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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 decision makes Pennsylvania’s elections less secure and opens the door to serious questions about the integrity of the process in one of the most significant national and state elections in recent memory.

Please read the letter I sent to our House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) requesting that the General Assembly call a special session to address the actions of the PA Supreme Court, to ensure the integrity of our elections, and to address any violations of the law immediately.

More information on voting, voting calendar, voting locations and other voting-related information can be found on the county elections site.

In addition, the county has started providing Allegheny Votes E-Newsletter. You can sign up here.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Apologizes for Canceling Shredding Event

Unfortunately, Rep. Gaydos had to cancel her popular shredding event on Saturday, Sept. 12. She felt with so many people spending the last six months cleaning out their files, it would be worthwhile to hold this event. However, it is difficult to control the number of people who can attend, and the amount of important documents to be shred. The machine is able to shred one bin at a time and people want to make sure their documents are shredding properly. The regularly used venue was not available for the date the service company had available. They were only able to provide one truck, two trucks have been used previously. The Boys Scouts have been generous and have volunteered their services in past years, and hopefully when the pandemic is behind us, we will ask for their generosity again. On one hand there were several COVID-19 - related factors that would have made this a successful event. However, there were other factors that made it frustrating and disappointing and Rep. Gaydos apologizes for having to cancel the event.

Rep. Gaydos and her staff will be working on a possible make-up date, but we are at the mercy of the shredding service companies, locations and availability of volunteers during COVID-19.

As soon as Rep. Gaydos has something available, it will be announced in her weekly e-newsletter. To sign up, please visit my website at www.RepGaydos.com.
Gaydos Secures State Grant Funding for Projects in the 44th District

This week, Rep. Gaydos announced that $500,000 in grants made possible through the Gaming Economic Development Fund (GEDF) were awarded for improvement projects in the 44th District.

Those municipalities receiving a GEDF grant include:
  •   Moon Township – $150,000 for renovations and additions to the Downes Fire Station.
  •   Findlay Township - $125,000 to upgrade lighting to LED for three locations as well as streetscape improvements on Main Street.
  •   Ohio Township - $125,000 to remove sediment runoff which enters the water at three locations in Ohio Township as part of the Pollutant Reduction Plan Implementation Project.
  •   Edgeworth Borough - $50,000 to remove sediment runoff which enter the ways at the McCabe Run-Ohio River Watershed.
  •   Belle Acres Borough - $50,000 to purchase a Bobcat Excavator for numerous landslide and road erosion projects.

Clean water and air are essential to the overall health of any community -- but it takes money to keep it clean. That is why Rep. Gaydos appreciates the state’s commitment to helping our efforts to ensure a cleaner and safer region.

The GEDF is administered by the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC). It is intended to provide financial assistance to entities to facilitate economic development projects in Allegheny County.
Gaydos Pleased, Federal Court Says Wolf-Levine Orders Unconstitutional

Earlier this week, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Wolf Administration’s COVID-19 mitigation measures regarding congregate gatherings, stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed by elected officials from Washington, Butler, Fayette and Greene counties.

While most of the orders referenced in the ruling are no longer in effect, the court’s decision does provide a glimmer of hope that we may be getting closer to some level of normalcy in the near future, and that we can go back to governing the way we should be…working together as separate but coequal branches of government to find a path forward through the pandemic.

The Wolf administration has applied for a stay of the order and will appeal this decision. However, Rep. Gaydos understands that you may be wondering how this development might impact your operations in the intervening time until the litigation comes to a resolution.

The ruling was not a blanket end to the mitigation orders put in place to protect residents of the Commonwealth from the coronavirus and all of us must stay the course to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. All other orders of the governor and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine remain in effect, including the order on face coverings.

Rep. Gaydos reminds us that we must continue to work on allowing our children to have the best education possible, which includes higher education. Rep. Gaydos is a member of the House Commerce Committee. She wants to make sure those who wish to go to any higher level of education can do so. She asked PHEAA Senior Vice President Nathan Henth about the state grant system of higher education. Click here to watch my comments and questions.

The governor is appealing the ruling, so stay tuned.
Gaydos Urges Governor to Let Them Play…and Let Families In

With Gov. Tom Wolf threatening to veto legislation that would ensure local control over decisions about school sports, extracurricular activities and spectators, Rep. Gaydos and her House Republican colleagues gathered to encourage the governor to do the right thing and sign the bill.

We all want to keep our children safe and give them the best educational opportunities in spite of the pandemic, and as any of us who participated in sports or other activities know, these activities contribute significantly to our children’s educational experiences. With so much variation in how the virus is affecting different areas of the state, it only makes sense to give local officials the authority to make decisions based on what they are experiencing in their own communities, rather than what is happening in another part of the state.

House Bill 2787 would grant the governing authority of a school entity the exclusive authority to determine whether to hold school sports and extracurricular activities in-person during the 2020-21 school year. School officials would be responsible for establishing safety protocols for permitting visitors and spectators to attend sports and in-person extracurricular activities; limits on gatherings for indoor and outdoor sports and in-person extracurricular activities to ensure social distancing; protocols for sports consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Considerations for Youth Sports; and methods of ensuring that social distancing and other safety measures are in place for students, staff and spectators.

Rep. Gaydos strongly believes that school boards should be given the right to decide if kids can participate in athletic competition. Watch her comments by clicking here.

If the governor chooses to veto the legislation, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) has pledged to hold an override vote. The measure passed 155-47 in the House and 39-11 in the Senate, both of which represent enough votes to successfully override if members don’t change their minds.
Gaydos Concerned About States Two Major Pension Systems

Pennsylvania has made great strides in paying off its pension unfunded liability, but we still have work to do to improve the management of our state’s two major pension systems, especially during this time of pandemic.

In the House this week, Rep. Gaydos voted to approve legislation to benefit both taxpayers and retirees by requiring better performance reporting and annual stress testing, and preventing artificially suppressed contribution rates to ensure we fulfil our commitment to fully funding our statewide pension system.

House Bills 1961-1963 now head to the Senate for its review.
Apply Now For Up To 6 Weeks of Lost Wages Assistance Program

The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) is reminding eligible Pennsylvanians to apply as soon as possible for up to six weeks of assistance through the federal Lost Wages Assistance Program (LWA), which provides up to $300 a week extra in additional funds to individuals that are unemployed (or partially unemployed) because of COVID-19.

FEMA initially approved three claim weeks ending on:
  •   August 1
  •   August 8
  •   August 15

Three additional weeks have also been approved:
  •   August 22
  •   August 29
  •   September 5
LWA payments will be paid in one lump sum to eligible claimants as long as the underlying benefit payment has already been made for those weeks. Payment for claims began Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, and will continue until funding is depleted or until FEMA announces an end date to the program.

Applications are also available for individuals who cannot apply online. Last week, UC began mailing applications to claimants who did not provide their email address. For more information, visit www.uc.pa.gov.
PennDOT Resumes Issuing REAL ID

PennDOT has resumed issuing REAL IDs at reopened Driver License Centers throughout the state after putting it on hold for the last six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes. Effective Oct. 1, 2021, a federally acceptable form of identification will be required to board a domestic commercial flight or visit a secure federal building or military installation that requires ID for access. Federally acceptable forms of identification include a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a valid U.S. passport/passport card or a military ID.

There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID; PennDOT continues to offer standard-issue driver's licenses and photo IDs. For more information about how to obtain a REAL ID, click here.
Watch for Swarms of Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly, having grown into adults after storing up the summer warmth and energy, are beginning to swarm. They hunt for tall structures such as trees and houses in preparation to launch themselves into the wind, look for food and find a safe place to lay their eggs. The Spotted Lanternfly poses no harm to humans; however, they disrupt outdoor activity and feed off several types of trees.

These swarming events give researchers a good idea of where large populations might exist today, and where egg masses will likely be found in the winter months. Reporting these swarms via the Public Reporting Tool will aid researchers and treatment staff alike in the effort to slow the spread of this invasive insect.

In 2019, more than 90,000 sightings were reported to the PA Department of Agriculture, with the majority coming in during the September swarm. In 2020, the department saw a 50-80% increase in the number of early season peaks compared to 2019.

To learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly or to report a sighting, click here.
September is National Preparedness Month

“Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” That is the theme of this year’s National Preparedness Month, an initiative aimed at increasing the overall number of individuals, families and communities that engage in preparedness actions at home, work, businesses, schools and places of worship.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency recommends the following preparedness tips:
  •   Take a basic first aid or CPR class.
  •   Create a family emergency plan so loved ones know who to contact and where to go in an emergency.
  •   Have a small kit of emergency supplies in your home and car.
  •   Know how to turn off utilities safely in your home.
  •   Review insurance policies and coverage to ensure it is adequate for the hazards you may face.
  •   Purchase flood insurance.
  •   Build up an emergency fund.

More information about how to prepare for an emergency, including specific information for people with access and functional needs or pets, is available on the Ready PA website.
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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