– Recognizing the extreme challenges faced by small businesses, educational institutions and Pennsylvania families as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) today joined her House colleagues in unanimously approving a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package.
“There is so much more work to do, but this relief package is a major step forward in overcoming the devastating economic hardships resulting from the pandemic,” said Pickett. “It is a financial lifeline for small business owners struggling to stay open, families having trouble paying their rent and utility bills, and schools striving to provide a quality education for our young people.”
Senate Bill 109
allocates $145 million in grants for the hard-hit restaurant and hospitality industry, $570 million for rental and utility assistance, and $197 million in funding for educational institutions, such as nonpublic schools, career and technical schools, charters schools for the deaf and blind, approved private schools, community colleges and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The measure also clarifies funding received by businesses from the federal Paycheck Protection Program is not subject to state income taxes.
The amended proposal was subsequently approved by the Senate and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Pickett also voted in support of Senate Bill 2
, legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution by limiting a governor’s disaster emergency declarations to a maximum of 21 days. To extend a declaration beyond that time, the House and Senate would need to grant approval.
“This action comes at a time when the state is under two long-term disaster emergency declarations: one regarding the opioid crisis and the other relating to the pandemic,” Pickett noted. “Senate Bill 2 ensures the voices of our citizens – through their elected legislators – are fully represented in the declaration process.”
With final approval by the House and Senate in the second consecutive legislative session, the proposal will now go before the voters in a referendum on the May 18 primary election ballot.