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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.

Click here to listen to my comments on the budget proposal.

We in the House recognize that our constituents are suffering from the fallout of this COVID-19 crisis, so we took two critical actions this week to secure funding for essential programs and to help reduce the strain on taxpayers during this difficult time.

The House this week approved a state budget for the first part of the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The plan provides certainty and stability for the next several months while we await more information about how revenues have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. With tax collection dates changed to July and August, we need more time to ensure we have the data necessary to make smart budgeting decisions for the remainder of the fiscal year.

We are committing to a full 12 months of funding for our preK-12 schools and higher education institutions in this plan, which is based on the current year’s budget. Getting our students back in their classrooms this fall is a top priority for all of us, and this budget provides the necessary resources to help our schools reopen safely. We are also fully funding several health and human services programs. Most of the remaining functions are funded for a period of five months.

House Bill 2387 allocates approximately $25.8 billion and includes no new or increased taxes. The governor signed it into law on Friday afternoon.

Additionally, I am proud of all of my colleagues for their unanimous vote on House Bill 2487, a bill that would freeze pay for members of the General Assembly and other officials throughout all branches of state government. At a time when millions of Pennsylvanians are out of work, this is simply the right thing to do. This legislation is pending action in the Senate.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to “like” my Facebook page www.facebook.com/RepGaydos for real-time updates on legislation, community news and more. Visit my website www.RepGaydos.com for links to important resources and critical information. 

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   Allegheny County to Move to Green Phase on June 5
  •   What About the Other ‘Second Wave of Health Effects?’ 
  •   Bill to Offer Low-Interest Loans to Small Businesses Passes Committee
  •   My Statement on Fellow House Member Testing Positive for COVID-19
  •   Driving the Agenda to Reopen PA Safely
  •   Recognizing, Funding Our EMS Personnel 
  •   PennDOT Further Extends Expiration Dates to June 30
  •   An Update on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 
  •   New Guidance Issued for Children’s Summer Camp, Recreation Programs 
  •   Check Your Polling Place for Tuesday’s Primary Election
Allegheny County to Move to Green Phase on June 5

The governor announced Friday that Allegheny County will move to the “green phase” of the state’s phased reopening plan next Friday, June 5. The administration also issued some guidance earlier this week about what green means.

Essentially, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen for dine-in seating at 50% capacity. People will be able to get haircuts, by appointment only, and gyms and other wellness facilities will also be able to reopen, but at 50% capacity with appointments recommended.

Large gatherings of more than 250 people – up from 25 in the yellow phase – will be prohibited. Visitation to prisons and hospitals can resume at the discretion of the facility, but for now, nursing home visitation restrictions will remain in place.

The governor also made some updates to yellow phase guidance, most notably allowing restaurants in those areas to provide outdoor seating service.

For links to the orders and various guidance documents, click here.

What About the Other ‘Second Wave’ of Health Effects?

Watch my comments from the Health Committee meeting here.

During a meeting of the House Health Committee this week, I expressed my astonishment that some of my colleagues concerned about a “second wave” of COVID-19, but they are not concerned about the giant second wave of deaths that will occur because people are not receiving routine medical care.
Bill to Offer Low-Interest Emergency Small Business Loans Passes Committee

With the changes to daily life and business practices forced by COVID-19, many hard-working families have been severely and adversely impacted. Many businesses operate on fine margins already, and the prospect of losing even a day, let alone a week, a month or more of consistent business can translate into troubled times.

That’s why I introduced legislation to direct the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer low- to no-interest emergency loans to businesses that are being hit hard by this crisis.

These loans will come in two varieties: one that targets short-term bridge financing to get through this period, including meeting payroll, overhead, and other expenses; the other is a long-term resiliency loan that helps business recover from this over the months and years to come.

I’m proud to report that this bill passed the Finance Committee this week and now heads to the full House for consideration. I look forward to sharing further updates on this crucial legislation.

My Statement on Fellow House Member Testing Positive for COVID-19

Many of you have undoubtedly read about my colleague, Rep. Andrew Lewis, having tested positive for COVID-19. I wanted to share my thoughts on the matter.

I believe there is no orchestrated cover-up. The fact that the press or anyone else would make hysteria of this to make it about partisan politics is absolutely ludicrous and is exactly what the general public is tired of.

Do I think the member in question should have let the general public know his name? I happen to think so, yes. That’s because we, as public officials, meet so many people. But he is not required to do so by law. In fact, HIPAA and ADA laws prohibit anyone but the individual to reveal their own medical health.

Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the governor’s guidelines say to identify employees that were in close contact with a person with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 from 48 hours before symptom onset. That was done, albeit anonymously. But it was done.

It’s regretful that the press attempted to blow this story out of proportion, but the Secretary of Health on Friday confirmed that all protocols were followed properly and everyone who might have been exposed was notified. I am confident that any investigation will confirm that.
Driving the Agenda to Reopen PA Safely

Over the last several weeks, we in the House have been working on legislation to help reopen Pennsylvania safely. We called for clear guidelines for business to operate safely, development of a reopening and recovery plan to help give our citizens and businesses some hope and predictability, and we worked on a variety of bills to provide waivers to businesses we believed could operate safely under state and federal guidelines.

During this crisis, the House has taken bold action and the governor has followed our lead.

Recognizing, Funding Our EMS Personnel

I am very proud to report that we approved a bill this week to establish the COVID-19 Crisis Fire and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program.

Under this program, $50 million in federal CARES Act funding will be directed to emergency services personnel, including $6 million to eligible EMS agencies.

We recognize that the normal fundraising efforts of our local fire and EMS companies have been even more difficult in the wake of COVID-19 and I am proud of my colleagues for stepping up to provide much-needed funding for these heroes in our community.

Additionally, I introduced a bill this week that would add Tactical EMS providers to the definition of emergency service responders and emergency vehicles.

The inclusion of these critical emergency responders to this definition would allow these Tactical EMS providers to utilize emergency vehicle lights that provide added safety while also providing the ability to rapidly respond to an incident in progress.

You can read more about my legislation here.
PennDOT Further Extends Expiration Dates to June 30

Expiration dates for a variety of PennDOT products set to expire between March 16 and May 31 are now extended to June 30. This includes driver licenses, identification cards and learner's permits; vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections; and persons with disabilities parking placards. Many of these items may be renewed online if you choose at www.dmv.pa.gov. For more information about PennDOT actions related to COVID-19, click here. 
An Update on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants will now be receiving their PUA and federal pandemic unemployment compensation payments via paper checks for the foreseeable future as an added precaution.

The Notice of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Filed was mailed to all PUA claimants due to the Department of Labor and Industry’s recent discovery of attempts by scammers to apply for PUA using others’ personal information.

It is important to note that no UC data was breached – the scam involves stolen identities from other sources. Visit the department’s website for more information.  
New Guidance Issued for Children’s Summer Camp, Recreation Programs

As our state’s parents return to work this summer, many Pennsylvania families are wondering about the status of their children’s care and recreation programs in the wake of COVID-19.

Last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released a helpful guide with answers to questions about safe participation in summer camps, sports teams, recreation programs and more.

Click here for more information. 
Check Your Polling Place for Tuesday’s Primary Election

Just a reminder the state’s primary election will take place this coming Tuesday, June 2.

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 at www.alleghenycounty.us/elections.

• 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