Unemployment Rate Drop Triggers Shut-Off of Extended Benefits
The Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) announced last week that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate has fallen low enough to automatically conclude the Extended Benefits (EB) program effective the claim week ending Saturday, May 15.
Individuals on the EB program will be moved to the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which will be in place until the week ending Sept. 4. The change in program does not cause any changes in the filing process or benefit amount.
The EB program provides additional Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits to qualified workers when the Insured Unemployment Rate (IUR) reaches a certain threshold. The IUR is a measure of continued weeks claimed as a percentage of UC-covered employment. Once triggered, EB provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits for claimants who exhausted their regular unemployment benefits and other extension programs.
For updates on unemployment programs in Pennsylvania, visit www.uc.pa.gov.
Also, be aware that the state is transitioning a new UC system. The system will be offline from Thursday, June 3, to Monday, June 7. Phone filing will be restored Thursday, June 10, or Friday, June 11. Read more about it here.
The new system will use Keystone ID – a login shared by several Commonwealth services, including the departments of Human Services and Labor & Industry as well as the State Employees’ Retirement System. It allows a user to log into multiple online services with the same username and password.
Keystone ID will replace the current UC Personal Identification Number (PIN) used by individuals to file for biweekly benefits online or by phone. Instead of using a PIN to file weekly benefits online, they will log in with the Keystone ID. Individuals who choose to file weekly claims by phone will continue using the PIN.
People without a Keystone ID will be required to create one the first time they log in to the new UC system, which is expected to come fully online June 8, 2021. Individuals who currently have a Keystone ID account can use the same username and password to access online services that use Keystone ID.
Election Day Challenges Highlight Need for Reform
In the 106th District on Tuesday, the election seemingly ran smoothly. However, delayed returns, ballot shortages and scanning problems were among the issues faced by voters and election workers in other parts of the state.
It is a stark reminder that this cornerstone of our democracy is in dire need of significant reform focused on accountability, security and training. These were issues identified in a series of hearings conducted by the House State Government Committee earlier this year. You may read the report from the hearings here.
Legislation to address the issues is currently being drafted.
All four ballot questions were approved by voters Tuesday. You can read about them here.
Hershey is the ‘Sweetest Place on Earth’
The National Conference of State Legislatures recently contacted Sen. John DiSanto and me to talk about Hershey. You can read the article here.
Fish for Free on May 30!
If you’ve been thinking about trying fishing or want to introduce your child or a friend to this great outdoor activity, you’ll have a great chance to do so next weekend!
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days next Sunday, May 30.
On Fish for Free Days, anyone -- resident or non-resident -- can legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways without a license. All other fishing regulations will still apply.
For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.
The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Sunday, July 4. Mark your calendars now for these great opportunities.
Recognizing Police, EMTs Nationwide
May brought us both Police Week and EMS Week nationwide. We use this time to thank and honor first responders, who have had unparalleled challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so fortunate in the 106th District to have dedicated volunteers and professionals keeping us safe. Take time to show your support and appreciation for police and EMS personnel.
PennDOT Encourages Public to Join Telephone Town Hall, Review Draft Transportation Funding Study
As part of the ongoing public comment period for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study exploring sustainable transportation funding options, a telephone town hall meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 6:00 PM EST.
The telephone town hall will provide an opportunity to comment on the statewide PEL study in addition to an active virtual public meeting, accessible online through June 1, 2021, at www.penndot.gov/funding.
The public may pre-register for the telephone town hall, but it is not required. There are three ways to join the telephone town hall:
Pre-register at https://dashboard.teletownhall.us/registration/XZ3RGB2WJC7V to receive a phone call to join at the start of the meeting.
Visit www.penndot.gov/funding and click on the registration button to receive a phone call to join at the start of the meeting.
Dial in directly to the meeting at 855-756-7520, Entry Code Ext: 73539#.
Those who cannot join the telephone opportunity are encouraged to review and participate in the on-demand virtual public meeting that began on April 29. Public comments can be submitted directly from the meeting website or via other comment submission methods, including:
Website: www.penndot.gov/funding, click on “virtual public meeting” and scroll to the bottom of the page to access the comment section;
Email: PennDOTPathways@pa.gov; and
The PEL study, in support of the PennDOT Pathways program, is being conducted to identify near- and long-term alternative funding solutions and establish a methodology for their evaluation. The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) received the draft PEL study and will receive the final version when completed.
For more information about the PennDOT Pathways program, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.
It was an honor to provide former state representative Frank “Chick” Tulli, Jr. and his lovely wife, Meredith “Merri”, with a specially delivered House citation celebrating their 50 years of marriage.
Congratulations and many happy returns!