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.
Demanding transparency with our state’s unemployment compensation claims process
I will introduce legislation aimed at improving transparency and providing hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who are still awaiting unemployment compensation with daily updates.
The number one inquiry to our office comes from local citizens who still have not had a resolution to their unemployment compensation claim with the Department of Labor and Industry. By providing this information to the public daily, it will improve transparency and accountability of a system that serves as a lifeline in times like these. I continue to hear from York Countians who have waited a month with no resolution to their claim. That is unacceptable.
Last week, the governor unveiled his new portal that lets Pennsylvanians tattle on one another. If there is time to create this, then we better resolve the unemployment compensation crisis for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Read more about my forthcoming bill here.
Governor Wolf reopens golf, marinas, other outdoor activity effective Friday, May 1
Earlier today, Governor Wolf announced that starting Friday, May 1, golf courses, marinas, guided fishing trips and privately-owned campgrounds may reopen statewide. Please note that campgrounds in state parks will remain closed through Thursday, May 14.
You can read more about this update here.
Deadline extended to apply for PHEAA state grants until May 15; loan forbearance available
In response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has extended the deadline for college students to apply for state grants from May 1 to May 15 for the 2020-21 academic year. The new deadline applies both to renewals and first-time applicants.
More information on how to apply for state grants and how the coronavirus will impact state grant and special loan programs is available on PHEAA’s website.
In addition, the agency recently offered a three-month forbearance on all PHEAA-owned private loans for borrowers affected by COVID-19. More details are available here. Borrowers must contact their loan servicer, American Education Services (AES), in order to request this forbearance. The AES COVID-19 webpage includes more information about options for borrowers to postpone payments for both federal and private student loans.
Guidelines available for construction industry reopening
Following Governor Wolf’s announcement that the construction industry can resume normal operations on May 1, the Department of Health extended guidelines to ensure these employers can operate in a way that minimizes the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The guidelines include cleaning frequently touched surfaces, providing sufficient distance between employees, staggering breaks and shifts, providing masks for employees and more. The full list of guidelines is available here.
Mental health resources available for Pennsylvanians in need
The coronavirus public health emergency has created a great deal of stress and anxiety throughout the state. A number of mental health resources are available to help Pennsylvanians who are struggling during these challenging times.
An overview of mental health resources for state residents is available here. Resources are also available through the Crisis Text Line by texting “PA” to 741-741.
Essential court functions still available for older Pennsylvanians
Although the courts remain closed for most purposes during COVID-19, essential functions are still being provided to protect seniors. This includes temporary protection from abuse actions, guardianship defense, motions related to public health concerns, emergency petitions and other functions determined by a president judge to be essential.
More details on essential court functions that are still available are detailed here.
Curbside delivery expanded to more PLCB Stores
Beginning this week, more Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores throughout the state will begin offering curbside pickup service for customers. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) released a new list of stores offering this service, including 13 in York County.
Orders are limited to a total of six bottles per order, and customers must call ahead and pay with a credit card over the phone. Orders are filled on a first-call, first-served basis. Voicemail orders will not be accepted. Many frequently asked questions about curbside pickup and online ordering are answered here.
Expiration dates extended for many temporary processional licenses and permits
At the outset of the pandemic, the Department of State extended the expiration dates for several types of professional licenses and permits. Several other temporary permits were recently added to the list, including physical therapy, respiratory therapy, genetic counseling, massage therapy and many more.
A complete list of temporary licenses and permits that have been extended is available here.
Stay safe – follow these tips
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Tuesday, April 28 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.
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