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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 here.
I proudly wore my Steelers mask on the
House Floor during last week's session.
It was a busy week in the Legislature last week. When we returned to session on Monday, three separate bills we passed to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting unemployment crisis were on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.

These were pieces of legislation designed to create a recovery plan and safely reopen industries that have proven they can comply with public health guidelines to reopen. These include vehicle dealerships, lawn and garden centers, cosmetology salons and barber shops, messenger services, animal grooming services and manufacturing operations. One such bill was House Bill 2412, which would have allowed limited real estate activities to resume in the Commonwealth, subject to those same health guidelines.

On Tuesday, the governor vetoed all three bills. Then, all of a sudden, he amended his administration’s business orders to allow limited real estate activities to resume in the Commonwealth.

This disregard for the legislative process is shameful.

As your representative, I will continue to advance policies that reflect your voices. I hear from so many of you about the struggles and frustrations you are facing as a result of this pandemic and prolonged mitigation efforts. I recognize the harm being done, and I am fighting for you.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to “like” my Facebook page www.facebook.com/RepGaydos and visit my website www.RepGaydos.com for the latest updates on what’s happening in Harrisburg.

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   Last Week’s Session Recap
  •   Hearing Planned to Request Transparency from Levine, DOH
  •   Honoring Our EMS Personnel
  •   Community Shredding Event Postponed to the Fall 
  •   Long-Term Care Data Illustrates Need for Senior Protection Act
  •   Early Distribution of Property Tax/Rent Rebate Funds Underway 
  •   Unemployment Claims Exceed 2 Million, Extended Benefits Available 
  •   DHS Assistance Programs Available to Low-Income Families 
  •   Polling Places Consolidated for June 2 Election 
Last Week’s Session Recap

Recognizing the growing strain on our families, communities and the economy, the House returned to session last week to continue our fight for the future of our state.

To help our struggling restaurants, bars and clubs, we passed bills that would authorize these business owners to allow outdoor seating (House Bill 2506) and indoor seating (House Bill 2513) to resume in areas of the state in the yellow or green phases of mitigation. Certain safety guidelines would have to be met. These bills go to the Senate for consideration. In related news, House Bill 327, which would allow the sale of cocktails to go, was signed into law as Act 21 of 2020.

We passed House Resolution 867 to set up a special committee of the House to examine various aspects of the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and make recommendations regarding issues of importance and long-term recovery. A final report of the committee’s activities, findings and recommendations would be due by Nov. 19.

To further aid in assessment of the COVID-19 disaster response, House Bill 2505 would require the administration to retain relevant records for 10 years after the end of the emergency order. The bill goes to the Senate for consideration.

Additionally, House Bill 2517 would require a waiver to allow residential cleaning services to resume operations during the COVID-19 emergency, provided the follow social distancing and other health and safety guidelines. This bill also goes to the Senate.  

House Attempts to Override Governor’s Veto of Plans to Reopen PA Safely
House Attempts to Override Governor’s Veto of Plans to Reopen PA Safely
A day after Gov. Tom Wolf opted to veto the three measures we championed to help provide more options to reopen the state, the House attempted an override vote on one of the bills. House Bill 2388 would have allowed a wide range of businesses to reopen. 

Unfortunately, the vote that could have allowed people to get back to work and support themselves and their families failed to garner the two-thirds majority required. The vote was 115-87, 21 votes shy of the 136 votes required under the Constitution to override a veto.

As I mentioned in my opening letter, the governor last Tuesday vetoed a bill to reopen the real estate industry, then went ahead and amended his business closure orders to reopen real estate anyway.  

This is not the first time the governor has acted in response to actions of the House. The same occurred with the construction industry, online vehicle sales and more. We are helping to drive the agenda toward reopening and will continue to do so.

Wolf’s third veto was to Senate Bill 327, which would have (among other things) given county officials the ability to develop their own emergency mitigation plans for business. 
Hearing Planned to Request Transparency from Levine, DOH

The citizens of Pennsylvania have a right to know how public health officials are making decisions on COVID-19 mitigation that affect Pennsylvanians’ lives and livelihoods.

After repeated attempts to get Secretary of Health Rachel Levine to tell us how she is making decisions, who she is consulting with and how frequently, I have still not received a clear answer. This kind of vagueness from the department is unacceptable.

Last Wednesday, I asked House Health Committee Chairman Kathy Rapp to schedule a public hearing with Secretary Levine to demand greater transparency from the Pennsylvania Department of Health when it comes to the criteria used to make its decisions on COVID-19 mitigation. Chairman Rapp has confirmed a hearing will be scheduled in the near future.

You can read my press release on this topic here. I will share further updates on the hearing’s date, time and location as they become available.
Honoring Our EMS Personnel

I am proud to be the prime sponsor of House Resolution 796 designating the week of May 17-23, 2020, as "Emergency Medical Services Week" in Pennsylvania.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation's communities.

Especially during this pandemic, it is important we recognize this week to say “thank you” to our EMS personnel. I am glad to report this resolution passed unanimously out of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Thursday.

Serving as an emergency medical technician (EMT) with Valley Ambulance in the 1980s ranks as one of my greatest experiences in life. Working together with police and fire, I saw firsthand how essential the services are our communities’ unseen heroes.

That’s why, as State Representative, I work so hard to support them.
Community Shredding Event Postponed to the Fall


I am sure many of you were looking forward to participating in my Identity Theft Prevention and Shredding Event, originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13, at Moon Middle School.

It has been determined that it is best to postpone this event to a more suitable date in the fall. We made this decision as part of an ongoing effort to observe social distancing and other guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state Department of Health.

I apologize for any inconvenience and will notify you later this summer when this important event can be rescheduled.
Long-Term Care Data Release Illustrates Need for Senior Protection Act

Last week, we sent a bill to the Senate to help stop the tragic COVID-19 death rate occurring at the state’s nursing home facilities, personal care homes and assisted living residences.

The Senior Protection Act (House Bill 2510) is a bipartisan initiative that aims to use regional health system collaboratives to better manage personnel, protocols, testing and expenditures to protect our vulnerable senior citizens who live in these facilities. The legislation was developed with the help of medical experts at UPMC with the goal of saving lives and giving families whose loved ones reside in these facilities peace of mind.

The urgent need for this legislation is well illustrated by the administration’s long-awaited release of data specific to each of the state’s long-term care facilities, available here.  More than 3,000 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths – nearly 70% of the state’s fatalities – have occurred among these residents. This is unacceptable.

The bill now goes to the Senate. 
Early Distribution of Property Tax/Rent Rebate Funds Underway

Legislation advanced by the House Republican Caucus that will allow qualified recipients of Property Tax/Rent Rebate assistance to start receiving their funds sooner has been signed into law by the governor.

Distribution of the rebates is now underway for those who have already filed for the rebate through the Department of Revenue; typically, distribution does not begin until July 1. People who qualify but have not yet applied for their rebates have until Dec. 31 to do so.

The program, which is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery, provides property tax or rent assistance to seniors age 65 and over, widows or widowers age 55, and over and people with disabilities age 18 and over who meet program income guidelines.

My office is available to assist with your application at no charge. For more information or to apply for the 2019 program year, click here.  
Unemployment Claims Exceed 2 Million, Extended Benefits Available

Well over 2 million Pennsylvanians – approximately one-third of the state’s entire workforce – have now filed for unemployment benefits, either through traditional unemployment or the special unemployment program for self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers.

While lawmakers work to help get our citizens back to work safely, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry last week launched the state’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who have exhausted their regular unemployment compensation. The extended benefits were authorized in the federal CARES Act.

The department reports it has paid out nearly $7.4 billion in total unemployment benefits since mid-March.

A person is eligible for the extended benefits if they are unemployed between March 29 through Dec. 26, 2020; have exhausted regular state or federal benefits with the week ending July 6, 2019, or later; are currently not eligible for state or federal unemployment benefits; and are able and available to work and actively seeking work, except for COVID-19-related reasons including illness, quarantine or “stay-at-home” orders.

Important information about the extended benefits program has been emailed or mailed via the United States Postal Service to all individuals who potentially qualify for PEUC. For more information about this program, click here.

For complete information and the latest updates about unemployment, click here. 
DHS Assistance Programs Available to Low-Income Families

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding residents of assistance programs that may be available to them as they deal with COVID-19 and its impacts. Among the initiatives are the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) Recovery Crisis Program to help with residents at risk of losing access to electricity, natural gas or deliverable fuels; the Emergency Assistance Program to provide a one-time cash benefit to families who have experienced a significant income reduction or complete job loss; and the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program to help feed children while schools are closed. To learn more, click here.  
Polling Places Consolidated for June 2 Election

Please note that due to COVID19, voting locations in Allegheny county are being consolidated to one per municipality. The following is a list of new polling locations. Voters are suggested to arrive early and prepare for all possible weather conditions. Social distancing measures will be in place.

More details are available here.

  •   Aleppo: Aleppo Township Public Works Garage, 100 North Drive.

  •   Bell Acres: Bell Acres/Big Sewickley Creek Volunteer Fire Dept., 1850 Big Sewickley Creek Road.

  •   Crescent: Crescent Municipal Building, 225 Spring Run Road.

  •   Edgeworth: Edgeworth Elementary, 200 Meadow Lane.

  •   Findlay: Findlay Township Activity Center, 310 Main St.

  •   Glen Osborne: Osborne Elementary School, 1414 Beaver Road.

  •   Glenfield: Glenfield Park Building, 315 Dawson St

  •   Haysville: Crawford Auto Repair, 16 South Ave.

  •   Moon: Moon Middle School, 904 Beaver Grade Road.

  •   North Fayette: North Fayette Community Center, 580 Donaldson Road.

  •   Ohio: Ohio Township Community Park Nature Center, 325 Nicholson Road.

  •   Sewickley: Quaker Valley Middle School, 618 Harbaugh St.

  •   Sewickley Heights: Sewickley Heights History Center, 1901 Glen Mitchell Road.

  •   Sewickley Hills: Sewickley Hills Municipal Building, 349 Magee Road.

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District Office:
1009 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 220, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com