State officials on Friday said a new update of the coronavirus vaccine rollout plan puts several groups of people — those over 75, those with significant health issues and essential front-line workers — in line behind health care workers for priority in getting shots.
HARRISBURG — State officials on Friday unveiled an updated coronavirus vaccine rollout plan that puts more people — including those 75 or older, those with significant health issues and essential front-line workers — in line behind health care workers for priority in getting shots.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in an online press briefing that the state has received 827,300 doses of the two approved vaccines and more than 235,000 Pennsylvanians have been vaccinated, with health care workers and people in long-term care facilities being inoculated now.
A day before Pennsylvania state lawmakers will be sworn in for a new two-year session, state Senate Democrats said Monday that the Republican majority is trying to “steal an election” by objecting to letting a Democratic member take his seat for a fourth term.
The dispute revolves around the election of Democratic Sen. Jim Brewster of Allegheny County and could leave the decision on who to install in the Senate district to a majority of senators.The contest between Brewster and Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli hinged on court decisions that said mail-in ballots that lack a handwritten date on the ballot envelope is not a reason to disqualify someone’s vote.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, called the Republicans’ refusal to swear in Brewster during Tuesday’s ceremony “unlawful” and suggested that his caucus will go to court.
Republicans were trying to “steal an election” in what Costa framed as a continuation of “the Trump playbook. It’s about abusing the process that’s in place.”
Costa also pointed out that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swore in Rep.-elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, even as her Democratic opponent’s challenge to the election results remains under review by the House.
The Senate’s top Republican, President Pro Tempore-elect Jake Corman, R-Centre, called it a “fairly unique, if not unprecedented situation.”
Ziccarelli has filed a complaint with the Senate and a lawsuit in federal court in an “extremely close” election affected by court rulings, Corman said.
“I think this unique set of circumstances dictates that the Senate review it and take very seriously the contest,” Corman said.
He did not say how long the Senate will need to review Ziccarelli’s filing before voting, or how long the Senate is willing to leave the seat vacant.
Brewster beat Ziccarelli by 69 votes in the Nov. 3 election, according to state-certified returns last month.
The winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service will be in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday.
More: Read the weather alert for your county
The winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service will be in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday.
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Governor Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that he has initiated a transfer of $145 million in funds from the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund at the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to be appropriated by the state legislature into grants for businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Business owners and employees have worked hard to protect their customers and their communities during this pandemic, and I thank all of those who have prioritized health and safety despite the hardship of the past several months,” Gov Wolf said. “Our business owners and workers have been forced to make sacrifices because of COVID-19 and they need and deserve our support.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that my administration will make funds available to help businesses whose operations and revenue were significantly adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The $145 million transfer from the fund into the state’s general fund requires legislative authorization to expend the loaned money for the purpose of making grants to businesses. The legislature has the authority to establish grant agreements for purposes it deems appropriate, in this case, to support businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.
Gov. Wolf urged the legislature to follow his lead and allocate this funding as quickly as possible to businesses affected by the pandemic, among them restaurants and bars, gyms and entertainment venues.
PITTSBURGH —PennDOT has lifted the speed limit restrictions that were put in place Wednesday when snow was hitting the Pittsburgh region.Speed limits were reduced to 45 miles per hour on all interstates and several other routes.
Steve Cowan, spokesperson for PennDOT District 11, told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 crews still have work to do on secondary roadways, shoulders, ramps, gore areas and turning lanes.
He said PennDOT will keep its full complement of trucks out until the work is finished.
In preparation for a major winter storm event, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are advising motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel during the storm, and are anticipating that restrictions on trucks and other vehicles will be imposed on certain roadways around the state.
“We have been preparing for winter since the last one ended, and we’re calling on the public to be our partners in safe travel,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian in a press release. “Please, avoid traveling and if you must travel, be sure to check travel conditions and give plow operators plenty of space so they can do their jobs safely and effectively.”
PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton added that “if you must travel, before heading out, be sure to download the 511PA Smartphone App for real-time, hands-free PA traffic advisories. Speed restrictions and vehicle bans will be used extensively during this storm and you will want to be fully apprised of any changes.”
- RELATED: Epic nor’easter expected to bring substantial snowfall and destructive winds; Gov. Wolf declares disaster emergency
Effective 1 pm. Wednesday, PennDOT and PTC anticipate vehicle restrictions will begin to be phased in reflecting Level 1 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan on the following roadways, according to the release:
- All northbound and southbound miles of Route 33;
- Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 95;
- All eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 78;
- Interstate 80 from Interstate 99 to the New Jersey border;
- All northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 81;
- All northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 83;
- All eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 84;
- Interstate 95 from the Delaware border to the New Jersey border;
- All eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 283;
- All northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 380;
- Interstate 476 from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interstate 95;
- All eastbound and westbound miles of Interstate 676;
- All northbound and southbound miles of Interstate 295;
- All eastbound and westbound miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the Breezewood interchange to the New Jersey border; and
- All northbound and southbound miles on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension (Interstate 476) from Interstate 76 to the Clark Summit interchange.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine provided an update on COVID-19 in the state Thursday, and announced new restrictions to help slow the spread.“The situation we are in right now is dire,” Wolf said. “It’s become clear that we need to take further mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Beginning Saturday, Wolf said extracurricular school activities, such as sports practices, are suspended. Restaurants will not be permitted to offer indoor service, but outdoor seating and takeout are still allowed. Business is also being temporarily suspended for other indoor facilities such as theaters, museums, movies, casinos, and gyms, though retailers can operate at 50% capacity.
HARRISBURG, Pa. —Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Director of Testing and Contact Tracing, Michael Huff, gave an update on COVID-19 testing in the state Tuesday afternoon.
Wolf announced the extension of the Department of Health’s contract with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to provide COVID-19 testing in five regions across Pennsylvania.
Over the next 12 weeks, five strike teams will provide regional testing for 61 counties.
The six counties not receiving testing from AMI have county health departments providing other means of COVID-19 testing.
“These testing sites are open to anyone who feels they need a test. It is important that even people with no symptoms who test positive isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Huff said.
Beginning Wednesday, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held to contain the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the following counties:
Testing will be available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Wednesday through Sunday.
Beginning Friday, drive-thru and indoor walk-in testing clinics will be held in Butler County. Testing will be available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Tuesday.
The testing site addresses are:
- Butler County: Michelle Krill Field, 100 Pullman Park Pl., Butler, PA, 16001;
- Bedford County: Bedford High School parking lot, 330 West John St., Bedford, PA, 15522;
- Mifflin County: Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, 1150 Riverside Drive, Lewistown, PA, 17044;
- Tioga County: North Penn Mansfield High School, 73 W. Wellsboro St., Mansfield, PA, 16933; and
- Northampton County: William Penn Highway Park & Ride, Emrick Blvd., Easton, PA, 18045.
Up to 450 patients can be tested per day at each location.
Mid-nasal passage swab PCR tests will be performed
HARRISBURG – Reps. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) and Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) released the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the language in House Resolution 1094 regarding election integrity:
“Tonight, at midnight, in accordance with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the General Assembly’s 2019-20 Legislative Session concludes. As a result, all current legislation expires. To move forward, any public policy objectives will need to be reintroduced in the 2021-22 Legislative Session.
“Nevertheless, House Resolution 1094 was formally introduced in the 2019-20 session. Pennsylvania’s Nov. 3 General Election was plagued by multiple irregularities and inconsistencies, many of which are currently under review by state and federal courts. We maintain that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar’s recent certification of the election results was premature in light of the ongoing litigation. Pennsylvania’s presidential electors do not have to be named until Dec. 12, giving additional time for the courts to resolve election disputes before certification must occur. Time, however, was simply not on our side to bring this resolution to a full House vote before the current legislative session ends.
The Trump legal team gains ground in Pennsylvania when their evidence is finally considered. One America’s Chanel Rion has more on the step in the right direction.
In five lawsuits, President Trump’s attorneys asked the courts to throw out ballots that were missing information, such as a handwritten name or address or the date on which the ballots were signed. In its ruling, the state’s Supreme Court determined the ballots should be considered valid.
“Here we conclude that while failures to include a handwritten name, address or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters,” the ruling said.
In addition, the state Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had invalidated 2,349 ballots in Allegheny County over missing information. The ruling was a setback for Trump as the state’s counties move forward with efforts to certify the Pennsylvania vote.
NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. — Channel 4 Action News Investigates has learned more than a half-million Pennsylvanians who applied for unemployment during the pandemic have still not been able to get it.For some, long waits for benefits have become long waits to appeal the denial of benefit
John Roman of North Versailles was laid off from his job as a school bus driver in March.Action News Investigates first told his story in April, when he was struggling to get benefits.”You can’t get through. Keep getting busy signals. I tried like four or five hours in one day,” Roman said at the time.
Eventually, the checks started coming. But in June, his case took a twist.The state Department of Labor and Industry sent him a letter saying he was ineligible for benefits and ordering him to pay back $3,000.The reason? The state said Roman took a leave of absence.But medical records show he was hospitalized for acute illness — pneumonia and COPD.So Roman filed an appeal, saying the state decision was incorrect. That was five months ago.
Asked what happened since then, Roman said: “Nothing. Nothing at all.”He’s called the state unemployment office repeatedly. He contacted his state legislator.”Mine’s at the bottom of the pile, I guess,” Roman said.In August, he finally got a callback from the state unemployment office.
An official left a voicemail message saying: “We have received the appeal information however it was not under review so that was a mistake on our part. You should receive information from us soon as again I have escalated this matter to a supervisor.”But Roman did not get a hearing until Monday, nearly three months after he received that voicemail message.”It’s wrong,” Roman said.In yet another twist, Roman was approved for unemployment after first being denied. But the state has been deducting the money he allegedly owes from the amount he is supposed to be collecting, leaving him with virtually nothing.”I could never understand their system,” Roman said.
Top state unemployment officials would not discuss specifics of Roman’s case but they were surprised when Action News Investigates told them how long he’s been waiting for his appeal.
“I do know the appeals office is still on time with everything so depending on the timing of when that was requested and what the actual circumstances are, that probably has a lot to do with it,” said Susan Dickinson, director of unemployment policy.
“John is emblematic of so many people who are so frustrated with the system and don’t know where to turn for help,” said Barney Oursler of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee.
Oursler reached out to help Roman after seeing his initial story. He said the state made a mistake and Roman deserves to be paid.But even Oursler, who helped thousands of unemployed steelworkers in the 1980s, has hit a wall with Harrisburg.
“The system is failing people and that’s the frustration people have,” Oursler said.State officials said 32% of all Pennsylvanians filing unemployment claims during the pandemic — about 600,000 people — have been rejected.
There have been about 43,000 appeals filed.Five months after filing his appeal, Roman said he hopes he can finally get an answer.”It’s been very frustrating. There’s times I just lay down and close my eyes, is it a dream or is it reality? I’m finding out it’s reality,” Roman said.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says there are “no plans” at this time to reinstate the color-coded coronavirus restrictions the state saw earlier in the pandemic.
At Dr. Levine’s weekly media briefing Monday, she addressed the rising rate of infections across the state. Statewide percent positivity for last week is at 9.6%, compared to 6.9% the week before. Sixty-two of the 67 counties have positivity rates above 5%, including Allegheny County, which stands at 7.7%,
According to Dr. Levine, the new cases are connected to community spread, meaning someone gets the virus without any known contact with a sick person.
With cases here and across the state rising to their highest levels, Dr. Levine says it’s our collective responsibility to stop this community spread and bring those numbers back under control.
“We can answer the call to prevent the spread of this virus COVID-19,” she says.
Dr. Levine says it’s up to the public to voluntarily answer the call, wear masks, social distance and avoid gatherings large and small — regardless of your political leanings.
“Now that the election is over and the people have spoken, we need to stand united about these simple public health measures. This is not a political issue. This is not a partisan issue. This is an urgent public health issue in Pennsylvania,” she says.
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HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Pa. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said Friday that recounts or recanvasses will not be ordered in any of the statewide Nov. 3 general election races based on unofficial returns and margins of victory.
This includes the races for President of the United States, Attorney General, Auditor General, and State Treasurer.
In a press release, the Pa. Department of State said that Secretary Boockvar determined that she will not be ordering recounts or recanvasses based on the unofficial returns submitted by all counties. This decision comes as no statewide candidate was defeated by 0.5% or less of the votes cast.
Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s state Senate voted Thursday to select the chamber’s first female majority leader and promote their majority leader of the past six years.
Third-term Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County will replace Sen. Jake Corman as majority leader. Ward, who has chaired committees that handle transportation and gambling issues, was first elected in 2008.
Corman, the chamber’s Republican majority leader since 2015, will fill the empty post of president pro tempore when the Legislature’s new session starts in January. Republicans will return with at least the same size majority, 29-21, and possibly larger, depending on the outcome of one undecided contest.Corman, who has represented the State College area in the Senate since 1999, will replace the outgoing Joe Scarnati, who did not run for reelection.Senate Democrats plan to select a new leadership team next week.The outcome of one Senate race remains in doubt in western Pennsylvania, where second-term incumbent Democrat Jim Brewster is neck-and-neck with Republican Nicole Ziccarelli in a district that straddles Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.In the House of Representatives, minority Democrats were voting Thursday to replace their floor leader, Frank Dermody, of Allegheny County, who conceded his reelection bid earlier this week.House Republicans on Tuesday reelected their leadership team of House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre.Republicans there were expected to pad their 110 to 93 majority with a couple pickups in close contests.
Everything voters need to know. Democracy Works has all the information you need to register and vote.
Election DayElection Day is almost here! If you have any difficulties voting, you should first ask a poll worker or your local election official for help. We have provided additional resources below to help you vote, no matter what.
- Get to the polls can help you find your polling place if you aren’t sure where to vote in person.
- The Election Protection Hotline is a great resource if you experience any issues while voting. Remember: It is a federal crime to pressure, threaten, or otherwise intimidate voters at the polls!
- English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683
- Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
- The ACLU’s Voting Rights Guide explains accommodations your polling place needs to make if English is not your primary language.
- The Nonprofit VOTE’s State Resource Guide provides information on how your state supports disabled voters.
For more resources, please check out our Know Your Voting Rights post!
Who can voteYou have to register to vote before Election Day in Pennsylvania. You can find the deadline to register to vote in the “Dates and deadlines” section.To register in Pennsylvania you must:
- be a citizen of the United States at least one month before the next election
- be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district at least 30 days before the election
- be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election
- You may also register if you:
- are a pretrial detainee, confined in a penal institution awaiting trial on charges of a felony or a misdemeanor
- got released or will get released by the date of the next election from a correctional facility or halfway house (this must be upon completion of the term of incarceration for conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony)
- are on probation or released on parole
- are under house arrest (home confinement)
- *find more information on voting rights restoration here
Vote in person
Vote on Election DayVoters registered in Pennsylvania can look up where to vote on Pennsylvania’s site.
Pennsylvania voters can also vote before Election Day through a process called absentee in-person voting. The period for absentee in-person voting runs from Monday, September 14, 2020 to Tuesday, October 27, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
What to bring
- If you’ve voted at your polling place before, you don’t need to show ID to vote.
- If you’re a first-time voter, or if you moved within Pennsylvania and are voting for the first time at a new polling place, you must show ID to vote. Acceptable forms include: Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card; ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government; US passport; US military ID; student ID; employee ID; a confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office; non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government; firearm permit; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or a government check that includes your name and address.
- Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote a provisional ballot.
Vote by mail
- Request your mail-in ballot with a mail ballot application. You can also request a ballot online. We encourage you to request and return ballots as early as possible.
- Fill out the application completely.
- Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
- When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.
- Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and received no later than Friday, November 6, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. You may also return your ballot in person by Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by 8:00 p.m. You can find ballot tracking information here.
Read Source: How to vote in Pennsylvania