In typical years, June is an active month, as Legislators put the final touches on a state budget and other agreed-to bills before recessing for the summer. While the state budget was – at least temporarily – completed before June, this month was extremely active from a political and legislative perspective – and we are only at the midway point! Here is a recap of two major happenings:
Despite the crisis, ABC Pennsylvania’s government affairs program has been active and has made a difference. We strengthened relationships with associations in sharing information, resources, and intelligence. Our grassroots advocacy network has grown by nearly 50 percent. We topped 1,100 calls and emails into the Governor and Legislature on issues of concern.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brough many changes to the way we conduct our daily lives – including voting. Pennsylvania’s primary election was moved to Tuesday, June 2. Polls will be in operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will be expected to adhere to all COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Starting Friday, May 1, employers in the construction industry can, if they so choose, resume work on construction projects. Businesses that open must adhere to strict construction guidance issued by the Governor. The guidelines require employers to develop, implement, and enforce safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as enforcing social distancing, providing hand washing stations, and identifying a “pandemic safety officer.”
The Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania (ABC Pennsylvania) lauded passage of House Bill 2400, introduced by Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and 103 co-sponsors, which would activate public and private construction projects that have been shut down if they can adhere to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate passed legislation that would allow businesses to re-open that adhere to federal guidelines for social distancing and other health and safety protocols. The bill would also bring the Commonwealth in line with many other states who follow these same guidelines. Unfortunately, Governor Wolf has said he intends to veto the bill when it reaches his desk. ABC Pennsylvania Board Chairs sent a letter to the governor asking him to reconsider his veto. Read the full letter:
First, thank you for your membership with ABC. I understand there are challenges facing every member and realize advocacy may be the farthest thing from your minds. Please know that while our tactics have changed, ABC PA remains at the forefront in communicating our message. I want to share the most recent advocacy activities we initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABC PA joined forces with 20 construction, consulting, and design industries to ask the Governor to recognize residential and commercial construction as a life sustaining business. See the joint statement below:
(HARRISBURG, PA.) This statement can be attributed to the five chapters that make up the Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania (“ABC PA”): Central Pennsylvania Chapter; Cumberland Valley Chapter; Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter; Keystone Chapter; and Western Pennsylvania Chapter. There is no doubt the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic has disrupted and impacted our daily lives and measures are needed to limit the spread. The construction industry has been doing our part in sharing information, resources, and best practices. Many of our members build the supply chain for the very ‘life-sustaining businesses’ that are required to remain open.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted businesses around the world. In response, the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration are working on a series of legislative “packages” to assist the healthcare industry, individuals, and businesses. The first bill to reach the President’s Desk was $8.3 billion in financial aid to public health agencies for vaccines, tests, and treatments. The second bill, signed by the President this week, is a $104 billion package aimed to help individuals impacted by COVID-19 by providing free testing and enhancing employer-based paid sick leave and paid medical leave, among other provisions. The third omnibus, which has not yet been unveiled, is expected to send direct payments to Americans and provide financial aid to businesses. Altogether, the three legislative packages are expected to top $1 trillion.