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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.

As Aristotle said, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” Being good stewards of the environment is a responsibility that we all hold together. Almost 25 years ago, Gov. Tom Ridge signed into law legislation that initiated Pennsylvania's Growing Greener program, which was the largest single investment of state funds in Pennsylvania's history to address critical environmental concerns of the 21st century. The program was reauthorized in June 2002 and House Bill 2020, of which I am a co-sponsor, is legislation that would serve as the framework for Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener III program. This legislation proposes a $500 million investment in our natural resources, strengthens our local, regional and state economies and would also support thousands of jobs, including those associated with two of Pennsylvania’s top industries - agriculture and tourism.

I am also co-sponsoring House Bill 1901 that would establish a Clean Streams Fund for Pennsylvania by establishing a new fund specifically dedicated to water quality, specifically focused on mitigating sources of historic pollution, such as agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage and stormwater runoff. Funding in the amount of $250 million would be appropriated from federal dollars allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This legislation would go a long way to help us protect Pennsylvania’s water resources for current and future generations.

A special thanks goes to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation for their outstanding work on ensuring widespread support for allocating American Rescue Plan funding to park and forest maintenance – an issue that we can all agree is important to the health and welfare of all citizens in Pennsylvania. Please check out the summary below.


Valerie Gaydos
Other Efforts to Cut Red Tape

Continuing to lead the way on regulatory reform and getting government out of the way, The House approved a series of bills that would streamline permitting requirements and empower local governments to better maintain their creeks and streams to protect against flooding.

The bills were developed in response to a House Majority Policy Committee hearing at which local government officials and landowners testified about how permitting requirements have prevented them from clearing streams of gravel and debris, sometimes leading to severe flooding and property damage in surrounding areas. Additionally, when creeks and streams see a buildup of gravel and other debris, it may change the direction of the stream channel, leading to damage to bridges or other structures. Replacement of these structures comes at significant taxpayer expense.

House Bill 2405 would create a program that allows counties to opt in to address hazards within their streams by allowing for emergency maintenance permits in consultation with their county conservation district. House Bill 2406 would create a permit specific to smaller maintenance projects. Other measures would clarify that no permit would be required for maintenance on a culvert (House Bill 2408), removal of flood-related hazards from streams that are deemed to be an emergency by a state or county (House Bill 2409), and maintenance activities conducted within 50 feet of a bridge or culvert (House Bill 2410). An additional measure would require DEP to issue an annual report to the General Assembly regarding flooding and stream maintenance and restoration.

The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Rally to Protect Women’s Sports

Last week, Rep. Gaydos joined her colleagues from the House and Senate, as well as members from the Pennsylvania Family Institute, at a rally urging the Senate to pass House Bill 972, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

This legislation would protect opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring women are not forced to compete against biological males playing on women’s sports teams.

The House passed the measure in April, and now the hope is for the Senate to approve the legislation.

Under the bill, an athletic team or sport designated for females, women or girls would not be open to students of the male sex. In addition, a student deprived of an athletic opportunity or who suffers direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of this act by a college or public school would be able to bring a cause of action for injunctive relief, psychological and physical damage, and the costs involved in filing a lawsuit against the college or high school.

Please watch Gaydos’ comments at the Capitol rally in the Main Rotunda.
Seeking Solutions: Policy Committee Hearings Tackle Inflation

With workers, families and employers struggling under the weight of nationwide inflation, the House Majority Policy Committee held two hearings last week to discuss inflation and how out-of-touch government policies are contributing to the problem.

Among the causes of inflation cited in testimony are the influx of printed and borrowed money injected into the economy by the federal government; overspending; policies that support large corporations over small businesses, like Governor Wolf’s pandemic shutdowns; and overregulation, including the attack on domestic energy that powers our homes, vehicles and businesses.

Many experts testified that they anticipate inflation will continue well into next year and beyond, and ultimately will catch up to the state budget. As a result, lawmakers were urged to keep spending in check, invest in the Rainy Day Fund, remove regulatory barriers that hinder economic opportunity, and support policies that drive economic growth and that encourage able-bodied individuals to return to the workforce.

Testimony and video of the hearings is available online at www.PAGOPPolicy.com.

The committee will further examine the issue of inflation in the coming weeks with hearings studying the impact of inflation on working people and their families (June 14) and long-term solutions to rising costs (June 21). Both hearings will begin at 9 a.m. and be streamed live at www.PAGOPPolicy.com.
Committee Advances Constitutional Amendment to Privatize PA’s State-Run Liquor Stores

Recently, Rep. Gaydos voted with a majority of her House Liquor Control Committee colleagues to advance a constitutional amendment aiming to privatize the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania.

Currently, Pennsylvania, is the largest purchaser of liquor in the world. As a co-sponsor of this amendment, Gaydos feels that government should not be both a regulator and distributor of liquor and that the people of Pennsylvania should be able to vote on whether or not Government should get out of the liquor business.

In 2016, the General Assembly passed historic legislation to privatize the sale of wine and spirits, but ultimately, it was vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf. If legislation proposing the constitutional amendment passes, the question on whether liquor should be privatized could then be voted upon by Pennsylvanians.

In order to implement the proposed constitutional amendment, it will need to be passed in identical form in two consecutive legislative sessions. It would then be placed on the ballot for voters. If it is adopted, the amendment would take effect in 18 months.
Gaydos Announces Funding for Allegheny County

Rep. Gaydos is pleased to announce the awarding of $600,000 to Allegheny County, which was made available through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Program (PHARE). The money for these projects comes from the Marcellus Shale Impact fees and Realty Transfer Taxes.

Gaydos said, “Rehabilitating existing properties to meet current market demands is an excellent way to invest our resources. As much as we dislike paying taxes, this is an example of your tax dollars directly serving the public.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:
  •   Allegheny County Accessibility Program - $200,000 to provide accessible modifications to households in Allegheny County, excluding the city of Pittsburgh, for individuals with low to moderate incomes and at least one permanent physical disability.
  •   North Hills Affordable Housing, Inc.: A Home for Every Family - $200,000 to maintain safe, decent and affordable housing and resources to vulnerable populations, including transitional and affordable housing. Funds will be used for individuals with children who are working towards economic mobility after surviving domestic violence or other trauma within the transitional housing program.
  •   Housing Connector for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania - $200,000 to support the salary of the Housing Connector, who assists people with disabilities to locate and obtain housing that is affordable and accessible. In addition, two expert housing navigators will offer one-on-one assistance using a custom database created in collaboration with community resources, providing tangible support to make a move possible and help people maintain stable housing.
House Passes Bill to Prevent Dangerous Driving

Rep. Gaydos voted in the affirmative with a majority of her House colleagues to advance legislation to help prevent dangerous driving and improve highway safety in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 1958 would require PennDOT to create a mandatory driver improvement program targeting dangerous drivers. While the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code currently has an optional driver training provision, it has never been instituted by PennDOT. By making it mandatory, PennDOT would be required to act.

Specifically, the program would be required as a way to reduce points from a driver’s record when they reach six points, and when a driver is convicted of exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 miles per hour. The course would also be required when applying for Occupational Limited License and Probationary License and would be a condition for license reinstatement following suspension due to point accumulation or excessive speeding.

In 2020, PennDOT reported 1,129 motor vehicle-related fatalities despite a significant reduction in vehicle miles traveled in the pandemic. Because most of these crashes were caused by driver behavior, the training course required under House Bill 1958 would employ established and effective strategies to change the decision-making processes of traffic offenders and move them to make better driving choices.
Legislation to Ensure Continued CHIP Coverage Heads to Senate

Legislation that would halt a new bidding procedure for Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) impacting CHIP choices for its subscribers was unanimously approved by the House. 

House Bill 2585 would prohibit the Department of Human Services (DHS) from developing or using bidding or service zones that limit a health service corporation or hospital plan corporation contractor from submitting a bid for the CHIP program. The measure would also require DHS to accept a solicitation or bid from such an organization.

It should be noted that Capital Blue Cross, based in Harrisburg, currently provides CHIP coverage to nearly 12,000 children, all of whom would need to find new coverage if DHS is successful in its endeavor.

CHIP provides health care coverage to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance.

House Bill 2585 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Important Dates for Hunters

Hunting licenses for the 2022-23 hunting season went on sale this past Monday, and may be purchased electronically or in person. If you need to find a license issuing agent, or want to buy your license online, please click here.

Before you purchase your first hunting license, you must pass a Pennsylvania Game Commission certification exam, which can be taken online or in a classroom setting. Please click here for details on taking the exam.  

Two other dates which are worthy of note are Monday, July 11, when antlerless deer licenses go on sale to Pennsylvania residents; and Sunday, July 31, which is the final day to apply for an elk license. To submit an elk license application, please click here.
June is National Homeownership Month

In honor of National Homeownership Month, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) is holding a series of free homebuyer workshops throughout the month of June.

These six, 45-minute virtual homebuyer education workshops are a perfect opportunity for those who may be interested in becoming homeowners. The sessions will prepare buyers for the path to homeownership, and those who complete all six sessions will also fulfill the homebuyer education requirement necessary for a PHFA loan.

The sessions are available at both noon and 6 p.m. on the date listed. They are as follows:
  •   Be a Ready Buyer – Know Your Money! – Wednesday, June 15
  •   Mortgage Loans 101 – Monday, June 20
  •   Finding “The One” – Wednesday, June 22
  •   Sales Agreement Accepted: Now What? – Monday, June 27
  •   The Closing Table, Getting the Keys, and Life as a Homeowner! – Wednesday, June 29

For more information and to register, click 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