Senator Robert Tomlinson E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Lawmakers Authorize Use of PA National Guard to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Senate Approves Bill to Generate More Private Donations to Support Veterans
  • Legislation Would Create Medals of Commendation for Firefighters, Law Enforcement, EMS
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Claimants Must File by March 12

Lawmakers Authorize Use of PA National Guard to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine

The Senate voted recently to authorize the use of the Pennsylvania National Guard to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. The bill would allow the National Guard to operate under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Human Services to help collect, secure and transport doses of the vaccine.

In addition, National Guard members who have the necessary training would be permitted to administer the vaccine to Pennsylvanians who want to receive it. The proposal could help improve Pennsylvania’s troubled roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state currently ranks 46th in the nation in terms of the percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered.

Senate Approves Bill to Generate More Private Donations to Support Veterans

Pennsylvanians could donate more money to help veterans under a bill the Senate approved on Wednesday. The legislation would increase the donation amounts to the Veterans’ Trust Fund when Pennsylvanians renew a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration.

The bill would increase the donation amount from $3 to $5, or from $6 to $10 when applying for a two-year vehicle registration. All donations support grants to county directors of veterans’ affairs, veterans’ service organizations and other charitable organizations that provide assistance, shelter and living necessities to veterans and their families.

Legislation Would Create Medals of Commendation for Firefighters, Law Enforcement, EMS

The Senate passed legislation this week that would create a new way to honor members of law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS personnel who demonstrate uncommon heroism in the line of duty. The bill would establish special medals of commendation to be awarded to members of these organizations who are injured or killed in the line of duty, or who demonstrate exceptional gallantry, heroism and bravery in the face of life-threatening circumstances.

The color of each medal – the Star of Valor, Heart and Medal of Ultimate Sacrifice – would coordinate with the respective program: blue for law enforcement, red for firefighters, and white for EMS personnel.

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation Claimants Must File by March 12

The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program provides an additional $100 in weekly benefits for claimants who earned at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment. Claimants must submit acceptable documentation by March 12 to receive the extra benefits. The additional benefit applies from January 2 through March 13.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants are not eligible for the program. Details on the program, applicable tax years and documentation are available here.

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