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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.
Government houses a great deal of your information, both personal and professional. The Pennsylvania departments of Health, Labor, State and Treasury, as well as the Public Utility Commission and others have hundreds of thousands of your records under their roof.

How safe are your records? This week, the White House warned about the potential for Russia to engage in malicious cyber activity, so as the Republican chair of the House Cybersecurity Caucus, I have made it a mission to find out. Recently, I was invited to co-host a public hearing with Rep. Martin Causer, chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee.

Prioritizing cybersecurity standards and innovation, improving communication and encouraging the next generation of “cyber defenders” were among the recommendations offered at the hearing at the Capitol on Monday.

When lawmakers look at issues like cybersecurity, there are generally three ways to address them: legislation, regulation and communication. While we need to look at potential legislative and regulatory tools, it is clear that improved communication among government entities is vital to help minimize threats and protect the data entrusted to us by our citizens.

Here is where you can help. Please ensure that you are implementing proactive cybersecurity measures yourself. Some immediate actions you can take to strengthen your own personal protection:

  •   Enable multifactor authentication.
  •   Set antivirus and antimalware programs to conduct regular scans.
  •   Enable strong spam filters.
  •   Update software.
  •   Don’t open suspicious links.
  •   Routinely change passwords.
I hope to keep pressur e on our government to keep our information secure and work to support more educational initiatives which help train people to work in the cybersecurity field.

Written testimony and video of the hearing are available online at www.PAGOPPolicy.com.

Valerie Gaydos
Bill to Protect Energy Jobs Approved by House

Energy jobs are vital to our economy. Energy independence is a goal we must continue working toward to free ourselves and other nations from dependence on Russian oil and gas. To advance both of these objectives, the House this week approved the Energy Sustainability and Investment Act.

First and foremost, the bill would reassert legislative authority and require the General Assembly’s approval before the Commonwealth can enter multi-state compacts, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), that would increase energy taxes on Pennsylvanians. While all 11 other states enrolled in RGGI are there as a result of a vote by their legislatures, our governor is circumventing that process and ignoring the voices of the citizens we represent. We all want clean water and clean air but need to ensure that our state’s most vulnerable citizens are not disproportionally saddled with the cost of doing so.

Pennsylvania is the third-largest electricity generation producer in the country and the largest exporter of electricity. RGGI threatens that status by implementing a tax on energy producers that will raise consumer electric bills by an estimated 30%, according to the Independent Fiscal Office, and lead to thousands of job losses in communities due to plant closures and suspension of new plant construction.

House Bill 637 would protect energy jobs, energy production and energy consumers. It also would make a significant investment in economically and environmentally sound alternative carbon reduction measures. Specifically, the bill would direct $250 million in federal funds to:
  •   Develop carbon dioxide and methane reduction technologies for electric generation and manufacturing, secure federal funds for a regional hydrogen hub and battery storage, and conduct methane abatement projects from plugging abandoned natural gas wells ($125 million).
  •   Sewer and water infrastructure and storm water mitigation projects, including riparian planting for carbon dioxide reduction ($62 million).
  •   Assist workers and communities impacted by electric generation or manufacturing plant closures ($62.5 million).

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Protecting Women’s Sports

This week, the House Education Committee advanced support for women’s rights in competitive sports through the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act (House Bill 972).

This bill does not prohibit transgender youth from playing sports. The legislation simply requires biological males to play on boy’s teams and biological females to play on girl’s teams. This legislation came about as a direct response to President Joe Biden’s 2021 executive order that says biological boys must be allowed to compete against women, which reverses decades of progress that has been made for women’s sports. This legislation restores the intent of Title IX which was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) currently has separate divisions based on age, school size and classification so there is no reason that additional categories cannot be added.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) produces a list of substances and methods that are banned in sport. Those substances banned at all times would include (but are not limited to): hormones, anabolics, EPO, beta-2 agonists, masking agents and diuretics. Allowing some, but not all athlete to compete and win taking hormones is inconsistent and unfair.

Rep. Gaydos has been discussing this important piece of legislation with the media from Allegheny County. She was interviewed on KDKA Radio 1020 AM with hosts Larry Richert and Kevin Battle. If you missed our conservation, click here to listen.

The bill now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
House Advances Measures to Divest from Russia, Invest in Freedom

The House took several steps forward in its work to both divest from Russia and advance energy production in the Commonwealth this week.

On Monday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved five bills that would remove roadblocks to energy development, including opening the Delaware River Basin for natural gas development (House Bills 2450 and 2451); ending the governor’s moratorium on subsurface leases on state land (House Bill 2461); creating a task force to study establishing the port of Philadelphia as a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal (House Bill 2458); and stopping Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (Senate Bill 119).

On Tuesday, the House State Government Committee passed legislation sponsored by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) that would divest the Commonwealth from Russian and Belarusian financial assets and prohibit future investment of Commonwealth funds in financial assets of those countries. House Bill 2447 passed unanimously and now goes to the full House for consideration.

On Wednesday, the full House approved resolutions urging the governors of New York and New Jersey to end anti-pipeline policies that block Pennsylvania natural gas from reaching other markets (House Resolution 187) and calling on the Biden administration and Congress to take measures to increase America’s long-term energy affordability and security by ensuring the continued operation and expansion of oil and gas infrastructure (House Resolution 189).
Energy Efficiency Rebates Available to PA Farmers

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has created a new agricultural energy efficiency rebate program to help agricultural producers in the Commonwealth reduce energy consumption on their farms through the use of energy efficient technologies.

Commercial ag producers who conduct normal farming operations in Pennsylvania are eligible to apply. Rebates may be used for LED lighting, including fixtures and controls; efficient milk pumping equipment, including pumps, motors and controls such as variable frequency drives; and efficient ventilation equipment, including fans, motors and controls such as variable frequency drives.

Rebates will pay 50% of equipment costs, up to $2,000 per technology category. Applicants may apply for both lighting and variable frequency drive rebates. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis as funding remains available or through June 30.

Click here for additional information. 
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Available from FEMA

Pennsylvanians who lost loved ones to COVID-19 and incurred funeral expenses as a result may be eligible for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA’s funeral assistance program will provide financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020, for deaths related to COVID-19. To be eligible, the death must have occurred in the United States and the death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19. Assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.

The program will provide reimbursement for expenses incurred for funeral services, including but not limited to transportation to identify the deceased individual, the transfer of remains, a burial plot or cremation niche, a marker or headstone, clergy or officiant services, the use of funeral home equipment or staff, and cremation or interment costs.

Eligible applicants can apply for the funeral assistance program by calling FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Additional information is available here.
Get Ready for Trout Season!

Pennsylvania’s streams are stocked and waiting for those who love to fish to start casting lines at 8 a.m. this Saturday, April 2.

As usual, 60% of the dedicated trout were stocked ahead of opening day, with the rest bound for stocking after April 2.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has allocated 3.2 million adult trout reared in its hatcheries for the 696 streams and 128 lakes open to public trout fishing this year. Another 1 million should be contributed by cooperative nurseries.

The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers and the species of trout that will be stocked.

Have fun and be safe!
Check Out My Spring Newsletter

In case you missed it, the spring edition of my newsletter is out and available for reading online here.

In the newsletter you will find my recent legislation; grants to our schools, fire departments and the Pittsburgh International Airport; how we can help our small businesses; and important events in the 44th District.

Check it out!
Don’t Miss These Events in the 44th District

Hail to the Champions!

Rep. Gaydos, along with Sen. Devlin Robinson, welcomed the Moon Area High School Gymnastics Team to the Capitol this week.

The Lady Tigers recently won their third straight PIAA Championship, and they further distinguished themselves during the season by capturing the section and WPIAL (PIAA District VII) titles.

Gaydos presented the team with a House of Representatives citation.

Recently, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart defeated Constitution (Philadelphia) 92-71 to capture its second consecutive PIAA Class 2A state title while tying the state record with its 68th consecutive win.

Perhaps even more impressive, the win also marked the 52nd consecutive victory by double figures for the Chargers. They have outscored opponents by more than 30 points per contest this season.
Getting to Know You

On Tuesday, it was Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Rep. Gaydos spoke to Jonathan Klonowski, graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and Nancy Merrit, vice chancellor for alumni relations, University of Pittsburgh. Gaydos says she enjoys talking to the future leaders of our communities.
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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