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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 via RepGaydos.com.
I am excited to be back in the Capitol today, as this week marks the first full week of legislative session of the new year. All of this week and next, my House colleagues and I will continue to explore how we can create greater opportunities for family-sustaining jobs and meaningful career opportunities. I am proud to be working for a better Pennsylvania, where employers and working families succeed—and a Pennsylvania where citizens keep more of their hard-earned money instead of spending it on government.

Arbitrary tax hikes do not work, but allowing our state’s roads and bridges to continue to crumble is not an option. Last year we passed a responsible Budget that funded our priorities without tax increases and invested in the Rainy Day Fund. We hope to be able to do that again this year as budget talks will begin this month.

Additionally, I am proud to join my fellow Representatives in sponsoring legislation targeted at combatting the human trafficking epidemic in our state. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, with the most common victims being unprotected women and children. No longer is it enough to merely condemn this assault on humanity; we in the House are taking up measures to actively work on preventing and ending this exploitation of innocent victims.  


Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   Sewickley Bridge Construction Update
  •   Oversight Committee Requests Medicaid Investigation
  •   Does Your Home Contain Radon?
  •   Applications Available for 2020 Pennsylvania House Scholarship
  •   Visiting Allegheny County’s State Game Warden
  •   Celebrating the 104th Annual Farm Show
  •   Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Pre-Enforcement Period Underway
  •   2020 Hemp Program Accepting Applications from Growers, Processors
Sewickley Bridge Construction Update

Construction on Sewickley Bridge is slated to begin in in the spring, and will result in significant traffic changes. As such, I reached out to PennDOT for information that may be useful to travelers along State Road 4025.

PennDOT reported that work will likely start in May with nightly, single-lane closures. The weekend closures could start shortly thereafter as well, A longer-term (16 day) closure cannot take place until after the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year and must be completed prior to the start of the 2020 school year. The actual dates of the weekend and long-term closures will be announced later.

In the meantime, detour maps for travelers between Moon and Sewickley are shown below:

Moon to Sewickley:
South on Rt. 51 to I-79 NB to Rt. 65 Northbound

Sewickley To Moon:
SB on Rt. 65, SB on I-79 to Neville Island (Grand Avenue) to Rt. 51 Northbound

I will continue to provide updates from PennDOT as they become available.
Oversight Committee Requests Medicaid Investigation

This week, the Republican members of the Government Oversight Committee sent a letter to the Inspector General’s office requesting an investigation into the high percentage of individuals who have been enrolled into Medicaid expansion with incomes above the eligibility limit.

These are individuals who, based on their income levels, should be receiving health insurance on the exchange, not Medicaid.

Additionally, there are areas in this state where the percentage of income non-eligible recipients is excessive. The most glaring of these areas is East Philadelphia City, where the report shows one in four individuals enrolled are income non-eligible. Members of the Oversight Committee asked the Inspector General to focus on areas which have a rate of six percent and above.

Committee members also asked the Inspector General to make recommendations to the General Assembly on how to improve program integrity. I will continue to update you on this matter as new developments arise.
Does Your Home Contain Radon?

An estimated 40% of Pennsylvania homes have higher levels of radon than national safety standards, due to the state’s geology. However, residents can perform a simple test to detect this gas, which is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home.

Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. Simple radon test kits are inexpensive and available at home improvement and hardware stores.

January is national Radon Action Month. For more information on radon, click here.
Applications Available for 2020 Pennsylvania House Scholarship

High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Scholarship.

Each year the program awards a four-year scholarship to two students preparing for post-secondary education. It is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

To qualify, students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need.

The scholarship program is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. The application is available through the foundation’s web site here.  The application deadline is March 1.

The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. Scholarships are awarded through an independent panel of judges chosen by the foundation.
Visiting Allegheny County’s State Game Warden

I had a chance this week to speak with Zeb Campbell, State Game Warden in Allegheny County. We discussed deer, bears, harriers, hunting and animal cruelty laws.
Celebrating the 104th Annual Farm Show


I had a blast at this year’s Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor exposition of its kind along the East Coast. I had the chance to meet up with several residents who either entered their animals or products in competitive exhibits, participated in the many interactive contests, took in the entertaining and educational displays, or tasted the hundreds of different food items made right here in Pennsylvania. Locally, Allegheny County is boasting a lot of blue-ribbon entries in this year’s Farm Show. Be sure to check out the list of winners on the Farm Show website!
Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement Pre-Enforcement Period Underway

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) announced that the required 60-day pre-enforcement period for the statewide Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement (AWZSE) program has begun and will last until March 4.

Pennsylvania’s AWZSE program uses vehicle-mounted systems to detect and record motorists exceeding posted work zone speed limits using electronic speed timing devices. The goal is to protect the lives of motorists, passengers and highway workers.

During the pre-enforcement period, automated speed enforcement units will be deployed in active work zones, but violations will not be issued. Work zones are selected to maximize the effectiveness of the systems and will be marked with signage in advance of the enforcement area. Additionally, locations are posted on the project website, workZoneCameras.PennDOT.gov.

AWZSE systems are only operational in active work zones where workers are present. Once enforcement begins on March 4, registered owners will receive a warning letter for a first offense, a violation notice and $75 fine for a second offense, and a violation notice and $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. These violations are civil penalties only; no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

In 2018, there were 1,804 work zone crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 23 fatalities. Since 1970, PennDOT has lost 89 workers in the line of duty. The PA Turnpike has lost 45 workers since 1945.
2020 Hemp Program Accepting Applications from Growers, Processors

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s 2020 hemp program is now accepting applications from both commercial growers and processors.

The 2020 application period is open through April 1. This year, both growers and processors of hemp are required to apply. The permitting of processors is new for the 2020 program. Each individual property will require its own permit and application. A permit costs $150.

It is the second year for the program, with farmers planting just over 4,000 acres of hemp across 55 counties in 2019.

Hemp was grown in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States until after World War II but became regulated along with marijuana and its cultivation was prohibited. Unlike marijuana, hemp is also grown for fiber and seed, in addition to floral extracts, and must maintain a much lower concentration of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, below the 0.3% legal threshold.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s hemp program, click here. 
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District Office:
1009 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 220, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
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Room 428, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com