In This Edition:
Senator Aument Announces ‘Restore & Reimagine PA’ Initiative, Invites Constituents to Submit Input
Today, I am announcing the launch of my “Restore & Reimagine Pennsylvania” initiative, designed to collect ideas and feedback from constituents and community leaders on how to restore, rebuild, and reimagine a stronger Pennsylvania.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has completely changed life as we knew it. These past few weeks have been marked by struggles, pain, confusion, change, frustration, and even death. It certainly has not been easy. But it is human nature to adapt to difficult situations, and to innovate and create new ways of life out of tragedy. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Pennsylvanians have and must continue to adapt and overcome the new challenges created by this pandemic.
While getting folks back to work in a safe manner that will not jeopardize public health remains my priority in the near term, it is critical that we begin planning now for a robust recovery in the long-term.
So I’m inviting you to adapt and overcome, to innovate and create new ideas with me. I have always said throughout my time in the General Assembly that the residents of Lancaster County are my greatest resource to helping me do my job well. With your input, I’m confident that we can restore, rebuild, and reimagine a stronger Pennsylvania together.
Read the full press release here: https://www.senatoraument.com/2020/05/06/senator-aument-announces-restore-reimagine-pa-initiative-invites-constituents-to-submit-input/
Visit the Restore & Reimagine PA website to join the conversation and submit your feedback here: https://www.senatoraument.com/reimagine-pa/
A Week of Senate Hearings on Wolf Administration’s Response to COVID-19
Many aspects of the Wolf Administration’s response to COVID-19 have been questioned and criticized since mitigation measures first began in Pennsylvania in March. The Senate is holding a series of hearings this week to examine many of the questions that have been raised over the past two months, including serious problems with the Unemployment Compensation system, inconsistencies in Governor Wolf’s plans to reopen Pennsylvania, difficulties with state Wine & Spirits store sales, and the unique challenges facing nursing homes during the public health emergency.
Senate Committees Dig Deeper on Unemployment Compensation Problems
The most frequent concerns I’ve heard from community residents over the past two months are problems with the state’s Unemployment Compensation (UC) system. When the Wolf Administration closed thousands of businesses as part of its plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians were forced into the Unemployment Compensation system, which was not at all prepared to handle that kind of volume.
This week, the Senate Labor and Industry Committee and Senate Communications and Technology Committee held a joint hearing to examine the problems with the UC system that have created significant delays in assistance and extreme frustrations from claimants.
Although representatives of the Department of Labor and Industry testified that they are working to significantly increase staff available to help claimants, approximately 30 percent of people who have applied since the start of the pandemic have still not received a payment. This is unacceptable and must be rectified as soon as possible. Hearing Video, Agenda & Written Testimony
Department of Labor & Industry Offers Additional, Interactive Guidance for Unemployment Compensation Applicants
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry now has an interactive, “Self-Service Step-by-Step Instructions” page on their website, complete with a virtual tour of the Unemployment Compensation application process that filers can use for assistance.
Other resources on the webpage include:
To access the self-service instructions, click here.
To learn how to file a claim, click here.
Hearing Examines Concerns Surrounding Governor Wolf’s Delayed Reopening Plans
The Senate Local Government Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee took a closer look at the impact of Governor Wolf’s plan to reopen more Pennsylvania employers during a joint hearing with medical experts, local government officials and members of the Wolf Administration this week.
The hearing included discussion of topics including the reasons why some counties with low case counts remain in the red phase, while counties with higher counts have moved to the yellow phase; why the Wolf Administration’s guidelines are more restrictive than guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; the time frame for moving more counties from red to yellow, and from yellow to green; testing and tracing capacity; and the Administration’s lack of collaboration with the General Assembly.
I am strongly urging the Wolf Administration to allow more counties to open – with proper safety protocols in place – as soon as possible. Hearing Video, Agenda & Written Testimony.
Senate Panel Studies Liquor Control Board Issues During COVID-19
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has dealt with many serious issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the closing of state stores, the impact of the decision on consumers and liquor licensees, and the roll-out of the e-commerce and curbside pick-up programs that are currently in place.
On Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m., the Senate Law and Justice Committee examines all of these issues and other concerns pertaining to PLCB. Hearing Video, & Agenda.
Challenges Facing Nursing Homes to be Explored at Senate Hearing
Nursing homes have faced some incredibly challenging circumstances in caring for vulnerable patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency. As of Tuesday, 2,029 of Pennsylvania’s 3,012 COVID-19 deaths were associated with nursing homes and personal care homes.
On Thursday beginning at 10:30 a.m., the Senate Aging and Youth Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will take a closer look at these challenges and explore solutions to ensure these facilities can better protect the health and safety of residents. Hearing Live Stream & Agenda
Aument to Host Telephone Town Hall TOMORROW as Part of ‘Restore & Reimagine PA’ Initiative
As part of my Restore & Reimagine PA initiative, I will answer questions and gather feedback from community residents during a live telephone town hall specifically to discuss coronavirus-related issues on Thursday, May 7 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Community residents can register to participate in the tele-town hall by visiting www.senatoraument.com/tele-town-hall. This link can also be used for audio streaming, which will be available immediately prior to the event. Additionally, if residents are unable to attend this event, they can listen to a recording of it to follow along with the conversation later OR view a schedule of other upcoming outreach events here.
The tele-town hall format encourages community residents to participate in a discussion while practicing social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Participants can ask questions or simply remain on the line to listen to the discussion.
Guest panelists for the discussion will include a physician to answer medical questions, an unemployment compensation expert to respond to inquiries about the UC system, and representatives from a local economic development board to address questions about the state of our economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
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