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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 and the subsequent mitigation efforts have affected all Pennsylvanians in so many negative ways. Over the last several months, my office in Moon Township has been inundated with phone calls by constituents struggling to make ends meet after losing their jobs or being laid off. If that is not bad enough, our unemployment system is broken, mismanaged and does not provide timely payments.

Knowing so many Pennsylvanian’s were negatively financially affected, I strongly advocated that those of us in government should be willing to bear some of the burden. That is why I voted to freeze our salary as well as for all state government officials beginning Dec. 1, 2020, through Nov. 30, 2021

Act 79 of 2020, which was signed into law last week, will freeze wages for members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general, auditor general, the heads of departments, members of boards and commissions, and the judiciary. Earlier this year, the House Republican Caucus also placed a freeze on hiring and froze employee salaries for one year.

We have a long road ahead of us to address our state’s economic recovery, and this is one step that we have taken to ensure that everyone is included in tightening our belts.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Announces Positive Economic News in Our Area

Rep. Gaydos would like to share some great news about economic development in our area that will benefit the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region.

Despite the impact to passenger counts and revenue that the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Allegheny County Airport Authority is making real progress for the 44th District.

Last week, PIT announced that Wabtec Corporation, a Fortune 500 company based in Pittsburgh, will become the first manufacturing tenant at the Neighborhood 91 Advanced Manufacturing (AM) Campus.

In addition, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has provided a $1 million grant to be used to support tenant attraction and the AM ecosystem on a global stage. This is all about business development for the region as well as PIT to grow jobs and revenue.

Finally, air cargo growth continues to be a major key. From landing the first international all-cargo service at PIT to the successful application for a federal BUILD Grant, your support remains critical to the growth of PIT’s cargo operations. When Cathay Pacific’s new international all-cargo service touched down last month, it was the latest step in the airport’s increased focus on cargo during the pandemic.
Override Veto to Aid Restaurants Fails

Despite a lack of science to back up the governor’s decision to severely limit bars, restaurants clubs and other establishments, a dozen legislators who originally supported House Bill 2513, changed their votes when the House attempted a veto override. Despite my vote to reject the veto, the effort failed to get the required two-thirds majority vote.

The bill, which I co-sponsored, would have allowed restaurants and similar establishments to operate at a minimum of 50% capacity, with the ability to operate above that if the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Commonwealth allowed, or if they maintained physical barriers between tables. Bar service would have been permitted again, and customers would not have been forced to order food with alcoholic beverages.

Data from Gov. Tom Wolf's own administration shows less than 3% of new Pennsylvania COVID-19 cases (that is about 1 in 40) said they had been to a restaurant in the prior 14 days. But the governor continues to blame restaurants and bars for the rise in cases and has vetoed bipartisan legislation to give these establishments more flexibility.


Is this decision based on science? Certainly not here in Pennsylvania. Rep. Gaydos will continue working to find a path forward through the pandemic that will continue to demand more transparency, protect public health and promote economic recovery.
Senate Approves Gaydos Legislation to Protect Taxpayers, Ensure Municipal Projects are Finalized

Rep. Gaydos applauded the members of the state Senate for unanimously passing her legislation that would amend the Public Works Contractors’ Bond Law of 1967 requiring certain financial securities for public contracts in excess of $10,000. The bill overwhelming passed the House in July.

House Bill 885 eliminates alternative security instruments, which do not adequately protect local governments when public projects go bad. Because the legislation requires security equal to the contract amount in the form of a performance bond, payment bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or escrow account, Gaydos’ legislation will prevent local government units from losing money because of inadequate security on public projects.

The legislation is part of a series of bills on municipal government reform in conjunction with the Senate to ensure an effective and broad approach to municipal government for the 21st century.

House Bill 885 is now on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting his signature.
Gaydos Supports Compassionate Caregiver Legislation

Legislation that would safely allow family members to visit long-term care facilities as essential caregivers for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens was approved by the House last week.

Mirroring regulations already enacted in Minnesota and Indiana, House Bill 2861 would amend the Pennsylvania Health Care Facilities Act to allow a designated essential family caregiver to be named for each resident of a licensed long-term care facility.

This is very personal to Rep. Gaydos. She said, “Having been a caretaker for my mother who had Parkinson’s Disease, I know first-hand the importance of having a family member nearby to assist in the health and welfare of a loved one in a nursing home, assisted living or group home.”
Gaydos Concerned About PASSHE Campus Integration Plan


This week, Rep. Gaydos and her colleagues from the House Education Committee, combined with the Appropriations Committee, to hold a joint hearing with Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Chancellor Daniel Greenstein. As a member of the House Education Committee, I participated in this hearing.

Chancellor Greenstein outlined a two-step “integration” process involving combining six of the 14 member universities during a joint hearing of the House Appropriations and Education Committee.

The concept, approved last week by PASSHE’s governing board, envisions combining operations at California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities in western Pennsylvania and Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield Universities in northcentral Pennsylvania by the fall of 2022.

We questioned Greenstein about topics ranging from the plan’s impact on academic programs, class sizes, education opportunities for underserved adults, the community colleges, host communities, potential faculty layoffs, collective bargaining contracts, sports and ultimately PASSHE’s survival.

So far, PASSHE has completed a financial review of the proposed integration. The next step involves writing an implementation plan that could be presented to the governing body by April.

Click here to watch the hearing.
Gaydos Supports PA’s ‘Helpers and Heroes’

Two pieces of legislation designed to protect our communities and address the financial needs of our hard-working emergency responders are on their way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk as part of our Helpers and Heroes initiative.

To help first responder agencies meet increasing financial challenges, House Bill 1673 would increase flexibility by allowing grants awarded under the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program to be banked for up to five years, rather than “use-it-or-lose-it” after 12 months. Funding awarded in future grant cycles could also be used to replace revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation would also expand the existing Volunteer Loan Assistance Program into an Emergency Services Loan Assistance Fund. The move would support volunteer, career and combination agencies that provide fire, ambulance or rescue squad services. Maximum loan amounts would increase by 10% for possible use in purchasing, modernizing, repairing and refurbishing facilities, equipment and reporting software, as well as to refinance debt.

School districts and counties would be allowed to offer a first responder tax credit to volunteers as a way to enhance recruitment and retention of staff, and companies could use fire and EMS grant funds, and firefighter relief association funds, for that same purpose.

The House also sent to the governor’s desk a bill to boost access to emergency medical services training. House Bill 1838, legislation I co-sponsored, increases funding for the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, directing at least 30% of it to be used for training in underserved rural areas and at least 10% of it going directly to EMS providers for assistance with purchasing medical equipment for their ambulances.
Crescent Township Volunteer Fire Department Receives New Underwater Drone For Rescue Efforts


A new device for the Crescent Township Fire Department will help search-and-rescue as well as search and recovery efforts go quicker. It’s a drone for underwater.

The fire department will be one of the first in our area to have a remote operating vehicle like this for the water. Before they would have to use sonar on boats and send in divers to check it out. Divers can only last about 20 or so minutes depending on the conditions.

The drone can last up to 3 hours in the water, and pinpoint where the divers need to go. This makes it so divers have to spend less time in the water. It has sonar, a camera, a claw, and is controlled by what almost looks like a video game controller on a boat.

It can be used in immediate search and rescue efforts to save a life. In the unfortunate situation of search and recovery it can cut down the time in finding the victim to give the family closure.

The device was funded in memory of the Phillips family by Jon Luke Affeltranger. The department hopes to get people trained and ready to use by early next year.
Apply Now for Community Safety Grants

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is inviting community-based organizations, municipalities and institutions of higher education to apply for funding through its Community Violence Prevention/Reduction Initiative, a $7.5 million initiative included as part of the School Safety and Security Grant Program.

While a variety of projects are eligible for funding under the program, the School Safety and Security Committee charged with reviewing the applications has indicated it will prioritize applications that intend to use evidence-based or evidence-informed programs to reduce or prevent community-based violence in areas identified with high-violent crime rates. This does not preclude applications for any other type of community violence prevention. Maximum grant awards are for $300,000 and project periods can be up to two years.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Nov. 10. For detailed information about eligibility, qualified projects and how to apply for funding, click here.
Mail-in Ballot Application Deadline Oct. 27

If you are interested in voting by mail, time is running out. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is this Tuesday, Oct. 27.

You may apply for a mail-in ballot online here, by a paper application available here  or at the elections office in your county of residence. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day or returned to the elections office in your county of residence or other secure drop-off location by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

More information about voting in the upcoming election is available at www.VotesPA.com.

Grants Available to Help Farmers, Small Businesses

Grant funding for energy efficiency and pollution prevention projects for small business owners and farmers are still available from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) through the Small Business Advantage Grant program.

Pennsylvania farmers and other small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for the grants. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution related expenses. Natural resource protection projects are exempt from the minimums; however, the projects must be able to quantify sediment and nutrient reductions into nearby waterways.

Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds for equipment or materials, up to $7,000, when adopting energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Applications are considered on a first come, first served basis, and will be accepted until fiscal year 2020-21 funds are exhausted, or Monday, April 12, 2021, whichever occurs first.

The complete grant application package is available here.
Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

This Saturday, Oct. 24, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to help raise awareness and give citizens across the Commonwealth the opportunity to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs.

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

Hundreds of Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies and health care facilities offer year-round drug takeback locations to help prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands. Click here to find a location near you.

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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