COVID-19 Response Timeline

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, my focus has been serving the constituents of the 13th district. Whether it be assisting small businesses attaining loans or grants, long-term living facilities receiving PPE, working to secure financial assistance and PPE for hospitals or contacting the Department of Labor on behalf of constituents to help facilitate unemployment compensation. Since the middle of March, my office has opened up over 2,985 case files for constituents related to COVID-19 of which over 1,000 were unemployment compensation related.  My office assisted over 75 businesses in an attempt to understand and navigate the Governor’s inconsistent waiver process. This case work is represented by thousands of responses and contacts to constituents in the form of letters, phone calls and emails.

In addition to our work with constituents, the Pennsylvania legislature was very active in passing legislation to help open up our economy in a safe way that protected our most vulnerable while holding the administration accountable for its actions.  Below is a timeline of events, meetings and legislation which outlines my work and the work of the Senate since the inception of the pandemic in March.

Senator Scott Martin


May 18th, 2021:  In the Pennsylvania Municipal Primary, voters approve two amendments to the Constitution that were designed to improve the way the state responds to future emergencies. One limits an emergency declaration to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves a longer duration. The other clarifies that the governor will not be able to unilaterally veto legislative action that ends the declaration, as Governor Wolf has done.  Senator Martin was an author of the constitutional amendments which led them to being on the ballot.

May 10th, 2021:  In order to help mitigate lost educational opportunities during the pandemic, the Senate Education Committee passes SB 664, legislation to allow parents the option to have their child repeat a grade level during the 2021-2022 school year.  The legislation would also allow parents the option to extend special education enrollment due to COVID-19; specifically allowing these students, who may have reached 21 years of age on or after the issuance of the proclamation of disaster emergency, to continue to be enrolled in school for remainder of 2021-2022 school year.

May 7th, 2021:  Myself, along with a bi-partisan group of 20 senators sent a letter to Governor Wolf stating that we think that he should lift the restrictions on employers the Friday before Memorial Day so they can economically benefit from the holiday weekend, something they have not been able to do for over a year.

April 28th, 2021: The Pennsylvania Senate passes SB 108, legislation that would dedicate additional Medicaid funding to facilities that serve a substantial number of patients who require ventilator or tracheostomy care.

April 18th, 2021: At 9:00am, Vaccinate Lancaster officially hits the 100,000 mark for people vaccinated within its facility.

April 5th, 2021: The Departments of Health and Education issue new guidelines to make it easier for schools to return to in-person instruction.  The updated recommendations on social distancing align with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that only require students to stay 3 feet apart, rather than the previous recommendation of 6 feet of separation.

April 4th, 2021: After many months of dedicated advocacy for data and transparency from the legislature, employers and employees, Governor Wolf finally relaxes some restrictions on businesses

March 10th, 2021: Vaccinate Lancaster mass vaccination center at the Park City Mall opens to the public.  The site is prepared to vaccinate up to 6,000 people a day and will operate 7 days a week.

March 4th, 2021:  Senators Marin and Aument discuss with the Lancaster chamber Advocacy Committee the statewide COVID-19 Vaccine rollout statewide as well as the Lancaster County Mass Vaccination Plan.  In addition, the importance of the constitutional amendment which would limit emergency declarations to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves a longer duration. This amendment would help ensure greater cooperation between the executive and legislative branches of state government during an emergency and restore the system of checks and balances that Pennsylvania’s government was founded upon.

March 3rd, 2021:  As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Martin hosted a joint hearing with the Senate Health and Human Services Committee which invited teachers, superintendents, students, parents and other key stakeholders to offer their perspectives on the educational challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Senator Martin stated during the hearing that, “We have heard about the impact of school shutdowns on students, parents, teachers and other key stakeholders, and it is absolutely essential that we take the right steps to return a sense of normalcy to the education community,”

March 2nd, 2021:  Senators Martin and Aument host a Virtual Town Hall to discuss Lancaster County’s COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Plan and to answer questions regarding the vaccine.  The Senators hosted Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Clinical Officer of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Ray D’Agostino, Lancaster County Commissioner and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Executive Director Joan Bradbury as special guests during the conversation to answer questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

February 24th, 2021:  Senators Martin, Ward and DiSanto release an op-ed that explains the importance of the constitutional amendment that will be placed on the ballot during the Primary Election this spring.  The Governor and the Secretary of State wrote the ballot question in such a way to confuse and trick voters so the Senators set the record straight by explaining the true meaning of the amendment which would limit emergency declarations to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves a longer duration. Limiting the length of an emergency declaration would ensure greater cooperation between all branches of government during an emergency and restore the system of checks and balances that Pennsylvania’s government was founded upon. 

February 23rd, 2021:Senators Martin and Lindsey Williams send a letter to President Biden and Acting U.S. Secretary of Education Cardona asking them to issue a waiver to Pennsylvania for state assessments for the 2020-2021 school year.  The letter expresses the sentiment that the waiver is important so that schools can focus their time and efforts on educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic and not preparing for state created exams.

February 19th, 2021:  Senator Martin’s office participates with other legislators and staff in a virtual meeting with the Acting Secretary of Health (DOH) and Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to discuss the current status of the Administration’s COVID vaccine distribution plan, it’s implementation and it’s shortfalls.  This included discussion about the DOH’s shift in  focus to providers who are distributing the vaccine most effectively and to the most people.

February 17th, 2021:  Senator Martin and Senator Aument meet a school leader to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on school districts.  The discussion focused around communication issues between the Department of Health and schools.  They conclude that a hearing should be held to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on schools as we approach the one-year mark of the pandemic.

February 15th, 2021:  Senator Martin participates in a Vaccine Task Force Update discussion.  The Vaccine Task Force was created to streamline conversations to focus and drive issues of importance regarding the Covid-19 Vaccine.  The Task Force will share vaccine information and communicate issues and solutions on behalf of and to the General Assembly and the Executive Branch.

February 12th, 2021:  Senator Martin participates with other legislators in a call with the Acting Secretary of Health to discuss the Secretary’s new order to increase the administration of vaccine dosages received and a reform of the appointment process for receiving the vaccine. 

February 9th, 2021: As Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Martin hosts a joint hearing with the Appropriations Committee to discuss PASSHE’s progress on its system redesign.  The hearing was mandated as a part of Act 50 of 2020, legislation which was amended by Senators Martin and Tomlinson to give the PASSHE Board of Governors the power to create, expand, consolidate, transfer or affiliate member schools.   The goal of the legislation was to ensure all schools in the system remain open and available to meet the needs of students while allowing PASSHE to provide a high-quality education at an affordable price.

February 5th, 2021:  Senator Martin’s office participates with other legislators and staff in a virtual meeting with the Acting Secretary of Health (DOH) and Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to discuss the current status of the Administration’s COVID vaccine distribution plan, it’s implementation and it’s shortfalls. This meeting is the first of a series of weekly update meetings with the DOH and PEMA

February 5th, 2021: Senator Martin votes for the amended version Senate Bill 109 which became Act 1 of 2021.  This legislation creates a new Rental and Utility Assistance Grant Program, specifies that Paycheck Protection Program loans to business and recovery payments made to individuals will not be taxed as income, and creates the Hospitality Industry Recovery Program.

February 5th, 2021: The House of Representatives passes Senate Bill 2 that would limit emergency declarations to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves a longer duration. The bill would ensure greater cooperation between all branches of government during an emergency and restore the system of checks and balances that Pennsylvania’s government was founded upon.

February 4th, 2021: Senator Martin participated in a joint hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Aging and Youth Committee which featured testimony about the difficulties in prioritizing vaccines to all Pennsylvanians, including specific challenges for residents of long-term care facilities.   You can watch my comments and questions during the hearing here and here

February 4th, 2021: Senator Martin met with Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega to discuss the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools program which will provide $150 million to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on non-public school students and teachers in Pennsylvania.  In addition, I asked the secretary to apply for a waiver for all state-wide testing (Keystone Exams and PSSAs) for the 2020-2021 school year should the U.S. Department of Education open a waiver window.

January 29th, 2021: Senator Martin cosponsors Senators Brooks, Ward, and Corman’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Transparency Act” which would ensure that all Pennsylvanians are aware of the collated total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses received by the commonwealth from the federal government; the collated total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed by county; and the collated total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by county on an ongoing basis.

January 29th, 2021: Senators Martin and Aument send a letter to the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency as well as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health formally asking them to assist Lancaster County in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines so a mass vaccination site can be organized and implemented.

January 27th, 2021: Senator Martin votes for SB 109, a COVID-19 relief package that would create a grant program for the hospitality industry.

January 27th, 2021: Senators Martin and Aument organize a zoom meeting with various staff members of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Penn Medicine’s Lancaster General Hospital to discuss the role of the state government in providing COVID-19 vaccines to a proposed mass vaccination site in Lancaster County. 

January 26th, 2021: The Pennsylvania Senate passes Senate Bill 2, a Constitutional Amendment sponsored by Senators Martin, Ward, and DiSanto which would limit emergency declarations to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves its continuation.  Senator Martin’s remarks on the importance of Senate Bill 2 can be viewed here.  This Constitutional Amendment now goes to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for passage and will ultimately go before the voters of Pennsylvania for approval.

January 25th, 2021: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Ward’s “Helping Pa. Students Get ‘Back on Track” legislation that would provide parents with school age children (K to 12) funding in an account to offset educational costs. These accounts will help students get back on track after the Coronavirus pandemic.

January 22nd, 2021: The Pennsylvania Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee advances the second version of Senators Martin, Kim Ward and DiSanto’s Constitutional Amendment to limit emergency declarations to 21 days unless the General Assembly approves a longer duration. Formerly Senate Bill 1166 of last session, Senate Bill 2 of the 2021-22 Legislative Session is a Constitutional Amendments require passage in two consecutive sessions and a statewide vote by the citizens of Pennsylvania for adoption. This marks the beginning of the process for the passage through the second consecutive session.

January 19th, 2021: In the interest of transparency, Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Phillips-Hill’s legislation establishing daily reporting requirements from the Department of Labor & Industry during the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration.

January 15th, 2021: After 10 months of largely being shut out and kept in the dark of policies the Wolf Administration implemented with regard to COVID-19, Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Aument and Yudichak to require collaboration and transparency during emergency declarations.

January 14th, 2021: Senator Martin provides information for constituents regarding the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program.

January 12th, 2021: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Vogel’s reintroduction of telemedicine legislation to help more patients overcome barriers to care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation had been vetoed by the Governor in the previous session.

January 7th, 2021: Senator Martin provides COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs and Resources.  The resources are updated as new information is provided.

December 23rd, 2020: Continuing his support of efforts to provide critical liability protections to various industries, Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Brooks’ legislation to extend these protections to certain providers and facilities providing medical care to individuals with COVID-19.

December 21st, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Mensch’s legislation to provide limited liability protections for school entities and child-care facilities so as to allow them to have more certainty and less fear of frivolous lawsuits as they reopen safely and responsibly.

December 18th, 2020: Providing access to affordable and quality healthcare was made even more apparent during COVID-19. In order to aid struggling small businesses in providing healthcare benefits to their employees, Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Brooks’ Association Health Plans legislation.

December 18th, 2020: With small businesses continuing to struggle under the Governor’s restrictions, Senator Martin joins as a cosponsor of Senator Aument’s small business assistance package.

December 17th, 2020: Senator Martin provides new statistics detailing the economic devastation caused by the Governor’s shutdown orders.

December 15th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a cosponsor of legislation reintroduced by Senator Bob Mensch that would allow a family member or other designated person to visit and care for an elderly relative in a long-term care facility (LTFC).

December 15th, 2020: Senator Martin continues his efforts to aid the struggling restaurant industry by cosponsoring Senator Stefano’s legislation to provide liability protection for those entities.

December 14th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a cosponsor of legislation reintroduced by Senator Lisa Baker that would provide liability assistance for health care providers, PPE manufacturers, schools, businesses, etc., to protect them from unfair lawsuits against the good-faith actions they took during the pandemic.

December 11th, 2020: Senator Martin updates constituents of dairy farmer COVID-19 relief funds made available by the recent passage of the budget.

December 10th, 2020: Senator Martin announces his intention to reintroduce two bills (School Property Tax Payment & Penalty Relief and Municipal Property Tax Payment & Penalty Relief) that would expand relief to property taxpayers by permitting local governments and school districts to choose to extend their discount period and/or waive penalties due to the pandemic.

December 8th, 2020: Senator Martin joins Senator Hutchinson in supporting SB 48; eliminating the power of the Governor or municipal government executives to restrict the purchase and possession of firearms during an emergency.

December 8th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors legislation reintroduced by Senators Aument and Phillips-Hill that would strengthen, secure, and consolidate information technology (IT) across state agencies in order to modernize and streamline operations and other issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

December 7th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Judy Ward’s reintroduced efforts to eliminate discrepancies between the number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the Department of Health and county coroners; ensuring county coroners are notified of all suspected deaths in their jurisdiction caused by this virus and other contagious diseases.

December 7th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation reintroduced by Senators Judy Ward and Gene Yaw that would ensure that milk haulers can travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency.

December 4th, 2020: Senator Martin provides an update on Governor’s recent veto on liability assistance for employers, healthcare providers and other dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

December 4th, 2020: Senators Martin, Kim Ward and DiSanto reintroduce legislation which proposes a Constitutional amendment that would limit the length of future emergency declarations to 21 days and require any extension of the declaration to be approved by the General Assembly. Constitutional amendments are required to pass both chambers of the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions and then be approved by Pennsylvania voters in a ballot referendum. The previous version of the bill (SB 1166) was passed by both chambers in the 2019-20 legislative session which expired on 11/30/2020, but would need to pass both chambers again in the 2021-22 legislative session before it could be considered finally by Pennsylvania voters.

December 4th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation reintroduced by Senator Joe Pittman that would allow volunteer fire departments, veterans organizations and other non-profits to conduct Small Games of Chance (SGOC) fundraisers online amidst the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration.

December 4th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation reintroduced by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill that would allow for greater flexibility for substitute teacher certification in order to help our school districts during the pandemic

December 1st, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Boscola’s reintroduction of a bill that would enter the Commonwealth into a nurse licensure compact with 34 other states. The effect of this bill would be to make it easier for nurses to move to PA.

November 30th, 2020: EXPIRATION OF 2019-2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION – all bills introduced during this two year period expired at midnight on this date. Any bills that were not enacted into law during this period must be reintroduced in the 2021-2022 legislative session if the prime sponsor wants the General Assembly to consider those proposals moving forward.

November 23rd, 2020: Senators Martin and Aument hosted a virtual town hall event with guest speaker Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Clinical Officer at Lancaster General Health, to discuss the response in Lancaster County and answer constituent questions about COVID-19.

November 20th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of House Bill 1737 aimed at providing liability assistance for health care providers, PPE manufacturers, schools, businesses, etc., to protect them from unfair lawsuits against the good-faith actions they took during the pandemic. Governor Wolf later vetoed the bill. Senator Martin’s statement on the legislation can be found here.

November 20th, 2020: The Legislature completed work on the 2020-21 state budget, agreeing to a plan that maintains critical state services without the need for tax or fee increases. The budget plan completes the work that began in May, when a five-month budget plan was enacted to provide additional time to determine the full financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

November 19th, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate passes Representative Klunk’s HB 777; allowing clubs to use the 60 percent of Small Games of Chance money to cover general operating expenses of the club, including rent, payroll, and utilities during a declared disaster emergency. It was later signed into law as Act 118 (2020).

November 19th, 2020: Senator Martin calls for clarification of new mask mandates for sports.

November 18th, 2020: Senator Martin participates in a Pennsylvania Restaurant and Bar COVID Response Alliance rally on the Capitol steps.

November 18th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of Senator Langerholc’s SB 1216 that would give schools more flexibility by easing many certification and staff development requirements that are difficult to fulfill during the pandemic and extending certain emergency permits when staff development requirements cannot be completed. It was later signed into law as Act 136 (2020). On this day, Senator Martin also voted in favor of Representative Kortz’s HB 2440 which would have allowed sportsman clubs to reopen. It was later veoted by the Governor.

November 5th, 2020: Senator Martin provides details on several critical pieces of legislation to aid first responders, veterans and more both during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for the future.

November 2nd, 2020: Martin urges schools to apply for CARES Act funding to meet health and safety needs of students.

October 29th, 2020: Pennsylvania Senate Republican Caucus provides webpage to detail Senate action during the 2019-20 Legislative Session.

October 26th, 2020: Senator Martin honored as legislator of the year by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society for his legislation that created a grant program to make telepresence technology available to more students so they can continue to participate in classroom activities through the use of mobile robotic devices.

October 21st, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate gave final approval to several pieces of legislation to aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are:

  • Senator Kim Ward’s SB 1110 – requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Health and local health agencies to provide 911 dispatch centers with the address of any known positive case of a communicable disease that is infectious through aerosolized transmission. It was later signed into law as Act 112 (2020).
  • Senator Dinniman’s SB 1252 – Ensuring that all school children are afforded the opportunity to continue education efforts during mandatory school closures when they lack access to the tools and resources necessary to fully participate in online learning through assistance of volunteer teaching corps.
  • Representative Kaufer’s HB 1439 – Requiring insurers to annually file with the Insurance Department a statement attesting to the insurer’s documented analyses of efforts to comply with federal laws and regulations relating to mental health and substance abuse disorder parity. It was later signed into law as Act 89 (2020)

October 20th, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate passes a series of bills to aid citizens during the pandemic. They are:

  • Representative Deluca’s HB 770 – Requiring pharmacy technicians to register with the State Board of Pharmacy and to meet certain requirements. It was later signed into law as Act 140 (2020).
  • Senator Aument’s SB 1199 – Establishing basic rules for personal delivery devices as they expand in usage in Pennsylvania. It was later signed into law as Act 106 (2020).
  • Representative Keller’s HB 2370 – Aids banks, credit unions and other financial institutions during COVID-19 by authorizing the electronic notarization of documents where the signer appears before the notary by means of real-time audio-video communication. It was later signed into law as Act 97 (2020).

October 19th, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate approves SB 1279, ensuring safe visitation and enhanced care for residents of long-term care facilities.

October 8th, 2020: Pennsylvania Auditor General provides an update on investigation into Department of Community and Economic Development’s secretive and widely-criticized waiver system.

October 6th, 2020: Senator Martin supports passage of key healthcare accessibility measures including Senator Mensch’s SB 890 which provides Medical Assistance for workers with disabilities and Senator Judy Ward’s SB 1268 which would make the process of transitioning from Temporary Nurse Aides to Certified Nurse Aides easier. SB 1268 was later signed into law as Act 138 (2020).

September 30th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Kim Ward’s SB 1347; halting all licensing suspensions for restaurants and bars during this COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration.

September 23rd, 2020: Senator Martin announces that he will introduce legislation to distribute up to $5 million in CARES Act funding to provide hazard pay to emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.

September 22nd, 2020: In an effort to eliminate discrepancies between the number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the Department of Health and county coroners, the Senate passed legislation that would ensure county coroners are notified of all suspected deaths in their jurisdiction caused by this virus and other contagious diseases.

September 22nd, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of approving bipartisan legislation (House Bill 2513) that would ease Governor Wolf’s arbitrary and burdensome restrictions on owners of bars and restaurants. Legislation passes 43-6 in the Pennsylvania Senate. It was later vetoed by the Governor.

September 22nd, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of Senator Kim Ward’s SB 1189 and Senator Mensch’s SB 1279 in order to protect residents of assisted living facilities and other long-term care homes from disease outbreaks.

September 21st, 2020: The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 2487, legislation that would apply a freeze to COLA (cost of living adjustments) for public officials through 2021 in response to COVID-19. It was later signed into law as Act 79 (2020).

September 18th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Dinniman’s SB 1332; calling for $38 million in CARES Act funds to be used to pay for nurses in every school building with over 100 students, public or non-public, through the 2020-2021 school year.  Such funds could have also covered the costs of a CSN overseeing a quarantine room in the school, currently not reimbursable.

September 17th, 2020: Senators Martin and Langerholc call for recreational sports and activities to continue safely.

September 14th, 2020: Senators Martin and Stefano propose legislation to provide lifeline for Pennsylvania Bars, Restaurants and Tourism Industry by distributing $500 million of CARES Act funding to provide aid. The legislation was formerly introduced as SB 1358.

September 10th, 2020: After Pennsylvania Senate action to address the Governor’s data-less decision to limit restaurant capacity, Governor Wolf reverses course and announces occupancy limits to be eased on September 21st.

September 9th, 2020: The Senate gave final approval to House Bill 2787, legislation that would ensure school districts could make the final decision on whether to allow school sports, extracurricular activities and spectators during the 2020-21 school year. It was later vetoed by the Governor.

September 9th, 2020: The Senate unanimously approved SB 835, legislation that would establish a grant program to extend deployment of broadband services in under-served areas of the state, the need for which has been further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 9th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to move House Bill 2513, legislation that would remove the governor’s 25-percent cap on occupancy and allow restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity until the current COVID-19 emergency declaration ends.

August 31st, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of SB 1268, legislation sponsored by Senator Judy Ward that would enable Temporary Nurse Aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to transition to Certified Nurse Aides in an effort to support these workers and the Long-Term Care Facilities that employ them.

August 27th, 2020: Senators Martin, Phillips-Hill and Judy Ward propose option to temporarily suspend costly prevailing wage requirements for local entities amid COVID-19 pandemic (SB 1303).

August 18th, 2020: Senator Martin unanimously elected Chairman of the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee and holds a hearing on resuming school sports safely. The video for the full hearing can be found here.

August 18th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Mensch that would allow a family member or other designated person to visit and care for an elderly relative in a long-term care facility (LTFC).

August 17th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker that would establish a commission to conduct an informed, nonpartisan after action assessment of state capabilities and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 14th, 2020: Senator Martin drafts legislative package that would expand relief to property taxpayers by permitting local governments and allow school districts to extend their discount period and/or waive penalties in 2021 and the 2021-2022 school year.

August 12th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of a legislative package sponsored by Senator Pat Stefano that would offer relief to Pennsylvania Restaurants and Taverns by removing the 25% occupancy requirement, removing the food requirement and ban on bar service, expanding outdoor dining to non-contiguous areas, and waiving all license renewal and permit fees.

August 12th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill that would allow for greater flexibility for substitute teacher certification in order to help our school districts during these uncertain times.

August 11th, 2020: In response to the Administration’s latest draconian and restaurant restrictions that were not data-informed, Senator Stefano drafts and Senator Martin cosponsors several restaurant relief bills. They are:

  • SB 1299 – Removing the restriction that patrons must purchase a meal to buy alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption.  Additionally, it would have eliminated the prohibition on bar service, both for food and beverages, as long as social distancing or physical barriers are in place and that patrons remain seated while eating and drinking.
  • SB 1300 – Would have allowed licensees to expand its outdoor licensed premises to non-contiguous areas within 250 feet of the licensee for outdoor dining.
  • SB 1301 – Would have waived all license renewal and permit fees that are paid by restaurants and taverns for one year from the date of implementation
  • SB 1302 – Would have removed the restriction that all businesses in the retail food services industry may only accommodate up to 25% of their state fire-code minimum occupancy for indoor dining.  These establishments would have still been required to maintain social distancing by either 6 feet or a physical barrier.

August 7th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Lisa Baker’s SB 1239; providing for limited COVID-19-related liability to manufacturers and others who provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), certain medical services, and who have opened up their businesses and followed CDC guidelines. He also signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill’s SB 1293 which would allow for greater flexibility for substitute teacher certification in order to help our school districts during these uncertain times.

August 6th, 2020: Senator Martin provides more information on the passage of Act 69 (2020) which ensures new resources for firefighters and EMS personnel to receive mental health treatment.

August 6th, 2020: Senator Martin questions Governor’s 11th hour proclamation on school sports.

July 31st, 2020: After increasing pressure and calls from lawmakers and the general public for more transparency, Governor Wolf reverses decision to veto government transparency legislation.

July 30th, 2020: Senator Martin sends letter to Governor Wolf in which he called on the Administration to develop guidelines on allowing spectators to attend fall sports activities, including at a minimum, parents of athletes.

July 28th, 2020: Senator Martin signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pittman that would allow volunteer fire departments, veterans organizations and other non-profits to conduct Small Games of Chance (SGOC) fundraisers online amidst the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration. He also signed on as a cosponsor of Senator Bartolotta’s SB 1278; making several small changes to Pennsylvania’s Tax Code to aid struggling small businesses across the Commonwealth.

July 27th, 2020: With local volunteer fire departments struggling to raise money during the pandemic, Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Pittman’s SB 1266 which would allow volunteer fire departments, veterans organizations and other non-profits to conduct Small Games of Chance (SGOC) fundraisers online amidst the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration. Ensuring these organizations can continue to provide critical services to our communities is vital. 

July 24th, 2020: Senator Martin releases information regarding Governor’s announcement that he will veto legislation that would provide better transparency during emergencies.

July 23rd, 2020: Senator Martin’s legislation to provide relief to school district property taxpayers by extending discount periods and by removing penalty requirements is signed into law as Act 75 (2020).

July 20th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Arnold’s SB 1245; ensuring CARES Act funding is legally distributed. This legislation was created due to the administration’s illegal and unethical withholding of desperately needed CARES package relief funds to Lebanon County.

July 15th, 2020: General Assembly approves Senators Martin, Kim Ward, DiSanto and Killion’s SB 1166, a constitutional amendment requiring legislative vote on extended disaster declarations. As a constitutional amendment it does not need Governor’s approval but must be passed twice in two consecutive sessions and then approved by referendum by the people of Pennsylvania.

July 15th, 2020: Lancaster County Senators Ryan Aument and Scott Martin expressed disappointment in the new restrictions announced by the Governor, citing concerns over the lack of data to support the severe measures: “The Governor’s actions prove that more input and collaboration is needed when making decisions that affect all Pennsylvanians. While we intend to keep working towards a veto override of House Resolution 813 to end the emergency declaration, we also intend to demand that the General Assembly has a role in making important decisions to protect lives and livelihoods.”

July 15th, 2020: The Senate gave final approval to a bill this week that would restore transparency in state government by prohibiting the governor from directing a state agency to ignore records requests during an emergency declaration. The legislation would ensure Pennsylvanians can continue to access public records during a disaster declaration.

July 15th, 2020: The Senate approved legislation to assist recent teaching graduates who are attempting to navigate the state certification process, which was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 14th, 2020: The Senate approved Representative Schlossberg’s HB 1459; providing greater mental health services for emergency responders. It was later signed into law as Act 69 (2020).

July 10th, 2020: Senator Martin provides an update on the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court’s ruling against bipartisan efforts to end the emergency declaration.

July 2nd, 2020: Senators Martin and Tomlinson’s Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) COVID Stabilization reforms signed into law.

July 1st, 2020: Senators Martin & Aument expressed frustration over PA Supreme Court’s emergency declaration ruling, and vowed to, “…work with leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly to explore every option to rein in Governor Wolf’s largely unchecked power and his gross mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to try to avoid even more damage to our communities.”

June 30th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Langerholc’s omnibus education legislation (SB 1286) designed to deal with educational issues regarding COVID-19.

June 30th, 2020: The Senate voted unanimously to pass House Bill 2455, which requires the governor to submit to the General Assembly the plan for COVID-19 testing — including any amendments — that was submitted to the federal government. Senator Brooks’ SB 1182 was also passed which would have ensured that funding from the PA Fair Fund be distributed to any otherwise eligible fairs that have to cancel this year’s events due to COVID-19.

June 30th, 2020: Senator Martin participated in a hearing of the Senate Majority Policy Committee today to discuss reopening the economy of southcentral Pennsylvania.

June 30th, 2020: The Senate passed Senator Aument’s bill to assist businesses, health systems, and consumers in deploying innovative technological tools and resources to more effectively cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing basic rules for the operation of Personal Delivery Devices in the Commonwealth.

June 29th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to pass legislation that would make improvements and expand access to the Community-Based Health Care Program by providing funding to community health clinics in several different categories and reducing the unnecessary use of hospital emergency rooms for non-emergent care.

June 25th, 2020: Two bills that Senator Martin voted in favor of and that would extend new protections for healthcare professionals are sent to the Governor for approval.

June 24th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to pass legislation he had a direct hand in crafting to protect the future of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).  As many PASSHE schools face considerable financial and enrollment pressures worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of this legislation is to ensure the system has the tools to achieve its mission for years to come.

June 24th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of passing House Bill 2418, legislation that would require the Pennsylvania Treasury to conduct a COVID-19 debt cost reduction review by identifying and examining all outstanding debt obligations of the Commonwealth and its authorities, commissions, agencies, or boards, and submitting a report of the findings to the General Assembly no later than October 30, 2020.

June 24th, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate votes in favor of Senator Boscola’s SB 655 which would enter the Commonwealth into a nurse licensure compact with 34 other states. The effect of this bill would be to make it easier for nurses to move to Pennsylvania.

June 19th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Judy Ward’s SB 1230 which would allow parents with school age children (K to 12) to receive funding in an account to offset educational costs. These accounts will help students get back on track after the Coronavirus pandemic. The accounts would have been administered by the state Treasurer much like the existing 529 program, with all funding coming from the reserved discretionary component of federal CARES Act funds.

June 18th, 2020: Senator Martin provides application information for dairy farmers and food security initiatives to receive greater assistance.

June 15th, 2020: Senator Martin shares new information with regard to reopening and recreational sports.

June 11th, 2020: Senator Martin rails against the Governor pushing the nursing home COVID-19 testing deadline to 7/24/20, nearly 20 weeks from the beginning of Pennsylvania’s pandemic response.

June 10th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Pittman’s SB 1224; reallocating the $4.5 million currently awarded to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) annually through the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service Grant Program (FCEMSGP), and use it to increase their Medicaid reimbursement rate for transporting Medicaid recipients.  In doing so, it would have allowed Pennsylvania to capture federal funds and increase our ability to increase Medicaid reimbursements to EMS by $9 million.

June 10th, 2020: Pennsylvania Senate approves Senator Martin’s SB 1125, which gives each school district the option to extend property tax discount periods and remove penalties for late payments through June 30, 2021.

June 10th, 2020: Pennsylvania Senate approves Senators Martin, Kim Ward, DiSanto and Killion’s SB 1166, a proposed Constitutional amendment that would limit the length of future emergency declarations to 30 days (later amended by the House of Representatives to 21 days) and require any extension of the declaration to be approved by the General Assembly.

June 9th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to pass House Resolution 836 to immediately terminate the governor’s emergency disaster declaration.

June 8th, 2020: After facing pressure from lawmakers (including Senator Martin) and dental associations, the Department of Health finally updates its guidance for dental practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 4th, 2020: Senator Martin updates constituents on new legislation passed that would aid schools at all levels dealing with COVID-19.

June 1st, 2020: Senator Martin joins his fellow members of the Local Government Commission in cosponsoring both Senator Hutchinson’s SB 1171 and Senator Kearney’s SB 1179. These bills would extend all current municipal Act 47 recovery and exit plans for 18 months and authorizes alternative tax anticipation notes that mature at the end of the next fiscal year respectively.

June 1st, 2020: Senator Martin provides additional information of critical CARES Act-related bills passed to aid those affected by COVID-19 and Governor Wolf vetoes legislation aimed at protecting small businesses as well as ensuring election integrity.

May 29th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Brooks’ SB 1181; providing immunity from liability for certain providers and facilities providing medical care to individuals with COVID-19 so they can better operate during the pandemic. This legislation will also provide immunity from liability for damages from equipment and other goods used in response to COVID-19.

May 29th, 2020: Senator Martin, along with Senator Scott Aument, hosted a Zoom Roundtable Discussion with the Lancaster Chamber Conestoga Valley / ELANCO / Pequea Valley Consortium to answer questions and gather feedback from the business community.

May 28th, 2020: Senator Martin supported passage of an interim $25.8 billion state budget proposal and a package of bills designed to support families, businesses, employees, and organizations affected by the pandemic. Senator Martin’s remarks on the passage of the budget can be viewed here. The news conference with Senators Scarnati, Corman and Browne on the passage of the budget can be viewed here.

May 28th, 2020: The Senate voted unanimously to pass SB 1108, which appropriates Pennsylvania’s federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding for critical needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including funding for county governments, community service providers, first responders, and food banks that have been impacted by the virus.

May 28th, 2020: The Senate gave final approval to SB 1122, which appropriates $507 million from Pennsylvania’s share of federal CARES funding to support a variety of programs and services for senior citizens, including nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and $31 million for a one-time grant program for volunteer fire and EMS companies.

May 28th, 2020: The Senate gave final approval to SB 1027, an omnibus COVID-19 business closure response bill that would require notice of any laws or regulations suspended by the Governor during an emergency, provide for state and local debt and cost reduction review, and provides that the Governor cannot fine or suspend a license for violations of emergency orders. Governor Wolf vetoed the bill on June 8th.

May 28th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of passing House Bill 1210, legislation that would provide for transfers into the School Safety and Security Fund from federal funds related to COVID-19 and amends the Public-School Code of 1949 to repeal outdated and unnecessary provisions and implement the 2020-21 budget.

May 27th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Judy Ward’s SB 1184 which would allow club license holders to sell malt beverages for off-premise consumption; allowing for increased sales to these struggling businesses.

May 26th, 2020: Senator Martin supports and cosponsors Senator Judy Ward’s SB 1210; exempting a pharmacy or pharmacists from the laboratory experience requirements of the law to permit them to order or administer tests for COVID-19 approved or authorized by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so as to speed up the testing process.

May 22nd, 2020: Senator Martin supports Lancaster County’s comprehensive plan to reopen safely during COVID-19.

May 21st, 2020:  Senate Republican Caucus outlines growing trend of the Governor chastising and/or vetoing their efforts, only to reverse course and follow their lead days (and in some cases hours) later.

May 21st, 2020: Governor Wolf vetoes several bills that would allow for Pennsylvanians to safely and responsibly get back to work. Senator Martin voted in favor of all three.

May 20th, 2020: Senator Martin responds to Governor’s veto of bills to protect lives and livelihoods.

May 19th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill’s SB 1213; allowing outdoor swimming pools to reopen under safety guidelines.

May 19th, 2020: After a week of various hearings on the Administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate provides readily available breakdowns of the information gathered as well as videos.

May 15th, 2020: Senator Martin works with Joe Besecker of Operation Emerald and the Emerald Foundation to deliver Personal Protective Equipment after being contacted by the staff at Elderwood Senior Care and Pediatric Specialty Care.

May 15th, 2020: Senator Martin, along with other Lancaster County elected officials, continue to advance the Commissioners’ comprehensive plan to safely reopen the county.

May 15th, 2020: Senators Martin, Kim Ward, DiSanto and Killion announce their intention to introduce legislation (later filed as SB 1166) requiring legislative approval of emergency disaster proclamations beyond 30 days.

May 14th, 2020: Senators Martin & Aument, along with other Lancaster County elected officials, responded to each of the 34 questions that the LNP Editorial Board posed to them after revealing their plan to safely reopen the county.

May 14th, 2020: Senator Martin provides information on additional funding for schools as they work to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

May 13th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of a four-bill package that would give county governments more control over reopening their local economies and provide waivers from the Governor’s closure order for a variety of businesses — if they can operate in a manner that protects employees and customers. Ultimately SB 327, HB 2388 and HB 2412 were vetoed by the Governor while HB 327 was signed into law as Act 21 (2020). Senator Martin’s remarks on these bills can be found here.

May 13th, 2020: Senators Martin and Judy Ward hold a joint hearing of the Senate Local Government and Aging & Youth Committees to discuss the safety of vulnerable populations and the ability of counties to open safely.

May 12th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of legislation that would provide vital funding to nursing homes, personal care facilities and other senior citizens’ programs impacted by COVID-19 and allow them to continue providing essential services for the state’s most vulnerable population.

May 12th, 2020: The Senate voted unanimously to pass House Bill 1076, which expedites payments from the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

May 12th, 2020: The Senate approved SB 1128, legislation that would delay the suspension of a driver’s license during a judicial emergency.

May 12th, 2020: Less than a week after Senator Martin’s joint hearing on the status of nursing homes, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reverses course and announces the beginning of widespread testing of residents and employees.

May 11th, 2020: After being contacted by Calvary Homes, a long-term living facility, Senator Martin works with Joe Besecker of Operation Emerald and the Emerald Foundation to deliver  Personal Protective Equipment.

May 11th, 2020: Senator Martin votes in favor of Senator Bartolotta’s SB 959 which would increase Medicaid funding for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

May 11th, 2020: Senator Martin supports Senator Arnold’s SB 1158; promoting public safety by creating clear requirements for consideration before releasing prisoners due to the COVID-19.

May 11th, 2020: Senator Martin joins his colleagues in calling on the Governor to stop name-calling (a reference to disparaging remarks the Governor previously made) and to instead engage with local elected officials. His remarks on the Senate floor can be viewed here.

May 10th, 2020: Senator Martin, along with elected officials from all levels of government representing Lancaster County, joined together to unveil a comprehensive plan to safely begin reopening the county in a data-informed manner in a letter sent to Governor Wolf.

May 7th, 2020: Senator Martin teams up with Joe Besecker of Operation Emerald and the Emerald Foundation to deliver important PPE to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, a family dental care facility who works to improve the quality of life of infants, children, and adults through treatment of craniofacial conditions.

May 7th, 2020: Senators Martin and Judy Ward hold a joint hearing of the Senate Health & Human Services and Aging & Youth Committees to discuss the Administration’s failure to provide supplies, support or answers for nursing homes. 

May 7th, 2020: Senator Martin joins his colleagues in calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Health to both begin widespread testing and provide critical PPE to slow nursing home resident deaths.

May 4th, 2020: Senators Martin and Brooks hold a joint hearing of the Senate Local Government and Health & Human Services Committees to examine the Governor’s plans to reopen Pennsylvania.

April 30th, 2020: Senator Martin works with Joe Besecker of Operation Emerald and the Emerald Foundation to deliver much needed Personal Protective Equipment to the Willow Valley Retirement Community and Manor Care long-term care facility in the 13th District.

April 30th, 2020: After weeks of being largely shut out of the process by the Administration, Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Aument’s SB 1174 which would require better collaboration and transparency during emergencies.

April 30th, 2020: Senator Martin continues bipartisan efforts to allow remote real estate sales and services to resume.

April 30th, 2020: Senator Martin joins his colleagues in sending a letter to the Pennsylvania Auditor General to examine the Department of Community and Economic Development’s secretive and widely criticized waiver process.

April 29th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to pass legislation that would:

  • Require the state to notify local first responders of COVID-19 cases in their communities. SB 1110 would require the Department of Health or local health authority to release to 911 centers, police, fire, coroners and EMS personnel an individual’s communicable disease status when the disease is the subject of an emergency disaster proclamation by the Governor.
  • Extend the amount of time employees who work with children have to recertify background checks until December 31, as many are unable to complete the necessary FBI criminal background checks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. House Bill 130 would also create different criteria for initial applicants to work on a temporary basis.
  • Simplify the judicial process by establishing the following temporary measures immediately, which would then be automatically implemented during any future judicial emergencies. SB 1119 would toll the Statute of Limitations for civil and criminal cases and provide additional time for the filing of any necessary pleadings. SB 1120 would extend the time period individuals have for responding to a citation, or paying the appropriate fines, costs, or restitution.

April 29th, 2020: Senator Martin and Senator Aument supported critical funding for nursing homes so that they can better deal with the significant new challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged the Wolf Administration to do everything in its power to expediently grant regulatory waivers to assist these facilities hit hardest by this crisis.

April 29th, 2020: Senator Martin, along with other elected officials from Lancaster County, sent a letter to Governor Wolf urging him to reconsider his classification of Lancaster County as part of the Southeastern region as he considers when to allow Pennsylvania regions to reopen.

April 28th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of passing SB 1097, legislation that would allow for remote notarizations.

April 28th, 2020: Senator Martin, along with all 27 of his Senate Republican colleagues, signed on to a letter to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale urging him to conduct an audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development’s (DECD) handling of the waiver process for businesses that felt they were incorrectly classified as non-essential after Governor Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth to close. The purpose of the audit is to ensure accountability and transparency in government, as DCED has thus far denied all requests to make public the list of business who did and did not receive waivers.

April 27th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors both Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill’s SB 1136 which would allow for pet groomers to reopen under safe conditions as well as Senator Judy Ward’s SB 1176; improving consumer access to wine and beer at grocery stores due to Pennsylvania’s poorly run liquor system during the pandemic.

April 27th, 2020: With a prolonged shutdown came a rise in in mental health issues, Senator Martin provides information on resources available for those suffering on this front.

April 27, 2020: Senator Martin participates in a discussion with the Pennsylvania Health Care Association on the health care industry’s response to COVID-19 and the Administration’s failure to provide supplies, support or answers for nursing homes.

April 24th, 2020: With potential food shortages becoming a major concern, Senators Martin, Aument, Vogel and Phillips-Hill announce legislation to bypass the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Developments secretive waiver list process to allow for the safe and responsible reopening of Pennsylvania’s garden centers if they can adhere to social distancing and mitigation measures established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

April 24th, 2020: Senator Martin provides additional information on a new online portal to donate critical medical supplies including PPE.

April 24th, 2020: With guidance and policies from the Administration remaining inflexible and unclear, efforts begin to begin reopening certain industries. Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Mastriano’s SB 1141; allowing for golf courses to once again reopen if following proper safety protocols.

April 23rd, 2020: Senator Martin hosted a live telephone town hall event to answer questions and gather feedback from community residents specifically related to coronavirus issues.

April 23rd, 2020: Senator Martin announces his plan to extend similar relief provided to municipal property taxpayers in Act 15 (2020) to school property taxpayers.

April 22nd, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill’s SB 639 to prohibit ‘gag clauses’ by pharmacy benefit managers in an effort to help lower prescription drug prices.

April 21st, 2020: After strong urging from lawmakers and employers, Governor Wolf announces his adjustment of restrictions on construction activities to occur on May 8; finally bringing Pennsylvania in line with every other state in the nation.

April 21st, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of legislation that would:

  • SB 857 – Helps more patients overcome barriers to care during the COVID-19 pandemic by promoting the use of telemedicine. It was later vetoed by the Governor. Senator Martin’s remarks can be viewed here.
  • House Bill 1869 – Ensures law enforcement, first responders and active duty National Guard members who contract COVID-19 can still receive compensation while quarantined or receiving treatment for the virus. Passed Pennsylvania Senate unanimously. It was later signed into law as Act 17 (2020).

April 20th, 2020: Senator Martin’s comprehensive COVID-19 emergency response bill (SB 841) is signed into law as Act 15 (2020)

April 18th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Killian’s legislation to provide better data for nursing homes and other types of long-term care facilities during COVID-19.

April 17th, 2020: Senator Martin provides information regarding the modification of the CHIP program to better protect children during the COVID-19 crisis.

April 17th, 2020: After four weeks of no official and clarified direction, and with the pending veto of SB 613 and SB 327 in mind, Senator Martin calls on Governor Wolf to create a real COVID-19 recovery plan for Pennsylvania.

April 15th, 2020: Senator Martin shares new guidance and training information that became available for personal care home and assisted living facilities.

April 15th, 2020: Pennsylvania Senate approves two critical bills to provide much-needed clarity and common sense to the process of deciding which businesses could safely operate:

  • SB 613 – Would have aligned Pennsylvania’s list of essential vs. non-essential businesses with a list developed by the CDC and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) that was, at the time, used by 22 other states across the nation. It would have required the governor to create clear guidelines for businesses to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and permit them to re-open as long as they comply with mitigation strategies (Vetoed). Senator Martin’s remarks can be viewed here.
  • SB 327 – Gives county governments the option to develop and implement their own plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, following CISA guidelines. Under the bill, businesses already identified as essential could continue to operate. However, counties would also be given the authority to develop plans to allow other industries to operate if it is safe to do so. The bill also creates a COVID-19 Cost and Recovery Task Force made up of representatives of all three branches of government to identify and address issues related to the COVID-19 public health emergency together. The panel would be responsible for developing a recovery plan to restore public services and economic activity when it is safe to do so. (Vetoed). Senator Martin’s remarks can be viewed here.

April 13th, 2020: Senator Martin provides more information to aid those utilizing unemployment compensation system.

April 13th, 2020: Senator Martin urges Wolf Administration to begin cooperative, bi-partisan work on COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

April 10th, 2020: Senator Martin provides information on new loan program created to help hospitals during COVID-19.

April 10th, 2020: Senator Martin raises concerns about Governor Wolf’s potential prisoner release plan.

April 8th, 2020: Senator Martin shares guidance issued on building safety and maintenance during COVID-19 pandemic.

April 7th, 2020: Pennsylvania Senate passes Martin’s SB 841, legislation that would take a number of steps to ensure local governments can continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. His remarks on the Senate floor regarding the passage of this legislation can be found here. The bill would:

  • Allow local governments to provide greater flexibility on property tax deadlines.
  • Permit local governments to conduct remote meetings.
  • Give notaries emergency authorization to notarize documents remotely through the use of communications technology.

April 6th, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate passes Representative Diamond’s HB 775; allowing for better cross referencing of data regarding COVID-19 deaths so as to create more clear information from the Department of Health. It was later signed into law as Act 14 (2020).

April 6th, 2020: Senator Martin provides information on financial aid to volunteer fire companies and a web portal designed to meet the growing medical supply demands of the Commonwealth.

April 6th, 2020: Senator Martin discusses the COVID-19 Pandemic with Spotlight’s Greg Barton on WDAC.

April 3rd, 2020: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill proposes her future SB 1112 which would remove outdated regulatory burdens to help close the digital divide amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor.

April 1st, 2020: Senator Martin joins his colleagues in cosponsoring Senator Regan’s SB 1106 which would further extend COVID-19 related protections to first responders.

April 1st, 2020: Senator Martin joins Senate colleagues in urging Governor to reclassify residential construction as essential

April 1st, 2020: Senator Martin hosted a live telephone town hall event to answer questions and gather feedback from community residents specifically related to coronavirus issues.

March 31st, 2020: Senators Martin and Aument meet with LeadingAge PA to discuss how senior-living providers are dealing with the COVID-19 emergency and to discuss what resources they needed to deal with the pandemic.

March 30th, 2020: Senator Martin details efforts underway to bolster the healthcare system in Pennsylvania.

March 28th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Mastriano’s SB 1103; setting conditions for the immediate reopening of all businesses willing to comply with specific Center for Disease Control (CDC) health mitigation measures, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. 

March 27th, 2020: Senator Martin signs on as a cosponsor of Senator Arnold’s SB 1105; allowing construction activities to resume safely operating.

March 27th, 2020: Senator Martin provides information on food services available for families affected by COVID-19.

March 27th, 2020: After calling for the Governor to reverse course, Senator Martin lauds Wolf Administration policy change to help patients who have dental emergencies.

March 27th, 2020: Senators Martin and Aument called on Governor Wolf to add automotive sales –provided they are conducted remotely or electronically, with vehicle return and delivery in-person by appointment only – to the list of life-sustaining businesses permitted to operate during the coronavirus pandemic due to the essential nature of their services.

March 25th, 2020: Senator Martin demands the Wolf Administration revise restrictions that prevent dental emergency patients from receiving proper treatment.

March 25th, 2020: Senator Martin voted to pass several bills to keep Pennsylvania moving forward during the COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency. The coronavirus response measures included:

  • SB 422, which postpones Pennsylvania’s primary election from April 28 to June 2. It was later signed into law as Act 12 (2020).
  • SB 751, which updates Pennsylvania’s School Code to waive a number of mandates on schools that cannot be fulfilled under the current circumstances. It was later signed into law as Act 13 (2020).
  • House Bill 68, which provides for emergency changes to the state’s Unemployment Compensation law in response to COVID-19. It was later signed into law as Act 9 (2020).
  • House Bill 1232, which provides additional funding to healthcare facilities to purchase medical supplies and equipment and extends the deadline for certain state and local income tax payments and filings. It was later signed into law as Act 10 (2020).

March 24th, 2020: Senator Martin releases information on assistance with SBA Disaster loans and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) low-interest loan program.

March 23rd, 2020: Senator Martin updates constituents on deadline changes, license requirements, pharmacy services and crisis line changes during the COVID-19 emergency.

March 23rd, 2020: The Pennsylvania Senate Republican caucus creates, and Senator Martin shares, an online resource to assist a variety of constituents during these trying times.

March 22nd, 2020: Senator Martin announces his intention to draft legislation to extend municipal property tax discount periods, base periods as well as to allow governments to remove penalties for late payments. This language is later amended into Senator Martin’s SB 841 and signed into law as Act 15 (2020).

March 21st, 2020: Senator Martin provides additional updates on employment, scams, closure orders and other general information regarding COVID-19.

March 20th, 2020: Senator Martin provides multiple resources to aid Pennsylvanians affected by the shutdown including information regarding emergency food assistance, guidance to help older Pennsylvanians, PUC information, federal tax payment extensions, etc.

March 20th, 2020: Senator Martin joined Senate leaders in raising concerns about some of the unforeseen problems that could arise from Governor Wolf’s executive order to close all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania and how this measure could impact small businesses. As a result of these efforts, the Wolf Administration announced a waiver process for any company that believes they should be considered a life-sustaining-business. Senator Martin provided this information here.

March 19th, 2020: Senator Martin cosponsors Senator Langerholc’s proposed legislation to address education issues with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 19th, 2020: Senator Martin calls for room, board and fee refunds for college students affected by the coronavirus shutdown and announces pending legislation to address this matter.

March 19th, 2020: Senator Martin provides resources for Pennsylvanians seeking unemployment compensation assistance.

March 18th, 2020: Senator Martin releases information providing additional resources to businesses handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 18th, 2020: Senator Martin voted in favor of resolution that would allow members of the Pennsylvania Senate to vote remotely, an important step to ensure continuity of Senate operations throughout the pandemic.

March 17th, 2020: Senator Martin provided information and resources for businesses, employees affected by the Coronavirus shutdown.

March 16th, 2020: Senator Martin releases comprehensive newsletter announcing closure updates, preventative measures, and other general information.

March 15th, 2020: Senator Martin announced that the 13th Senatorial District office would be temporarily closed to in-person meetings yet staff would still be available to respond to emails and phone messages during this time.