 0% to 15%.

The federal inheritance/estate tax is applied to the transfer of property to an heir after the passing of the original owner. Federal tax is calculated based on the fair market value of the property transferred to the beneficiary of the estate. However, unlike Pennsylvania, the federal estate tax has a general exclusion amount.

The elimination of this harmful tax at the state level will protect against double taxation, ensure that inheritance goes to the family of heirs it was meant to go to, and help preserve individuals who receive an inheritance from ending up with a tax bill at a time when they are also grieving.

In addition, Gaydos will introduce House Bill 1147, legislation to expand the list of sexual offenses that require offenders to attend and participate in a Department of Corrections program of counseling and therapy designed for incarcerated sex offenders.

This legislation is necessary as a result of amendments to existing sexual offenses and the creation of additional sexual offenses (human trafficking) in the Crimes Code. This bill will require any offender that subjected a minor to sexual servitude to undergo treatment while in prison, thereby helping to reduce recidivism. Studies funded by the U.S. Department of Justice have demonstrated that participants in sex offender treatment programs are significantly less likely to be rearrested upon their release.

Rep. Gaydos will keep you up to date on the status of these bills.
Gaydos Votes Yes to Expand Cost-Saving Practice

Continuing efforts to be responsible and good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and to ensure every cent is wisely spent, the House approved House Bill 39.

The legislation calls for the Office the Budget to conduct recovery audits on expenditures that total $50 million or more to weed out misspending.

Specifically, House Bill 39 directs the Office of the Budget to establish a review schedule of all Commonwealth agencies that have $50 million or more in payments to individuals, vendors or entities for improper payments and payment recovery by contracting with an auditor to perform a recovery audit.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Vaccine Eligibility Update

For Pennsylvanians looking to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, eligibility has now expanded beyond Phase 1A, which primarily focused on people age 65 and over and those age 16-64 with high-risk health conditions.

As of this week, people in Phase 1B were eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment. Phase 1B includes: people in congregate settings not otherwise specified as long-term care facilities, and persons receiving home and community-based services; U.S. Postal Service workers; manufacturing workers; clergy and other essential support for houses of worship; public transit workers; and education workers.

Starting Monday, April 12, all residents in Phase 1C will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments. This phase includes essential workers such as those in the following fields: transportation and logistics; water and wastewater; food service; shelter and housing; finance, including bank tellers and insurance carriers; information technology and communication; energy, including nuclear reactors; legal; federal, state, county and local government workers, including county election workers, elected officials and members of the judiciary and their staff; news media; public safety; and public health workers.

Starting Monday, April 19, all residents will be eligible to start scheduling vaccination appointments.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, including the state’s vaccination plan and how to schedule an appointment, click here.
Gaydos Supports Bill to Boost Nonprofit Fundraising Opportunities

Legislation to improve pandemic fundraising options for fire and ambulance companies, as well as other nonprofit organizations that support community initiatives such as scholarships, youth sports and Scouting, has been approved by the state House.

House Bill 290 would specifically authorize Small Games of Chance (SGOC) 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 bill also would increase individual prize limits to $4,000 and weekly prize limits to $50,000 to further aid fundraising efforts.

The changes would expire with the end of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May 1, 2022, whichever is later.

The bill now goes to the Senate.
Vaccine Passport Invades People’s Health Privacy

It’s been reported a number of states are considering developing so-called “vaccine passports” that would provide proof that passport holders have either received the COVID-19 vaccine or recently tested negative for COVID-19.

Every Pennsylvanian who wants a COVID-19 vaccine should have the opportunity to get one, and we are working hard to make sure that happens sooner rather than later. But whether or not to obtain the vaccine is a personal choice to be made by each individual. Requiring a “passport” to prove vaccination status is a huge overreach into people’s personal lives, and especially into their private medical information.

Rep. Gaydos has stated that she would be opposed to any effort to create such a passport in Pennsylvania.
Fraud Alert!

Rep. Gaydos want to alert all constituents that scammers are asking Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Portal (PUA) claimants to verify their identity via text messages/web forms – this is a scam (see the graphic below for example)

The only way to verify identity is via ID.ME and NEVER via text messages or web forms.

If you see this, please report or visit www.uc.pa.gov and select the “Report Fraud” icon.
Protecting Against Repeat DUI Offenders

Legislation to improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars by targeting repeat DUI offenders passed the House this week.  

House Bill 521 would authorize courts to require an alcohol monitoring device as a condition of bail, probation or parole for repeat offenders. A repeat DUI offender is an individual who is pending adjudication for a DUI and has one or more prior DUI convictions within the past 10 years, or is pending adjudication for two or more DUIs.

Data shows recidivism rates for repeat DUI offenders who wore a device for at least 90 days are 50% less than those who were alternatively sentenced. In York County, the program has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of DUI offenders arrested for another DUI within the first year, in DUI victims served by the district attorney’s office and in the number of alcohol-related crashes.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Home Heating Assistance Program Extended

The Department of Human Services is extending the 2020-21 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) season and will now accept applications through April 30.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150% of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $19,140; for a couple, the limit is $25,860; and for a family of four, it is $39,300.

Additional information about the program is available here

Apply at www.compass.state.pa.us or contact your local County Assistance Office.
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1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
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Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com