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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.
It was a busy week in Harrisburg as my House colleagues and I addressed a number of issues related to getting our economy back on track safely and to help people of the 44th District affected by COVID-19.

Tomorrow (Tuesday), I will be hosting the House Majority Policy Committee for a virtual discussion with health care officials and elected officials on COVID-19 effects on health care innovation and delivery.

The focus of this hearing will be how people can safely move on to live normal lives during this critical time and how elected leaders can make sure frontline workers are receiving the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) that the legislature provided funding for and to ensure that they have what they need to serve the public.

Joining us will be: Arvind Venkat, MD, FACEP, Immediate Past President, PA College of Emergency Physicians; Randy Padfield, Director/Jeff Thomas, Executive Deputy Director, PEMA; Norm Mitry, President & CEO, Heritage Valley; Zach Shamberg, President & CEO, PA Healthcare Association; Matt Brown, Chief Fire Marshall, Allegheny County Emergency Operations Center; Dr. Parker, Jefferson Hospital; Jane Horvath, Principal, Horvath Health Policy; Teresa Osborne, Advocacy and Outreach Manager, AARP Pennsylvania; Patrick Keenan, Policy Director, PA Health Access Network.

This will be available via Livestream at www.RepGaydos.com, or www.PAGOPPolicy.com.

I hope you can join me. Feel free to text me if you have any questions for any of our panelists.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Co-Sponsors Legislation to Help Disabled Workers

People with disabilities, like anyone else, deserve the opportunity to work to their full potential. Unfortunately, private pay insurance does not offer services like home and community-based services--such as nursing care that many individuals with disabilities rely on every day to live.

During the House Health Committee last week, we reported out four bills including House Bill 2202, legislation which I co-sponsored, that will allow individuals to earn more money under a new category under Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD), called Workers with Job Success (WJS). The legislation passed our committee unanimously and now moves to the full House for consideration.

In Pennsylvania, only 35% of people with disabilities are working. Only 21% are working full time. We should be encouraging more individuals with disabilities to work and accept their hard-earned promotion or raise without the fear of losing the benefits they need to live.

Please click on the link to watch my comments from our House Health Committee meeting.
Gaydos Discusses Health Care Affordability

Last week, Rep. Gaydos was honored to serve on a panel at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference to discuss the Affordable Cares Act and her Association Health Plan bill (House Bill 2200) which would help self-insured better afford and provide health care insurance for themselves and their employees by pooling – something that was removed by the ACA. This legislation would really help restaurant workers and small contractors. The panel was hosted by the Pennsylvania Leadership Council and moderated by Jezree Friend of the Manufacturer and Business Association.

You can watch the interview by clicking here.
Gaydos Supports Our Teachers, Students as They Deal with COVID-19 Impacts

The House gave unanimous, bipartisan approval to a bill last week to help address several education-related issues brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With the normal teacher certification processes disrupted, Senate Bill 1216 would authorize the Department of Education to issue temporary certificates in certain circumstances, such as when individuals have completed all of their teacher preparation requirements except their final assessment. It would also make changes to help undergraduate students and paraprofessionals.

The bill would require the Department of Health or local health department to report to a school entity any positive or presumptive cases of COVID-19 in a student, employee or contractor of a school entity. The school entity would then be required to notify students, parents and employees. It also would postpone implementation of the Keystone Exam graduation requirements until the 2022-23 school year.

Finally, the bill would ensure school districts continue to provide transportation services for nonpublic school students this school year. The measure would apply if the school district provided transportation services for nonpublic school students last school year, even if transportation is currently not being provided to school district students.

The measure returns to the Senate for its consideration.
Gaydos Votes Yes! Education Committee Honors 9/11 with Moment of Silence in Schools

I am also proud to serve on the House Education Committee. During our committee meeting last week, my colleagues and I unanimously passed legislation authored by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York) that would establish a statewide moment of silence in schools in observance of September 11th.

This bill, Senate Bill 869, is very important because it will ensure our pupils always remember and never forget about 9/11. Pennsylvania’s role during this tragic day should never be forgotten, evidenced by the sacred ground of Shanksville, Somerset County and the heroic sacrifices that transpired there.

I also commented on the bill. Please watch my thoughts by clicking here.
Gaydos Committed to Helping People Through Pandemic

Recently, the General Assembly has been under attack by Gov. Tom Wolf for “taking votes on meaningless bills” instead of supporting his agenda.

While the governor is certainly entitled to his opinion, it’s disrespectful to the thousands of constituents who have reached out to Rep. Gaydos and her fellow lawmakers to discuss the many concerns the General Assembly has been trying to address through the bills have been voting upon over the last several weeks. This week, for example, Rep. Gaydos and her colleagues approved bills to improve safety at long-term care facilities and maintain health care innovations, such as telemedicine, even after the pandemic is over.

As people struggle to make ends meet while being out of a job or working fewer hours, as small business owners struggle to keep their doors open and staff employed, and as parents try to provide some sort of normalcy and stability for their children, Gaydos has heard your concerns and responded by advancing legislation to safely reopen businesses, get people back to work and get students back to school safely. Read more about the efforts in this op-ed authored by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.
Gaydos Concerned: Another Wolf Veto to Harm PA Industry, Workers, Consumers

In another slap in the face to hard-working Pennsylvanians and our system of checks and balances, Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed House Bill 2025, which would have required legislative approval before Pennsylvania could enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) or any similar multi-state compact.

The legislative process is designed to ensure the people have a say in the actions we take as a Commonwealth. It is to ensure proper research is done to weigh both intended and unintended consequences. The governor cannot and should not be making unilateral decisions on RGGI on his own, but he is again thumbing his nose at the General Assembly and the people who sent us here to be their voice in the important decisions like RGGI.

The reality is our coal and trade workers will likely suffer if RGGI is adopted, and consumers and employers will pay higher prices for the energy they use. This is not a decision to be entered into lightly and should be done with ample discussion and research, not by executive action.
Gaydos Participates in a Special Legislative Session honoring Grace Church in Harrisburg

When the Pennsylvania Capitol Building burned in 1897, state authorities requested the use of Grace Church (just a few blocks away from the Capitol) for legislative purposes. Church leaders agreed and Grace Church served as the interim Capitol of Pennsylvania from February 1897, until December 1898.

All religious furnishings were removed, and desks for legislators were installed. The main sanctuary housed the House of Representatives. The Senate occupied a room on the second floor of the church. The congregation worshiped at the Grand Opera House at Third and Walnut Streets during this time.

In honor of the church's 200th anniversary, Rep. Gaydos and her House colleagues convened at the church again today in a special ceremonial session. It was a very moving and inspiring session and Gaydos was pleased to be part of it.

Watch the ceremonial session here.
Gaydos Reminds You to Follow Instructions on Mail-In Ballots

While voters are free to cast their ballots in person at their respective polling places in the upcoming Nov. 3 election, many are expected to opt for a mail-in ballot instead.

If you choose to vote by mail, it is important to make sure you follow the instructions on the ballot carefully. A recent ruling by the state Supreme Court will make ballots invalid if they are not placed in the provided “secrecy” envelope before being placed in the official mailing envelope. The extra step is there to protect the anonymity of each person’s vote.

The deadline to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 27. To learn more about mail-in voting and how to apply, click here.


Gaydos Votes to Move Bill to Improve Health Care Outcomes and Save Taxpayer Money
This legislation sets hefty, yet achievable, goals of saving taxpayers $150 million over next few fiscal years through targeted savings for the Medicaid outcome-based program, all while improving health care outcomes. It was approved by the House Health Committee.

Saving taxpayer dollars is always a goal of Rep. Gaydos. The resulting lost state revenue from the governor’s COVID-19 response exacerbated the need for this program to be initiated through House Bill 2476. So many other states are already reaping the benefits of similar programs.

Other states to see savings include Texas, which saved $100 million, and New York, which saved $261 million, by implementing their own versions of the program.

House Bill 2476 aims to expand on health care outcome programs established as part of Act 40 2018, the omnibus Welfare Code. While the Legislature intended for the Department of Human Services (DHS) to use the program to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs, the department has not fully implemented the program. Under the proposed bill, DHS would provide financial incentives to hospitals and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations for reducing potentially avoidable events.
Important Transportation News

PennDOT announced that expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Effective September 30, the following products’ expiration dates will be extended:

  •   The expiration date for a commercial learner’s permit scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through November 29, 2020.
  •   The expiration date for commercial driver licenses scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020, through November 29, 2020, is extended through November 29, 2020.
  •   The expiration date of a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) for an individual who is a Pennsylvania-licensed commercial driver’s license holder and who held a valid, unexpired HME with a determination of no security threat on or after March 6, 2020, is extended until October 29, 2020.

Expiration extension deadlines on non-commercial driver license, photo identification cards, learner’s permits and camera cards expired on August 31.
For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit www.dmv.pa.gov.
Fire Prevention Week Also Highlights Need to Support First Responders

This Sunday marks the start of Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 4-10) here in the Commonwealth and across the country. This year’s theme is “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” to help raise awareness of the dangers of kitchen fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen. Scald burns are the second leading cause of all burn injuries. Hot liquids from coffee and even microwaved soup can cause devastating injuries.

To help mitigate the dangers of cooking-related fires, NFPA is offering a cooking safety checklist available for download here as well as a Kid-Free Zone marker here.

While we all must do our part to help prevent fires and other emergencies in our homes and communities, accidents do happen. That’s why we are also continuing our efforts to support the fire and EMS personnel we rely on to help keep us safe. To learn more about our “Helpers and Heroes” package of bills, click here.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month

To honor those who have fought breast cancer or are fighting it now, the fountain at the Pennsylvania State Capitol’s East Wing was dyed pink on Monday for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The pink fountain is also a reminder to all women of the importance of mammograms and early detection. Every day, 33 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Pennsylvania, and nearly 2,000 Pennsylvania women die each year from the disease.

However, more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors are alive today in the United States. We honor you and we honor your fight!
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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