Longietti: House passes bills to provide relief and flexibility for students, teachers, unemployed workers, health care providers and taxpayers

HARRISBURG, March 25 -- The House today passed several bills to provide relief and flexibility to citizens experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced.

Longietti supported S.B. 751 which will relieve schools of the 180-day education requirement for this year, while keeping state funding flowing to school districts so that staff may deliver education to students through online learning and lesson distributions. Also, funding will allow for meal preparation and pick-up to continue for needy students. 

“As we navigate these difficult days, it is important that we provide for ongoing learning support for our students,” Longietti said. It’s important from a learning perspective, and it also brings a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives, by reassuring them that even though their daily routine looks different, their teachers and parents are there for them with the resources they need.”

He added that PSSA testing and Keystone Exams will be suspended for this year.

Longietti also said that the House unanimously passed S.B. 422, which will postpone the state primary election to June 2, giving counties extra time to make adjustments and allowing for polling places to be consolidated and moved out of high-risk areas.

The House also unanimously passed:

  • H.B. 68, eliminating the one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation; relieve employers from being charged for unemployment claims related to COVID-19; and clear the way for extended federal unemployment benefits and expected federal benefits for self-employed individuals and independent contractors.

  • H.B. 1232, extending the deadlines for paying and filing state income tax returns to follow federal deadlines, which have been moved to July 15; and allowing for the transfer of up to $50 million in state funds to be used to help hospitals, nursing facilities, and EMS providers to purchase medical equipment and supplies to address COVID-19.

  • H.B. 1564, allowing local governments to meet remotely during a disaster or emergency declaration while providing for advance notice of meetings and for public participation; and allowing local governments to freeze, during the emergency, any application, plat, plan or submission that have approval deadlines.

“While these are important measures to help our citizens and institutions to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, I continue to stand ready to pass additional bills that provide for needed assistance,” Longietti said.   

The bills will head to the governor’s desk for signature with the exception of H.B. 1564, which will head to the state Senate for a vote.