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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.
Do we really need all those regulations? The importance of continuing telemedicine services and maintaining reimbursement rates at the same level as in-person appointments was emphasized during a House Policy Committee hearing by a variety of health care providers, including officials from hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care support, and drug and alcohol services.

Zach Shamberg, president and chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) shared the importance of the COVID-19 regulatory waivers. He also shared how long-term care providers are combatting a workforce crisis, a shortage that has been amplified by the challenges surrounding the pandemic.

I asked him a series of questions including if he was consulted by the Wolf administration to share his expertise about senior care living during the pandemic. Click here to watch.

The committee also heard from employers in various industry sectors about the ongoing challenges they face in filling vacancies necessary to fully resume their operations. The consensus is the Commonwealth must restore the work search requirement for unemployment compensation benefits to get people back into the workforce and help advance the state’s economic recovery.

For more information about the hearing, including video and written testimony, click here.

Valerie Gaydos
ALL Voters Should Weigh in on May 18 Ballot Questions

Voters registered as Republicans, Democrats, Independents, other third parties or no party affiliation are all eligible and encouraged to take part in the May 18 primary election, where you’ll have the opportunity to vote on four important ballot questions.

Two of the ballot questions propose amendments to the state Constitution to address the state’s handling of future disaster emergency declarations. I voted to put these questions on the ballot because I believe they will restore the foundational system of checks and balances that has been missing over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure you, the people, have a voice in how we deal with similar situations in the future.

A third question also proposes to amend the Constitution to add protections to the Declaration of Rights to specifically prohibit the denial or limitation of a person’s rights based on race or ethnicity.

The fourth question is a referendum asking voters to weigh in on whether an existing low-interest loan program that benefits volunteer emergency services organizations should be expanded to include municipal fire departments and ambulance companies that are staffed with paid personnel rather than volunteers.

If you are not yet registered to vote, there is still time to do so. The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in the May 18 primary is May 3. To learn more, click here.

To learn more about the ballot questions, click here. 
Reducing the Size of the Legislature

Imparting greater accountability and efficiency in government continues to be priority as we look at ways to help a struggling economy. I have reintroduced legislation to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 203 to 151 members.

The legislation, House Bill 482 would increase the population size of House districts by approximately a third, bringing the ratio of lawmakers in Pennsylvania more in line with other states.

Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) sponsored this legislation during the 2016-17 Legislative Session. During my Legislative Report television broadcast, I spoke to Rep. Knowles about the benefits to reducing the size of the House of Representatives. Click here to watch the interview.
Road Construction in Our Area

PennDOT is in the process of preparing highway construction plans in Moon Township. The western limit of the project is at the Halverson Drive east bound on-ramp and the eastern limit is ramps to and from Route 376.

The project is approximately four miles in length. The existing pavement will be micro surfaced with a thin layer of asphalt. No bridge work will be included.

Other work will include minor drainage repairs, signing/pavement marking updates, guiderail updates and other miscellaneous construction. Most of the project will be constructed under short-term single lane closures (off-peak hours) to allow for one open traffic lane. However, ramp work will occur under a closure and detour. It is anticipated that construct will begin in August and finish in December.

Check out the map to learn more.

Work Zone Awareness Week

With the arrival of warmer weather comes the resumption of road and bridge construction across the Commonwealth.

As Work Zone Awareness Week draws to a close today, April 30, it’s important to remember to always drive with caution through work zones to keep workers, you, and your fellow drivers and passengers safe.

PennDOT offers the following tips:
  •   Drive the posted work zone speed limit.
  •   Stay alert and pay close attention to signs and flaggers.
  •   Turn on your headlights if signs instruct you to do so.
  •   Maintain a safe distance around vehicles. Don't tailgate.
  •   Use four-way flashers when stopped or traveling slowly.
  •   Avoid distractions and give your full attention to the road.
  •   Always buckle up.
  •   Expect the unexpected.
  •   Be patient.
Representatives Denied Access to PPE Stockpile at Farm Show Complex

The quest for answers about the Commonwealth’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg continues.

The majority chairmen of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, and State Government committees this week were denied access to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex after being invited by the administration because they declined to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would have prohibited them from doing their jobs.

Late last month, the State Government Committee held a hearing about the PPE at which numerous questions were raised, including concerns about a lack of security, the buildings location in a flood plain and the enormous stockpile preventing the building from being used to host events that are beneficial to the Harrisburg region’s economy.

It is extremely alarming the administration would deny elected officials access to a taxpayer-funded building housing taxpayer-funded materials. Watch more here.
Bill Protecting Living Organ Donors Now Law

As April, which is Organ Donation Awareness Month, draws to a close, Pennsylvania has enacted a new law to protect the lives and livelihoods of living organ donors.

Act 11 of 2021, or the Living Donor Protection Act, would prohibit a life or health insurance company from discriminating against an organ or tissue donor. It would also ensure family and medical leave is provided for an eligible employee for the preparation and recovery necessary for donation surgery. In addition, the proposal would require the Department of Health to develop informational materials relating to living donors and the benefits of live organ and tissue donation.

The bill takes effect in 60 days.

To learn more about organ donation in the Commonwealth, click here.
Protecting Small Businesses

With many small businesses being forced to close their doors forever due to prolonged pandemic restrictions, the state House has approved legislation that would help protect small businesses in the event of future state disasters.

The “One Staffer-One Shopper” bill would give Pennsylvania customers the ability to make purchases at small retail stores during disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than being offered no options other than online ordering or big box retail.

House Bill 747 would enable small retail stores to open during future disasters if they limit interaction between customers and employees to one staffer interacting with one shopper in the store at any given time. The proposal also would allow small retailers to provide curbside pickup service instead of opening their stores to customers. The businesses would have to choose between opening their stores or providing curbside service; they could not offer both.

The bill awaits consideration by the Senate.
REAL ID Deadline Postponed to 2023

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced this week it was again postponing the enforcement date for REAL ID until May 3, 2023, citing ongoing pandemic restrictions that have impacted states’ ability to process and issue the enhanced driver licenses and identification cards.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. A federally acceptable form of identification must now be used on and after May 3, 2023, to board a domestic commercial flight or visit a secure federal building or military installation that requires ID for access. Federally acceptable forms of identification include a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. passport/passport card or a military ID.

REAL ID is optional in Pennsylvania. There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID. PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

For more information about REAL ID and how to obtain one, visit www.PennDOT.gov/REALID.
Committee Approves Legislation Supporting Active Military and Disabled Veteran Hunters and Anglers

The House Game and Fisheries Committee unanimously passed legislation that seeks to provide reciprocal agreements for our active duty military and disabled veterans hunting and fishing licenses.

House Bill 490 will allow the Pennsylvania Attorney General to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to recognize lawfully issued hunting and fishing license or permit types for active duty military and disabled veterans, as resident licenses or permits in each state, provided the Attorney General has determined that the fishing and hunting laws of states are similar to the hunting and fishing laws of our Commonwealth.

The bill has been reported to the full House for consideration.
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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