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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.
With the final scheduled session week of the summer having concluded last Wednesday, I am looking forward to spending more time in our district, connecting with constituents on a local level and helping residents in need during this difficult time.

Throughout this pandemic, the House has worked overtime to equip Pennsylvanians with the information, resources and benefits they need to keep their lives and livelihoods afloat. These measures include taking action to permit businesses to operate safely, revising the public school code to allow for expanded virtual learning, supporting our frontline health facilities and passing legislation to extend emergency funds to businesses and families in need.

I am proud of the way in which our community has come together to unite against adversity. Over the past several weeks, I have heard countless stories of neighbors helping one another and looking out for those around them. These stories inspire me and fill me with optimism about the future, though I recognize that Pennsylvanians’ struggles are far from over.

In the weeks and months ahead, my office will continue to serve you however we can. Please know that we are always available to lend a helping hand. If you find yourself in need of assistance with any state-related issue, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling 412-262-3780.

Additionally, please consider connecting with me on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/repgaydos and visiting my website www.repgaydos.com for real-time updates on legislation, community news and more.

To everyone that is struggling right now, know that I am here for you and that I stand with you. We will overcome this pandemic and the difficulties faced by many in our community the way we always have—together.

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   House Passes Policing Reforms in ‘Protect and Serve Initiative’ 
  •   Fighting to Prevent Medicaid Fraud, Waste 
  •   Local Municipalities to Benefit from Natural Gas Funds
  •   House Elects New Leadership 
  •   Mortgage, Rental Assistance Available Starting This Week
  •   PennDOT Skills Test Appointment Scheduling Now Open 
  •   Tips to Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse 
House Passes Policing Reforms in ‘Protect and Serve Initiative’

Last week, the House advanced two bills to ensure police officers are properly vetted before hiring and trained to appropriately interact with individuals of diverse backgrounds.

Pennsylvania law requires police departments to conduct thorough background investigations on every police officer candidate before hiring them but does not require previous employers to release an officer’s employment information. Without this, police departments could be missing critical information about an officer’s behavior or disciplinary record that could help in its hiring decision.

House Bill 1841 would require disclosure of this information to a law enforcement agency and would permit a court to compel the release of the information if the employer fails to comply. The disclosure requests must be authorized by the candidate and contain the signature of the person conducting the investigation. The bill would also require the establishment of an electronic database to collect and maintain the separation records of law enforcement officers for use by law enforcement agencies when hiring.

House Bill 1910 would require police officers to receive training on how to interact with individuals of diverse backgrounds; de-escalation, harm reduction and reconciliation techniques; and community and cultural awareness. It also covers the appropriate use of force, provides for mental health evaluations in certain situations, and requires child abuse awareness training for officers and magisterial district judges.

The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Fighting to Prevent Medicaid Fraud, Waste

Click here to view video.

Working to ensure taxpayer dollars are supporting people who are truly in need, the House has approved a series of bills to make reforms to the state’s Medicaid program.

The measures include my legislation, House Bill 2353, aimed at stopping fraud and preventing improper payments, both of which will help save taxpayer dollars and ensure money is spent properly. Related bills reflect the findings of a grand jury report on Medicaid fraud and efforts to enact laws that mirror federal statutes that have helped reduce fraud and recoup tax dollars.

The bills would increase penalties for making false claims against Medicaid (House Bill 2351); require state agencies to assess their program expenditures to determine how susceptible they are to improper payment (House Bill 2353); create a state-level Do Not Pay system to stop improper payments before they are made (House Bill 2354); and establish requirements for contracts with Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (House Bill 2355).

All are awaiting action in the Senate; I look forward to keeping you updated on this legislation as it advances through the legislative process.
Local Municipalities to Benefit from Natural Gas Funds

For the reporting year of 2019, natural gas producers paid more than $200 million in impact fees statewide, for a total of more than $1.9 billion over the past nine years.

Municipalities in the 44th Legislative District are set to receive more than $130,000 in disbursements, as shown below:

  •   Aleppo Township – $259.58.
  •   Bell Acres Borough – $1,248.70.
  •   Crescent Township – $1,446.89.
  •   Edgeworth Borough – $1,167.58.
  •   Findlay Township – $103,309.98.
  •   Glen Osborne Borough – $125.30.
  •   Glenfield Borough – $61.69.
  •   Haysville Borough – $20.53.
  •   Moon Township – $12,341.05.
  •   North Fayette Township – $7,438.12.
  •   Ohio Township – $1,122.35.
  •   Sewickley Borough – $697.90.
  •   Sewickley Heights Borough – $704.65.
  •   Sewickley Hills Borough – $382.63.
House Elects New Leadership

Last week, Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) was elected speaker of the House for the remainder of the 2019-20 legislative session. Cutler was first sworn in to represent the 100th District in Lancaster County in 2007, making his 13 years of service before election to the speaker’s chair the shortest tenure since 1967. He replaces recently retired Speaker Mike Turzai of Allegheny County. Cutler previously served as House majority leader and majority whip.

With Cutler vacating his position of majority leader, members of the House Republican Caucus voted to make additional changes to their leadership team. Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) was selected to serve as the next majority leader; Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) was selected to serve as majority whip; and Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter) was selected as majority Policy Committee chairman.

The remaining members of the leadership team stay the same. Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) retains his position, as does Caucus Chair Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery), Caucus Secretary Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) and Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland/Columbia/Montour).
Mortgage, Rental Assistance Available Starting This Week

Renters and homeowners who were financially impacted by the economic slowdown related to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to access applications for rent and mortgage relief starting this week. To qualify, renters or homeowners must document at least a 30% reduction in income since March 1 related to COVID-19, or have been unemployed after March 1.

For additional information about the programs and eligibility requirements, click here. Applications will be available starting Monday, June 29, at www.PHFA.org.
PennDOT Driver’s Skills Test Appointment Scheduling Now Open

People looking to take their driver’s skills tests, including motorcycle skills tests, can now schedule their appointments online by visiting www.dmv.pa.gov or by contacting the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services Call Center at 717-412-5300.

The skills test has been modified to mitigate potential exposure to coronavirus for PennDOT staff and customers while maintaining the integrity of the testing process. The protocols are as follows:
  •   PennDOT staff will remain outside the vehicle during the entire skills test. The test taker and accompanying driver will remain in the vehicle.
  •   In yellow phase counties, the examiner will conduct a basic health pre-screening of applicant. If the applicant is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, the test will not be administered. There will be no pre-screening for customers in green counties.
  •   All customers and accompanying drivers must wear appropriate face masks during testing.
  •   Examiners will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and eye protection during the exam.
  •   Examiners will use iPads during the administration of testing, which will be routinely disinfected using wipes or spray sanitizer.

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver's license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fees; and driver license and photo ID duplicates. There are no additional fees for using online services.
Tips to Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse

Months of social distancing have left senior citizens more vulnerable to financial exploitation. To help you protect your senior family members, the Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is sharing information about signs to watch out for. These include:
  •   A new and overly protective friend or caregiver.
  •   Surrendering control of finances to a new friend or partner.
  •   Fear or sudden change in feelings about somebody.
  •   A lack of knowledge about financial status or reluctance to discuss financial matters
  •   Sudden or unexplained changes in spending habits, a will, trust or beneficiary designations.
  •   Unexplained checks made out to cash, unexplained loans or unexplained disappearance of assets.
  •   Suspicious signatures on the senior’s checks or other documents.

Click here for information on how to help someone you suspect is being financially exploited.  
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!
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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