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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.
To ensure trust in our democracy, we must know with certainty that our voices will be heard and the mechanism of government is truly represented to all our citizens. That means free access to casting every vote, accurately counted, with checks and internal controls, including independent audits to ensure no corruption or undue influences creep in.

After months of hearing concerns about our election process from constituents, the Pennsylvania General Assembly took action. I voted in favor of House Bill 1300, the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act, which would have made it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the legislation saying he would not sign a bill that creates barriers to voting.

I am disappointed with the governor’s latest action. Throughout 10 hearings on Pennsylvania’s election process, we heard the need to fix flaws in our election. This legislation would have allowed for more than 20 different forms of voter identification; it would have required for no voter to wait longer than 30 minutes to vote; and it would have allowed for early counting of mail-in and absentee ballots so we actually had results on election night.

People expect our elected leaders to listen to the people, our employers. The Voting Rights Protection Act included initiatives supported by the majority of Pennsylvania voters. A recent poll by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster found that 74% of those polled support voters having to show an identification card and 81% are in favor of signature verification.

I will continue to fight for you. The House State Government Committee will be taking up Senate Bill 735 to require voter identification via a constitutional amendment. This will take election reform directly to YOU! 

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Stands Up for Taxpayers, Supports Fiscally Responsible Budget

Rep. Gaydos voted in support of the state budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, which passed the House. The measure was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf as Act 1A of 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on many families and businesses over the last year and there is a lot of work yet to do to fully restore our economy. While the budget reflects an 8.8% increase over last year’s budget, this spending plan includes no new taxes and will deposit more than $2.52 billion into the Rainy Day Fund, growing it to a historic $2.76 billion.

According to Gaydos, one of the top priorities in this budget is education. Children are our future, and the betterment of the Commonwealth hinges on their paths to success. The budget for PreK-12 education would be $13.55 billion, which is a record high. Early childhood education funding, which includes PreK and Head Start, would see a $30 million increase. Special education funding would see a $50 million increase. Additionally, $350 million in federal relief funding would be dedicated to address learning loss, summer enrichment and after school programs. A system redesign of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) would be backed by this budget, as $50 million in federal relief funding would assist with integration.

Finally, Gaydos vows to be a strong advocate of protecting our most vulnerable citizens. Recognizing the ongoing costs related to COVID-19 mitigation, the budget allocates $282 million in federal relief funds to help nursing homes, assisted living and person care homes with costs related to personal protective equipment (PPE), staff testing and other pandemic-related costs. The budget also includes money to take care of those with intellectual disabilities.

While the 2021-22 budget increase of 8.8 % exceeds inflation and population growth, which significantly exceeds the increase under the Taxpayer Protection Act index of $654 million (1.79%), the spending increases were mostly directed to areas hurt by COVID-19 which had to be addressed this year. Gaydos hopes that in future years the General Assembly will continue to work on living within our means so that no one will ever be caught off guard again should the state face another pandemic.

For more information of the 2021-22 state budget, go to http://www.pahousegop.com/2122PAbudget.
Gaydos’ Human Trafficking Legislation Now Law!

Rep. Gaydos’ legislation that would better protect the victims of human trafficking was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf this week.

House Bill 1147 (Act 45 of 2021) 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.

This legislation is necessary as a result of additions made to the list of sexual offenses (human trafficking) in the Crimes Code, specifically the definition of sexual servitude.

Research has shown mental health treatment to be vital for offenders who commit sexual crimes. Gaydos has urged all of us to continue to raise public awareness as well as arm prosecutors and law enforcement with every tool possible to take down traffickers and protect victims.
Agritourism Business Legislation Signed Into Law

Legislation Rep. Gaydos co-sponsored that would protect agritourism business from lawsuits where no party is at fault for injuries or damages was signed into law by the governor this week.

Act 27 of 2021 will require that farmers post multiple signs warning visitors of the risks, or ask visitors to sign a waiver of liability before participating in activities. While the legislation provides some immunity from litigation, the right to sue is preserved if an owner acts in a grossly negligent manner or operates with no regard for public safety.

Under current law, farmers face liability risks when they open their land to the public for a fee. Because these activities take place on a farm, there are risks present that a farmer cannot take away, like uneven ground, or unpredictable animals and weather.

The legislation is modeled after acts passed in 20 other states, including New York and Ohio. As family farms look to diversify, it is necessary to update laws to help with the promotion and protection of these unique agriculture businesses.
Measures to Prevent Overdose Deaths Become Law

Two bills championed by the state House as a way to help protect people battling drug addiction have been signed into law.

Act 41 of 2021, formerly House Bill 944, calls on inpatient treatment facilities to notify an emergency contact designated by a patient if that person leaves the facility against medical advice and has not previously revoked consent to discuss his or her treatment with the emergency contact.

Similarly, Act 35 of 2021, formerly House Bill 741, will require recovery house staff to notify an emergency contact designated by a resident if the resident leaves the house.

Both measures require notification to be made as soon as possible, and not to exceed 12 hours. The goal is to ensure people know their loved ones may be at risk and can try to help them before it’s too late.
Ban NIH Funding for Inhumane Experiments

Rep. Gaydos and several of her colleagues from the House and Senate wrote a letter to Congressman Conor Lamb urging him to restore measures made to defend the sanctity of life.

The University of Pittsburgh has used U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to conduct research on aborted babies that involves inhumane practices.
All taxpayer funding from the NIH for unethical and inhumane experiments should be eliminated immediately. Click here to read the letter.
Bill to Combat Elder Abuse Signed Into Law

Legislation to protect senior citizens and other care-dependent people has been signed into law.

Act 49 of 2021, formerly House Bill 1431, will make it a crime for care providers to take, post or share demeaning and humiliating images and videos of any care-dependent person, such as a senior citizen in a care facility. Under the bill, this type of abuse would be graded as a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.

Signs of abuse are isolation, weight loss, bruises or broken bones, increased confusion, unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, and signing over a home to another person. If you are the victim of elder abuse, or if you suspect someone you know is a victim, call 911 or the state’s 24-hour abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505.
Fish for Free on Independence Day

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is hosting the second of its two annual Fish for Free Days on Independence Day, Sunday, July 4. This is a great opportunity to try your hand at fishing in any of Pennsylvania’s waterways, even if you don’t have a license. Both residents and non-residents are eligible. For more information, click here.
Independence Day Reminders

Happy Independence Day! A few important reminders as you plan to celebrate this weekend:

If you are going to set off fireworks, be smart, be careful and be considerate of your neighbors.

If you are traveling, check out www.511pa.com. Free and available 24 hours a day, the site provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

PennDOT will close its driver license service centers on Saturday, July 3, and Monday, July 5. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

Have a safe and happy July Fourth!
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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