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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 COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on everybody. We recognize that the virus may not likely go away anytime soon so we must all focus on working together to be problem solvers.

This week, I hosted the House Majority Policy Committee for a virtual hearing with health care and elected officials on COVID-19 effects on frontline workers, health systems and health care delivery.

Testifiers discussed the challenges of long-term care, testing, staffing, prescription affordability and allocating necessary funding to frontline workers to ensure the public safety.

This hearing gave us an update on what challenges our frontline workers have faced and are still facing, and was specifically valuable to determine how government leaders and health care workers together can be more proactive in finding ways for us to move forward to safely live our lives. It starts with making sure that our frontline workers receive the necessary equipment and funding they need to receive.

As a community, whether it be regional, statewide or nationally, we need to come together efficiently and financially to effectively address the short-term and future healthcare needs of our respective communities.

As the co-chair of the House Life Sciences Caucus, chair of the House Cancer Caucus, and member of the House Pharmacy Caucus, Rep. Gaydos has pledged to continue my work in the legislature advocating for lower prescription drug prices and more affordable health care.

Click here to watch the House Majority Policy Committee meeting.  

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Pledges to Support Free and Fair Elections and Oppose Questionable House ‘Election Integrity’ Legislation

Recently, House Resolution 1032 passed the House State Government Committee and now moves to the full House for consideration. The resolution would form a House Select Committee on Election Integrity to review the conduct of the 2020 Election to inform future legislation.

Gaydos is committed to voting ‘NO’ on House Resolution 1032 which is significantly flawed as it is written. I have urged our House Republican Leadership team to permanently table this legislation immediately. I strongly support free and fair elections and the democratic process, but adamantly oppose legislation which is unclear and undefined.

In addition, Gaydos opposes making unnecessary changes to the election process so close to an election because it will only serve to create further confusion in what has already been a confusing and mercurial process. However, given the many changes that were made to the election code in the last two years, a review and study of the election is certainly needed at some time and place. But any review should be carried out by a more bipartisan entity and after the election takes place.

While Gaydos believes that the use of absentee ballots and the paper ballot option for people who are unable to get to the polls is perfectly safe, fewer steps in the process means the fewer errors. I am a strong advocate for voting at the polls on election day, if able, as the best, most efficient way to move toward greater election integrity.
Election Integrity Questions and Answers

Rep. Gaydos has received a lot of questions from constituents asking what the Department of State (DOS) has done about “cleaning” voter rolls. For example, do county election offices get a list from Department of Health (DOH) of death certificates requested so those individuals can be removed?

The answer is that DOS receives DOH files every two weeks, and they are loaded directly to Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) for counties to process.
In addition to providing the mandatory National Change of Address (NCOA) program data to counties, DOS also provides counties with the following data obtained through membership in Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). This year, DOS provided the list maintenance data to counties after the June Primary.

You can read more about how the DOS cleans voter roles and avoids duplicates here.
Gaydos Celebrates Virtual Humane Lobbying Week

As part of virtual humane lobbying week, Rep. Gaydos watched a fascinating demonstration by State Farm Arson Dogs K-9 Silver and K-9 Patty. It dealt with the policies State Farm has relating to pet ownership and insurance as well as the importance of protecting animals and preventing animal cruelty. Rep. Gaydos thanks the Human Society of the United States for its participation.
Gaydos Invites You to Shredding Event

Rep. Gaydos is invited her constituents to attend a free shredding event sponsored by Sen. Pam Iovino (D-Allegheny/Washington) on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Pittsburgh Technical College parking lot.

Rep. Gaydos reminds you that shredding documents with sensitive information is very important with the increased reports of identity theft due to COVID-19. The mission of this event is to provide residents with this service in a convenient and safe manner.

The Pittsburgh Technical College parking lot is located at 1111 McKee Road in Oakdale.
Parents Can Now Watch Their Kids Play in Person

New guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings, such as school sporting events, were updated this week by the Wolf administration. The good news is more loved ones will be able to gather to cheer on their student athletes. The bad news is this is another statewide, unilateral order by the governor that does not take into account broad variations in virus cases across the state.

The changes were prompted by House passage of legislation to allow local school officials to make decisions about school sports and spectators, and a federal court ruling that found these limitations to be unconstitutional.

Effective Friday, the limit of 25 people for indoor gatherings and 250 for outdoor gatherings will be replaced by guidelines that reflect the capacity of the venue in which an event is taking place. Read more about the changes here.
Gaydos Disappointed: Auditor General’s Findings Show Businesses Not Treated Fairly by Wolf Administration’s Waiver Process

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale provided a status update on his ongoing audit of the Wolf administration’s business waiver process that was implemented following the governor’s March 19 economic shutdown of what he deemed to be “non-life-sustaining businesses.”

According to the auditor general, the waiver program “was not a level playing field for businesses across Pennsylvania” and was operated on “shifting sands of changing guidance” that required businesses “to hit a moving target.”

As a result of this mishandled program, DePasquale said he finds it “almost impossible” some businesses did not permanently close their doors.

House Republicans and many western Pennsylvania Democrats have been working for months to try to help businesses reopen safely to protect both lives and livelihoods. It is important to continue shining the light on what was, at best, a subjective process and at worst, a political process based on whether applicants had connections with the “right” people.

Read more about the audit here.
Bill to Boost Health Care Access Approved by Committee

The House Professional Licensure Committee recently approved a bill that would establish a six-year pilot program allowing qualified certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) to practice independent of a physician in underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

The pilot program would be created by the State Board of Nursing and allow for the collection of data to measure the impact of CRNPs in Pennsylvania’s designated primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).

Under the program, an eligible CRNP would be able to receive an additional certification to practice as an independent practitioner—without a collaborative agreement with a physician—in an HPSA. While participating within the pilot program, he or she would be recognized as a primary care provider with their clinical practice limited to primary care, which would include family practice, internal medicine, gynecology or pediatrics.

After a CRNP has completed the fifth year of the pilot program, the Joint State Government Commission would be tasked with studying the program, looking at such things as the level of CRNP participation and how that changed during the pilot period, access to patient care, patient outcomes and emergency room use in HPSAs covered under the program as compared to the access to patient care, patient outcomes and emergency room use in the areas not covered by the program, and several other metrics.

House Bill 100 now goes to the full House for consideration.  
CARES Assistance Programs for Renters, Homeowners Restarted

Homeowners and renters impacted by the COVID-19 economic downturn now have until Wednesday, Nov. 4, to apply for mortgage or rental assistance grants.

For renters to be eligible for assistance, they will need to document at least a 30% reduction in annual income since March 1 related to COVID-19, or they must have become unemployed after March 1. Their household income cannot exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home. Renters who qualify may receive assistance equal to 100% of their monthly rent up to $750 a month for a maximum of six months of assistance for the time period between March 1 and Dec. 31.

Homeowners who became unemployed after March 1 or who suffered at least a 30% reduction in annual income due to reduced work hours and wages related to COVID-19 may be eligible for financial assistance as well to help with missed mortgage payments. To qualify for the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP), they must be an owner-occupant of their residence, the dwelling must consist of one or two separate units, and the homeowner’s annual household income must not exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home.

More information and applications are available here.
Business-Education Partnership Grants Help to Expand Career Opportunities

Local workforce development boards (LWBDs), which support the employment and training of individuals, are encouraged to apply for $300,000 in new Business-Education Partnership (BEP) grants that will connect businesses and school districts and expand career opportunities throughout Pennsylvania. The funding is to increase awareness of in-demand technical careers for students, parents, guardians, and school faculty.

The partnerships connect schools, employers, and students to provide career-related experiences and opportunities through soft-skills development, internships, workplace shadowing, and career mentoring, all with the goal of informing more students about the need to develop technical skills required by employers.

The BEP grants are funded completely by federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.
Stocking Our Streams

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is now in the process of stocking approximately 120,000 hatchery raised adult rainbow, brown and brook trout in more than 100 streams and lakes.

These stockings will immediately replenish some of the most popular fishing spots across the Commonwealth and provide ice fishing opportunities as conditions allow throughout the winter.

This year, due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers will not be permitted to assist with stocking activities. To limit interaction with the public, stocking will be conducted only by PFBC staff wearing personal protective equipment, including masks.

The new stocking schedule is available here.
October is 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 is dyed pink again this year in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The pink fountain is also a reminder to all women of the importance of mammograms and early detection. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in the state, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by cancer of the lung and bronchus.

People with low to moderate income, who are uninsured or underinsured and meet certain age requirements may qualify for testing through the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which is a free early detection program funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To learn about the program and eligibility, click here. 
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1009 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 220, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
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Room 428, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com