In This Edition:
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. Click here to watch my exchange with Secretary Oleksiak on the ineffectiveness of the system and the hardship it is causing my constituents. For the full hearing – Hearing Video, Agenda & Written Testimony
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, the Senate Law and Justice Committee examined all of these issues and other concerns pertaining to PLCB. Hearing Video, & Agenda.
Weekly Certifications are now available on the PUA system
The PUA system will backdate your weekly claims to when you first became unemployed, as reported by you when you entered your last day of work in your initial PUA claim.
Visit the link below and log into your account with your login and password. You DO NOT need a PIN to file these certifications.
Individuals can file weekly certifications for backdated claims for previous eligible weeks beginning today. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the first payment will arrive within one week or less.
Starting Sunday, PUA claimants can file their continuing weekly certification, and payment will arrive within three business days
Guide to to the full filing process: https://www.uc.pa.gov/…/D…/PUA%20System%20Guide%205.2020.pdf
Guide to the PUA Weekly Certification Filing Process: https://www.uc.pa.gov/…/PUA%20Weekly%20Filing%20Guide_5.6.2…
Part-time Job- PUA Weekly Certification Guide: https://www.uc.pa.gov/…/Part-Time%20PUA%20Weekly%20Benefit%…
Continue to Support Local Businesses
As Pennsylvania reopens in phases, please continue to support our local businesses. Our service providers like hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and florists are still suffering losses because of the Governor’s Stay-At-Home. Many of our restaurants and some retail are still not able to open but have online capabilities that you can support them now by purchasing gift certificates to be used when they reopen. Mother’s Day is this Sunday and a gift certificate from your favorite hair salon, candy store or flower shop would make a nice gift and support these great local businesses who have been here for us.
Vote for Downtown Bedford
Have you voted yet?
Downtown Bedford, Inc. was one of 160 entrants in the Independent We Stand, America’s Main Street contest. They not only are a quarterfinalist, they are also the only location in PA moving forward in the TOP 25! Please visit https://www.mainstreetcontest.com/profile/82 between now and May 24th to place your vote. Remember, you can vote up to 25 times per day.
Just a reminder about the #2020HSSeniorSpotlight that I have been doing on my Facebook page over the past few weeks. I have really enjoyed sharing stories about our soon to be graduates from across the 35th Senatorial District. Please continue sending in those photos and stories. I am excited to begin featuring our College Seniors as well.
If you know of a high school or college senior from Bedford, Cambria or Clearfield counties that has made an impact on their community, accomplished a goal, been accepted to a college or technical school, joined the armed forces, or any other amazing accomplishments? If so, please send their story along with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org