A Note From Daylin
I hope everyone is staying safe & healthy. This week, my staff and I have been busier than ever, working to represent you in Harrisburg while also working in the community to assist you.
First, let me thank those who joined me for Tuesday’s town hall. I always enjoy hearing from my constituents about their concerns and interests. There were a number of concerns expressed about election ballots. I am equally concerned about making sure that your ballots and options for voting safely, and will be doing everything I can to support our Montgomery and Delaware County as they work to make sure your vote is counted. As we approach election day, I will be working hard to keep you informed about any changes to your voting options.
Another prevalent request I get is for help addressing ongoing issues with unemployment compensation. Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians have filed for regular unemployment compensation, and an additional 136,000 have filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Regretfully, our system was not equipped for the demand that we’re seeing and my constituents have experienced a myriad of issues related to filing their claims. My office is always here to help - we have legislative liaisons with whom we work to resolve these matters. If you or someone you know is still having problems, please contact us at email@example.com or 610.768.4200.
Over the course of the past 11 weeks, I have heard from constituents expressing concerns about the economic impact that closures are having on businesses. Yesterday, I hosted my first ever Round Table on a Square Screen Discussion on the subject of re-opening our community. Speakers with diverse backgrounds shared about the challenges they, as small business owners, have experienced and described some of their plans for a safe re-opening. I welcome additional feedback from my constituents and look forward to further discussion about this matter.
I know these have been difficult times, but it’s because of your selflessness and your commitment that we’ve seen a decrease in the amount of reported cases. Please let me know how I can best serve you as we all get through this together.
The Latest News
Gov. Wolf Adds Eight Counties to Yellow and 17 to Green on May 29, Remainder to Yellow on June 5
Office of Governor Wolf
Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today announced eight additional counties will move to yellow and 17 to green, effective at 12:01 a.m., May 29. All remaining counties in red are expected to move to yellow by June 5 at 12:01 a.m.
With a bottom line rocked by COVID-19, Pa. lawmakers set to pass stop-gap budget this week
The Pennsylvania General Assembly is prepared to pass a temporary budget this week that would push off tough spending choices until after the 2020 election, according to two Capitol sources with knowledge of the process.
PA Launches Extended Unemployment Program: What To Know
The new program will provide an additional 13 weeks of support for individuals who have exhausted their unemployment assistance.
Montgomery County hires new health director; contact tracing program takes shape
Main Line Media News
As week 11 of the COVID-19 outbreak in Montgomery County came to a close, officials announced a Souderton woman will take over as interim administrator of the Office of Public Health, and they announced partnerships with community groups that will get a contact tracing program off the ground.
Montgomery County surveys financials amid coronavirus pandemic
The Times Herald
It appears that Montgomery County’s finances are in good shape as shown in the initial 2019 comprehensive annual financial report. Chief Financial Officer Dean Dortone addressed the Montgomery County Commissioners and fellow staff members during a virtual meeting on Thursday to provide a progress report on the county budget.
Montgomery County begins COVID19 contact tracing at Norristown test site
The Times Herald
The walk-up community-based testing site where contact tracing has begun is located on the parking lot of the Delaware Valley Community Health Norristown Regional Health Center, 1401 DeKalb St. The free testing is provided by appointment only from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
PWHS senior dedicated '20% Project' to feeding the hungry
The Times Herald
In Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) English classes, seniors complete a "20% Project" - a self-guided effort that involves exploring a passion, researching a topic or solving a problem. PWHS Class of 2020's Kelli Coles decided to dedicate her 20% Project to solving the problem of hunger. Initially, Kelli had planned a grab-and-go food bank at PWHS. However, just as all of the pieces were falling into place, the pandemic hit.
Gargantuan effort fuels race to push out mail-in ballots
Stacks of mail bins filled with envelopes sat on shelves Wednesday in the middle of what's normally the Delaware County Council Meeting Room. It has been transformed into a full-on ballot stuffing campaign consisting of dozens of staff and volunteers giving their all so that county voters will have the chance to exercise their right to vote on June 2.
It’s not junk mail: Coronavirus stimulus payment debit cards come in plain envelope
As millions of Americans await their stimulus payment being sent in the form of a prepaid debit card, some may not realize exactly what it is when it finally arrives to their mailbox.
Bots account for nearly half of Twitter accounts spreading coronavirus misinformation, researchers say
About half of the Twitter accounts pushing misinformation about COVID-19 and calling for "reopening America" may be bots, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said Wednesday. The tweets appear to be aiming to sow division and increase polarization during the pandemic.
Traffic Is Way Down Because Of Lockdown, But Air Pollution? Not So Much
The air is clearer. But the pollution declines aren't nearly as large as early indications suggested, according to an NPR analysis of six years of Environmental Protection Agency data.
Don’t wait to go to ER for non-coronavirus-related issues, physician says
People who need emergency care for issues not related to the coronavirus are avoiding the emergency room because they don’t want to bother the doctors, WSOC-TV reported.
From Camping To Dining Out: Here's How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities
It's been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings, to a day at the pool, to sharing a vacation house with another household.
Ideal Nursing Homes: Individual Rooms, Better Staffing, More Accountability
The stunning death toll has brought scrutiny to an industry that many believe is due for an overhaul. Questions about the way it's paid for, staffing levels, adequate training for staff, effective regulations and oversight all are raging as states battle to control the ravages of the pandemic.
Six Flags to require online reservations, face masks for guests
The changes, which involve requiring guests to book tickets online as well as having distance markers in places ranging from rides to restrooms, are meant to address issues with the coronavirus.
Cocktails-to-Go Signed Into Law; Effective Immediately
Act 21 of 2020 was signed into law on May 21, allowing the temporary sale of cocktails-to-go from bars, restaurants or hotels with a liquor license. The law is now in effect.
The law applies to bars, restaurants and hotels that have lost 25 percent of average monthly total sales during the COVID-19 emergency. The beverages must be sold in containers with a secure lid in quantities from 4 oz. to 64 oz. before 11 p.m. An additional seal is required on the straw opening of a lid. Within 60 days, bars and restaurants must use a transaction scan device to verify a consumer’s age if the person appears to be younger than 35 years of age.
The temporary rule expires after the COVID-19 disaster emergency ends and a business reaches 60 percent capacity.
Pennsylvania’s open container law applies.
Wolf Administration Releases Summer Camp and Recreation Guidance
With an understanding of the need for Pennsylvania families to secure child care options this summer, the Wolf Administration today issued frequently asked questions to provide guidance to parents, summer camp operators, public bathing places, part-day school-age programs, and other entities that provide necessary child care and enrichment and recreational activities for children and youth during the summer months.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued the FAQs that include guidance on:
- The types of summer programs for children and youth permitted to operate during Gov. Wolf’s phased-in reopening plan.
- Additional requirements for summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases beyond what is required by the CDC guidance for youth programs and camps.
- The summer programs operating in counties in yellow and green phases that are permitted to operate fully indoor, fully outdoor, or a combination of indoor and outdoor.
- Group sizes for summer programs that are permitted to operate in counties in the yellow phase.
- Requirements on staff and youth face-coverings in child care and summer programs permitted to operate in yellow phase counties.
- Enrollment restrictions on summer programs in counties in yellow or green phase.
- Status of public playgrounds during the phased reopening.
- Status of organized team sports during the phased reopening.
- Operation of public bathing places and community pools during the phased reopening.
- Operation of camping, campgrounds and group camping separate from organized summer camps for youth.
- Status of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources facilities during the various phases of reopening.
The FAQs are available here.
The guidance does not apply to public school-operated summer programs or extended school year services. Guidance related to reopening public schools will be released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education later.
According to a recent article published by WHYY, supporting local farmers (is) not only good for local economies but may also be a safer bet. I encourage you to Find Your Local Farmer’s Market and Support PA Farmers in SEPA!
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is working closely with state and federal partners to monitor COVID-19 scams across the U.S. that are targeting unemployment benefits programs and their claimants. Let this serve as a reminder to stay vigilant about protecting your identity from theft.
The scammers behind the COVID-19-related fraud appear to be using Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information belonging to identity theft victims to commit unemployment compensation (UC) fraud. In many situations, the victims are unaware that their identity has been stolen.
Following are some warning signs of a possible COVID-19 scam:
- For workers – receiving any type of correspondence that you filed an unemployment claim when you did not file a claim for benefits.
- For employers – if you notice a claim has been filed for one or more of your employees who are still working.
In general, take these steps to protect yourself against unemployment scams:
- Never give out your personal information over email or text message.
- Don’t wire money, and always ignore the following requests:
- Communications related to your UC benefits from someone asking for money;
- Someone who says they can help you file for your benefits for a fee; and
- Anyone claiming to work for L&I who says they need a fee to complete your application.
- Don’t open or respond to unsolicited emails or text messages.
- Never give out your personal information on websites or social media channels – especially those that claim they can help you apply for UC benefits. Third parties can’t apply for your benefits.
- Don’t trust or rely on UC info from unofficial websites – always visit http://www.uc.pa.gov/ for Pennsylvania unemployment program information.
L&I may need to call you. If you file a claim, save the following unemployment phone numbers to your phone so you know you’re receiving a legitimate call from L&I:
- 888-313-7284 – regular UC
- 855-284-8545 – Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) phone number
- We will ask you for some personal identification information including the last four digits of your Social Security number, but we will not ask for your full SSN.
ICYMI! Property Tax and Rent Rebate News
Governor Tom Wolf and Treasurer Joe Torsella announced that many older homeowners, renters, and people with disabilities will receive early rebates through the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Rebates are typically issued starting July 1, but the governor and treasurer are issuing the rebates starting tomorrow to approved applicants. The governor also signed HB 1076 on May 19, which authorizes the early distribution.
The distribution of rebates by the Department of Revenue and Treasury is different than prior years. Rather than a large distribution of rebates on July 1, rebates will be processed and distributed on a first-in-first-out basis. This gradual process means some claimants will receive their rebates earlier than others.
The application deadline to apply for your Property Tax/Rent Rebate is December 31, 2020.
Learn more here.
Check on your payment status here.
Get Counted – Complete the Census Today
I am proud to report that Montgomery County has a 71.7% self response rate to the 2020 Census. Great job and keep up the great work. It’s important that EVERYONE gets counted. No matter where you call home, the #2020Census is your chance to shape the future of your community.
Complete the census today! 2020CENSUS.GOV
COVID-19 Updates and Resources