Apr. 22, 2020
HARRISBURG – State Reps. Tommy Sankey (R-Hastings) and Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown) like choices, especially during critical times like the present.
“No one I know would enjoy being told there’s just one brand of vehicle or one style and size of home from which to choose,” said Rigby. “The COVID-19 pandemic is far, far more serious than the simplistic choice between types of cars and houses, but we feel supporting legislation that would allow hard-working taxpayers and the businesses they frequent to make smart, safe choicesis the best course of action.”
Rigby is referring to legislation that is moving at various stages through the legislative process. Sankey says the bills are built on giving Pennsylvanians the option to follow federal government guidelines and trusting our citizens to do the right thing.
“Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine are recommending what they believe are safe practices and trusting us to abide by their advice,” Sankey added. “These bills are no different. They demonstrate faith that those impacted by their language will do what they think is right and doesn’t infringe on the health and safety of their friends, neighbors, loved ones and co-workers.”
Here are the bills for which both Rigby and Sankey voted, along with their status in the legislative process:
• House Bill 1822
- Would extend workplace protections related to COVID-19. Passed to the state Senate for consideration.
• House Bill 1869
– Would address Basic Life Support Services staffing issues for many rural EMS agencies. Would also insure first responders, law enforcement and active Pennsylvania National Guard members under the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefit Law if they miss work due to being tested for, quarantined for or infected with COVID-19. Passed unanimously and awaits Wolf’s signature.
• House Bill 2376
- Would allow retail stores of all sizes to open if they follow Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) guidelines for personal protective equipment and social distancing. Passed to the Senate for consideration.
• House Bill 2388
- Would allow all vehicle dealer activities that can adhere to the social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the CDC. Passed to the Senate for consideration.
• House Bill 2400
- Would allow all public and private construction activities the choice to resume activities, provided COVID-19 social distancing practices and other mitigation measures defined by the CDC are adhered to. With bipartisan support, passed to the Senate for consideration.
• Senate Bill 327
–Would require any regulation not finally approved or disapproved to be suspended in place until 90 days after the emergency order is lifted. Waiting on a concurrence vote by the Senate.
• Senate Bill 613
- Would have required Wolf to follow federal guidelines when deciding which businesses are “essential” and “non-essential” and allowed essential businesses the choice of whether or not to open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those businesses would have to adhere to guidelines for safety and security established by the CDC and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Vetoed by Wolf.
• Senate Bill 841
- Allows local governments to conduct remote public meetings and remote notarization of documents. Provides property tax relief by allowing taxing districts to waive late fees and penalties for property taxes paid by Dec. 31, 2020. Backed by unanimous support in the General Assembly, was signed into law by Wolf as Act 15 of 2020
“Balancing the needs for safety and the necessity to address a challenging economic climate, especially for the more than 1.5 million unemployed Pennsylvanians, is not an easy task,” Rigby admitted. “We believe these bills prove that it can be done. We hope they become law, and for many of our constituents, faith and hope is what they’re counting on.”