August 30 Update: Gerrymandering, FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Program Ending

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Dear Neighbor, I hope you are well! I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on a few happenings in the district and in Harrisburg. As always, I hope you find this informative and useful. 
Yesterday, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission voted in favor of House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton’s resolution to end the practice of prison gerrymandering. The commission’s action changes the current practice of counting incarcerated individuals as residents of the prison location rather than their previous residential address for drawing state House and Senate districts.

Prison gerrymandering was a poor practice from the beginning, and this change is a vital step towards fairness and equity in Pennsylvania elections. Prison gerrymandering is advantageous politically for those who would prefer to have control even when they are in the minority. In 1980, there were a handful of state prisons in Pennsylvania. In 2021, there are 24. Mass incarceration is already bad policy – it shouldn’t be used to undermine the fairness of elections, too.

You have the power to participate in Pennsylvania’s redistricting process, and I highly encourage you to do so via the comment period that runs from now until Oct. 13th. Here is a link to utilize to ensure your voice is being heard! Legislative Redistricting | Welcome to Pennsylvania's Redistricting Website (

As your State Representative, my goal is a democracy that is a fair representation of all citizens. I want to be held accountable by my constituents, and do my best for all of them, and when representatives can ignore thousands of the people in their districts, we have a problem with our representative form of government. The core of our democracy is giving individuals the ability to address their governmental grievances through the ballot box, and as long as I am given the platform and privilege of being your State Representative, I can ensure you that I will continue fighting this uphill battle.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits program ending
A reminder to folks who have been receiving benefits through federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) that the final week of eligibility for payments under these programs is the week ending Sept. 4th.

It's important to keep in mind that after the federal programs end on Sept. 4th, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will continue to process eligible claim weeks that end Sept. 4th or earlier and have been filed but have not yet been paid. Individuals who have filed claims under these programs will also still be able to log into their accounts to view historic data, important documents, and other information.

A breakdown of these programs can be found here. The state's regular Unemployment Compensation program is not affected.
If you need assistance finding work, please utilize the services of the Montgomery County branch of PA Career Link. A link to its website can be found here: 
Stream Health Walk
As the summer of 2021 winds down, I encourage everyone to embrace the last few weeks of beautiful weather.

I am thrilled to invite Penn State Extension and all those interested in participating in a stream health walk along the Skippack Creek. If you are interested in learning about stream health, advocating for healthy waterways, and understanding how we're able to improve, please sign up as there are limited spots available. The link to sign up can be found here:

Make sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothes since we will be walking through uneven terrain and will be near running water.
CDC recommending booster shot for certain immunocompromised individuals and FDA fully approves first COVID-19 vaccine
The CDC is recommending that certain immunocompromised individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with either Pfizer or Moderna get a third dose of the vaccine, which would be known as a booster. It’s recommended for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Individuals should consult their health care provider if they are unsure as to whether they are moderately or severely immunocompromised based on their health condition, history, or status. Immunocompromised individuals who are fully vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna and are looking to receive this additional dose of the respective vaccine should consult their health care provider before scheduling a vaccine appointment.

Meanwhile, the Delta variant continues to spread across the country and our commonwealth. The best way to protect ourselves and others is to get vaccinated. Pennsylvania hit an important milestone this week—80% of Pennsylvania adults have received at least one dose. 65% of that same age group are fully vaccinated. But that number needs to continue to grow. If you still need to get vaccinated, here are Montco’s vaccine clinics.

Additionally, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine earlier this week. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was fully approved on Monday by the FDA. While the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was given emergency use authorization in January 2021, and has played a major role in our battle against COVID-19, being given full approval is a major step in the right direction so we can continue getting as many people vaccinated as possible. Read the full announcement here: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine | FDA
Please continue to stay safe, healthy and well-informed.

And, if you have questions about any state-related issue, please contact my office at 484-200-8263 or email

Rep. Joe Webster
State Representative
150th Legislative District