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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 issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." - Thomas Jefferson

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania’s voters chose to restore the system of checks and balances envisioned by our forefathers, and the Commonwealth became the first in the nation to impose restrictions on a governor’s authority under an emergency disaster declaration.

The first constitutional amendment passed on Tuesday empowers the General Assembly, by a majority vote, to end a disaster emergency declaration. The second constitutional amendment allows a governor to declare a disaster emergency for up to 21 days. If a governor feels the declaration should be extended, he or she would have to identify the purpose and objectives and gain approval of the General Assembly.

The people have spoken and the message is clear: Government answers to the people and not the other way around. Through passage of these constitutional amendments Pennsylvania’s voters chose to restore the balance of power, to protect lives as well as livelihoods, to support our small businesses, to ensure that our kids get back in school safely.

For more background about the questions, click here.

Valerie Gaydos
Election Day Challenges, Gaydos Continues to Call for Reform

Delayed returns, ballot shortages and scanning problems were among the issues faced by voters and election workers across the Commonwealth on Tuesday.

It is a stark reminder that this cornerstone of our democracy is in dire need of significant reform focused on accountability, security and training. These were issues identified in a series of hearings conducted by the House State Government Committee earlier this year. You may read the report from the hearings here.

Legislation to address the issues is currently being drafted.

Pennsylvanians deserve to show up to their polling place trusting in the election process. They deserve the ability to leave their polling place knowing their vote was cast accurately. I am committed to making our election system better for those conducting elections and those participating in them.
Gaydos Appreciates Our First Responders, Introduces Legislation

Rep. Gaydos would like to thank all Emergency Medical Service providers everywhere! Your service to the community never goes unnoticed!

To coincide with National EMS Week (May 16-20), Rep. Gaydos introduced legislation that would better support the work of tactical emergency medical services (EMS) providers.

EMS personnel who are members of a tactical team are specially trained and certified EMS providers that give direct support to law enforcement in dangerous situations to afford a rapid and safe EMS response if a person becomes ill or injured during a tactical law enforcement operation.

As a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Gaydos knows that these EMS personnel are highly trained “tactical” paramedics that dedicate their time to assist in tactical law enforcement incidents such as active shooter incidents, hostage situations, high-risk warrant service and barricaded individuals. In their capacity as tactical EMS providers, they currently are unable to use flashing lights when using their private vehicles to respond to incidents that greatly threaten the public’s health and safety, adding critical minutes to their response time.

House Bill 1331 would add tactical EMS providers to the definitions under Title 75 of the Vehicle Code to include a certified tactical EMS provider who is affiliated with and directly supports a county or regional municipal Special Emergency Response Team or a Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team. The inclusion of these emergency responders in the definitions will allow tactical EMS providers to use emergency vehicle lights that deliver added safety while providing for the ability to rapidly respond to an incident in progress.

The legislation is now with the House Transportation Committee for consideration.
Why Wait? Gaydos Urges Governor to Lift Capacity Restrictions Immediately

Recently, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that all capacity restrictions would be lifted effective, Monday, May 31.

Rep. Gaydos feels this is a much-needed step in the right direction. However, we cannot forget the damage and loss of revenue these restrictions caused. Along with Gaydos, many of her House colleagues wrote a letter to the governor saying that to maximize the financial boost in revenue, he should move up the date for these restrictions to be lifted by three days – from Memorial Day (May 31) to the Friday before Memorial Day (May 28). Those days of extra customers and additional income are crucial to our small businesses!

Click here to read the letter sent to the governor.
Gaydos Supports Our Leaders Plan to Create New Transparency, Ethical Standards for Lobbyists

Lobbyists would be subject to new openness, transparency and ethical conduct requirements – and would have less influence in state government – under a legislative proposal unveiled this week by Speaker of House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte).

The proposal would include measures to require lobbyists to disclose more information, including any client conflicts and equity they may hold in any entity they are representing; prohibit campaign consultants from being registered lobbyists or engaging in lobbying elected officials for two years; and prevent lobbyists from receiving or paying referral payments to another individual, lobbying firm or campaign consultant – essentially preventing kick-backs from one firm or individual to another.

New ethical conduct standards for lobbyists would also be included, such as mandatory annual ethics training, new registration requirements for lobbyists whose clients are seeking financial assistance or grants, and prohibitions on collecting an inducement or performance bonus through a third-party affiliate when securing taxpayer-funded grants.

A package of bills is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly in the weeks ahead.
Unemployment Rate Drop Triggers Shut-Off of Extended Benefits

The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) announced last week that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has fallen low enough to automatically conclude the Extended Benefits (EB) program effective the claim week ending Saturday, May 15.

Individuals on the EB program will be moved to the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which will be in place until the week ending Sept. 4. The change in program does not cause any changes in the filing process or benefit amount.

The EB program provides additional Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits to qualified workers when the Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) reaches a certain threshold. The IUR is a measure of continued weeks claimed as a percentage of UC-covered employment. Once triggered, EB provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for claimants who exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and other extension programs.

For updates on unemployment programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.uc.pa.gov.
Important Property Tax/Rent Rebate Information

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department has started processing payments for the annual Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

Direct deposit payments are scheduled to be sent to recipients on July 1, while check payments are scheduled to be mailed on June 30. The program benefits about 550,000 Pennsylvanians each year with approximately $250 million in rebate payments.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The program has annual income limits of $35,000 for homeowners and $15,000 for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded.

The maximum standard rebate is $650. Some homeowners may qualify for supplemental rebates. The program has paid out $6.9 billion in property tax and rent rebates since it started in 1971.

Click here for more information.
Emergency Broadband Benefit

Qualifying low-income households that are struggling to afford broadband internet service can now apply for the temporary Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.

The EBB will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. Qualifying households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The EBB is limited to one monthly service discount and one device per household.

Click here for more information.
Fish for Free on May 30!

If you’ve been thinking about trying fishing or want to introduce your child or a friend to this great outdoor activity, you’ll have a great chance to do so next weekend!

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days next Sunday, May 30.

On Fish for Free Days, anyone -- resident or non-resident -- can legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways without a license. All other fishing regulations will still apply.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.
The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Sunday, July 4.
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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