Even though my family and I are staying at home – as I hope you are – please know you are never far from my mind. Every choice I make, every discussion I have, every idea I suggest is done with Bucks and Montgomery County’s workers, business owners, front line health care workers, seniors, and families in mind.
Thank you to those of you who joined my Telephone Town Hall on Monday with Dr. Val Arkoosh. We discussed local COVID-19 developments and answered your questions about community health. If you missed the call, you can listen to the town hall on my website. Please note that some things – including the number of cases in Montgomery and Bucks Counties – have since changed. You can get the latest information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Montgomery County, and Bucks County websites.
This week, the Governor announced a Stay at Home order for Montgomery and Bucks Counties, as well as several other counties across the state. This means that all residents should only leave their home for essential tasks to maintain the health and safety of themselves and the members of their household. This includes traveling to work at a life-sustaining business and going to places like the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, or a medical center. You can continue outdoor activities like walking and running as long as you can maintain social distancing while doing so.
Below, I’ve compiled some of the most important updates for Pennsylvanians, including COVID-19 relief legislation, REAL ID, small business loans, and more. If you have a specific question or need assistance navigating state programs and benefits, please reach out to my office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 215-368-1429.
Wash your hands, stay home, and stay well.
Senator Maria Collett
12th Senatorial District
COVID-19 Relief Legislation
This week, the PA Senate met remotely for the first time in history to vote on COVID-19 relief measures, including:
- SB 422: Moving the April 28 primary election to June 2nd and allowing counties to decide if polling locations should be merged, as many are located in schools, senior centers, or other facilities that may be closed to the public at that time.
- SB 751: Supporting our students and teachers by waiving the 180 day requirement; making sure school employees receive compensation and benefits; and removing penalties for other requirements that cannot be met this year.
- HB 1232: Approving $50 million in funding for medical equipment and other COVID-related supplies. This bill also extends the state tax filing and payment deadline to July 15.
- HB 68: Making necessary changes in Unemployment Compensation to support workers impacted by business closures. This includes waiving job search requirements and the one-week waiting period.
REAL ID Deadline Extended
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that the Department of Homeland Security has postponed the enforcement date for REAL ID from October 1, 2020 to October 1, 2021. This is great news for Pennsylvanians who planned to get their REAL ID, giving them an extra year to gather the necessary documents.
PennDOT closed all driver and photo license centers on March 16 and paused REAL ID issuance in the state. Centers will reopen no sooner than April 3, but many services are available online. You may also reach out to my office and we will do our best to assist you.
Though REAL IDs are not required in Pennsylvania, you may want one before October 1, 2021 if you do not have a passport and plan to fly domestically or enter federal/military buildings.
Child Care for Essential Workers
Our essential workers are on the frontlines making sure our communities can stay healthy, safe, and fed. This week, the PA Department of Human Services announced a new online tool to help essential workers connect with child care providers that have been granted a waiver and continue to serve families. To find a child care center still open near you, visit the DHS website.
Small Business Loan Opportunities
Governor Wolf’s temporary closure of non-life-sustaining businesses was a difficult but necessary decision to slow the spread of COVID-19. But our small businesses are the heart of our communities, and we must pull together to support them in any way we can.
Governor Wolf announced the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program, a no-interest working capital loan that will be administered through the county Economic Development programs. The counties have not release their application processes yet, but we will post them on my website as soon as they are available.
Another option for our businesses is the federal Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program. The application period is open, and Pennsylvania has been added to the list of disaster locations (Disaster #: PA-0010.) You can begin the application process here.
Domestic Violence Prothonotary Resources
For members of our community who feel unsafe at home, know that there are local resources available to you. Our county Prothonotary Offices are still working to process emergency filings, including Protection from Abuse Orders. For more information, contact your county office:
For immediate assistance, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233, visit thehotline.org, or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
The spread of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation statewide and in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Below are some of the local, regional and state resources that can help you navigate health recommendations, closures, and other important information.
Looking for assistance? Want to share your thoughts on legislation or community issues? You may email us at email@example.com or call us at 215-368-1429 if we can be of service.
Stay up-to-date by ‘liking’ my Facebook page and following me on Twitter and Instagram.
Offices of State Senator Maria Collett
All offices are temporarily closed to visitors due to COVID-19.
|North Wales Office
Gwynedd Corporate Center
1180 Welsh Road |
North Wales, PA 19454
1410 W. Street Road
Warminster, PA 18974
183 Capitol Building
Senate Box 203012
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3012