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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.
I’d like to thank Gov. Tom Wolf for signing my legislation, House Bill 943, into law. This bill will restore transparency and choice in the prescription drug marketplace and will help millions of Pennsylvanians get the medication they need for a price they can afford.

However, I am very disappointed in the governor’s announcement that he would veto another piece of legislation designed to increase transparency, this time in relation to our state government. House Bill 2463 would ensure the continued operation of our state’s agencies in responding to Right-to-Know requests from the public. This legislation was approved unanimously by all 252 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on July 15.

When the Legislature voted to approve this measure unanimously, we did so in recognition of our constituents’ right to know what decisions are being made on their behalf, and why. Nevertheless, the governor pledged to veto the bill. For a governor who has run on a record of transparency, this announcement was profoundly disappointing.

I pledge to continue fighting for you and to be a champion for transparency in our government. The citizens of the Commonwealth have made tremendous sacrifices and paid a heavy toll in trying to comply with the orders that the state has handed down to them. The least that our state government can do—and in fact, what it is incumbent on all governments to do—is to be transparent, open and honest about the process by which those orders are created.

Please consider connecting with me on Facebook and visiting my legislative website  for the latest news on legislation, community updates and more.  

Valerie Gaydos

In this edition:
  •   Openness, Transparency Needed Now More Than Ever
  •   Gaydos-Sponsored Prescription Drug Pricing Bill is Now Law 
  •   Enhancing Community Safety through Police Dialogue
  •   Securing the Future of Higher Education 
  •   WATCH: My Appearance on Get Involved! with Tom Baker
  •   Eligible Businesses Can Apply for Hazard Pay Grants  
  •   Requesting COVID-19 Recovery Data from DOH 
  •   PennDOT Accepting Applications for Winter Maintenance Positions 
  •   Emergency Programs Can Save Lives 
Openness, Transparency Needed Now More Than Ever

Pennsylvanians deserve to know what their government is doing and why. The state’s Right-to-Know (RTK) law was created to ensure access to that information, but as Gov. Tom Wolf shut down state government in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he also gave agencies a pass on handling RTK requests.

Now is the time for government to be more transparent, not less. That’s why every single House member and every single senator, regardless of party affiliation, voted unanimously in support of House Bill 2463 on July 15 to ensure state agencies remain transparent to the general public during active emergency declarations. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature to become law, but he has indicated he will veto it.

What does it say to our citizens when the state’s top executive is making decisions on behalf of Pennsylvanians, but he is not transparent about how those decisions are made? The governor must be accountable to our citizens at all times and especially in times of emergency.
Gaydos-Sponsored Prescription Drug Pricing Bill is Now Law

This week, legislation I introduced to increase transparency and consumer choice in the prescription drug marketplace has been signed into law as Act 67 of 2020.

There are many inexpensive, generic medicines for which an insurance co-pay can often be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket, bypassing their insurance company altogether. However, pharmacists were previously prohibited from informing their customers of lower-cost alternatives by a “gag clause” imposed by their pharmacy benefits manager.

My law removes this gag clause and will empower pharmacists to tell their customers everything they need to know in order to make an informed purchasing decision. This is a huge win for the consumers of Pennsylvania, and the millions of senior citizens—many of whom are on fixed incomes—who rely on prescription medications for their health. 
Enhancing Community Safety through Police Dialogue

Recent national events have put a spotlight on the need to ensure we maintain open lines of communication among police departments, elected officials and the public they serve.

I recently held a meeting of the chiefs of police from the 44th district along with my Democratic colleague, Rep. Anita Kulik, and the chiefs in her district to discuss community policing policies, standards, issues of community concern, and the ways to keep our communities safe and strong. A big thank you to the departments involved!

Photographed are (standing, from left): Chief Ron Manko of Sewickley Borough Police Department; Chief Ronald Denbow of Coraopolis Borough Police Department; Rep. Kulik; me; and Chief Joe Haney of Ohio Township Police Department.

In the front row: Chief Matthew Podsiadly of Scott Township Police Department; Chief Matt Preininger of Stowe Township Police Department; Chief Greg Seamon of Moon Township Police Department; Chief Jesse Lescko of Findlay Township Police Department; and Chief Timothy Westwood of Robinson Township Police Department.
Securing the Future of Higher Education

A new law will help ensure affordable, high-quality education remains available through the 14 schools that make up Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

Act 50 of 2020 aims to reform the governance and accountability of PASSHE’s Board of Governors, chancellor and the university councils of trustees. The changes are necessary to assist the board in its efforts to redesign the university system to better meet student needs and ensure financial sustainability.

PASSHE universities combined enroll the largest number of Pennsylvania residents among all four-year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. With nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the state system is a vital contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy. Collectively, the state system universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas.
WATCH: My Appearance on Get Involved! with Tom Baker

I had a great time last weekend taping a cable television show with Councilman Tom Baker. We discussed how to get involved in the community.

Click here to view video.
Eligible Businesses Can Apply for Hazard Pay Grants

Qualifying businesses can now apply for grants of up to $3 million to provide hazard pay to their employees working in life-sustaining occupations.

The grants are funded by $50 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The deadline to apply is July 31.

Grant funds may be used by eligible businesses to provide hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20 per hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the 10-week period from Aug. 16 to Oct. 24. Applicants may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. Employers may apply for a grant to provide hazard pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.

Click here for additional information about the grant program and the types of businesses that qualify for funding.
 Eligible applicants may apply for grants using the online Department of Community and Economic Development’s Electronic Single Application for Assistance located at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us from July 16-31. Program inquiries may be directed to 717-787-6245 or ra-dcedcbf@pa.gov.
Requesting COVID-19 Recovery Data from DOH

Last week, several of my colleagues joined me in sending a letter to Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine formally requesting information about the number of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 following a positive test.

As you know, the Department of Health adds new cases to their totals on a daily basis but has yet to publicly report how many of the more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians who have tested positive have since recovered from the virus.

Consequently, neither the Legislature nor the public at large has any idea how many of these total positive cases are active and how many have been resolved. We submitted a formal request that the Department of Health publish positive recovery data because the people of Pennsylvania deserve to know this information.

I look forward to sharing further updates with you as they become available.

PennDOT Accepting Applications for Winter Maintenance Positions

Individuals seeking seasonal employment are encouraged to apply for a variety of winter maintenance positions now open at PennDOT.

The program runs from September through April and includes positions for transportation equipment operators, diesel and construction equipment mechanics, automotive mechanics, tradesman helpers, welders and radio dispatchers.

Additional details about the positions, along with the job application, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Click on “Open Jobs” and then go to “PennDOT Seasonal Winter Jobs.”
Emergency Programs Can Save Lives

Drivers are reminded of two voluntary programs aimed at saving the lives of residents in emergency situations. Participation in both programs is free of charge.

Under PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program, participants fill out the program form with emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program’s folder and then place it in their vehicle’s glove compartment. A yellow dot sticker affixed to the rear window alerts emergency responders to the availability of information to help them provide better care to crash victims.

The Emergency Contact Information program offers Pennsylvania driver’s license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. Participants can update their records as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view the information in the system. In the event of an emergency, law enforcement can use a participant’s ID to find his or her emergency contact information.

The Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, but the Emergency Contact Information program can be used in other emergencies as well as crashes.
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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