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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.
This week we return to Harrisburg for the final scheduled session week of the summer. Earlier this month, the Speaker of the House asked Gov. Tom Wolf to convene a special session to address issues of racial injustice and law enforcement reform. Unfortunately, the governor did not approve our request.

Nonetheless, we recognize that the needs of Pennsylvanians are changing every day, and we are dedicated to responding quickly in the event of a need to reconvene over the summer. As such, the House will stand in recess to the call of the chair should we be needed to return to session prior to Sept. 15. This week, we will resume working to advance these law enforcement reforms, as well as our continued efforts to ensure businesses may operate safely and helping prepare schools for a safe reopening in the fall.

As session draws to a close, I look forward to spending the next few months in our district, helping neighbors on the ground level and working to improve the lives of my constituents whom I am so honored to serve. Please know that during this difficult time, we are here for you. Should you need assistance with any state-related issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 412-262-3780.
Additionally, please take a moment to “like” my Facebook page  for real-time updates on legislation, community news and more. Visit my website for links to important resources and critical information. 

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   House Education Committee Hears Plans, Challenges for Return to Classroom
  •   Working to Strengthen Police, Community Relationships 
  •   Funding Available for School Health, Safety Grants
  •   Beware of Ticks, Lyme Disease 
  •   Congratulations to the Class of 2020
  •   Transportation Updates  
  •   West Allegheny Outfielder Austin Hendrick Drafted in First Round 
  •   Independence Day Fireworks at RMU 
  •   Virtual Job Fair This Wednesday  
House Education Committee Hears Plans, Challenges for Return to Classrooms

Click here to view video. 

Last week, the House Education Committee on which I serve heard from teachers, administrators and directors from public and nonpublic schools to discuss plans being made to get students back in the classroom this fall.

Staggered schedules, proper personal protective equipment, necessary equipment and software for remote learning, and reorganization of furniture and classroom space to accommodate social distancing are just a few of the challenges school officials are working to address to keep staff and students safe.

Some testifiers discussed the challenges of helping students who may be behind as a result of last year’s school closures and the emotional toll the situation has taken on students of all ages. Officials also raised concerns about loss of funding on the local level due to the economic downturn and the increased expenses necessitated by COVID-19 mitigation efforts. This would include an increased need for school nurses and support staff for students.

The meeting is available for viewing at www.PAHouseGOP.com.

Guidance from the administration to reopen schools is available here. 

My House colleagues and I are dedicated to taking every available action in ensuring our state’s children have the opportunity to return to the classroom this fall without fear of jeopardizing their health. I will continue to provide updates on our efforts as they become available.
Working to Strengthen Police, Community Relationships

In response to current national events creating a divide between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, the House Judiciary Committee recently voted on two comprehensive bills dealing with the vetting and training of police officers.

House Bill 1841 would require a thorough background investigation on an applicant for employment as a law enforcement officer, including a review of the applicant’s employment information and separation records from prior law enforcement employment, before the applicant may be employed. It would also require the establishment and maintenance of an electronic database containing separation records of law enforcement officers for use by other law enforcement agencies when hiring certified law enforcement officers.

House Bill 1910 would require the training of officers on interacting with individuals of diverse racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds; implicit bias training; recognizing and reporting child abuse; and annual training on the use of appropriate force. In addition, the bill would establish better access to mental health evaluations for law enforcement officers.

Both bills were unanimously passed by the committee and now await action in the full House.
Funding Available for School Health, Safety Grants

School School districts across the state are now eligible for grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to help address COVID-19-related health and safety needs for the 2020-21 school year. The deadline to apply is June 30.

Eligible uses for the funding include the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products; training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases; equipment purchases; modifying existing areas to support appropriate social distancing of students and staff; providing mental health services and supports; purchasing educational technology for distance learning; and other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address COVID-19.

Under Act 30 of 2020, each school district is eligible for $120,000 plus an amount based on its average daily membership. Intermediate units, area career and technical schools, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools are eligible for $90,000. School districts in the 44th Legislative District are eligible for the following amounts pending submission of a completed application.

  •   Avonworth School District – $184,811.
  •   Moon Area School District – $266,465.
  •   Quaker Valley School District – $191,369.
  •   West Allegheny School District – $249,330.

For more information about the grant program and how to apply, click here.

Beware of Ticks, Lyme Disease

The Department of Health is reminding Pennsylvanians to take proper steps to prevent tick bites and recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, as some may be similar to those of COVID-19.

Preliminary data show that more than 8,500 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Pennsylvania in 2019. Over time, if not treated, Lyme disease can lead to severe symptoms that affect the heart, nervous system and joints. You are at risk of getting a tick bite any time you are outside. To reduce your chances of a tick bite: walk in the center of trails and avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter; use a repellent that contains at least 20% DEET; wear light-colored clothing; conduct full-body tick checks on yourself and on your pets after spending time outdoors; and take a bath or shower within two hours after coming indoors.

If you have been bitten by a tick, make sure to monitor the area for any kinds of symptoms and contact your health care provider immediately. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a red, swollen bulls-eye shape rash; as well as fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Click here for more information about Lyme disease.

Click to learn about how to have a tick tested for Lyme or other diseases.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

I was inspired to see so many high schools in our district stepping up to honor their graduating seniors with virtual ceremonies and other events this year, truly making the most of a less-than-ideal situation. My heartfelt congratulations go out to the entire class of 2020 and I wish all students the very best in the journey ahead of them!
Transportation Updates

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports the Sewickley Bridge will be closed for 24 days for preservation work between July 17 and Aug. 10.

A spokesperson for the department says that further details of the closure, including information on detours, will be provided soon.

Click here to learn more. 

The Allegheny County Department of Public Works also announced that Glenfield Road between Ferry Road in Aleppo Township and Lang Road in Sewickley Hills Borough has reopened to traffic earlier than expected. The closure was required for construction of a new retaining wall, drainage repairs, excavation and curb installation.

Also, as previously announced, another section of Glenfield Road – between Ferry Road and the I-79 southbound exit ramp in Aleppo Township – is closed. That restriction, which is expected to end in October 2020, is required for construction of a new retaining wall, drainage repairs, excavation, guide rail installation, paving and pavement markings.

Read more about these projects here.
West Allegheny Outfielder Austin Hendrick Drafted in First Round

Congratulations to West Allegheny School District alumnus Austin Hendrick for being selected in the first round of the MLB draft! Austin was selected 12th overall by the Cincinnati Reds.
Independence Day Fireworks at RMU

Although this year’s Independence Day celebration at Moon Park has been canceled, the park, playgrounds and splash pad will remain open. Community members are still encouraged to come out and enjoy all Moon parks over the holiday weekend.

The annual fireworks display has been moved to the RMU campus. The fireworks display will start at 9:30 p.m. on July 4. With this new central location, all Moon residents can hopefully enjoy the show from the comfort of their own homes! I am certainly looking forward to it.
Virtual Job Fair This Wednesday

The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will host a free, online job fair on Wednesday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free, virtual event is open to all Pennsylvanians seeking employment. Event registration is required in order to participate.

Click here for more information and to register.
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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