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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.
Governor Continues Push for Higher Energy Taxes

Disappointed and frustrated can best describe my feelings toward Gov. Josh Shapiro’s plan to hike energy taxes for Pennsylvania families while cutting energy jobs across the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is the nation’s second leading producer of natural gas, and many families depend on energy from this clean source as well as for their livelihood. The energy sector generates approximately $75 billion in revenue yearly and has 93,000 workers in the industry.

The governor recently announced he will appeal a Commonwealth Court decision that voided Pennsylvania’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state energy tax program that would increase costs for all Pennsylvanians to light and heat our homes and businesses. As I have regularly stated, we all want clear water and clean air but not on the backs of the people who can least afford to pay for increases in heating costs. And, when asked how it would affect the average electricity bill of homeowners, especially poorer residents, Gov. Wolf was unable to answer which is one reason why I continue to oppose RGGI.

Additionally, Pennsylvania’s carbon output has already significantly declined over the past 15 years. If we allow the innovation and technology of the private sector to address this issue, we will see greater results than if we increase taxes, increase energy costs, eliminate jobs and curtail the use of clean gas energy when alternative sources of green energy are not yet fully available. Essentially, the expansion of government regulation is no way to reduce the cost of energy or expand the use of alternative energy sources, which I fully support when done right.

The decision to enter Pennsylvania into RGGI was made exclusively and unilaterally by former Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration and has been carried on by the Shapiro administration. The court found his actions to be an overstep in executive power. The Legislature is the branch of government charged with making laws in the Commonwealth.

I am hopeful the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will uphold the ruling of Commonwealth Court and stand with the people of Pennsylvania who are most impacted by rising energy costs.
Cybersecurity Tip!

Please click on the video to watch my cybersecurity message.

As the co-chair of the Cybersecurity Caucus, I caution everyone to be aware of the vulnerabilities that you and your children may have to potential cyber threats which have become increasingly more and more sophisticated. When successful, they can compromise your data, disrupt your family, affect your child’s safety and cause great personal strife.

So, please review your mobile phone settings and your child’s settings regularly.

If you have an iPhone and have downloaded the recent iOS 17 update, they have installed a feature called NameDrop. While this can be convenient to easily share contact information and photos to another iPhone by just holding the phones close together, it can also pose a grave danger to your child.

With this feature enabled, anyone can place their phone next to yours (or your child’s phone) and automatically receive their contact information to include their pictures, phone number, email address and more with a tap of your unlocked screen.

I urge parents to change these settings on your child’s phone to help keep them safe and to remind them to keep their phone away from strangers.

I will continue to provide more cybersecurity tips in future emails.
Beware of Holiday Scams

The Office of Attorney General is once again warning us all about common scams that typically ramp up during the holiday season.

These include email and text phishing, in which you receive an email or text message directing you to enter personal information on a fraudulent website; home delivery stealing; credit card skimming; romance scams; online pet scams; online pop-up advertisements; and online marketplace deals. isements; and online marketplace deals. Read more about each of these scams here.  

To further protect yourselves, you are encouraged to:
  •   Set up email or text alerts with your credit card company or bank, so you will be alerted quickly to all purchases, including fraudulent purchases.
  •   Install the latest security updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer or mobile device.
  •   Never use your home’s smart device to find a customer support number for any company and have the system dial it for you. Go directly to the company’s website, call the number on the back of your credit or debit card, or use the number on your billing statement.
  •   Never pay with a prepaid gift card, CashApp, or Venmo or wire someone money when you’re trying to buy a gift online. Use your credit card, not a debit card, for better protection.
  •   Never click on a hyperlink in an email, social media ad or text message to make a purchase. Go directly to the website of the store you wish to purchase from to ensure you are shopping at the right place.
  •   Gift cards are for gifts; you cannot pay a bill or debt owed to the government through a gift card.

Anyone who believes they may have been scammed should file a police report, and file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General online here, or by emailing scams@attorneygeneral.gov or calling 1-800-441-2555.
Protecting Pennsylvania’s Laws

A bill that would prohibit Pennsylvania courts from cooperating with other states’ prosecutions of people who violate their reproductive health laws passed the state House 117-86.

While most of us agree that abortion in the third trimester is a bridge too far, it is not the responsibility of Pennsylvania to enforce the laws in other states. Abortion is legal in the Commonwealth up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. And, as stated in the House chamber, I cannot and will not agree to put a woman in jail for procedures that are currently completely legal in Pennsylvania. Therefore, I voted to support House Bill 1786, which would prohibit our courts from cooperating with out-of-state civil and criminal cases involving reproductive health care services in other states.

I recently spoke about this bill. Click on the video below to watch it.

Click here to view video.

The legislation passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.
We Should Not Provide Additional Permits to Independent Marijuana Growers/Processors

Recently, I voted “no” to Senate Bill 773, which would amend the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program to provide additional permits to independent growers/processors.

I feel this bill undermines existing good government policies. Previously, there was a very competitive process to receive a license. This bill would hand out additional licenses for the asking. That is just wrong!

Click on the video below to watch my comments.

Click here to view video.

Despite my negative vote, the bill passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.
Thank You for the Recognition!

Words can’t begin to describe how honored I feel being named by City & State Pennsylvania to this year’s Fifty Over 50 power list. The list recognizes 50 of the most distinguished public servants in Pennsylvania. Even more special and humbling was to be selected to be on the front cover of the publication! Thank you, City & State Pennsylvania, for this tremendous honor.
Sewickley Bridge Update

Crews are hard at work repairing the Sewickley Bridge. However, the repair has come loose, and it is making a loud noise during travel. Residents and businesses have made complaints to my office, and I have contacted PennDOT to see what can be done to alleviate the high noise level.

We also provided a forum in my office in which a PennDOT representative was available to answer questions to the nearby residents most impacted by the constant noise.

PennDOT tells us the permanent repair is currently underway, and the new steel components are being designed and fabricated. Due to the complexity of the expansion joint and the winter weather, the earliest they are able to get this piece installed is March once it is delivered. I can assure you PennDOT is moving as fast as they can.
Bill Package Unveiled to Address Sexual Harassment

In response to recent cases of sexual harassment at the Capitol, five female members of the House Republican Caucus will soon introduce a legislative package to make significant reforms to protect taxpayers and victims.

In March, then-Rep. Mike Zabel resigned after it became public that over several years he sexually harassed a lobbyist, another legislator and his former campaign manager. More recently, the state paid out a $295,000 sexual harassment settlement to a woman who worked for Mike Vereb. At the time of the offense, Vereb was Gov. Josh Shapiro’s secretary of legislative affairs.

The legislation includes a resolution that would tighten House Rules and increase transparency related to the number of complaints filed before the House Ethics Committee; amend the Commonwealth’s Right-to-Know Law to redact the name of a victim of sexual harassment or assault before a settlement agreement is released to the public; amend the PennWATCH Act to include information on each settlement paid to an individual or an employee of a Commonwealth agency, as a result of an action taken by a state employee; set forth a clear and detailed framework allowing the Commonwealth to seek reimbursement and accountability from those individuals whose improper and unlawful action result in settlements or judgments paid by the Commonwealth; and enshrine the federal non-disclosure agreement law into state law.

I am proud to be a co-sponsor of these bills.
Plan Now for Parks, Recreation Grants

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is reminding county and local governments, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas and others of the next round of Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grants.

The application period for the grant program, which supports an array of parks, conservation and recreation projects, opens Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Videos to learn about the grant program and eligible project areas are available here.

Additional information about the grants and how to apply is available here.
Saving for Higher Education

If you’ve been thinking about saving for your child’s future education, now may be the time to do it. The Pennsylvania Treasury, which administers the state’s tuition savings programs, recently announced the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) was named one of the two best plans in the entire country.

The PA 529 IP received its first-ever Morningstar Gold Rating, rating it as one of the very best plans for families. The PA 529 IP was previously rated as silver for three consecutive years (2020-22) and bronze in 2019. The upgrade to gold reflects outstanding management and recent fee reductions which make the PA 529 IP one of the most cost-effective plans in the country.

There are two PA 529 plans available for families to choose from when saving for their child’s future education – the PA 529 IP, and the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP).

PA 529 plans help families steadily and strategically save for education expenses like tuition, fees, books, room and board, and more at qualifying technical, collegiate and apprenticeship programs. PA 529 plans provide great state and federal tax benefits, and savings don’t impact Pennsylvania state financial aid eligibility.

Learn more at www.pa529.com.
Mark Your Calendar for 2024 Fishing Season

Now is a good time to mark your 2024 calendars for important statewide fishing days.

The dates are as follows:
  •   Opening day of trout season – Saturday, April 6
  •   Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day – Saturday, March 30
  •   Fish for Free Days – Memorial Day (Monday, May 27) and Thursday, July 4.

Fishing licenses for 2024 are now available for purchase from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. In the new year, an annual license for a Pennsylvania resident will cost $26 and senior resident annual licenses go for $12.50. Please click here to make a purchase and check out the full list of license options.
Flag Dropoff at My District Office

According to the United States Flag Code, a tattered flag should be taken down and replaced. This collection effort will give you an opportunity to discard your flag in a dignified way.

Please see the below for more information!

Let's Get Connected

Our District

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Office Locations
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