PA partisanship over mask mandate
PENNSYLVANIA — Gov. Tom Wolf and PA Health Secretary Rachel Levine issued an expanded mask order last week. Residents must now wear masks whenever they …
PENNSYLVANIA — Gov. Tom Wolf and PA Health Secretary Rachel Levine issued an expanded mask order last week. Residents must now wear masks whenever they leave home—whether they are going to be indoors or outdoors. The decision is based on the rising number of cases across PA. Republican lawmakers have responded with condemnation for the governor’s order.
“[We] wonder how the administration will be enforcing this mandate. And we have to question if the governor has officially ended all possibility of being seen as credible by the people of Pennsylvania,” GOP House leaders said in a statement. “For the sake of the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and their civil liberties, we will work to see the governor’s edicts evaporate.”
ALBANY, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York City moved into phase three on Monday, July 6. However, restaurant owners are still prohibited from allowing indoor dining in the city.
He has not provided an estimate for when that restriction will be lifted. In a recent press conference, he said that it will be determined by residents’ adherence to social-distancing guidelines.
PENNSYLVANIA — Renters in PA whose income was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for rent relief through the PA Housing Finance Agency’s website, www.PHFA.org. The application deadline is September 30.
For renters to be eligible, they will need to document at least a 30-percent reduction in annual income since March 1 related to COVID-19 or must have become unemployed after March 1 with the same 30 percent income loss. If unemployed, the agency will verify their unemployment compensation status with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Their household income cannot exceed the area median income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home.
KINGSTON, NY — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the acquisition of 241 acres in the Catskills, including 208 acres adjoining existing Forest Preserve lands in the Bluestone Wild Forest that will preserve critical open space and expand recreational opportunities to support the local economy.
In addition to the Bluestone Wild Forest acquisition, DEC recently acquired another parcel in Ulster County from the Open Space Institute using Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) resources. New York State’s 2020-21 budget sustains EPF funding at $300 million, the most funding in the program’s history.
EAST STROUDSBURG, PA — On Tuesday, June 30, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area officially announced its decision to cancel the upcoming 2020 fall festival season. The cancellation affects the following annual events: The Pocono Garlic and Harvest Festival, Shawnee Celtic Festival, the Autumn Timber Festival and the Pocono Food Truck and Art Festival.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis recently unveiled their Climate Crisis Action Plan. The plan calls on Congress to get Americans into clean energy jobs, protect public health, help farmers withstand the impacts of climate change and protect the nation’s land and waters.
The action plan includes legislation introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado: the Green Jobs and Opportunity Act and Rebuild Rural America Act.
“The Select Committee’s plan would put the country on a path to net-zero carbon pollution by 2050, if not earlier. It would power economic recovery through clean energy investment and family-sustaining jobs, and address the legacy of environmental injustice harming America’s low-income communities and communities of color,” Delgado said.
ALBANY, NY — The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced that an additional $9 million is now available to help low-income New Yorkers who suffer from health issues exacerbated by heat to stay cool this summer amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Cooling assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides an air conditioner to eligible households with a family member who suffers a serious medical condition that can be aggravated by extreme heat.
Applications for both cooling assistance and emergency HEAP are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. A list of local offices by county can be found at www.bit.ly/coolingassistance.