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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.
The House returned to session last Tuesday, only days after breaking for summer recess, to address several pieces of legislation that were still outstanding. Among this week’s achievements was a bill I sponsored on prescription drug pricing which now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature, as well as legislation to ensure accountability in local government. I am glad to report that both measures were approved by an overwhelming majority.

We will be back in session this week to vote on more bills to help the citizens of Pennsylvania during this difficult time. I look forward to sharing updates from this week’s session on social media, so please consider staying in touch with me on Facebook. 

Additionally, be sure to check my website for official statements on key issues, links to helpful resources and more. 

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   Gaydos-Sponsored Prescription Drug Pricing Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk
  •   Allegheny County Legislators Call for Common Sense Bar Openings 
  •   House Votes to Conduct Government Efficiency Study, Reduce Waste
  •   Protect and Serve Initiative Awaits Governor’s Signature 
  •   Still Fighting to End Disaster Declaration
  •   House Acts to Protect Constitution in RGGI Vote 
  •   House Approves Gaydos-Sponsored Bill to Ensure Accountability in Local Government 
  •   Ensuring Citizens are Heard During State Emergencies 
  •   Grants Available for Fire, EMS Companies 
  •   Upcoming Event Calendar 
Gaydos-Sponsored Prescription Drug Pricing Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Legislation I introduced to increase transparency and consumer choice in the prescription drug marketplace is now awaiting Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature to become law.

House Bill 943 would end the long-standing “gag clause” imposed on pharmacists, barring them from informing customers of lower-cost alternatives at the pharmacy counter.

People have a right to affordable health care and to get the best price possible for their prescription drugs. Oftentimes, there are several inexpensive, generic medicines for which an insurance co-pay can be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket, bypassing their insurance company altogether.

Many pharmacists in our district want to help their customers find low-cost alternatives, but they are unfortunately forbidden from doing so.

Such a prohibition stems from language contained in some pharmacy contracts that disallows pharmacists from disclosing any information to their customers that could potentially reduce their out-of-pocket costs for medications.

My legislation would remove this mandate and would empower pharmacists to tell their customers everything they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision. Especially now, we in the Legislature should be doing everything we can to help our constituents have access to affordable medications.

House Bill 943 passed in a final vote of 201-0 last Tuesday.
Allegheny County Legislators Call for Common Sense Solution to Proposed Alcohol Prohibition 

I recently joined a number of my colleagues from Allegheny County in sending a letter to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, imploring him to impose common sense measures with respect to the continued operation of bars and restaurants. Our suggested measures would enable people to continue living their lives while also mitigating their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

A copy of that letter is shown below:

House Votes to Conduct Government Efficiency Study, Reduce Waste

Last week I supported House Bill 1995, legislation that would authorize the Keystone Solvency Operating Study, which passed the House with a vote of 117-84.

This study is designed to give us a better understanding of the critical problems associated with a government that doesn’t learn to live within its means. I am a firm believer that we need to reduce the cost of government and be much more efficient in how we utilize the resources that we have.

Government must go on the same fiscal diet that all citizens have had to. As a Commonwealth, we must get a better handle on our finances; this study represents a critical first step in doing so.

A copy of the bill can be found here.
Protect and Serve Initiative Awaits Governor’s Signature

Two bills designed to ensure police officers are properly vetted before hiring and trained to appropriately interact with individuals of diverse backgrounds have received unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and are now on the governor’s desk.

While Pennsylvania law already requires police departments to conduct thorough background investigations on every police officer candidate before hiring them, it 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.
Still Fighting to End Disaster Declaration

A resolution to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration in Pennsylvania was presented to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature last Wednesday after the state Supreme Court ruled it had to be submitted to him for action. The governor has already said he will veto House Resolution 836, despite its bipartisan adoption by the General Assembly.

Four months into the COVID-19 disaster emergency, people who were forced out of work are still struggling to recover, many small businesses have closed for good while others are fighting to survive, and school districts are trying to develop plans to return to the classroom as the administration keeps changing its directions and recommendations to do so.

The time for unilateral action by the governor is long past. As a member of the General Assembly, it is my responsibility to be your voice as we try to address the many challenges brought on by this pandemic. We are calling on the governor to work with us so we can best meet the needs of our citizens and our Commonwealth.
House Acts to Protect Constitution in RGGI Vote

Last week, the House took a stand against another unilateral action by Gov. Tom Wolf , voting to require legislative authorization before the Commonwealth could join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) or establish a carbon tax on our state’s citizens.

Everyone wants clean air and clean water—we are right to strive for these goals. However, this legislation (House Bill 2025) is not about whether we should or should not join RGGI. Instead, this legislation is about the process by which our state should enter into an agreement of this kind.

Clearly stated in Article III, Section 10 of our state Constitution is the provision that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” Pennsylvania’s entrance into RGGI, and the subsequent establishment of a carbon tax, is not something that can be done by executive order.

Last fall, the governor issued an executive order calling on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop proposed regulations to join RGGI. Every other state involved in the initiative was authorized to participate by its respective state legislature, not unilateral executive action.

The legislative process is designed to ensure all potential impacts of proposals like RGGI are considered. Though joining RGGI may very well be a positive force for Pennsylvania, we must also consider the economic impacts of joining such an initiative.

Therefore, the determination on whether to join an important initiative like RGGI should be made by the Legislature and only after open, transparent and comprehensive debate which establishes a solid, long-term energy policy to benefit all Pennsylvanians. To proceed in any other way would be unconstitutional.
House Approves Gaydos-Sponsored Bill to Ensure Accountability in Local Government

I’m pleased to report that House Bill 885, legislation I introduced to protect local governments from unsustainable debt due to a failed municipal project, passed the House of Representatives last week.

My bill would protect taxpayers by closing a legislative loophole and ensuring municipalities are properly protected from liability in the form of a performance bond, payment bond, irrevocable letters of credit or an escrow account, to be provided by any contractor working on a municipal project.

House Bill 885 was approved in a 198-3 vote last Wednesday and is currently pending action in the Senate.
Ensuring Citizens are Heard During State Emergencies

The House State Government Committee has approved a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to ensure our citizens are fully represented, even during state-declared emergencies.

The proposal comes after Gov. Tom Wolf has made numerous unilateral decisions related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last four months, deeply impacting the lives of all Pennsylvanians. With the governor refusing to work with the General Assembly to develop a reasonable path forward through the pandemic, the people you elected to represent you in these matters have been shut out of the process, effectively silencing your voice.

Senate Bill 1166 seeks to amend the state Constitution by requiring passage of a concurrent resolution by the Legislature for any disaster emergency declaration a governor wishes to extend beyond a period of 21 days. This would provide an effective balance between ensuring the governor has the authority to act quickly in an immediate emergency situation while also ensuring the General Assembly is properly engaged in the process of addressing long-term response and recovery processes.

A constitutional amendment proposal must be approved by both the House and Senate in two consecutive sessions and then be put before the voters in a referendum before it can be enacted.
Grants Available for Fire, EMS Companies

The COVID-19 Crisis Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program (Act 26 of 2020) is now open for applications.

Companies need to register for the grants regardless of whether they received funding in the last round of the regular Fire Company and EMS Grant program or not.

The application will remain open until Friday, Aug. 7, at 4 p.m. Click here for more information.
Upcoming Event Calendar

Identity Theft/Shredding Event
Saturday, September 12, 2020 from 9-11 a.m.
McCormick Middle School
2801 Beaver Grade Rd
Moon Township, PA 15108 

*Event dates are subject to change based on public safety protocols.
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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