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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.
As we navigate through this challenging time, I believe that getting and keeping our students safely back in the classrooms this fall is a top priority. As we continue to learn to live with COVID-19, students should not be deprived of the choice of having important in-classroom instruction and parents should not be forced to make the difficult choice between earning a living and being full-time, in-home educators. We must be doing everything possible to ensure our students and their educational needs do not fall through the cracks.

Schools provide critical instruction and academic support that benefit students and communities in both the short- and long-term. Schools also give critical psychological, mental and behavioral health services to children who may not have access to these services outside of school. During my telephone town hall meeting last week, I was joined by Dr. Tim Murphy, a licensed psychologist, specializing in resilience and recovery from psychological trauma. We discussed the disruptive effects of the academic year on children. Isolation and uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic can create feelings of hopelessness and anxiety while removing important sources of social support.

I hope that everyone is staying healthy and safe. Good luck to our students; enjoy a successful 2019-20 school year.

Valerie Gaydos
Telephone Town Hall Informative, Educational

Rep. Valerie Gaydos reminds her constituents in the 44th district that their health and well-being is a major concern. That is a major reason why she conducted a telephone town hall meeting this week.

Gaydos and Dr. Tim Murphy, a licensed psychologist specializing in resilience and recovery, discussed the mental health of our kids, elderly and first responders during the pandemic.

There were many great questions and Dr. Murphy gave very informative answers.

Please check out the graphic below for some valuable resources that may be very worthwhile. In addition, Rep. Gaydos has an additional list of resources and phone numbers that can be helpful to your health, please visit Gaydos’ website at http://www.repgaydos.com or call her district office in Moon Township at 412-262-3780.

Majority Policy Committee Hearing Highlights Importance of Law Enforcement in Protecting Communities

State, county and local law enforcement officers appeared before the House Majority Policy Committee Thursday to highlight efforts to serve their communities in the face of growing challenges and changing attitudes in some regions of the state.

In the wake of protests related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year, the topic of police-community relations and the importance of ensuring a relationship of trust was a common theme among many of the testifiers.

Les Neri, president of PA State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police, highlighted the value of community policing initiatives, especially those that reach the youth population; however, many departments have been forced to drop such outreach efforts due to a lack of funding. Chief Ron Camacho of Chambersburg, Franklin County, highlighted the need for greater transparency as well.

Responding to calls by some to “defund” police, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday noted a properly trained and well-funded police force is critical to meaningful criminal justice reform. “The call to simply defund the police, cut police budgets, divert or divest funds, or anything of the like, is a false and dangerous narrative,” Sunday said “In fact, eliminating police funding would disproportionately endanger the very vulnerable populations that advocates of this flawed premise seek to aid. No service given to any member of our community can be effective if it cannot be delivered safely. Only one public entity guarantees this basic need for safety, and that is law enforcement.”

Additional testimony was offered by the Defender Association of Philadelphia; Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association; and Pennsylvania State Troopers Association. To watch the hearing, click here.
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Rep. Gaydos wants you to be informed! House rules prevent the districtwide sending of legislative emails immediately prior to certain elections. You can ensure that you will still receive my news updates without interruption by clicking here.

Please know that all email addresses are only used through her office and are not shared with or sold to any third parties.
Update: Supplemental Payments for Lost Wages

More than 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that the coronavirus outbreak continues to threaten jobs even as the housing market, auto sales and other segments of the economy rebound from a springtime collapse.

Pennsylvania has been awarded nearly $1.5 billion to provide an extra $300 per week to eligible unemployed workers through the temporary federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

To qualify for the extra $300, the program requires that eligible individuals must receive at least $100 per week in benefits from:

  •   Regular Unemployment Compensation (UC).
  •   Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
  •   Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
  •   Extended Benefits (EB).
  •   Short-Time Compensation (STC) or Shared Work.
  •   Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA).

Individuals must also self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Payments will be made to eligible claimants retroactively from Aug. 1. Click here for more information.
COVID-19 Creates Added Challenges for Drug, Alcohol Programs

Pennsylvania’s drug and alcohol service providers are facing lost revenue and increased costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the House Human Services Committee learned earlier this week.

Jennifer Smith, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, said service providers are treating fewer people because many clients are staying home. For those who do seek in-person treatment, providers are complying with social distancing requirements while spending more on personal protective equipment, sanitizing and overtime pay.

The pandemic and subsequent business closure and stay-at-home orders have contributed to increased rates of overdose and substance abuse as people lose jobs and hope and are isolated, according to service providers who also testified at the meeting.

In addition to seeking additional financial support from the Commonwealth, providers also encouraged lawmakers to make permanent a policy that has allowed providers to obtain state funding when providing substance abuse counseling and other clinical services using “telehealth” technology.

The full meeting is available for viewing here.
PIAA Votes to Move Forward with Fall Sports

In case you missed it, last Friday the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) voted to move forward with the fall sports season despite Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation all sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021.

Rep. Gaydos applauds the PIAA for taking a stand and moving forward with the plans they had been working on for months to allow our kids to get back on the playing fields safely. Individual school district officials, student athletes and their families should be the ones making decisions about whether to participate in sports and other activities, based on the conditions in their areas. A statewide, one-size-fits-all order is not in the best interest of our youth or our communities.

Rep. Gaydos wishes our student athletes much success and good health throughout the school year.
Slow Down for School Buses

With some students returning to school for in-person classes, school buses are back on the roads. Motorists, parents and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.
Help Protect Children From Abuse

The state Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding everyone to help protect children from abuse and neglect.

According to department statistics, child abuse reports plummeted by 40-50% when schools closed last spring, and reports were down 10-12% this summer compared to last year, likely due to cancellation of sports, camps and other activities for children.

With many schools starting up online only or under a hybrid model of online and in-person instruction, people are encouraged to look out for signs of potential abuse or neglect such as numerous and/or unexplained injuries or bruises; chronic, pronounced anxiety and expressed feelings of inadequacy; flinching or an avoidance to being touched; poor impulse control; demonstrating abusive behavior or talk; cruelty to animals or others; and fear of a parent or caregiver, among others.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please report it to the 24-hour ChildLine hotline at 1-800-932-0313. Learn more about the signs of potential abuse at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

Parents and families who are struggling to cope during this time of crisis are encouraged to call Pennsylvania’s new Support and Referral Helpline, which is operated 24/7 by skilled caseworkers who can provide emotional support during this difficult period. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. Another helpful resource is the 2-1-1 hotline operated by the United Way, which can connect people and families to local resources that can help during the public health crisis.
Some Insight into State’s COVID-19 Response

As part of Rep. Gaydos’ commitment to be transparent, she wants to share with you data and other information my colleague Seth Grove (R-York) received from the Department of Health. The information was released after he sent the department a letter requesting it.

Policies formed by the administration are impacting every Pennsylvanian. I believe they deserve to know the data driving the policies.

This level of transparency in data and information is greatly appreciated. Rep. Gaydos felt it is important for the public to also see this information.

Available data includes:
  •   Response Letter from Dr. Levine
  •   COVID cases by date
  •   PCR tests per person per county
  •   Inmate testing data
  •   Positive antibody tests by date
  •   COVID labs
  •   CVS agreement
  •   Quest agreement
  •   Eurofins agreement
  •   Weekly COVID lab timelines
  •   Specific specimen collection date and locations
  •   Specimen collection sites
  •   Contract for contact tracing services
  •   Additional contact tracing contracts
  •   Statement of work for contact tracing services

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Office Locations
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