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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.
I will continue to fight to get Pennsylvanians SAFELY back to work. We need to restore our economy and we need to do it right. We need to provide valuable and pragmatic solutions not superficial ones.

For example, the governor recently announced plans to waive liquor license fees to provide “financial relief” to restaurants and bars that have been impacted by his capacity and operational restrictions. The governor touted his plan would save more than 16,000 restaurants and similar business $20 million…which may sound good until you realize it amounts to about $1,200 per establishment.

Don’t get me wrong, every little bit of assistance we can provide to get our economy running again is helpful, but this initiative is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the losses our restaurants, bars, clubs, catering clubs and hotels have experienced during the last seven months of pandemic restrictions.

The governor’s announcement came just two days after a dozen House Democrats who originally supported a bill to allow these establishments to safely expand their operations under state and federal guidance changed their votes, sustaining the governor’s veto of the measure and ultimately forcing more of these small businesses to close for good.

According to the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, 63% of the state’s restaurant operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now, if business conditions continue at current levels. We must work together to protect both the lives and livelihoods of Pennsylvanians and to provide REAL solutions, not political pandering.

Valerie Gaydos
House Sends to Governor Retirement Systems Improvement Bill

Recently, Rep. Gaydos and a majority of her House colleagues voted to approve legislation to reform and secure Pennsylvania’s pension systems. House Bill 1961 is now with the governor awaiting his signature.

The General Assembly took great strides to improve the state’s two retirement systems while keeping promises made to retirees and existing employees. This bill builds upon that by ensuring investments are achieving the best returns possible.

House Bill 1961 would require the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) to prepare a report on its investment performance data for the period of July 1 through June 30 of each year. This report will be in addition to any other reports SERS currently prepares. The Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) currently prepares investment performance data on the same basis.
POW/MIA Flag Display Legislation Awaits the Governor’s Signature

On Aug. 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA flag and designating it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.” Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all U.S. wars.

Gaydos said she was proud to support legislation to help honor our servicemen and women who are classified as missing in action or prisoners of war by requiring the POW/MIA flag to be displayed on Commonwealth property alongside the U.S. flag and the flag of Pennsylvania.

The POW/MIA flag serves as a reminder of the 1,585 Americans listed by the Department of Defense as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, and is a symbol of the sacrifices made by service members and their families.

The flag features a silhouette of a POW before a guard tower and barbed wire in white on a black field. “POW/MIA” appears above the silhouette and the words “You Are Not Forgotten” appear below in white on the black field.

House Bill 86 is currently waiting for the governor’s signature to become law. Should he approve the legislation, it will take effect in 60 days.
Bills to Improve Mental Health Resources Head to Governor’s Desk

During these challenging times, it is more important than ever to ensure Pennsylvanians can access the mental health treatment they need. Gaydos’ colleagues in the House and Senate recently approved and sent to the governor’s desk two bills to help achieve that goal.

House Bills 1696 and 1439 are each intended to confirm the state’s insurers are complying with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

House Bill 1696 would require insurers to file an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance detailing how they offer mental health coverage at the same level as medical and surgical benefits. If signed, the law would take effect in 60 days.

House Bill 1439 would require insurers to annually attest that they are in compliance with the federal law. If signed, the law would take effect immediately.
State-based Health Insurance Marketplace to Open Nov. 1
Last year, Pennsylvania created its own state-based health insurance exchange known as Pennie through legislation that passed unanimously 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.
Heating Assistance Program to Open Nov. 2

Residents who struggle with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Monday, Nov. 2.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150% of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $19,140; for a couple, the limit is $25,860; and for a family of four, it is $39,300.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence. Click here for additional information. 
Remembering Synagogue Shooting, Two Years Later

It is a day we will never forget. Wednesday marked two years since 11 lives were lost at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in United States history.

We remember the two survivors, we honor the four police officers shot while rushing in to help and we honor the countless people who have done the little things over the last year that have made a difference in the lives of people dealing with unspeakable tragedy.

There is no place in our state for anti-Semitism. In fact, there is no place in civilized society for anti-Semitism.

May the memory of those killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue be for a blessing.
Don’t Forget to ‘Fall Back’ Saturday Night

Daylight saving time will end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. Be sure to turn your clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.

It’s also a good time to check or change the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Experts say these items should be replaced every 10 years. They should be located near bedrooms and on each level of the residence.
Election Day is Tuesday!

The Allegheny County Elections Division reminds voters that ballot return is available until Election Day in the lobby of the County Office Building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. On Election Day, tomorrow, Nov. 3, the lobby will be open at 7 a.m. for ballot return. If you have not mailed in your ballot, it is recommended that you vote in person on election day if able or to drop your ballot off in person to the County Office Building. Click here for more information.
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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, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com