Special to the Independent
Rep. Joe McGonagle, along with the House of Representatives, passed H.4340 which appropriates $30 million to establish and expand COVID testing sites, with at least $5 million dedicated to expanding vaccination rates among kids ages 5 to 11. The youth vaccination efforts would be focused on communities disproportionately affected by the virus. Instead of tapping into some of the $2.25 billion that remains in state American Rescue Plan Act funds, the bill spends money out of the state’s general fund with instructions in the bill pointing to reimbursements from FEMA.
“As we move forward through the COVID pandemic, we need to learn how to the live with the virus and the difficulties that come with it,” said McGonagle. “Increased access to vaccination and testing sites will allow people to continue their regular routines while feeling safe to do so.”
The vote to pass the bill was unanimous in the House, 159-0. The House is shorthanded as a result of the resignation of Claire Cronin of Easton. The House broke from its consideration of the COVID-19 spending bill to celebrate Cronin’s confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
“It was great to be back in Chambers to not only vote for this terrific bill but also to honor my good friend Claire Cronin. I am thrilled for her and our loss is Ireland’s gain,” said McGonagle.
The bill was passed by the Senate and now lays before the Governor.