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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.
Human trafficking is a horrendous crime, and we need to continue to raise public awareness with every tool possible to take down traffickers and protect victims.

My House colleagues and I took action this week to provide greater protections to those who need people looking after them and to make sure law enforcement and government entities can be more coordinated in investigating cases of child abuse.

Legislation I am sponsoring, House Bill 1147 overwhelmingly passed the House Judiciary Committee this week. The bill would 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.

In addition, the legislation will require any offender who 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 inmates who participate in sex offender treatment programs are significantly less likely to be rearrested upon their release.

Also, the House Judiciary Committee advanced several bills this week tackling human trafficking, the second largest criminal enterprise in the world and one of the fastest growing.

The eight bills aim to deter the crime of human trafficking as well as ensure justice and better protect victims. More information and descriptions of the bills are available here. Each measure passed the committee with bipartisan support and now goes before the full House for a vote.

Valerie Gaydos
Zero Tolerance for Bullying

Recently, I was invited to Moon Area High School to be part of an assembly which featured Jon Pritikin, one of the most sought-after anti-bullying assembly presenters in the nation. Jon’s program on bullying has been featured in schools across America reaching nearly eight million students. The assembly entertains and inspires students to be more respectful and that everyone has purpose no matter what differences they may have. After the assembly, I was able to visit classrooms and meet and greet the students.
Government Must ‘Get Out of the Way’ of Economic Recovery

This week, the House Majority Policy Committee released the results of its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Business Survey conducted earlier this year. The overriding message was that government needs to get out of the way of the Commonwealth’s businesses to help them lead the way toward our post-pandemic economic recovery.

Nearly one-third of survey respondents said outright that the biggest challenge facing their business is Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation orders. Another 21% indicated financial issues and hardships were their greatest challenges, no doubt exacerbated by the various business restrictions that have been in place for more than a year.

Similarly, nearly one-third of respondents said the best way to kickstart the economy was simply allowing them to be open for business again.

But pandemic restrictions aren’t the only thing getting in the way, according to the survey results. High business taxes and overregulation are also a hindrance to the state’s businesses. Read the full report here.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund to the Rescue

The American Rescue Plan Act established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) to provide funding to help restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Recipients are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.

Applications will open soon.

For more information and to prepare your application click here.
Protections for Residents Struggling with Drug Addictions Pass House


The House this week approved three bills designed to assist Pennsylvania residents struggling with drug addictions and help save lives.

House Bill 220 would clarify that a person cannot be denied treatment at a public or private rehabilitative facility based solely on a negative drug test. Facilities may still deny treatment for other than clinical reasons to those with a negative test. The bill was introduced in response to a case in which a young man overdosed after using an opioid under the belief that a positive drug test was required to be accepted for treatment.

House Bill 741 would require drug recovery houses to notify a resident’s emergency contact when the resident is evicted, self-discharges, or leaves and fails to return. “Justin’s Law” was prompted by another case of a young man who overdosed and died after leaving a recovery house without his family’s knowledge.

Similarly, House Bill 944 would require a treatment facility to notify a patient’s emergency contact when the patient leaves against medical advice.

All three bills will now be considered by the Senate.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day This Saturday

This Saturday, April 24, is National Prescription Drug Takeback Day. Disposing of your unused, expired prescription drugs is an easy way to help the fight against drug abuse and addiction.

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Learn more about how to dispose of your prescription drugs from the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs here.
Protecting Our Children


Legislation to better protect victims of child abuse has passed the House.

Right now, law enforcement agencies are prohibited by the Criminal History Record Information Act from sharing investigative or criminal record history information with our county children and youth agencies that are responsible for investigating child abuse. Not only does this subject children to unnecessary, duplicative interviews forcing them to relive trauma multiple times, but it also prevents the collaboration that is essential to protecting children in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 954 amends the Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) to allow a law enforcement agency to share information related to an allegation or instance of child abuse with a Children and Youth Services (CYS) agency, Multidisciplinary Team or child fatality or other review team authorized under the Child Protective Services Law to investigate the allegation or instance of abuse.

In addition, the bill allows Children's Advocacy Centers to access investigative information to support the CYS agencies throughout the investigation of an allegation or instance of abuse.

Currently, criminal justice agencies are prohibited by CHRIA from sharing investigative or criminal record history information with any department, agency or individual unless the department, agency or individual requesting the information is a criminal justice agency.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Election Review Hearings Over – What Did We Learn?

The House State Government Committee concluded its months-long, deep dive into Pennsylvania’s election process last week after taking dozens of hours of testimony from state and county election officials, national election experts, voting advocacy organizations and more.

Throughout the 10 hearings, which began in January, committee members heard about every step involved in administering elections in the Commonwealth. Key takeaways include the need to improve security at all levels of elections to improving how elections are operated. The Pennsylvania Constitution dictates elections must be uniform across the Commonwealth. We must ensure they not only are uniform, but also operate with integrity and are accessible to all legal voters.

Members of the committee discussed some of the issues raised during the hearings at a press conference this week. You can watch it here.

In the coming weeks, the committee will produce a report on its findings from the hearings and will then work diligently to create a bill to reform Pennsylvania’s outdated 1937 election law so that it is easy to vote, but hard to cheat.
Newly Released: Six-Part Video Series on BTSSS

Veterans, caregivers, and beneficiaries who are eligible for reimbursement of mileage and other travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments can now enter claims in the new Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System (BTSSS). BTSSS simplifies the current claim submission process for beneficiaries and ensures timely processing and payment of travel reimbursements.

The Veterans Administration has released a six-part video series on BTSSS. Click here for more information.
Move Over, Slow Down in Emergency Response Areas


Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law requires drivers approaching an emergency response area to either move over or, if they are unable to safely merge into a lane further away from the response area, to slow to at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

An emergency response area is where an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, or where road crews or emergency responders have lighted flares, posted signs or tried to warn travelers.

First and foremost, following the law is vital to protecting the lives of emergency responders and others on the scene, not to mention you and others in your vehicle. Effective this Tuesday, April 21, a failure to obey the law also carries increased penalties.

Act 105 of 2020 creates a new point system that imposes two points for failure to merge into the lane not next to the emergency response area; sets fines at $500 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for a second offense, and $2,000 for a third or subsequent offense; and requires a 90-day license suspension for a third or subsequent offense. In cases where a failure to obey the law causes serious injury or death to another person, the penalties increase.

A similar law requires motorists to move over or slow down when approaching a stationary trash or recycling truck.

Learn more about the laws 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