Shusterman fights for additional industries to reopen after Chester and Montgomery counties move to yellow phase

(Jun 05, 2020)

PAOLI, June 5 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, commended southeast Pennsylvania’s shift into the yellow phase today as businesses reopen and millions of residents return to their jobs. Safely reopening the economy as quickly as possible has been a cause that Shusterman advocated for over the last month. Shusterman co-sponsored legislation in May to reopen the real estate industry and has voted to reopen garden centers and restaurants’ outdoor dining facilities. Additionally, Shusterman wrote a letter to the governor calling to allow curbside pick-up services in red phase counties. “Pennsylvanians have sacrificed so much since mid-March, especially those of us in the southeast corner who are just now catching up with counties who have been in the yellow phase for weeks. This first step toward reopening our economy is a great start, but I’m going to continue fighting for more industries to be included in this phase,” Shusterman said. “I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents ready to get back to work or reopen their businesses and are willing to follow any safety guidelines that we could establish to make that happen. “In order to achieve a successful reopening, we must continue to work together and follow the outlined health and safety guidelines that are in place to prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus.” For more information, Read more

 

Shusterman calls for hair salons and barbershops to be included in Yellow Phase guidelines

(May 29, 2020)

PAOLI, May 29 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman announced that she signed onto a letter addressed to Gov. Tom Wolf calling on him to add hair salons and barbershops to the list of businesses permitted to reopen during the Yellow Phase. The letter details safety precautions that could easily be taken to ensure the safety of customers, such as operating at 50% capacity. “As restrictions begin to loosen and small businesses take steps toward reopening, salons and barbershops could easily be included in Yellow Phase guidelines with industry-specific safety protocols in place,” Shusterman said. “Tuesday was a victorious day for restaurant owners as we learned that they could serve patrons outside starting on June 5. This is the kind of creative solution that should serve as an example moving forward and help get Pennsylvanians back to work as quickly and safely as possible. “Many small businesses throughout the commonwealth cannot remain closed much longer without closing permanently. If we are able to help them while preserving public health and safety, we need to make every effort to do so.” Other legislators who signed onto the letter are: state Reps. Joseph Ciresi, Steve Malagari, Christina Sappey, Tina Davis, Dave Delloso, Jennifer O’Mara, Dan Williams, Danilo Burgos, Tim Briggs and Austin Davis. Wolf has announced that all Pennsylvania counties, including Read more

 

Shusterman-led efforts to safely resume real estate services statewide to take effect today

(May 19, 2020)

PAOLI, May 19 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, said she supports Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to reopen real estate services throughout the commonwealth beginning today. Safely resuming real estate operations has been an issue that Shusterman has championed for the past several weeks. Shusterman had co-sponsored legislation which would have allowed realtors to resume business if they adhered to strict social distancing and mitigation guidelines in late April, but took matters to the governor when the final version of the bill failed to include language prohibiting open houses in “red phase” counties. She also spoke with numerous real estate professionals throughout her legislative district to learn their specific concerns and needs to safely reopen the industry. “I know many Pennsylvanians want to get back to work as soon as possible and that shelter is a life-sustaining need, so I am pleased to see this progress toward reopening the commonwealth while preserving the health and safety of our residents,” Shusterman said. “I’ve heard from numerous real estate professionals who are eager to get back to work but are also concerned with combatting the spread of COVID-19. The measures that were announced today, such as limiting in-person contact and staggering property showings, are effective steps forward that will not jeopardize Pennsylvanians’ health. Resuming Read more

 

Shusterman, House and Senate Democrats pen letter to governor outlining goals for resuming real estate services

(May 18, 2020)

PAOLI, May 18 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman led an initiative to clarify Pennsylvania House and Senate Democrats’ preferences for resuming real estate services throughout the commonwealth in a letter addressed to Gov. Tom Wolf. The letter, which was sent to the governor yesterday, outlines desired safety measures for real estate services, including prohibiting open houses, requiring limited person-to-person contact and implementing other practices to prevent spreading the virus. Shusterman noted that with protocols such as these in place, real estate services could resume safely even in counties that are still in the “red phase.” “I understand that shelter is essential, and many Pennsylvanians’ leases may be about to end, or they were in the process of moving before the statewide stay-at-home order took effect,” Shusterman said. “In order to safely resume these services, proper protections need to be in place so we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while preserving the health of both customers and real estate employees. “The House passed House Bill 2412 last week, which would resume all real estate activities of brokers, salespersons, and licensees, but the governor signaled that he would veto it. This is because the bill would allow open houses and suspend code enforcement, creating unsafe living conditions. The reopening of every industry must be methodical and supported Read more

 

Supporting those who care for our loved ones: COVID-19 and the DSP crisis

(May 15, 2020)

Earning low wages and working 12-plus hour days while trying to provide for families and pay bills have always been concerns of direct support professionals. Like most Pennsylvanians working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, DSPs’ stresses are only growing. DSPs provide around-the-clock care for people living with intellectual disabilities or autism, physical disabilities and seniors. They are as essential to society as frontline health care workers, yet their wages barely keep them out of poverty. Low pay, long days and the challenges many of them face relying on public transportation all feed into Pennsylvania’s DSP crisis. Though this always has been the challenge facing DSPs, the pandemic makes matters even worse for them and those who rely on their care. The low wages and challenges of the job already discouraged many people from choosing a career as a DSP, and the pandemic is only making the work increasingly dangerous. These factors are converging and shrinking the pool of trained professionals available to care for our loved ones. The storm is threatening – if not taking – more lives every day. Neither the vulnerable among us nor the heroic Pennsylvanians who care for them can afford another minute of inaction. Therefore, I am drafting two bills to ensure that nonprofit organizations, such as the ARC and Goodwill Industries, and DSP workers have the tools they need to survive the COVID-19 Read more

 

Rep. Shusterman, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect Pennsylvania renters and homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

PAOLI, May 14 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, accompanied by many House and Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court today urging an order to halt evictions and foreclosures for 90 days after a county is moved from the “red” to the “yellow” phase by Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration. Currently, an executive order from the governor extends a stay on foreclosures and evictions through July 10. “I deeply appreciate and value the moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions for the next two months, but individuals who will be living in ‘red zones’ beyond then shouldn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over their heads during a global pandemic,” Shusterman said. “Supporting families and small businesses during this crisis also includes ensuring their stability once we rid Pennsylvania of COVID-19. This virus has taken a lot from us and Pennsylvanians have undoubtedly sacrificed so much so we can flatten our curve. The fear of homelessness should not be a consequence of all the progress we’ve made.” With the support of many other lawmakers in both legislative chambers, the letter highlights a shared concern that COVID-19 could continue to cause serious challenges for many Pennsylvanians whose counties were among the first to shut down and will remain in the red phase for a longer period of time. The order would cover Read more

 

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

(May 08, 2020)

I understand that stay-at-home orders and the anxiety associated with overcoming a global pandemic can be extremely stressful for many people. Please remember that it’s ok to ask for help. Our community has many resources available to help you work through any feelings of isolation, depression anxiety or any difficult experience or emotions you’re struggling to process. Please see the resources listed below for more information and contact my office if you have any questions at RepShusterman@pahouse.net or (484) 200-8260. Mental Health Services: Council for Relationships https://councilforrelationships.org/home/about-us/ Council for Relationships is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help individuals strengthen their most important relationships. Minding Your Mind Foundation https://mindingyourmind.org/virtual-resources/ The Minding your Mind Foundation provides mental health education to adolescents, teens and young adults, parents, teachers and school administrators. The link above contains a list of virtual resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Main Line https://namimainlinepa.org/ NAMI provides free services to individuals in need of mental health services as well as their families and friends. Chimes https://chimes.org/services/behavioral-health/ Chimes is a not-for-profit entity providing Read more

 

COVID-19 Food Resources

(May 07, 2020)

During this difficult time, I understand that many Pennsylvanians worry about feeding themselves or their family. Thankfully, our community has several resources to help. No one should ever go hungry, so please contact my office if you need further information at RepShusterman@pahouse.net or 484-200-8260 Chester County: Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) https://www.pacsphx.org/our-message-about-covid19 T&E Care https://www.tecare.org/ Chester County Food Bank https://chestercountyfoodbank.org/community-partners/member-agencies/ Meals on Wheels of Chester County https://mowcc.org/ Montgomery County: MontCo Anti-Hunger Network (MAHN) https://www.montcoantihunger.org/mahn-member-food-pantries.html MontCo Hunger Solutions Emergency Food Map https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=40.18809327328347%2C-75.31793603559663&z=9&mid=15AUNRCRvScSiwZ5ydnMITwUbFO4 Map of Montgomery County Schools Providing Meals to Students and Food Banks: https://data-montcopa.opendata.arcgis.com/pages/covid-19-food Meals on Wheels of Montgomery County https://www.mowmc.org/ Read more

 

Shusterman votes to safely reopen Pennsylvania garden centers

(May 01, 2020)

PAOLI, May 1 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, said today that lawn and garden centers are one step closer to opening thanks to the passage of House Bill 2429. This legislation included an amendment supported by Shusterman and fellow Democrats that would provide critical health and public safety requirements for employees and customers. The bill must be passed in the Senate before going to Gov. Tom Wolf. Shusterman said that the requirements to protect workers are in line with Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine’s direction to keep people safe and calm while reopening the economy. “I voted in favor of HB2429 when it was brought up for a vote on Thursday in order to help our garden centers reopen. Professionals in this community wait all year to harvest their work, denying them their prime season would be devastating,” Shusterman said. “I support these incremental steps to reopening our economy, and garden centers are just the beginning. Additionally, this bill would ensure that workers have clean working conditions, hazard pay, PPE and paid sick leave. I hope that this measure, which was supported across the aisle, will serve as an example moving forward.” All garden centers that receive a waiver and operate as a result of the legislation would be required to provide, at minimum, the following protections for an essential employee: Additional hazard Read more

 

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses

(Apr 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 22 — State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, and Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, are introducing legislation that would restore the state’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) loan program and provide no-interest loans to Pennsylvania’s smallest businesses and life science organizations. The lawmakers drafted the bills due to the rapid exhaustion of Pennsylvania’s CWCA loan program. Both bills propose replenishing the program by transferring $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. A total of $61 million was originally available when the program launched in late March, but applications quickly outpaced the funds available and the program was closed in less than a week. Briggs also noted that many life science businesses were ineligible for CWCA loans due to the way life science entities are structured. In addition to reopening the program, Shusterman’s legislation contains measures that would create two new programs specifically for businesses with five employees or less. Shusterman said that microloans of up to $15,000 at a 0% interest would be available to mom and pop shops with no payments required for the first year. Additionally, a grant program to provide these small businesses with grants of up to $15,000 to cover working capital expenses would be created. “I’ve heard from countless small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 health Read more

 

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

(Apr 16, 2020)

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting Pennsylvania, my staff and I wanted to provide you with the following resources and information to help you and your family in the days ahead. State Services and Resources The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created a COVID-19 guide to assist everyone. It includes information on social distancing, mental health resources, unemployment, food assistance, changes from PennDOT and resources for small business: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/ For individuals: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForIndividuals For families: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForFamilies For businesses: https://dced.pa.gov/resources/ The following provides information and links to federal, state, local and private resources. https://pahouse.com/News/?id=113388 Information from the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry on the federal CARES Act: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/default.aspx The following link provides you with information on what steps Pennsylvania utilities have taken to assist customers, including a moratorium on shutoffs for all regulated utilities: https://pahouse.com/News/?id=113134 Sign Up for PA Alerts Sign up for emergency and weather alerts, health notifications, building alerts and other updates from state and federal agencies: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF5CCF5B2AB3 Chester County Resources Chester Read more

 

PA Legislature Takes Action in Response to COVID-19

(Apr 03, 2020)

This is a challenging time for Pennsylvanians throughout the commonwealth, but I wanted to check in with you and ensure that you are receiving the most accurate, up-to-date information available. Read more

 

Kenyatta, Shusterman demand protections for gig economy workers in final federal COVID-19 recovery bill

(Mar 25, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 25 – As a historic $2 trillion COVID-19 financial response legislation package struck a deal in Congress early Wednesday morning, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Melissa Shusterman today introduced a resolution urging federal lawmakers to ensure unemployment compensation for the nation’s 57 million independent contractors and “gig” economy workers (or app based independent contractors) is included in the final financial aid legislation aimed at helping workers during the coronavirus crisis. “These employees comprise over a third of the country’s working population and remain among the most critically under-protected workers, with many not qualifying for unemployment benefits. During this pandemic, they were left with the terrible ultimatum of continuing to work to make ends meet or do their part in reducing spreading the virus by staying home. Many have chosen the latter, resulting in loss of income at alarming rates and the prospect of recouping those losses is uncertain,” Kenyatta, D-Phila., said. “We’re demanding that all independent contractors are protected in any final package.” Shusterman, D-Chester, concurred with Kenyatta’s assertion saying, “It is important that we help this sector of our work population navigate this crisis with immediate relief and action.” Kenyatta said that a copy of the resolution would also be sent to President Donald Trump and Vice Read more

 

Your Localized COVID-19 Update

(Mar 17, 2020)

Your Localized COVID-19 Update Read more

 

Shusterman announces office closure due to COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak

(Mar 12, 2020)

PAOLI, March 12 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, announced that her office will remain closed until further notice beginning immediately. Shusterman said that the closure aligns with Gov. Wolf’s and Secretary of Health Rachel Levine’s guidance on how to slow down the spread of the virus in Montgomery County. “The health and safety of constituents is my top priority which is why I’ve chosen to close my office for the time being,” Shusterman said. “It will re-open when I receive notice from the Department of Health that it is safe to do so.” Shusterman encouraged those who need help with any state-related matters to contact her through her website: https://www.pahouse.com/Shusterman/Contact Read more

 

Shusterman applauds $240K in grants to enhance safety and security

(Mar 11, 2020)

PAOLI, March 11 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, today announced that two community organizations each received grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to enhance their safety and security measures. Valley Forge Educational Services received a $150,000 grant and Khair Inc. received a $90,952 grant. Funds may be used toward safety and security planning, purchase of security-related technology such as metal detectors, surveillance equipment and theft control devices, threat awareness and response training and any other safety or security-related project. “Every Pennsylvanian deserves the opportunity to learn and worship in peace,” Shusterman said. “It is disheartening that our society needs to resort to installing metal detectors at schools or members of faith-based organizations must be escorted in by a guard, but these funds will ensure people can safely practice any religion or pursue an education across the commonwealth, including right here in our community.” The grants are provided through PCCD’s Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program following the passage of Act 83 of 2019 . The act directs PCCD to administer grants to nonprofit organizations who have been or who are likely to be targets for hate crimes, according to the FBI’s 2017 Hate Crime Statistics publication. Priority consideration for funding was given to organizations that indicated they – or their Read more

 

Shusterman announces cultural and historical grant awarded to Wharton Esherick Museum

(Mar 04, 2020)

PAOLI, March 4 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, today announced that the Wharton Esherick Museum received a $4,490 cultural and historical support grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. “The Wharton Esherick Museum is a critical piece of Chester County showcasing how art and history go hand in hand and contribute to the fabric of our community,” Shusterman said. “I’m proud that I could help bring these funds home to preserve the works of Wharton Esherick, so residents can continue to find inspiration and meaning in his beautiful work.” The grants are from the PHMC’s Cultural and Historical Support grant program. The purpose of the program is to provide general operating support to Pennsylvania museums and official county historical societies that are not directly supported by other state agency operating support programs. Anyone who needs more information can contact Shusterman’s office at 484-200-8260 or visit https://www.phmc.pa.gov/Preservation/Grants-Funding/Pages/Museum-Support.aspx . Read more

 

Shusterman weighs in on Governor Wolf’s budget, addresses workforce development and economic sustainability

(Feb 06, 2020)

The governor’s proposed budget plan for 2020-21 contained multiple elements that would benefit the future of Pennsylvania’s children, our developing workforce, and the emerging fields and industries that I believe will significantly help move Pennsylvania forward. Affordable Education & Workforce Development I support the governor’s proposal to invest $60 million with PHEAA to increase the amount of grants for students, on one condition. Instead of students receiving their education in Pennsylvania then moving away and utilizing their new skills and talents elsewhere, grants should be awarded to those who commit to staying in Pennsylvania post-graduation. This would incentivize graduates to help move Pennsylvania forward, and see to it that the state gets a positive return on its investment. We cannot afford to keep exporting the skills of our talented Pennsylvanians to other states, but we also need to hold up our end of the bargain. A strong job market and continual workforce development are key to attracting more generations to put down roots in PA—and that doesn’t stop with college students. Building trades are back on the rise, with a 22% increase of registered apprentices since 2016. Salaries to build a family on, good benefits, and debt-free education are at the forefront of recruiting new talent to fill trades positions. We must set the standard and prove that Pennsylvania can be an Read more

 

Shusterman fights for additional industries to reopen after Chester and Montgomery counties move to yellow phase
Jun 05, 2020

Shusterman calls for hair salons and barbershops to be included in Yellow Phase guidelines
May 29, 2020

Shusterman-led efforts to safely resume real estate services statewide to take effect today
May 19, 2020

Shusterman, House and Senate Democrats pen letter to governor outlining goals for resuming real estate services
May 18, 2020

Supporting those who care for our loved ones: COVID-19 and the DSP crisis
May 15, 2020

Rep. Shusterman, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect Pennsylvania renters and homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
May 08, 2020

COVID-19 Food Resources
May 07, 2020

Shusterman votes to safely reopen Pennsylvania garden centers
May 01, 2020

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses
Apr 22, 2020

Helpful COVID-19 Resources
Apr 16, 2020

PA Legislature Takes Action in Response to COVID-19
Apr 03, 2020

Kenyatta, Shusterman demand protections for gig economy workers in final federal COVID-19 recovery bill
Mar 25, 2020

Your Localized COVID-19 Update
Mar 17, 2020

Shusterman announces office closure due to COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak
Mar 12, 2020

Shusterman applauds $240K in grants to enhance safety and security
Mar 11, 2020

Shusterman announces cultural and historical grant awarded to Wharton Esherick Museum
Mar 04, 2020

Shusterman weighs in on Governor Wolf’s budget, addresses workforce development and economic sustainability
Feb 06, 2020