Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

Week of April 29, 2019

In this Update:

  • Spending Restraint Leads to Healthy State Surplus
  • Mensch to Unveil Sign Recognizing Area Civil Rights Leader on Saturday
  • Mensch Resolution Recognizes PA Automobile Theft Prevention Authority’s 25th Anniversary
  • Senate Acts to Give Schools Flexible Instructional Days
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
  • Committee Roundup
  • Next Week

Spending Restraint Leads to Healthy State Surplus

5/1/19 – State Revenue Collections

State revenue collections have soared to a healthy surplus, thanks in part to Republican economic policies that have focused on holding down spending and rejecting proposed tax increases

The state’s General Fund collections through April are $828.5 million above estimate, and it appears Pennsylvania will end the fiscal year on June 30 with a potential $100 million to $200 million surplus. This will help the state build up its weak Rainy Day Fund.

I believe that in addition to a strong national economy, this turnaround is the result of the General Assembly keeping spending in check. Senate and House Republicans approved budgets with $4 billion dollars less spending than governors have proposed over the last 10 years. We must stick to this approach on behalf of taxpayers and job creators.

Mensch to Unveil Sign Recognizing Area Civil Rights Leader on Saturday

It will be my honor to join members of the community Saturday for the renaming of the span carrying Route 100 traffic over the Schuylkill River in Pottstown as the Newstell Marable, Sr. Memorial Bridge.

Newstell Marable served the Pottstown NAACP Branch #2288 from 1960 until his death in 2015, including 30 years as president. I was proud to sponsor Act 161 of 2018 which authorized the bridge renaming.

As I said when advocating for the bill, Newstell Marable, Sr. was a passionate advocate for equal opportunity and employment for all races and genders. It is important that his name lives on in our community as a reminder to be ever vigilant in pursuit of equality and civil rights for all.

Mensch Resolution Recognizes PA Automobile Theft Prevention Authority’s 25th Anniversary

4/29/19 – Automobile Theft Prevention Authority 25th Anniversary

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously adopted my resolution recognizing the 25th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA).

The roots of the authority trace back to 1992, when Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation among states in the cost of auto theft and insurance fraud, Mensch said.  In response, insurers assumed the task of devising a program whereby the efforts to combat auto theft were coordinated with those to combat insurance fraud in a comprehensive manner.

The result was legislation to create an independent entity capable of funding and directing an effort to combat and prevent automobile theft in the Commonwealth: the Pennsylvania ATPA.

Since its inception in 1994, the authority has contributed to a 77 percent decrease in the rate of motor vehicle theft in Pennsylvania, compared to a national decrease of 50 percent. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s ATPA has become a national model.  Its independence, private funding and cooperation between insurers and law enforcement have been the key to its success.

You can find information about the cars targeted most by thieves and what to do if your car is stolen at the Pennsylvania Automobile Theft Prevention Authority website, watchyourcar.org.

Senate Acts to Give Schools Flexible Instructional Days 

The Senate approved legislation on Tuesday that would give school districts the option to implement flexible instructional days in the event of an emergency school closure.

Senate Bill 440 allows any public school to use up to five flexible instructional days in special instances such as weather-related closures, building or infrastructure problems, or if threats are made against buildings.

A flexible instructional day could be used to cover necessary coursework, including English, math, social studies and science. School districts have the option to use technology for the purposes of fulfilling the coursework. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Bill 48 delays the impending mass decertification of current voting machines until an appropriate plan for the method by which it will be accomplished — and paid for — can be agreed to by the Governor and the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 110 amends the Home Rule Law.

Senate Bill 133 amends the State Constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate.

Senate Bill 316 allows newly elected Second Class Township Supervisors to attend conferences, institutes, schools and conventions prior to officially taking office.

Senate Bill 317 amends the Second Class Township Code regarding mandatory annual budget requirements. 

Committee Roundup

Appropriations

Senate Bill 48 delays the impending mass decertification of current voting machines until an appropriate plan for the method by which it will be accomplished — and paid for — can be agreed to by the Governor and the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 89 updates the Public School Code to replace “vocational-technical schools” with “career and technical schools.”

Senate Bill 110 amends the Home Rule Law.

Senate Bill 146 makes online training more available to current and prospective first responders. 

Senate Bill 178 requires the electronic filing of campaign finance reports with the Department of State.

Senate Bill 316 allows newly elected Second Class Township Supervisors to attend conferences, institutes, schools and conventions prior to officially taking office.

Senate Bill 317 amends the Second Class Township Code regarding mandatory annual budget requirements. 

Senate Bill 440 provides for flexible instruction days.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Senate Bill 583 ensures that agritourism activities are authorized on farms preserved under the state farmland preservation program.

Senate Bill 585 establishes the Pennsylvania Dairy Future Commission to review the current status of the dairy industry in the Commonwealth and make recommendations on how to support its future.

These bills are part of the Farming First initiative aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania agriculture.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

House Bill 318 prohibits telemarketing on legal holidays and provides robocall requirements.

Senate Bill 491 provides for the appointment of two Certified Pennsylvania Evaluators by the Governor to the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

Senate Bill 492 clarifies that revaluation company personnel who are directly responsible for the valuation of real property must be certified as a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator.

Senate Bill 543 provides a rate increase for river pilots who navigate vessels on the Delaware River and its navigable tributaries.

On Wednesday, the committee held a joint public hearing with the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to discuss Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards, which establishes the percentage of electricity supplied to PA customers that must come from alternative energy sources. Hearing Video & Written Testimony 

Finance

Senate Bill 478 provides a personal income tax credit for landowners who lease or sell their land, buildings and equipment to beginning farmers. This bill is part of the Farming First initiative aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania agriculture.

Senate Bill 568 clarifies the Sales and Use Tax regarding canned and customized software, financial institution security equipment, service fees on financial institutions and information retrieval services.

Senate Bill 613 amends the Administrative Code repealing provisions relating to employees with access to federal tax information and providing for criminal history background checks of employees and contractors with access to federal tax information.

Game & Fisheries

Senate Bill 485 provides for the sale of antlerless deer hunting licenses through the Game Commission’s automated licensing system.

House Bill 808 authorizes the Fish & Boat Commission to establish the fees for fishing and boating licenses and permits by regulatory action and expands the allowable use of funds from the sale of Lake Erie permits.

Judiciary

Senate Bill 275 ensures that a strangulation conviction could be considered in sentencing for subsequent crimes and in custody proceedings.

House Bill 279 provides for civil immunity when there is damage to a motor vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child.

Senate Bill 500 creates a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee.

Senate Bill 501 streamlines the process for placement in intermediate punishment, allows parole agents to quickly detain parolees for violations, and streamlines the process for paroling individuals who receive a short sentence to prison. 

Senate Bill 502 amends the Crime Victims Act to better provide information and compensation to victims.

Local Government

House Bill 510 amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) regarding intergovernmental cooperation.

House Bill 511 amends the Second Class Township Code, providing for intergovernmental cooperation.

House Bill 512 amends Title 11 (Cities) providing for municipal authorities and cooperation with other political subdivisions.

Senate Bill 531 prevents local jurisdictions from imposing firearms and ammunition regulations and ordinances more restrictive than laws passed by the General Assembly.

House Bill 547 amends the First Class Township Code to allow townships to set their annual assessment of the property tax millage rate by resolution.

House Bill 548 amends the Borough Code and the Third Class City Code to allow boroughs and third class cities to assess their annual property tax millage rate by resolution.

Transportation

Senate Bill 45 waives Turnpike tolls for emergency vehicles when responding to an emergency situation or participating in the escort of: a fallen firefighter, ambulance service or rescue squad member, law enforcement officer, or armed service member killed in the line of duty.

Senate Bill 588 amends the Vehicle Code to permit milk haulers to travel on highways during a declaration of disaster emergency. This bill is part of the Farming First initiative aimed at strengthening Pennsylvania agriculture.

Senate Bill 593 designates a bridge on Interstate 79 over West 16th Street in Erie as the Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr., Memorial Bridge.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

Senate Bill 589 creates the Military Family Education Program – or “PA Family GI Bill” – that will enable Guard members to earn educational benefits for their spouse and/or children by committing to a second six-year enlistment.

Next Week

The Senate returns to voting session on Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.

divider

Twitter and Facebook I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.

Facebook Twitter Instagram

If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.

2019 © Senate of Pennsylvania | senatormensch.com | Privacy Policy