COVID-19 Legislative Updates

Key actions at the Federal, State, and Local levels

The following is a summary of the executive orders and proposed and passed legislation at the federal, state, and local levels to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis and support the business community.

For information about loans, grants, and other programs aimed at supporting the region’s business community visit our Crisis Support for Businesses page. For tools to help restart your business and our regional economy, visit our Resources for Restarting page.

Recent Updates

Federal

The Chamber is currently tracking proposed and passed federal legislation and executive orders with the potential to impact our regional business community. As we work to advocate on behalf of the business community, please contact Anselm Sauter (asauter@chamberphl.com) for more information about federal legislative affairs.

  • The House returns to Washington, D.C. this week under the proxy voting rules passed by resolution earlier this month and activated last week.
  • In the coming weeks, the House and Senate both plan to consider modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow increased flexibility in the duration of the covered period and of the requirements for loan forgiveness.
  • Negotiations on the next large relief bill are not expected to begin in earnest until mid-June, once Senate Republican leaders have had the opportunity to evaluate the impact of the previous COVID-19 stimulus packages.
  • Republican leaders are calling for liability protections for employers in the next bill, while House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which includes almost $1 trillion in aid to state and local governments, but no protections for businesses.
  • The Chamber is advocating for a spending package that includes both business liability protections together with aid to state and local governments.

State

The Chamber is currently tracking proposed and passed legislation and executive orders put forth by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the potential to impact our regional business community. As we work to advocate on behalf of the business community, please contact Liz Ferry (lferry@chamberphl.com) for more information about state legislative affairs.

  • This week, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is sending a short-term, five-month budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year to Governor Wolf who is expected to sign the legislation.
  • The $25.1 billion budget in General Fund appropriations provides flat funding for five months and funding for education at last year’s levels through the entire 2020-2021 fiscal year. The budget includes no new tax increases.
  • The General Appropriations measure, HB 2387, passed by the House on Tuesday, is expected to be taken up by the Senate on Thursday, May 28.
  • In a report released by the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the revised revenue estimate for FY2019-2020 is $31.8 billion, or $3.7 billion below the IFO’s official estimate from June 2019.
  • This week the PA House considered HB 2452 to provide up to $15,000 grants to small businesses facing financial hardships due to the governor’s COVID-19 business closure order.
  • The Chamber is advocating for passage of HB 2369, the Small Business Emergency Assistance measure to provide grants and low or no-interest emergency loans to businesses hit hardest by the crisis.
  • The Chamber will be hosting Representatives Kerry Benninghoff (June 12) and Jordan Harris (June 17) for virtual gatherings.

Local

The Chamber is currently tracking proposed and passed legislation and executive orders put forth by the City of Philadelphia with the potential to impact our regional business community. As we work to advocate on behalf of the business community, please contact William Carter (wcarter@chamberphl.com).

  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia approach 22,000 with over 1,200 deaths.
  • The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is expanding COVID-19 testing standards due to increasing availability of testing at public health and commercial laboratories.
  • Bill 200328, sponsored by Councilmember Gym, was introduced in City Council seeking to provide workplace protections for employees in emergency health orders and regulations.
  • The Chamber, along with industry partners, sent a second letter to City Council highlighting the need for further analysis regarding the impacts of legislation seeking to regulate the landlord-tenant relationship and mandate a rent freeze. This legislation goes into committee on Friday, May 29.
  • The Chamber will host virtual gatherings with Councilmembers María Quiñones Sánchez (May 28), Katherine Gilmore Richardson (June 2), and Kendra Brooks (June 3).
  • March 11: Mayor issued a Declaration of Extraordinary Circumstances that allows City regulations related to addressing the pandemic to become effective immediately upon transmission to the Department of Records
  • March 12: Board of Health added COVID-19 to the City’s list of reportable and quarantinable diseases. Commissioner of Health issued an Emergency Order that forbids gatherings of 1,000 or more persons to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • March 13: Mayor issued a Declaration of Emergency related to COVID-19 that, in conjunction with the Governor’s proclamation, enhanced the City’s ability to take action to address the pandemic’s impact in Philadelphia
  • March 17: Mayor and the Commissioner of Health jointly issued an Emergency Order prohibiting operation of non-essential business to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • March 22: Mayor and Commissioner of Health issued order detailing restrictions on business activity and congregation in Philadelphia in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 23 and remains in effect until further notice

We’re Here For You, Your Team, And Your Business

The constantly changing nature of this public health crisis requires continued engagement with public policy developments. We invite you to reach out to our advocacy team directly with your questions:

We will be holding weekly legislative update calls for Chamber members over the coming weeks. If you’re a Chamber member who would like to participate please email advocacy@chamberphl.com.

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