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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.
Boosting the state’s vaccine deployment and advancing the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery remain the focus. However, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a budget proposal last week that would increase income taxes on working families and small businesses, impose a new tax on the energy industry and increase state spending by a whopping 8% over the current fiscal year. This is no way to start the year.

Click here to view my comments about the governor’s budget address.

The governor’s $40.2 billion spending plan is a $3.05 billion increase over last fiscal year and is simply too much to ask of so many hard-working Pennsylvanians. So many of our businesses and employees have already suffered greatly and sacrificed so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while they are deserving of help, funding to cover the proposed budget increase cannot just appear out of nowhere. And the governor must be much more transparent about who will really end up footing the bill. The truth is a tax increase on anyone is a tax increase on everyone.

Getting people back to work does not start by raising taxes on the assets which will get us back to work safely. The best way to start rebuilding our economy is to make government more accountable to the money it is entrusted to spend.

Increasing the Personal Income Tax (PIT) a whopping 46% to gain an additional $7 billion for new spending by increasing taxes on the very same people we are trying to get back to work and on the people who provide the jobs is simply irresponsible and shortsighted.

Advocating to double tax the oil and gas industry, which was designated as critical infrastructure at the beginning of the pandemic will only exacerbate our region’s economic problems. The natural gas industry already pays a tax called an impact fee which will have generated more than $2 billion since 2012. Adding a severance tax on natural gas which is used as the base material for many plastics and which are critical for personal protective equipment (PPE) development and vaccine deployment and research is unacceptable.

These are tough times for all Pennsylvanians. More taxes and more spending is not the direction for the Commonwealth. I look forward to coming together in the next few months and crafting a budget that is more responsible to our taxpayers.

Valerie Gaydos
Gaydos Demands PA Department of Health Do Better on COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery

With Pennsylvania lagging behind the vast majority of states in its administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, the House is working on several fronts to administer the vaccine to people who are asking for them.

The House Health Committee, of which Rep. Gaydos is a member, held a hearing Wednesday morning with Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) officials, hospital and pharmacy representatives and acting Secretary Alison Beam who took the helm of DOH when Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine was tapped by President Joe Biden to join his administration. The session revealed a series of issues, most of which involve a lack of communication and coordination between the state and health care providers trying to administer the vaccines. The issues have led to Pennsylvania ranking 44th in the nation for the percentage of vaccines administered compared to the amount received according to Becker’s Hospital Review.

During the Health Committee hearing, Gaydos questioned officials from DOH about the refrigeration process for vaccines, the department’s plans for improving communications with vaccine recipients and plans to more accurately list locations on the DOH website where residents can find where to register to get the vaccine.

Gaydos asked Secretary Beam if the department would agree to be more transparent than the previous secretary of Health with the names and credentials of the various advisors, consultants and experts to which DOH refers and which DOH uses when making decisions. Click here to watch.

In an attempt to address those problems and increase the state’s vaccine rate, the House last week approved legislation that would activate the National Guard to help improve the state’s distribution of the vaccine.

House Bill 326 calls on the guard to work with the Department of Health and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to develop plans for the establishment and operation of community vaccination sites in each region of the state. The bill also requires the governor to submit a report to the General Assembly outlining how the National Guard has been integrated into the state’s vaccine plan. This report would include the availability and capacity of guard units for vaccinations and deployment to skilled nursing facilities to combat outbreaks, current and anticipated allocation of COVID-19 vaccines and federal guidance on use of the guard for vaccination efforts.

The bill is now pending action in the Senate.
Gaydos Receives Answer to Right-to-Know Request on Credentials of PA Department of Health ‘Experts’

Disappointed to Find Department Keeps No Records of Correspondence with Consultants or Advisors

In response to a Right-to-Know Request submitted to Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine last year to provide the names and credentials for the state’s 18 epidemiologists, the Pennsylvania Department of Health replied as follows:

“The Department does not possess records of all CVs and/or resumes for current epidemiologists…”

When asked for a list of the various experts, consultants and state officials to which the secretary refers to in hearings and correspondence, Gaydos received the following:

“Please be aware that the secretary, and the administration at large, have consulted with or received advice, both solicited and unsolicited, from innumerable individuals over the course of the pandemic. The department does not maintain a list of such people and sources.”

Click here for the full response.
Voters Get to Consider Emergency Declarations Question on the Primary Ballot

Pennsylvanians will soon have a say in the duration of disaster emergencies declared by the governor under legislation approved in the House earlier today.

Senate Bill 2, the companion legislation to House Bill 55, proposes to amend the state Constitution by limiting emergency declarations by a governor to a maximum of 21 days. To extend a declaration beyond that time, the Legislature would need to grant approval, which ensures the voices of our citizens – through their elected lawmakers – are fully represented.

The action by the General Assembly comes at a time when the state is under two long-term disaster emergency declarations: one regarding the opioid crisis, which has been in place for more than three years, and the other regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been going on for nearly 11 months.

Executive powers to declare emergencies should not be used to circumvent the state Constitution, the separation of powers or, most importantly, the will of the people for extended periods of time.

The measure also proposes additional constitutional amendments:
  •   Prohibiting the denial or abridgement of equality of rights on the basis of race and ethnicity by adding it to the Declaration of Rights section of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  •   Clarifying that a resolution terminating or extending a disaster emergency declaration need not be presented to the governor for signature.

With final approval by the House and Senate in the second consecutive legislative session, these constitutional amendment proposals will go before the voters in a referendum on the May 18 primary election ballot. Voters not affiliated with a political party will be eligible to vote on the referendum questions at the primary election as well.
House Approves Legislation to Help Small Businesses

Last week, the House passed Senate Bill 109legislation that would appropriate nearly $1 billion to small businesses, the hospitality industry, and those needing rent and utility assistance, among other. The plan also includes a grant program for the hospitality industry funded by $145 million from the Workers Compensation Security Fund.

The House Appropriations Committee amended the bill to include additional COVID-19 relief for small businesses.

The legislation allocates $569.8 million for Rental and Utility Assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling hospitality industry as it copes with the devastation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s mandated closings and restrictions.

Funding for the Rental and Utility Assistance program would be provided by federal coronavirus stimulus money and would be divided up to counties by population size.

For the hospitality industry, the funds would provide grants to small business taverns and licensed restaurants by establishing a Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association wrote in a statement that the funds come at a critical time for the industry.

Grants through the program would be provided in increments of $5,000 up to $50,000 and could not be used for the same operating expenses already covered by a federal Payment Protection Program loan or through the state’s Small Business Assistance Program.

The bill now returns to the Senate for final approval.
Amendment to Aid Victims of Child Sex Abuse Delayed by Failures of Department of State

Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar resigned this week after her department failed to properly advertise a proposed constitutional amendment that could have gone before voters this spring. The advertisement is required under Article XI of the state Constitution for all proposed amendments.

The amendment would have opened a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense. Because the department failed to properly advertise, any vote on this amendment is delayed for at least two years.

Amending the Constitution is a lengthy process by design. To do so, the proposed amendment must be passed in identical form in both the House and Senate for two consecutive legislative sessions. We had approved this proposal last session and were on track to get it on the ballot in May. This is an egregious error with major consequences for the abuse victims who have worked for years to advance this legislation. The secretary did the right thing by resigning her position.
Do You Have Unclaimed Property?

The Pennsylvania Treasury is currently holding on to $3.8 billion in unclaimed property, and some of it could be yours!

Across the state, one in 10 Pennsylvanians is owed unclaimed property. The average claim is worth about $2,000. Unclaimed property includes things such as uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and contents of safe deposit boxes. Something as simple as a misspelled name or incorrect address can land property with Treasury. State law requires properties be turned over to Treasury after three years of dormancy, or two years for payroll checks.

Anyone can search Treasury’s online database any time to see if they or friends and family have property waiting to be claimed. You need not pay anyone a fee to search for or claim property from the state. For more information visit
Think Spring! Trout Stocking Schedules Available

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced this week its 2021 trout stocking schedules are now available online and on the FishBoatPA mobile app.  

This year, the PFBC will begin stocking two weeks earlier than usual, beginning the week of Feb. 15. These accelerated operations will ensure that most waters will be stocked in advance of the single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day on Saturday, March 27, and the single, statewide Opening Day of Trout Season on Saturday, April 3. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, PFBC will not be accepting walk-up volunteers to assist with stocking.

Officials say the move to an earlier statewide schedule for trout season will provide anglers with two more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduce travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimize overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The 2021 adult trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates and the species of trout that will be stocked.

For more information about stocking, fishing and licensing, click here.
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District Office:
1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
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Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com