May. 31, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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#Listrak\DateStamplong# The latest news from the State Capitol
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House Passes Five-Month, Stabilizing Budget in Face of COVID-19

Working to responsibly move the state forward during these uncertain times, the House this week approved a state budget for the first five months of the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The plan provides certainty and stability for the next several months while we await more information about how revenues have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. With tax collection dates changed to July and August, we need more time to ensure we have the data necessary to make smart budgeting decisions for the remainder of the fiscal year.

While most state functions are funded for five months, we are committing to a full 12 months of funding for our preK-12 schools and higher education institutions in this plan, which is based on the current year’s budget. Getting our students back in their classrooms this fall is a top priority for all of us, and this budget provides the necessary resources to help our schools reopen safely.

House Bill 2387 allocates approximately $25.8 billion and includes no new or increased taxes.  
An Update on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants will now be receiving their PUA and federal pandemic unemployment compensation payments via paper checks for the foreseeable future as an added precaution.

The Notice of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Filed was mailed to all PUA claimants due to the Department of Labor and Industry’s recent discovery of attempts by scammers to apply for PUA using others’ personal information.

It is important to note that no UC data was breached – the scam involves stolen identities from other sources. Visit the department’s website for more information. 
House Advances Bill to Freeze Legislator Pay

At a time when millions of Pennsylvanians are out of work, the House advanced a bill this week that would freeze pay for members of the General Assembly and other officials throughout all branches of state government. House Bill 2487 is pending action in the Senate.
Primary Election This Tuesday

Just a reminder the state’s primary election will take place this coming Tuesday, June 2.

The state law that authorized changing the primary date also gave county boards of election some leeway to condense polling locations if needed due to regular locations being unavailable on the new date or volunteer shortages.

I encourage you to visit the PA Voter Services website to verify your polling location for Tuesday.

Additionally, if you would prefer to vote by mail, please remember that mail-in ballots must be received at the county bureau of elections by 8 p.m. on election day, according to state law. A postmark is not sufficient.

Voters who worry there is insufficient time to mail their ballots may drop them off at several municipal sites in our district, depending on their county of residence. Find below a list of ballot drop-off locations.

Lackawanna County Government Center, 123 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton

Hazleton Post Office, 231 N. Wyoming St.
Wilkes-Barre Post Office, 300 South Main St.
Penn Place building, 20 North Pennsylvania Ave.

Wyoming County Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Square, Tunkhannock  
Governor Issues New Guidance for Yellow Counties

This week, the governor updated his administration’s yellow phase guidance, most notably allowing restaurants in those areas to provide outdoor seating service.

Beginning June 5, restaurants and retail food service businesses located in counties designated as being in the yellow phase are permitted to add dine-in service in outdoor seating areas so long as they strictly adhere to the requirements of the guidance, including maximum occupancy limits:

  •   Indoor areas, including bar areas, of restaurants and retail food service businesses must be closed to customers except for through-traffic. Non-bar seating in outdoor areas (i.e., tables or counter seats that do not line up to a bar or food service area) may be used for customer seating.
  •   Customers being served must be seated at a table.

Prohibitions are also included. The following are not permitted:
  •   Self-service food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, condiments, and drink stations.
  •   Condiments on tables; these must be dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer.
  •   Reusable menus.
  •   Refilling food and beverage containers or allowing implements brought in by customers.
License to Carry Permits Extended to July 31

License to carry permits that were originally extended to May 30 are now extended to July 31. Further details are available at  
New Guidance Issued for Children’s Summer Camp, Recreation Programs

As our state’s parents return to work this summer, many Pennsylvania families are wondering about the status of their children’s care and recreation programs in the wake of COVID-19.

This weekend, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released a helpful guide with answers to questions about safe participation in summer camps, sports teams, recreation programs and more.

Click here for more information. 
PennDOT Further Extends Expiration Dates to June 30

Expiration dates for a variety of PennDOT products set to expire between March 16 and May 31 are now extended to June 30. This includes driver licenses, identification cards and learner's permits; vehicle registrations, safety inspections and emissions inspections; and persons with disabilities parking placards. Many of these items may be renewed online if you choose at For more information about PennDOT actions related to COVID-19, click here.  
Coronavirus Relief Available to Pennsylvania Farmers

The Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers who have been directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic of their eligibility for direct relief payments authorized through the federal CARES Act.

For details, click here.  

Additionally, Pennsylvania’s poultry, swine, lamb, goat and sheep processors are eligible for reimbursement for costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their workforce.

For more information on who qualifies and how to apply, click here.  
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.

For Harrisburg inquiries, please call 717-787-1117 or email

For Dallas inquiries, please call 570-675-6000 or email, or

For Tunkhannock inquiries, please call 570-836-4777 or email,, or
Our District

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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