In this update:
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How to get state-related assistance during the coronavirus shutdown
I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time. While our offices are still not able to accept in-person office visits or take in-person meetings, my staff and I are still handling constituent-related issues during this time.
Here are the various ways you can contact me:
District Office – 717-741-4648 (leave a voicemail)
Capitol Office – 717-787-7085 (leave a voicemail)
Email – SenatorKristin@pasen.gov
Contact Form – SenatorKristin.com/contact-me.
Resource guides for employers, employees, and other individuals affected by COVID-19 are also posted at SenatorKristin.com.
Please note: You and your concerns are very important to me! Our office continues to receive a high volume of inquiries. Please only contact our office one way as this will ensure we handle your matter and can assist others in a timely manner. Again, I really appreciate everyone’s patience during this time.
If you have a specific inquiry regarding unemployment compensation, you can fill out a form here: SenatorKristin.com/contact-me. Select “Unemployment Compensation” from the drop-down menu. This will expedite your claim with our office.
Hearing examines impact of governor’s COVID-19 mitigation plans
This week, members of two Senate committees explored numerous concerns related to Governor Wolf’s mitigation plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The lack of clarity, consistency and execution from the Wolf Administration in some areas has caused lasting harm to employers and pushed more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians onto the unemployment rolls – more than every state except California.
The hearing offered an opportunity for lawmakers to hear from leading employers and advocates, and also question members of the Administration about the reasoning behind certain mitigation strategies. Topics discussed during the hearing included ways employers could operate safely during the pandemic, numerous concerns about inconsistencies with the waiver process for businesses that wanted to remain open, the timeline for reopening industries and additional steps that could be taken to protect vulnerable populations and prevent the spread of the virus.
Full hearing video and written testimony from this joint hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee are available here.
Fighting for our locally owned businesses
Earlier today, I joined my colleagues from Lancaster County – Senators Ryan Aument and Scott Martin – along with the Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee – Senator Elder Vogel – to put forward a bill that would allow for the safe reopening of our locally owned garden centers.
As you know, springtime is a key time for these centers throughout our community. More importantly, big box corporate owned entities continue to operate and sell similar products. This is not only unfair but also jeopardizes an already stressed food supply.
You can read more about our collaborative effort here.
Senate approves bill to remove outdated provisions from state Education Code
During session on Monday, the Senate approved my legislation that would strike almost three dozen provisions from our state’s Education Code.
Some of the mandates that will be removed from the state’s education code include:
You can view the full list of mandates that will be removed under the bill here.
The legislation moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.
You can read more about my legislation here.
Governor outlines plans to reopen Pennsylvania
On Wednesday, Governor Wolf outlined his plans to slowly reopen the state, region by region, in the weeks and months to come. The plan is targeted to begin in areas with the lowest rate of infection, including the north-central and northwest regions, on May 8. Other regions of the state could follow based on the rate of new infections over the next several weeks.
Under the plan, not all employers will reopen at the same time; different industries would reopen based on their ability to adhere to employee and customer protection guidelines.
Although the timeline is slower than most would like, it is encouraging that we are at least moving in a positive direction to allow more Pennsylvanians to get back to work safely and responsibly. More details about the governor’s proposal are available here.
Construction reopening date moved to May 1
Construction activities that were previously deemed non-life-sustaining will be allowed to continue beginning on May 1. The reopening date was original set for May 8, but was moved up to May 1 earlier this week.
Guidelines about how these businesses can operate safely during COVID-19 will be available soon.
New online portal supports donations of critical medical supplies
Healthcare providers still have a critical need for medical supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves, as well as alcohol-based sanitizer. A new online portal will help individuals, corporations and community organizations donate these supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PA Critical Donation Portal will help coordinate donations of PPE to hospitals, medical facilities and emergency management services that need the supplies most. Questions about making a donation can be submitted to PACriticalDonations@pa.gov.
DCED announces business loan deferrals
The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA), and the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) are deferring loan payments for three months, according to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
PIDA, PMBDA and CFA borrowers (except for PENNWORKS) with payments due in April, May and June are deferred. All other terms and conditions of all applicable loans remain unchanged.
Temporary license process created for insurance producers
Individuals who wish to pursue a new career in Pennsylvania’s insurance industry can now receive a temporary producer license. Temporary licenses will only be allowed for individuals who are sponsored by an insurance company holding an active certificate of authority in Pennsylvania.
The process to receive a temporary insurance producer license is outlined here.
More funding distributed for food assistance
Pennsylvania has received nearly $15 million in funding from the federal government to support charitable food efforts during the pandemic. The funding will not only support the distribution of food through the state’s emergency food distribution network, but also ease the additional burdens of transporting, storing and delivering products.
A list of Pennsylvania food banks sorted by county is available here.
Catch up on my podcasts highlighting impact of COVID-19
You can listen to all of my podcasts I’ve had to date with various stakeholders on how the coronavirus is impacting our county. Below are the recent episodes featuring updates on COVID-19:
April 22, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 w/ South Eastern School District Superintendent Dr. Nathan Van Deusen
April 16, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 w/ York College President Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith
April 14, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 w/ York County District Attorney Dave Sunday
April, 10, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 w/ YCEA’s Kevin Schreiber
April 6, 2020 – Update on COVID-19 w/ WellSpan’s Dr. David Gasperack
Listen to any podcast episode at SenatorKristin.com/podcast.
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