May. 21, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
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Perry, Cumberland Counties Move to Yellow Phase of Reopening

Gov. Tom Wolf has announced Perry and Cumberland counties will move to the “yellow” phase of reopening Friday, finally lifting the stay-at-home orders.

In the yellow phase, all businesses, except those categories specifically excluded, are permitted to conduct in-person operations, including childcare centers. Gatherings of up to 25 people are also allowed. Telework must continue where feasible, and schools will remain closed. Restaurants and bars are still limited to carryout and delivery. Gyms, hair salons, casinos and theaters remain closed.

Perry County was positioned to enter the yellow phase weeks ago given the low case count and other mitigating criteria being met. Earlier this month, I joined with other elected officials from Perry County and urged Governor Wolf to re-open Perry County, yet Pittsburgh and surrounding areas with significantly higher cases of COVID-19 were chosen first.

The governor’s administration felt the pressure from Perry County’s elected leaders to lift the stay-at-home order. He should have done it sooner. We will now continue to press for the region to be moved to the “green” phase and resume all business operations.

The House Republican Caucus has taken action in response to the COVID-19 crisis, only to be stymied by the governor almost every time. Wolf vetoed three pieces of critical legislation this week to reopen segments of society.

We attempted to override his veto on House Bill 2388, but we fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. This legislation would have provided for the reopening of several industries, including car dealerships, garden centers, salons and dog groomers. You can see how people voted here.

Since mid-March, we have made unemployment compensation more accessible to Pennsylvanians who need it now more than ever, accelerated property tax and rent rebates, and voted to safely and responsibly open mom-and-pop retail stores at a time when national retailers are still open. You can read more about our actions here.

 
 
Bills Get OK from Commerce Committee

I introduced House Bill 2491 to allow auctioneers to work during COVID-19. This bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to issue a waiver allowing for auctioneers to work. On Tuesday, House Bill 2491 was voted out of the House Commerce Committee, of which I am chairman.

The Commerce Committee also sent to the full House a bill that would create a small business grant program. House Bill 2452 would affect businesses with up to 10 full-time employees, and it would position DCED to distribute federal money to those businesses. DCED would create the guidelines for this program if it passes the legislature.
 
 
Primary Election June 2


The primary election is now just two weeks away. Voters may choose to either vote by mail or in person. Both Perry and Cumberland counties have changes to polling places. Information about Perry County can be found here and information about Cumberland County can be found here.
 
 
 
What’s New?

The Department of Health last week distributed the investigational antiviral medication, remdesivir, to treat patients in the hospital with COVID-19. The federal government distributed the first shipment of 1,200 doses to the department on Tuesday and those doses are being shipped to 51 of the state’s hospitals. The receiving hospitals were chosen based on the number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital over a recent seven-day period, and the severity of the illness of those patients, based on whether they are on a ventilator. Remdesivir is given to a patient through an IV once per day for up to 10 days, depending on how critically ill the patient is. According to the FDA, remdesivir may help decrease the amount of coronavirus in the body, helping the patient recover faster.

To help reduce the number of people coming into driver and photo license centers, PennDOT announced it will use existing photos on file for customers who renew their driver’s license and identification card. All customers who renew online or through the mail will receive a new product using the most recent photo that exists in PennDOT’s system. No camera cards will be issued to these customers, and they will receive their new product by mail within 15 days. The renewal process is complete when the final product is received. PLEASE NOTE: People who renewed BEFORE May 10 will receive a camera card in the mail and must visit a photo license center to obtain an updated photo. Additionally, non-U.S. citizens must also visit a driver’s license center in person to complete a transaction. For a list of reopened locations, visit www.dmv.pa.gov. Expiration dates on driver’s licenses, photo ID cards, learner's permits and camera cards scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31 have been extended until June 30. For more information and an update on REAL ID products, click here.

PennDOT also announced an extension of expiration dates for vehicle registrations and safety and emission inspections. Items scheduled to expire between March 16 and May 31 are now extended through June 30. Persons with Disabilities parking placards scheduled to expire from March 16 through May 31 are also extended through June 30.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau recently announced it will begin a phased restart of some of its field operations to help ensure an accurate count. All returning staff will receive safety training to observe social distancing protocols in the COVID-19 environment. For their safety and the safety of the public, the Census Bureau has ordered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all field staff, including those who work in a field office. These materials will be secured and provided to staff prior to restarting operations. For more information, visit www.2020census.gov.
 
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Office Locations
Perry County Office, 18 West Main Street, PO Box 9. New Bloomfield PA 17068 | Tel: 717-582-8119
Cumberland County Office, 81 Walnut Bottom Road, P.O. Box 705, Shippensburg, PA 17257 | Tel: 717-477-0905
Room 105 , Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202086. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2086 | Tel: 717-783-1593
Email: mkeller@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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