September 22 Update: Beginning of Fall 2021 Legislative Session, Virtual Town Hall on Personal Health, and PA House Fellowship Program Seeking Applicants!

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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 we begin the fall session. 


Personal Health During a Pandemic Virtual Town Hall

Last night I was joined by Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh, The Arc Alliance's Paul Stengle, Montgomery County's Office of Senior Services Tracey Flynn, Eagleville Hospital's Dr. Paul Toth, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit's Dr. Regina Speaker and Valentina Viletto, and Unite for HER's Erin Pellegrin to discuss the pandemic and the multiple other health issues we are facing.

We covered the state of physical and mental well-being of Montgomery County residents pre-COVID-19 and now during the pandemic, such as isolation, nutrition, and access to health/support services. We discussed the medical staffing issues impacting substance abuse disorder treatment, care and communication shortfalls for those with IDD or autism, the isolation of senior citizens, delays in cancer treatment, and the overall impact of COVID-19 on the general population.

If you couldn't make it, you can watch the recording here:  Make sure to keep an eye out for my next town hall in October by following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


Fall 2021 Session 

This week began our long-awaited fall 2021 session for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. When we passed the budget in June, billions of dollars were left unspent and stored in a rainy day fund. Now that we're back, we should be focused on funding education, investing in infrastructure, and supporting our workers. Instead, we are debating whether local school boards are the best arbiters over their own school policies. I will be in Harrisburg next week and welcome any and all discussions from those who control the legislative agenda to perform the job we were all entrusted to do when our constituents elected us to this esteemed body.

HR 139 extended the Governor’s proclamation declaring a disaster emergency in response to the remnants of Hurricane Ida. This is in response to a recent constitutional amendment which drastically limited the Governor’s ability to declare and sustain disaster emergencies. Now, any disaster declaration issued by the Governor must be renewed through legislative action or it expires after 21 days.

While I am thankful this needed emergency declaration was renewed so that the individuals, families, and businesses who were affected by Ida can continue to alleviate the financial burden felt by this natural disaster, it is unfortunate we needed to waste time, energy, and taxpayer money for political gamesmanship.


Disaster Unemployment Assistance

On Monday, the Department of Labor and Industry announced Temporary Disaster Unemployment Assistance is now available for those impacted by Hurricane Ida. If you live, work, or drive through one of the 6 counties affected, including Montgomery County, and you lost employment as a direct result of Hurricane Ida you may be eligible for DUA. Those who may qualify include:

-Individuals unable to reach their job because they must travel through the affected area and are unable to do so because of the disaster.

-Individuals who were to begin employment but were prevented doing so by the disaster.

-Individuals who became the major support for a household because of the death of the head of the household because of the disaster.

-Individuals who cannot work because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster.


Visiting Arcola Intermediate School

Last Friday, in honor of Constitution Day I spoke at Arcola Intermediate School in the Methacton School District to every 8th grade social studies class. I explained that while the constitution may seem like an old document, it still plays a big role in our everyday lives.

As an example, I mentioned how the founding fathers mandated a census must take place every ten years to count populations accurately so that the people are fairly represented in Congress. As you know, we just had the 2020 census, and it is now up to representatives to redistrict as populations in Pennsylvania moved around in the past 10 years.


Hurricane Ida Updates

In case you missed it, Montgomery County's Disaster Recovery Center is now open and operational. Specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration will be available to assist those who need to apply for federal aid along with representatives from state and local offices. The center is located at Montgomery County Community College's Blue Bell Campus at 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell PA 19422. It is open Monday to Friday, 10 AM - 7 PM and Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM.


Pennsylvania House Fellowship Program looking for applicants

Lastly, The Pennsylvania House Fellowship Program is looking for applicants to participate during the 2022 spring semester. It’s a 13-week program that gives students an opportunity to be provided with work experience, education, and insight into the people, issues, and politics of the legislative process.

It’s open to undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students, and law school students who are enrolled in a Pennsylvania college/university or a Pennsylvania resident enrolled in an out-of-state institution. During the program, fellows will attend hearings, committee meetings, and legislative session. draft bill analyses, work on constituent services, and conduct policy research, and even develop an original piece of legislation.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program and applying can visit this website.