Apr. 08, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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#Listrak\DateStamplong# The latest news from the State Capitol
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Manufacturers Fight the Spread of COVID-19

This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, which will mobilize manufacturers that are producing COVID-19-related products and supplies or can pivot to producing COVID-19-related supplies.

Last week, Gov. Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Portal to source the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals. The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal builds on those efforts to help manufacturers produce COVID-19-related supplies or retool their operations to begin creation of those supplies.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal will help facilitate business connections for expansion of supply chain capacity and manufacturing innovation. The goal is to match manufacturers and distributors to fill specific supply chain needs to meet increasing demands for medical supplies and related products, assist manufacturers that have workforce needs or gaps and aid them in identifying skilled workers, and identify manufacturers that can pivot or innovate to fulfill the demand for medical supplies and related products.

Pennsylvania’s manufacturers, distributors, and other suppliers should visit the portal to report their critical supply chain capabilities, needs, or workforce gaps or innovative opportunities, which will help DCED staff identify opportunities and solutions.

Questions can be directed to ra-dcedpamctap@pa.gov.
   
 
 
US Dept. of Labor Issues New Unemployment Details

The federal CARES Act will provide an additional $600 per week to individuals receiving unemployment compensation (UC) beginning March 29, 2020 through July 31, 2020. Beginning with week ending April 4, 2020, if you file for and are eligible for a UC payment you will receive an additional $600.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will begin issuing the additional $600 per week once it receives guidance from the United States Department of Labor. Once implemented, payments will be retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020. It is anticipated that this benefit will be paid on a bi-weekly basis, the week after you file for and receive your regular UC payment. This benefit is taxable and therefore will be subject to 10% Federal Withholding Tax, if you elected to have taxes withheld from your regular UC benefits. For information about changing your election visit our Taxes on Benefits page.

The Department of Labor and Industry will determine eligibility for the additional $600 based on eligibility for the underlying program eligibility; individuals do not have to separately apply for this benefit. In addition to regular UC, if you are or become eligible for one of the following, the additional $600 will be paid:
  •   Shared-Work, or Short-Time Compensation (STC)
  •   Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA)
  •   Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  •   Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Additional information about PEUC and PUA will be provided when we receive complete guidance from United States Department of Labor.

Self-employed Individuals
federal CARES Act will also provide unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, and gig workers.

At this time, our state departments are awaiting more information about this program. I will share further details with you when they become available. Self-employed workers should NOT file a claim through the existing online system, as the claim will be denied.

UC Exhaustees
The federal CARES Act will provide additional weeks of benefits for those who have already exhausted their benefits period.

The Department of Labor and Industry will update its website with instructions on accessing these benefits once it receives guidance from the federal government. Please check the department’s website regularly for updated instructions and to find FAQs about unemployment compensation.
 
 
 
Lapsed EMS Certifications Reinstated to Fight COVID-19

As our state continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has determined that additional EMS personnel may be required.

During the COVID-19 emergency, the department has issued a regulatory exception permitting any EMS provider whose certification expired after December 31, 2014 may apply for reinstatement on the Department of Health’s website. 
 
 
 
Remote Notarization Available During COVID-19 Emergency

The Department of State has received a temporary limited suspension of the Pennsylvania statute which requires physical presence of notaries for all notarial acts relating to a statement or signature on a record.

Because of the potentially fatal nature of COVID-19, particularly for older persons, trust and estate attorneys have been inundated by requests to provide clients with legal instruments relating to end-of-life planning. Many people are frightened by the prospect of not being able to rely on others to handle their affairs if they become incapacitated.

Yet, it is increasingly difficult for attorneys to meet with their clients. Many seniors, and particularly those with medical conditions, are obeying the president and the governor and are limiting exposure to other people. Some clients are in nursing homes where no visitors are allowed.

Several types of documents used in estate planning require notarization. Some do not require notarization under law, but the best practices of attorneys utilize notarization for these documents.

Documents that require notarization include:
  •   Powers of attorney
  •   Self-executing wills
  •   Temporary guardianship

Documents that do not require notarization but for which it is encouraged include:
  •   Advance health care directives/health care powers of attorney
  •   Living wills
  •   Standby and temporary guardianship
                                   
For all the above documents, notaries may use audio-visual communication technology as an alternative to in-person appearance. However, notaries must execute the notarial acts in accordance with all other requirements of the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA).

The safeguards included in the Uniform Law Commission amendments to RULONA and the recent Remote Online Notarization legislation introduced in Pennsylvania will be required. These safeguards include multilayered identity verification, use of tamper-evident technology and an audio-video recording of the notarial act.

Therefore, all notaries who are using audio-visual communication technology as an alternative to personal appearance must:
  •   Become an approved Pennsylvania electronic notary
  •   Use an e-notary solution already approved by the Department that offers remote notarization technology. These include: Doc-Verify, Safe-Docs and Pavaso
  •   Indicate in the notary certificate that the notarial act was performed by means of communication technology. The following statement will satisfy that requirement: “This notarial act involved the use of communication technology.”
 
 
 
Primary Election Moved to June 2

Originally scheduled for April 28, our primary election will now be held on Tuesday, June 2. You now have until May 18 to register to vote and until May 26 to sign up to vote by absentee or mail-in ballot. Click here for more information.
 
 
 
District Office Reminder

In the interest of protecting public health, my offices in Harrisburg, Dallas and Tunkhannock are temporarily closed to walk-in service. However, we remain ready to assist via phone and email during regular office hours Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Please note that  offices will be closed on Friday in observance of Good Friday. Our remote operations will resume on Monday, April 13.

REMINDER: For unemployment inquiries, please utilize the links and resources above.


For Harrisburg inquiries, please call 717-787-1117 or email bzablots@pahousegop.com.

For Dallas inquiries, please call 570-675-6000 or email ahoussoc@pahousegop.com; or csweeney@pahousegop.com.

For Tunkhannock inquiries, please call 570-836-4777 or email csweeney@pahousegop.com; lcadden@pahousegop.com; or jwilliams@pahousegop.com.
 
  
 
Veterans’ Services Available Remotely

My office has received word from PA Career Link that its Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Specialists are continuing to operate remotely, providing employment assistance for veterans. Additional veterans’ services are available remotely from the American Legion. Please contact my offices and we will connect you with somebody who can help.

  
 
Department of State Waives Professional Licensure Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of State announced today that it has issued 30 licensing waivers since March 17 to allow licensed professionals, facilities and trainees to respond to the COVID-19 disaster declaration.

Among the changes in place during the COVID-19 emergency:
  •   Licensed health care practitioners may provide services via telemedicine
  •   Temporary licenses for out-of-state health care practitioners will be expedited
  •   Extended all upcoming license renewal deadlines including healthcare and non-healthcare professionals
  •   Recently retired health care practitioners may temporarily reactivate their licenses more easily and without reactivation fee
  •   Suspended certain in-person continuing-education requirements to allow increased use of online or distance learning
  •   Authorized the use of electronic notarization and loosened restrictions on in person requirements for notaries handling estate documents such as wills, living wills, and powers of attorney, as well as other types
  •   Extended filing deadlines for charitable nonprofit organizations

“The Department of State is working with the governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to identify additional requirements that can be suspended to give licensed professionals and others the flexibility they need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Secretary Boockvar said.

The Department of State website will be updated regularly as additional requirement waiver information becomes available. Licensees with questions should contact their state licensing board via the email addresses on the Department of State website.
 
 
 
Health, Human Service Helpline Available

If you need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic and aren't sure where to turn, the people at Pennsylvania 211 are available to help.

Pennsylvania 211 helps you connect with resources in the community - from help with childcare, housing, finding food and more, you can dial 211 or text your zip code to #898-211 to talk with a resource specialist for free.

More information is available here.

 
Our District

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RepBoback.com
Office Locations
105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 | Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
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