UPDATE: Lawmakers approved a concurrent resolution last week that requires Governor Wolf to terminate his COVID-19 emergency declaration, clearing the way for businesses to reopen safely statewide. The measure would not affect the state’s ability to receive federal funding or impact the ability of Pennsylvanians to receive unemployment and other federally funded benefits.
To date, the governor has refused to do his Constitutional duty to end the disaster declaration. Senate leaders have petitioned the Commonwealth Court to force the governor to end his emergency declaration. Unfortunately, this means that until the issue is settled in the courts, all of the governor’s current orders remain in effect. However, this could change if the courts rule in favor of ending the declaration. In the meantime, I will continue to share information on the governor’s orders and guidance for informational purposes until the courts weigh in.
In This Update:
Mt. Lebanon Cemetery Clean-Up
This past Saturday, myself and my staff, as well as, Mr. Horace Erhgood and several volunteers helped to clean up the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. The cemetery has been experiencing some issues in terms of upkeep. Volunteers helped to fill in groundhog holes, cleaned up a tree that had fallen over some graves, and weed whacked several areas in an effort to restore this cemetery. I am pleased to announce that I have worked with Mr. Erhgood in order to arrange another community clean-up this Friday, from 8:30-11 am. Those that wish to come out and help are asked to bring a shovel, gloves, and weed whacker if possible. I looked forward to seeing you there!
Senate Resolution 333 Introduced to Designate June as Cancer Survivor Recognition Month
I have introduced Senate Resolution 333 which would designate the month of June as Cancer Survivors Recognition month in Pennsylvania. The purpose of this legislation is to honor all cancer survivors for their strength and courage in the face of this devastating illness. As many of you may know, I am a cancer survivor and I believe it is important to recognize those who are currently fighting, or have fought, cancer and are living with the designation, ‘Survivor’. A cancer survivor can be your parent, child, grandparent, any family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. Many cancer survivors, like myself, are deeply grateful to our caregivers, family, friends, and healthcare providers for the endless support we receive. Many, if not all of us, have been touched by cancer within our families. It’s time we recognize the strength of cancer survivors across the Commonwealth, and show our support for those still fighting. If you do not live in the 48th District, I encourage you to contact your senator and ask them to support SR 333.
Groundbreaking of North Cornwall Commons Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites in Lebanon County
This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining Roland Karbaum, Jonathan Byler, Jed Gingrich, and Bruce Darkes for the ribbon cutting of the North Cornwall Commons Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites. I would like to extend my congratulations and my best wishes for the future success of this establishment. I’m looking forward to bringing tourism back to Lebanon County.
Senate Hearings Planned on Turnpike Layoffs, Safe Reopening, Law Enforcement Reforms
Several Senate committees are scheduled to address some of the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania communities this week:
All of the hearings will be streamed live at www.pasenategop.com.
Guidelines Available for COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Grants
I supported a law approved by the Senate earlier this month that directs $2.6 billion in funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for critical needs that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the new law, a total of $225 million in grants are available for small businesses impacted by the virus.
Funding will be available through three programs:
Eight More Counties Moving to Green Phase of Reopening
Beginning on June 19, a total of 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will be in the green phase of reopening. All counties in the state are now in either the green or yellow phase, and the governor’s stay-at-home order has been lifted for all counties.
The counties moving to green on June 19 are: Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill. The only counties remaining in the yellow phase past June 19 are: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Susquehanna.
Many businesses in the green phase will operate at a lower capacity with new safety requirements in place, and lower occupancy thresholds are mandated for businesses such as restaurants, bars, personal care services and entertainment venues.
New Guidance Available for Recreational Sports to Resume
Professional, recreational, collegiate, high school and youth sports can now resume statewide under new guidance that was announced last week. The guidance includes screening and monitoring coaches and players for COVID-19 symptoms, bringing individual drinks instead of using water coolers or fixed water fountains, avoiding handshakes and other unnecessary contact, not sharing equipment whenever possible, limiting spectators and developing a plan of action if a coach, athlete or official is diagnosed with the virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has also released specific guidance for youth sports organizations, including recommendations to maintain a healthy environment, assess risks and promote practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Information Available for Reopening Museums and Historical Societies
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recently created a new webpage to share advice for museums, historical societies and preservation organizations that are beginning to reopen after closures related to COVID-19.
The new webpage includes health and safety guidance, funding resources and more.
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