Apr. 13, 2021 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives last week continued its work to help the Commonwealth recover from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with the passage of several bills aimed at supporting employers, schools and more.

House Bill 605 would protect against costly frivolous lawsuits by providing civil liability protections to health care providers, schools, small business owners, farmers, restaurants and others who did their part to help keep people safe during the pandemic. The bill does not protect those who put anyone at risk, and anybody who exhibits gross negligence can and should be held accountable. The measure is the first in the “Commonwealth’s COVID Comeback” package to earn House approval.

The House also approved two bills to aid bars and restaurants, which were particularly hard hit by COVID-19 mitigation orders. House Bill 427 would increase the discount licensed establishments receive from state stores when purchasing liquor products from 10% to 15%. House Bill 425 would allow a licensee that closes permanently to sell their liquor or wine to another licensee, helping those who did not survive the crisis.

Legislation to improve pandemic fundraising options for fire and ambulance companies, as well as other nonprofit organizations that support community initiatives such as scholarships, youth sports and Scouting, was also approved by the House. House Bill 290 would specifically authorize Small Games of Chance (SGOC) licensees to conduct online raffles and drawings and use a mobile payment service (not credit cards) for payment. Participants would have to be verified as residing within the Commonwealth and be at least 18 years of age. The bill also would increase individual prize limits to $4,000 and weekly prize limits to $50,000 to further aid fundraising efforts.

The changes would expire with the end of the COVID-19 disaster emergency or May 1, 2022, whichever is later.
The bills will next be considered by the state Senate.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil