Wolf’s COVID-19 business closures, limit on gatherings unconstitutional, federal court rules
Angela Couloumbis, Spotlight PA
Monday, September 14, 2020
HARRISBURG — Delivering a blow to Gov. Tom Wolf’s strategy for responding to the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge on Monday ruled that key components of the governor’s mitigation strategy are unconstitutional, including decisions to temporarily shut down businesses and limit how many Pennsylvanians can gather in one place. “The court believes that defendants undertook their actions in a well-intentioned effort to protect Pennsylvanians from the virus,” U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV wrote in the 66-page ruling. “But even in an emergency, the authority of government is not unfettered. The liberties protected by the Constitution are not fair-weather freedoms — in place when times are good but able to be cast aside in times of trouble.” Stickman found that the Wolf administration’s policy limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings and events to 25 and 250 people, respectively, violates “the right of assembly enshrined in the First Amendment.” The Pittsburgh-based judge also found Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s stay-at-home and business closure orders to be unconstitutional. The ruling came two weeks after a federal judge in Philadelphia took the opposite stance in a case focused solely on business closure orders, setting the stage for the battle to continue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Health experts widely considered temporary shutdowns and limits on business operations to be necessary in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Over the summer, Pennsylvania’s highest court rejected a lawsuit by GOP lawmakers seeking to end the disaster emergency declaration that greatly expanded Wolf’s powers.
PA Chamber Unveils New Interactive Online Legislative Scorecard
HARRISBURG - With the 2020 General Election right around the corner, the PA Chamber is proud to unveil its online Legislative Scorecard. This interactive tool highlights how members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly voted on key pieces of legislation impacting the Commonwealth’s business community over the course of the 2019-20 legislative session; and also shows their career voting record on such proposals.  
“Our new Legislative Scorecard is a user-friendly tool to easily determine which elected officials have supported pro-business, pro-growth policies,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr. “This November, all of the seats in the House and half of the seats in the Senate will be on the ballot. The outcome of this election will have a significant impact on how the state moves forward amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical to the Commonwealth’s economic recovery that we elect state lawmakers who will prioritize policies that encourage business investment and reinvestment while ensuring that businesses are operating in adherence to state and CDC-issued safety guidelines.”
The Legislative Scorecard homepage lists the sitting state legislators, along with their 2019-20 legislative session and career voting scores. A more detailed analysis – including an overview of all bills that were meaningful enough to the business community to be “scored” by the PA Chamber – can be found by clicking on the lawmakers’ name and viewing their individual profile. Users can easily identify the PA Chamber’s position on the respective bill, as well as how the lawmaker voted. The PA Chamber communicated its position to legislators prior to votes taken on the bills that were used to calculate the overall lawmakers’ score. 
Another useful tool for voters leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3 is a comprehensive voter resource page that is now available on the PA Chamber’s website. The page includes links for voters to locate their polling place; apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot; determine who represents them at the state and federal level; and a link to ChamberPAC’s endorsed state legislative candidates.
“As the ‘Statewide Voice of BusinessTM’, it is our goal to provide voters with all the resources needed to make informed decisions on those lawmakers who have proven their commitment to supporting the state’s private sector through pro-jobs, pro-growth policies; and to inspire them to make their voices heard this November,” added Barr.

NFIB Webinar: EIDL Top Ten FAQs (Answered!), PPP EZ Forgiveness Eligibility, and Q&A

Wed., Sept. 16, 2020, 12:00 PM ET
Presented by: Holly Wade, Executive Director, NFIB Research Center, Elizabeth Milito Senior Executive Counsel, Legal Foundation, NFIB
Pa. will get $1.988B in funding for eviction relief, Sen. Casey announces
Nick Trombola, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Monday, September 14, 2020
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., announced Monday that Pennsylvania will receive $1.988 billion in funding for eviction relief. The funding comes from Community Development Block Grants as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and will focus funds on places with households facing a higher risk of eviction, according to the announcement. Dozens of cities, townships and counties in the state are set to each receive various shares of the funding. Pittsburgh will receive $3.1 million, while Allegheny County and Westmoreland County will receive over $6.1 million and nearly $2 million, respectively. “Many Americans have lost their jobs during this pandemic and are facing the possibility of being evicted, through no fault of their own,” Mr. Casey said. “This funding is essential to providing support for Pennsylvanians who need temporary financial assistance to pay rent and weather the eviction crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has created.” The funds can be used to provide renters with temporary assistance to pay rent for up to six months, the announcement said, and are geared specifically at the following types of communities: Communities with high rates of individuals in industries with high job loss in states with high unemployment. Communities with high rates of businesses in industries with high job loss in states with high unemployment. Concentrations of those most at risk for transmission and risk of eviction, with higher amounts for states with high rates of coronavirus. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after an order to halt evictions nationwide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went into effect Sept. 4.
NFIB Webinar: Security in the Remote Working Environment (Presented by Dell Technologies)

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 12:00 PM ET
Presented by: Matt Papendorf, Senior Advisor, OEM Security Brand Manager

Get an understanding of where to start on developing a security package for your small business from Dell Technologies. They’ll cover the current landscape of security threats and how the work from home environment has changed the need to secure your companies and customers more. During this session, you’ll get answers to questions like, “why security matters” answered and advice on where to start to secure your business.

Can't make this Webinar? Don't worry! Register Now and we'll email you an on-demand version!

Free Re-opening Signage

As Pennsylvania businesses begin to reopen, each business owner will need to examine their operations and make changes to meet public safety guidelines. PASBDC has created signage to address common health concerns. All images are completely free to use, so please share, download, print and distribute as you wish!

The Pennsylvania 30 Day Fund is a non-profit recently launched to provide forgivable loans of $3,000 to Pennsylvania small businesses struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility criteria is simple:
  • Employs between 3 and 30 people
  • Based in Pennsylvania and operating for at least a year
  • Owned and operated by a Pennsylvania resident
  • Operate as a for profit business.
Eligible employers must complete a short application and submit a video detailing how they could benefit from the funding. The funds do not need to be repaid. However, business owners who are able may choose to "pay it forward" by paying the proceeds back to the Fund to be used by other small businesses.
Additional questions about the PA 30 Day Fund can be directed by Maia Comeau at maia@comeaucompany.com.

The Chamber has been informed that the application process is simple and that preference is being given to those that are involved in their community.
Flowchart Helps Employers Understand New Tax Credits

The IRS recently issued Publication 5419, New Employer Tax Credits (PDF) to help employers understand the tax credits available to them due to the coronavirus pandemic. The one-page document breaks down the details of the Employer Retention Credit and the credits for paid sick and family leave in easy-to-follow charts. Using the document, employers can quickly determine whether they are eligible for the credits, the amount of the credits and which wages apply to the credits.

Click here for access to timely resources.
Office Hours

Following the Governor's guidance, staff is once again working remotely and only going to the office as necessary. If you need to reach us, please call 814-643-1110 and leave a message for Yvonne or email ymartin@huntingdinchamber.com

Download this questionnaire for sample screening questions to ask employees upon return to work and on a regular basis moving forward. This template is based on questions required or recommended by various states as well as input from U.S. Chamber member companies of all sizes and sectors.
Huntingdon County Strong:
Business and Community Resources

Click graphic below.
Quick Connect Coaching Sessions
Weekly, Tuesdays at 8:30 am

Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Then attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week a consultant will address answers related to a specific topic.

Contact Us

Yvonne Martin
President/ CEO

MacKenzie Huntsman
Program Director

Phone: 814-643-1110
Fax: 814-643-1115
Stay Connected

Looking to start an endowment or to support community efforts? Click the logo above to learn more about the Huntingdon County Foundation.