HARRISBURG – After hearing from thousands upon thousands of frustrated and concerned Pennsylvanians, House Republicans acted today to pass legislation which would require transparency and consistency in how the governor determines which businesses can operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Citizens of the Commonwealth have a great resilience and strength and will go to great lengths to do what is necessary to win this fight against an invisible enemy – the COVID-19 virus. However, managing the moment cannot be our only focus,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said. “This bill allows the governor to join us in creating a plan for allowing businesses that can operate safely to do so, and to save countless enterprises before they close forever.”
Senate Bill 613
was amended in the House to direct the governor to produce a plan to allow businesses that can follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency essential workforce guidelines to resume working in Pennsylvania.
“Our neighboring states have used this process from the beginning of this pandemic and their workforces are operating safely and efficiently,” Cutler added. “Pennsylvania’s businesses, large and small, and the millions of taxpaying residents who work for those businesses, deserve the opportunity to innovate and adjust their existing business to today’s unique and challenging environment.”
The House also took action to protect workers and first responders. House Bill 1189
, passed with unanimous bipartisan support, would impact the state’s COVID-19 response in the following ways:
Increase benefits for police and other first responders if they are personally impacted by COVID-19.
Establish a new employer tax credit program for employers of volunteer first responders.
Extend renewal deadlines for PennDOT licenses that expire during the current emergency declaration.
Call on the Department of Health to produce an extensive report of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania with demographic information broken down by every ZIP code in Pennsylvania.
“It’s hard to tell anyone their job is not life-sustaining. To the family members and loved ones they support, every job is life-sustaining. Today, our members stood up for every Pennsylvanian who wants the opportunity to continue to support their families. I urge the governor to work with us on this plan, and other long-term plans to help our state recover,” Cutler said. “Many experts anticipate a return of this virus later this year. That only makes today’s action more urgent, so that we can recover and rebuild, rather than continue to sit idly by and let the response to this pandemic lead to an economic pandemic future generations will be forced to clean up.”
Senate Bill 613 and House Bill 1189 advance to the Senate for further consideration.
Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives