Gov. Wolf Announces Recommendations for Law Enforcement Reform

Your Update for 6-4-20

*This information is changing quickly, so be sure to check for any updated information.

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Press Conference with Governor Wolf:

At 4:15 pm on June 4, Governor Wolf held a press conference to discuss the state’s response to the protests taking place in Pennsylvania, and discussing recommendations made by The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing from 2015.

Governor Wolf announced that his administration will work with municipalities to implement recommendations and reforms, which are primarily based on the 21st Century Policing Task Force report from 2015.

A few of these recommendations include:

  • Creation of a Deputy Inspector General within the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) focused on deterring, detecting, preventing, and eradicating fraud, waste, misconduct, and abuse amongst law enforcement agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction.
  • Creation of a Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Advisory Commission that reviews allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel under the governor’s jurisdiction.
  • Providing technical assistance to municipalities from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to encourage the creation of local citizen advisory boards.
  • Enhancing Officer Safety and Wellness. Enhancing current mental health initiatives and offering targeted mental health supports for officers to deal with trauma and reduce stigma for getting help.

You can watch Governor Wolf’s press conferences here.

Update from the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

Secretary Levine and the Department of Health did not hold a press conference today. However, the Pennsylvania Department to Health released an update today (June 2) on COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has reached 73,942, an increase of 537 cases from yesterday. There were 75 new deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total deaths in Pennsylvania to 5,817. There were 618 positive serology tests, which are counted as probable cases of COVID-19, and not confirmed cases.

>>Governor Wolf ends stay-at-home order

There are 15,848 residential cases and 2,740 employee cases in 613 long-term care facilities in 45 counties, which includes nursing facilities and personal care facilities. There have been 3,895 reported deaths in long term care facilities due to COVID-19. Deaths in nursing and personal care facilities account for ~67% of the total deaths in Pennsylvania.

69% of individuals who have contracted COVID-19 in Pennsylvania have recovered.

According to the Hospital Preparedness Dashboard, 45% of hospital beds, 38% of ICU beds, and ~77% of ventilators in Pennsylvania Hospitals are still available. A total of 5,610 COVID-19 cases are in healthcare workers.

>>DCNR moves to opening the remaining state parks and forest

Check out the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Dashboard here. You can view the data on infections by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania here.

You can watch the daily press conference here.

An Update from DC:


Upcoming COVID-19 Response Package

Movement on a next stimulus bill isn’t likely to happen until the week of July 20 or even later. However, Trump administration officials envision as much as $1 trillion in the next round of economic stimulus, though they have delayed those discussions scheduled for this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Top aides had planned to meet this week to discuss the next round of pandemic relief, but that meeting has been removed from the calendar and has not been rescheduled yet. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told White House officials behind closed doors that another round of fiscal stimulus from Congress could be just under $1 trillion.

Separately, Congress is still debating what to do when unemployment provisions expire at the end of next month. With America gradually heading back to work, there’s no majority among lawmakers to extend the $600-a-week extra payments in their current form. Any plan that emerges will have to meet the concern, mostly voiced by Republicans, that too-high payments have become a disincentive to work. And it will have to win votes from Democrats who control the House and are pushing to keep safety nets in place.

Paycheck Protection Program Changes
 
The Senate unanimously approved House-passed legislation that would allow businesses 24 weeks to spend coronavirus relief loans that were set to lapse in the coming days and eliminating other restrictions on the program. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.
 
Appropriations Timeline

The House Appropriations Committee plans to vote on the 12 annual spending bills for FY 2021 during the weeks of July 6 and July 13, Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) says in letter to lawmakers. Lowey said that floor votes are to be expected the weeks of July 20 and July 27.


Economic Development Administration Funding Deadline

Since releasing the CARES Act Recovery Assistance Notice of Funding Opportunity on May 7, EDA has invited more than 850 existing, high-performing Economic Development Districts (EDD), University Centers, Tribal Groups, and Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant recipients to apply for non-competitive supplemental funding to help them assess the impact coronavirus has had on their communities and to fortify programs to assist communities in responding to the pandemic.

If you received an invitation letter, but have not yet submitted your application, EDA encourages you to do so NOW! EDA is only accepting non-competitive CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities applications that are submitted within 30 days of the date of the invitation letter. Submissions will be accepted through mid-June.

Simultaneously, EDA is also accepting competitive award applications from all eligible grantees for our CARES Act Recovery Assistance funding opportunities to help communities respond to and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

For complete information, please visit the recently updated EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.

Vaccine Development

The Trump administration is looking for companies to develop a diagnostic test that can determine if someone has SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, and the seasonal influenza. The move is part of a series of changes in the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s broad agency announcement today, a contract mechanism through which the agency does most of its spending.

Separately, AstraZeneca agreed on a $750 million deal with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance to support making and distributing 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine, with delivery starting by year’s end. The drugmaker also announced a licensing agreement with the Serum Institute of India to supply 1 billion doses for low- and middle-income countries, with 400 million before the end of 2020.

Infrastructure Executive Order

Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order today calling on federal agencies to use emergency powers to “accelerate” infrastructure projects on federal lands as a response to Covid-19, senior administration officials said. The president’s public schedule shows that he plans to sign an executive order “on expediting permitting” at 4:30 p.m. It’ll urge the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense departments “to use emergency and other authorities to accelerate projects on federal lands,” the officials said.  

Federal Reserve Bond Program Expansion

The Federal Reserve said it will widen its municipal bond program, allowing states that don’t have at least two cities and counties large enough to fit the original criteria – those with populations of 250,000 or more and counties with populations of at least 500,000 – to designate up to two city or county issuers to tap the program.

Governors from each state will also be able to select two bond issuers whose revenue comes from operating government activities, including public transit, airports or toll facilities, to use the program.

Business Community:

Governor Wolf’s Plan to Reopen Pennsylvania:

On April 22, Governor Wolf announced his plan to reopen Pennsylvania, focusing on a regional decision making approach. Along with the previous standards the Governor announced last week, he highlighted that the data-driven decision making process will be done in consultation with Carnegie Mellon University.

You can review Governor Wolf’s Plan for Pennsylvania here.

The three color phases determine when regions are ready to begin easing restrictions on businesses, stay-at-home orders, large gatherings, child care and more. The three phases are red, yellow and green, with the entire state currently in the red phase. Movement between phases will be based on the population incidence rate above.

Red Phase:

The red phase singularly purpose is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 through strict social distancing, non-life sustaining business and school closures. There are currently 10 counties in Phase Red. The rest of the Phase Red counties will move to Phase Yellow on June 5.

  • Life Sustaining Businesses Only
  • Congregate Care and Prison Restrictions in Place
  • Schools (for in-person instruction) and Most Child Care Facilities Closed

Yellow Phase:

The stated purpose of the yellow phase is begin to power back up the economy, while maintaining social distancing while easing restrictions on certain businesses and travel. However, the Department of Health will maintain strict monitoring over public health data to contain COVID-19. Guidance for businesses in Counties in the Yellow Phase. There are currently 40 counties in Phase Yellow, however 8 additional counties moved to Phase Yellow, while 17 counties moved to Phase Green on May 29

  • Telework Must Continue Where Feasible
  • Businesses with In-Person Operations Must Follow Business and Building Safety Orders
  • Child Care Open with Worker and Building Safety Orders
  • Stay-at-Home Restrictions Lifted in Favor of Aggressive Mitigation
  • Large Gatherings Prohibited
  • In-Person Retail Allowable, Curbside and Delivery Preferable
  • Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities (such as gyms, spas), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars Limited to Carry-Out and Delivery Only

Green Phase

The green phase should facilitate a return to a “new normal”, by easing most restrictions on stay-at-home orders and business closures. Strict adherence to CDC and Health department guidelines are required, and similar to the yellow phase, monitoring of public health data will continue. There are currently 17 counties in Phase Green. An additional 16 counties will move to Phase Green on June 5.

  • All Businesses Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines
  • Aggressive Mitigation Orders Lifted
  • All Individuals Must Follow CDC and PA Department of Health Guidelines

The standards previously highlighted by Governor Wolf:

  • Our approach will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach to reopenings in Pennsylvania.
  • We will put forth guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities for assured accountability as we reopen.
  • Reopening necessitates that adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing are available.
  • Reopening requires a monitoring and surveillance program that allows the commonwealth to be deploy swift actions for containment or mitigation.
  • Protections for vulnerable populations must remain steadfast throughout the reopening process, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  • Limitations on large gatherings unrelated to occupations should remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

Guidance for Pennsylvania:

Critical Needs Portals:

With the application closed for the CWCA, please look into the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or the Paycheck Projection Program.

You can find the application for the Paycheck Protection Program here.

You can find the application for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, here.

Press Releases:

Gov. Wolf Takes Action to Address Law Enforcement Reform and Accountability

June 04, 2020

After meeting with leaders in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf announced several actions to improve law enforcement relations with the community and strengthen training and accountability.

black teen Michael Brown that set off weeks of protests.

Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Creation of a Deputy Inspector General within the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) focused on deterring, detecting, preventing, and eradicating fraud, waste, misconduct, and abuse amongst law enforcement agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction.
  • Creation of a Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Advisory Commission that reviews allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel under the governor’s jurisdiction.
  • Providing technical assistance to municipalities from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to encourage the creation of local citizen advisory boards.

You can read the full recommendations, and the press release here.

Reopening Phase Orders Updated to Include 10 Additional Counties Moving to Yellow and 16 to Green on June 5

June 04, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today signed amended yellow phase orders to include 10 counties moving to the yellow phase at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, June 5. The counties include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery and Philadelphia.

In addition, the governor and the secretary signed amended green phase orders to include 16 counties moving to the green phase at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow. The counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.

With these orders, there are no counties in the red phase. In total, on June 5, there will be 34 counties in the green phase and 33 in the yellow phase.

Gov. Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania includes details of each phase of reopening.

The latest business guidance can be found here.

The Governor’s amended yellow phase order can be found here. The Governor’s amended green phase order can be found here.

The Secretary of Health’s amended yellow phase order can be found here. The Secretary of Health’s amended green phase order can be found here.

You can read the full press release here.

Gov. Wolf: $50 Million in Grants Available to Support Fire and EMS Companies Negatively Affected by COVID-19

June 04, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf announced today that the Office of State Fire Commissioner will be working to enact recent legislation to provide $50 million in direct financial relief to fire and emergency medical service (EMS) companies negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

In the coming weeks, detailed information about the program and instructions on how to apply will be available online at the Office of the State Fire Commissioner’s website. Companies are advised to check back regularly for updated information.

You can read the full press release here.

Department of Aging Joins AARP to Support Family Connections in Long-Term Care Facilities

​June 04, 2020

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman announced it is partnering with AARP Pennsylvania to offer communication devices to long-term care facilities that will help residents increase contact with their family and friends.

With support from the Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging, this pilot program will provide cell phones and tablets to 46 skilled nursing facilities in 40 counties where resident advocates known as Pennsylvania Empowered Expert Residents (PEERs) or a facility’s staff member had expressed a need for phones/tablets and have made a commitment to support the appropriate use of the devices. Nineteen devices will go to facilities identified as Special Focus Facilities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and/or are operating under provisional licenses.

Learn more about the LTC ombudsman and various programs offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging here.

You can read the full press release here.

DCNR Moves to Open Remaining State Park, Forest Facilities

​June 04, 2020

Harrisburg, PA — Today, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the phased reopening of state parks and forest facilities continues Friday, June 5, in southeast and northeast Pennsylvania in line with Governor Tom Wolf’s direction to ensure Pennsylvanians have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation and help maintain positive physical and mental health.

Facilities in 19 state parks will be reopening as the following counties move from the red to yellow phases of the state’s phased reopening plan:

  • Berks
  • Bucks
  • Chester
  • Delaware
  • Lackawanna
  • Lancaster
  • Lehigh
  • Montgomery
  • Northampton
  • Philadelphia

You can read the full press release here.

This newsletter was prepared by the Ridge Policy Group, a top lobbying firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Written by

Ridge Policy Group

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