In this email update:
Senate Hearing to Hear from Employers, Administration Officials
On Thursday, the Senate will hold a public hearing to receive testimony from businesses and Wolf Administration officials about COVID-19 mitigation orders and their impact on Pennsylvania workers.
The joint hearing by the Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
You can view the hearing live at PASenateGOP.com.
Governor Vetoes Common-Sense Bill
The Governor has vetoed legislation approved by the House and the Senate last week which would have allowed more businesses to open if they followed the strict CDC and Department of Homeland Security guidelines released to combat the spread of COVID-19.
As a result: the impacts of the shutdown on Pennsylvania’s economy cannot be overstated. Over 1.3 million Pennsylvanians have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. Most employers that submitted waivers from the Governor’s shut down order have been denied and the Governor has yet to release a full list of employers who were granted and denied waivers. The Governor has also announced that his stay at home order will be extended until May 8.
Reaching some bipartisan consensus on a different issue, the Governor did sign SB 841. This bill allows notaries to perform remote notarizations, which will allow car dealerships to both sell and lease online. Local governments are also now given the option to extend the deadlines for this year’s property tax payments.
The Governor and the General Assembly should work together in a bipartisan manner to help mitigate the effects of the ongoing pandemic. The people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t ask for dysfunctional government. Much work remains to be done….by the House, the Senate, AND the Governor.
New Law Authorizing Remote Notarization Clears the Way for Online Auto Sales to Resume
A new law will allow notaries to do business remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, clearing a major hurdle that prevented auto sales from being conducted online.
Act 15 of 2020 extends the ability of notaries to notarize documents remotely. A notary public would still be required to confirm an individual’s identity and reasonably identify records, and an audio/visual recording of the notarial act and all related interactions would be required.
As a result- auto dealerships will be able to conduct online vehicle sales and provided guidance for these businesses to re-open. In-person sales are still prohibited.
The new e-notary option was part of a broad bill designed to help local governments operate during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing them to conduct remote meetings, extend property tax deadlines and waive penalties for late property tax payments. The law also reauthorizes the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and requires the panel to prepare a report on the effect of the COVID-19 disaster emergency on healthcare facilities.
Unemployment Assistance Available Now for Self-Employed, Contractors, Gig Workers
Self-employed individuals, contractors, gig workers and others who do not traditionally qualify for Unemployment Compensation can now apply for benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
Payments ranging from $195 to $572 per week will be available to qualifying individuals who are unable to work due to COVID-19. Payments will be available for up to 39 weeks and will be backdated to January 27 or the first week the individual was unable to work due to COVID-19.
Claims can be filed online here.
Individuals collecting PUA benefits will also be eligible for the extra $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
Two More PennDOT Projects Reopen
PennDOT announced the reopening of two more road projects in our area:
SBA Programs- Scams and Alerts
The Office of Inspector General recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and is alerting the public about potential fraud schemes related to economic stimulus programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration in response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the largest financial assistance bill to date, includes provisions to help small businesses. Fraudsters have already begun targeting small business owners during these economically difficult times. Be on the lookout for grant fraud, loan fraud, and phishing.
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