Senator Mario Scavello E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Wishing You All a Happy Thanksgiving!
  • My Offices Will Temporarily Close to In-Person Service
  • Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant Program
  • Senate Approves Liability Protections for Schools, Health Care Providers, More
  • Senate Approves Bills to Protect Second Amendment Rights of Pennsylvanians
  • Bill Would Provide Flexibility for Teacher Certifications, Keystone Exams 
  • General Assembly Approves Bill Cracking Down on Repeat DUI Offenders
  • Legislation Supports Organ and Tissue Donation
  • Around the 40th District

Wishing You All a Happy Thanksgiving!

For nearly four centuries, Americans have celebrated the spirit of thanksgiving. While this year has been quite different and more challenging than most, I hope we can all take the time to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy. 

My Offices Will Temporarily Close to In-Person Service

In order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of local residents and office staff, beginning Monday, Nov. 23rd my district offices will be closed to in-person service. I want to be clear that while other offices are still working from home, staff and I will remain in the office as we have been since the pandemic began. Staff will continue to be available by phone and email. This will be the same as what we did earlier in the year. The decision to do this was brought on by the current spike in cases of COVID-19 that we are continuing to see. I am taking this measure to keep my staff safe along with the public. By doing this, it will ensure that my staff and I are available to continue to help the constituents of the 40th District.

If you need a service that requires access to the office, we will do our best to accommodate you in a safe manner. As they have been, masks will be required, and we ask that you follow the 6 foot social distancing guideline. These services may include notaries, faxing, copies, help with forms, etc. We will be doing our best to be safe while continuing the level of service that we are known for giving our constituents. We ask for your patience and understanding as we do our best to continue to serve the people of the 40th Senate District.

Scotrun District Office: 570-620-4326

Pen Argyl District Office: 610-863-1200

Email us: https://www.senatorscavello.com/contact/

Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant Program

The Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant Program has re-opened and is now accepting applications! Northampton County Council has approved this Grant Program partnered with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce that will distribute $1.3 million dollars of CARES Act Funds to Northampton County small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

Please use this link to view or download the eligibility guidelines to apply for up to $15,000 to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 related expenses. 

Please Note: This grant is eligible to businesses that have not previously received the Northampton County COVID-19 Relief Small Business Grant.

Click here to applyDeadline to apply: Friday, December 4th 2020

Senate Approves Liability Protections for Schools, Health Care Providers, More

Many health care providers, schools, businesses and other entities have raised concerns about lawsuits being filed against them related to COVID-19, even if they closely followed all health directives from state and federal health agencies. The Senate approved a bill this week that would protect these entities from lawsuits if they acted in good faith to protect public health.

The liability protection does not apply in cases in which these entities were responsible for any intentional wrongful acts or reckless acts. The legislation does not provide complete immunity for any person or group; it simply ensures they will not be held responsible for any harm that occurred when health directives were followed.

Senate Approves Bills to Protect Second Amendment Rights of Pennsylvanians

Two bills approved by the Senate this week would ensure the Second Amendment rights of Pennsylvanians are protected during emergency declarations. Both bills were sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Under current law, the rights of law-abiding citizens to open carry firearms can be limited during a state of emergency. The Senate approved a bill that would ensure these rights are not infringed during a state of emergency. The bill would also ensure firearm sales are not prohibited during an emergency declaration.

The Senate also approved a bill that would establish the Hunting, Firearm, and Ammunition Life-Sustaining Business Act to ensure shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and firearm and ammunition manufacturers, retailers and distributors are considered life-sustaining businesses that will not be shuttered by state government during an emergency declaration.

Bill Would Provide Flexibility for Teacher Certifications, Keystone Exams

Schools would have more flexibility to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic under legislation that was approved by the Senate this week. The bill would ease many certification and staff development requirements that are difficult to fulfill during the pandemic and extend certain emergency permits when staff development requirements cannot be completed.

The bill would also delay the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement until the 2022-23 school year. Additional provisions are also included to deal with problems related to pupil transportation.

General Assembly Approves Bill Cracking Down on Repeat DUI Offenders

A bill that would crack down on dangerous repeat DUI offenders was approved by the Senate this week. The bill would increase jail time for certain repeat offenders, double the amount of time that repeat offenders must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and ensure repeat DUI offenders with two or more prior offenses serve their sentence consecutively to any other sentence imposed by the court.

The legislation, also known as Deana’s Law, also mandates the use of continuous alcohol monitoring devices as a condition of probation, parole or bail. The devices, which are similar to home arrest monitors, are strapped to the wearer and automatically test for the presence of alcohol.

The legislation was named in honor of Deana Eckman, a Delaware County woman who was killed in 2019 in a head-on collision with a repeat DUI offender who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Legislation Supports Organ and Tissue Donation

The Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund was created in 1994 to encourage residents to become organ donors. The program allows Pennsylvanians to voluntarily donate $3 to the fund through a check-off box when they renew driver licenses, photo ID cards and vehicle registrations.                                                                                                                         

The General Assembly approved a bill recently that updates the program to reflect the fact that Pennsylvanians can now complete vehicle registrations on a biannual basis. The legislation allows state residents to donate $6 instead of $3 when they complete a biannual registration.

Around the 40th District

Last week, I presented a certificate of recognition to the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity as they were the recipients of the 2020 Pennsylvania Library Association Library of the Year Award. If you have never been there, I highly suggest that you stop by. They have a beautiful facility that offers a wide variety of services, collections, and events. Congratulations!

This week we honored Kayla Woolley of Nazareth who was honored as the 2020 Volunteer of the Year by the Bushkill Township volunteer Fire Company. Any definition of a full and productive life must include service to others. Through her many initiatives to benefit her community and by her personal example, Kayla clearly reflects the true spirit and mission of the Bushkill Township Volunteer Fire Company. Congratulations Kayla and thank you for volunteering to serve your community!

We recently celebrated the grand opening of XR Studioz. XR Studioz offers unique fitness classes, “edutainment,” gaming, escape rooms and a host of other fun activities along with technology consulting, a VR Lab and exclusive corporate team-building options. Amy Baker and her team signed their lease in March just as the pandemic was hitting and never looked back! It is wonderful to see another new business open despite the current challenges. I wish them the very best of luck in the future!

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