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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 pandemic has presented exceptional challenges to our economy. Approximately 4.5 million Pennsylvanians have signed up for unemployment compensation and many businesses have shut their doors for good. That is unacceptable!

Despite the pandemic, we need to get our workforce and businesses running at full-strength immediately. As co-chair of the Economic Growth Caucus, we have been working hard to craft bipartisan legislation to create jobs and strengthen businesses.

Our efforts led to the “Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback Plan.” This week, my House Republican colleagues unveiled a pro-jobs, recovery-focused legislative package designed to revive Pennsylvania’s economic health by paving the way for businesses and job-producers to grow in the Commonwealth and thrive. I strongly believe that Pennsylvania has one of the most talented workforces in the nation and this package of bills will enable our workers to get back work. The plan would be essentially incentivizing manufacturing with no new taxes or fees, would help businesses work efficiently and would provide commonsense protections via limited liability for critical suppliers, health care providers and employers during the pandemic.

During a press conference at Steamfitters Training Facility in Harmony, I shared my thoughts about our latest plan. Click here to learn more.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Shares Important Election Ballot News

Allegheny County voters can now search to see if they are on the list of voters who received incorrect ballots. If a voter finds their name using the search tool as having received a faulty ballot — but already filled it out and sent it back to the county — they are encouraged to vote the new, corrected ballot and return it. Check the search tool by clicking here.
Gaydos Discusses Health Care Affordability

Recently, 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.
A Gaydos Priority is to Improve Health Care for Pennsylvanians

Last year, Pennsylvania created its own state-based health insurance exchange known as Pennie through legislation that passed in the House (Act 42 of 2019).

Pennie’s goals include providing a seamless transition for those using HealthCare.gov, improving access to health care for all state residents, lowering health care costs and premiums, and ensuring excellent customer assistance throughout the enrollment process.

For those looking to obtain health coverage through Pennie, the new open enrollment period runs from Nov. 1, 2020, through Jan. 15, 2021.

For more information, visit www.pennie.com.
Gaydos Reminds You Deadline Approaching for FBI Background Checks

People needing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history background checks as a condition of employment are reminded that the Dec. 31 deadline to obtain this clearance is approaching and are strongly encouraged to start the process now.

Earlier this year, the Legislature enacted Act 18 of 2020, which extended the time period for certain professions required by the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to obtain an FBI background check upon hiring. Individuals were given additional time to meet this requirement because of closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to receive an FBI background check, fingerprints must be submitted as part of the criminal history check. Fingerprint scans can be taken at an IdentoGO location in the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvanians are still strongly encouraged to get fingerprinted and obtain their FBI Criminal History Clearance as soon as possible to avoid potential delays due to an increase of people obtaining clearances.

A map of all open IdentoGO locations is available here. This map is updated as new offices begin to reopen.

Anyone seeking fingerprinting services should call IDEMIA’s customer service at 844-321-2101 to ensure the location is still operating, schedule an appointment, and discuss necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.
Virtual Financial Aid Webinars Available Courtesy of PHEAA

PHEAA will host a series of virtual financial aid webinars throughout October and November, to help students and families understand the application and awarding process, in addition to various funding options.

Understanding Financial Aid Offers and Balances

Financial aid offers that students receive from schools after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provide an idea of the costs associated with post-secondary education. However, these offers can be confusing since each school formats their student aid information differently. PHEAA representatives will present a one-hour webinar to assist in understanding and navigating through the different types of financial aid, what students are being offered, identifying funding balances and next steps that are needed.

Event Dates:
  •   Thursday, Oct. 29 – Noon
  •   Thursday, Nov. 5 – Noon
  •   Thursday, Nov. 12 – 6 p.m.
  •   Thursday, Nov. 18 – 6 p.m.

Covering the Gap – Pieces of the Puzzle to Help Pay Your Education Bill

Understanding education balances can be confusing. PHEAA representatives are offering one-hour webinars on how to cover any gaps in a student’s higher education funding plan. These webinars emphasize best practices (such as grants and scholarships first), remind families about additional resources, and discuss private/alternative loans as a last resort. The presentation will also include the basics of credit: what is a credit score, what factors impact a credit score, how can a credit score be improved and the effects on your borrowing capability.

Event Dates:
  •   Monday, Oct. 19 – Noon
  •   Wednesday, Nov. 4 – Noon
  •   Monday, Nov. 9 – 6 p.m.
  •   Tuesday, Nov. 17 – 6 p.m.

Students and families can participate in any of these events by registering here.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Extending Free Meals to Kids

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. This unprecedented move is part of USDA’s unwavering commitment to ensuring all children across America have access to nutritious food as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time.

The flexibilities extended will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no cost meals to all children, available at over 90,000 sites across the country through June 30, 2021.

USDA understands a one-size-fits-all approach is not an effective way to feed children, particularly during the current challenges facing our country. These program flexibilities allow schools and local program operators to operate a meal service model that best meets their community’s unique needs, while keeping kids and staff safe.
Free Hunter-Trapper Education Course Available

Although COVID-19 has limited in-person hunter-trapper education opportunities this year, the course – a requirement for all first-time hunters and trappers in order to buy a license in the Commonwealth – is also available online.

The online course includes live-action, high-definition videos to provide comprehensive instruction in hunting safety practices. It can be taken on any computer or mobile device. And while most students finish the course in a few hours, you are free to complete it at your own pace, as your progress is saved each time you log out of the system.

The cost of the course is normally $19.50 but is currently being waived during the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of a code. Once you’ve studied and passed the course, you can immediately print your temporary hunter education certificate. The permanent certificate will arrive in the mail in two to three weeks.

To qualify, students must be at least 11 years old. For more information, visit www.pgc.pa.gov and click on “Hunter-Trapper Education” under the “Education” tab. To register, click here and use the code provided in the yellow box at the top of the page for free registration.
PA Historical and Museum Commission Earns Grant to Develop Digital Learning Resources

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has been awarded $246,500 in federal funds from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to design, produce and deliver new digital learning resources to support individuals and groups affected by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. Through the “Pennsylvania History to Go” initiative, PHMC will film, edit and produce virtual tours of museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History and create infrastructure to produce live digital programs.

As part of the project, PHMC will engage with community organizations to promote and distribute these virtual tours to underserved audiences. An internal steering committee will manage production, and an external advisory panel consisting of school educators, library staff, multicultural representatives, agents for people experiencing barriers to access, Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs staff, and other partners will coordinate content, access and distribution.

Learn more about PHMC here.

Recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month

With an estimated one in four women and one in 10 men expected to experience domestic violence during their lifetime, the state House unanimously approved House Resolution 1031 designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior used to establish power and control over an intimate partner, causing both physical and emotional harm. Victims may be subjected to abuse, harassment, threats, vandalism, trespassing, burglary, theft and stalking.

As one of the most chronically underreported crimes, domestic violence affects men and women in all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds.

More information about domestic violence and services available to help victims is available here.
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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