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.
Information specific to unemployment compensation can be found at SenatorKristin.com/unemployment.
Senate of Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19
The COVID-19 public health emergency has presented Pennsylvania with unprecedented medical and economic challenges, claiming more than 2,300 lives and upending millions more. The Pennsylvania Senate has been meeting via teleconference technology to provide the tools to protect public health, deliver a lifeline to those forced out of work, and complete the urgent task of safely reopening the commonwealth.
Some of the key measures approved by the Senate:
Our work on this emergency won’t end until all Pennsylvanians can work and move about freely. You can follow our efforts during Senate session here and committee activity here. I will keep you informed of additional legislative action in these email updates.
I also co-led an effort to request the formal review by the United States Attorney General into Governor Wolf’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about that bicameral effort here.
The Senate also requested the Auditor General to investigate the handling of the business waiver process, which you can read about here in this PA Post article.
A Senate committee also filed a formal subpoena to obtain the governor’s business waiver list issued during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about that here.
In addition to these state-related efforts, United States Supreme Court Justice Alito is requiring the governor to respond to a lawsuit by noon today (Monday) by a group of Pennsylvania businesses and people who claim the state’s coronavirus shutdown violates their constitutional rights. Read more about that here in the Allentown Morning Call.
Stay-At-Home order lifted for 24 PA counties effective May 8
Counties moving to the yellow phase include: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.
More information about current plans to reopen Pennsylvania is outlined here.
While the governor’s action is a small step in the right direction, I believe employers and small businesses in more counties could continue to operate safely with the proper guidance of the Centers for Disease Control. I will continue to fight to see more counties and industries opened safely as soon as possible.
Senate hearings scheduled this week to examine COVID-19 response
A series of four hearings is scheduled this week to examine various aspects of the Wolf Administration’s response to COVID-19. Committee members will question administration officials directly via remote technology, and the hearings will be streamed live at www.pasenategop.com.
Video and details from the hearings will be available here.
Important update for UC applicants who have not received PINs
Many workers who are trying to file for unemployment benefits have reported long delays in receiving a PIN. The Office of Unemployment Compensation is advising claimants that if they do not receive a PIN within three weeks, they should complete a PIN Reset Request online.
Once applicants receive their PIN, they can file for all missed weeks dating back to the first missed week of work. More information on the Unemployment Compensation system is available here.
Reminder: Expiration dates extended for PennDOT driver licenses, ID cards and learner’s permits
PennDOT announced last week that Pennsylvanians who have an expiring driver license, photo identification card or learner’s permit will have more time to renew them. Any of these items scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 through May 31, 2020, are now extended through June 30, 2020.
PennDOT’s Driver License Centers and Photo License Centers remain closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, many services can still be completed online.
Farmers markets prepared to safely open amid COVID-19
Farmers markets, like grocery stores, offer life-sustaining food and essentials and have been provided guidance from the Department of Agriculture on ways to safely operate and minimize risks during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The guidance also offers farms the opportunity to open an on-farm stand to sell raw produce, eggs, or shelf stable packaged foods such as jams, jellies, or baked goods without additional food safety licenses. More information about Pennsylvania’s farm markets is available at pafarm.com.
PennDOT construction projects resume
As part of the governor’s announcement that construction projects could resume in Pennsylvania on May 1, PennDOT highway and bridge projects will also be allowed to continue with new safety precautions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Additional details about PennDOT construction projects are available at PennDOT.gov.
Limited opening of state park and forest facilities scheduled
The reopenings include at least one restroom in day-use areas in state parks, forests and marinas effective May 8; all nine marinas in state parks effective May 8 unless otherwise designated; and all three public golf courses in the system. State park facilities in counties in the yellow phase of reopening will also be open to the public beginning on May 15. More
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