Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Senate Returns to Session This Week to Consider More COVID-19 Response Measures
  • New Online Tool Designed to Meet Growing Medical Supply Demands
  • Turnpike Travelers No Longer Need to Stop at Tollbooths During Public Health Emergency
  • Volunteer Fire Departments Eligible for Federal Loan Programs

Senate Returns to Session This Week to Consider More COVID-19 Response Measures

The Senate will be in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week to consider a number of bills to aid in the state’s response to COVID-19. Session and all committee meetings will take place remotely and will be streamed live at www.PAsenateGOP.com. A full, gavel-to-gavel video will be available after the conclusion of each day’s legislative action.

New Online Tool Designed to Meet Growing Medical Supply Demands

A new web portal will help manufacturers and distributors meet the increased demand for medical products and supplies created by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The new Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal will help existing manufacturers produce COVID-19 related supplies and connect them with available distributors. The new resource will also assist other companies in retooling their operations to begin developing those supplies, and help businesses identify skilled workers that can fill workforce gaps and needs.

Manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers can inform the Department of Community and Economic Development of their critical supply chain capabilities, needs, workforce gaps and innovative opportunities through the portal here.

Turnpike Travelers No Longer Need to Stop at Tollbooths During Public Health Emergency

In order to limit person-to-person contact during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will no longer accept cash or credit cards at tollbooths. All tolls will be assessed electronically through the E-ZPass system or the Toll By Plate program.

During coronavirus mitigation, motorists will no longer stop at tollbooths. Instead, the Toll By Plate system will take a photo of the license plate of each vehicle that does not have E-ZPass and send the registered owner an invoice within 30 days.

More information about how the Toll By Plate system works is available at www.nocashzone.com. 

Volunteer Fire Departments Eligible for Federal Loan Programs

Under the federal CARES Act, volunteer fire departments are eligible for two types of federal loans: Emergency Injury Disaster Loans and Paycheck Protection Program loans.

For volunteer fire departments with IRC 501(c)(3) or IRC 501(c)(4) status, Emergency Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other costs. If approved, EIDLs provide up to $2 million for working capital, have a 2.75% interest rate for non-profits, and can be repaid over 30 years. 

Volunteer departments organized as a private non-profit [IRC 501(c)(3), IRC 501(c)(4) and IRC 501(c)(19)] that pay firefighters are also eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. This loan is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses and non-profits to keep their workers on the payroll.  Loans are forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

The International Fire Chiefs Association has more information.

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