– Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Hazleton) provided an update on her recent legislative activities and response to the COVID-19 health crisis for members of the Rotary Club of Hazleton as guest speaker during the organization’s weekly meeting, which was conducted virtually on Wednesday.
Toohil said her office and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce developed a task force for responding to pandemic-related issues in the Hazleton area.
“We immediately got together with the chamber and worked on creating a task force locally so we could address what was going on in our community, when we saw that we were getting hit harder than other parts of the state and county,” Toohil told members. “The demands on our office have really been immense, and the pace of things has continued to be pretty extreme,”
Toohil discussed her concerns related to the pandemic’s negative impact on Pennsylvania families and children, and the poor timing of Gov. Tom Wolf’s renewed call for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“We’re trying to address the concerns of Pennsylvania families and the troubles they’re going through with drugs, alcohol, and other pandemic-related issues such as domestic violence and depression. Things are very bleak right now,” she said. “The governor’s statement shows a complete disregard for the consequences of marijuana use. I am questioning the timing of his advocacy. We don’t want to go after a revenue source when it’s at the expense of our children.”
Toohil touched on how busy her district office in Hazleton has been handling unemployment compensation (UC) claims.
“The phone just rings of the hook and we are basically a state unemployment office,” Toohil commented. “Response times are taking longer in all government departments since not all workers are in their buildings and the mail is piling up. The system has completely broken down.”
Toohil also said she is working on legislation to remove a voter’s party affiliation from being listed on the outside of mail-in ballots to reduce the potential for tampering.
At the conclusion of her remarks, Toohil took questions from the online audience about nursing home visitation, eviction notices and restaurant restrictions.
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office