Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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Week of June 10, 2019

In this Update:

  • Mensch Appointed to the Advisory Council for the Southeastern Veterans’ Center
  • Senate Adopts Mensch Resolution Recognizing 244th Anniversary of U.S. Army’s Founding
  • Senate Acts to Boost School Safety and Security
  • Senate Votes to give Full Practice Authority to Nurse Practitioners
  • Other Bills Sent to the House
  • School Choice Scholarship Expansion Bill Sent to the Governor
  • Other Bills Sent to the Governor for Enactment
  • Committee Roundup
  • Next Week

Mensch Appointed to the Advisory Council for the Southeastern Veterans’ Center

I was honored recently to be appointed to the Advisory Council for the Southeastern Veterans’ Center by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.

Each of Pennsylvania’s six veterans’ homes has an advisory council that advises the Adjutant General as to the management, operation and the adequacy of facilities and services at their respective homes. All meetings at the Southeastern Veterans’ Center are held on the 2nd Thursday at 10 a.m. The next meeting will be held on July 11.

Senate Adopts Mensch Resolution Recognizing 244th Anniversary of U.S. Army’s Founding

6/12/19 - 244th Anniversary of the United States Army

On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution I introduced recognizing the 244th anniversary of the founding of the United State Army.

On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army as a means for the 13 unified American colonies to fight the forces of Britain, Mensch noted.

Over the past 244 years, the Army has evolved and grown from this small militia force into the world’s premier fighting force, he said. Today’s Army is made up of more than one million soldiers in active duty, army reserve and National Guard.

The Army exists to serve the American people, to defend the nation, to protect vital national interests, and to fulfill national military responsibilities. This resolution will recognize the Army’s proud defense of our nation, as well as urge all Pennsylvanians to remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have served.

Senate Acts to Boost School Safety and Security

The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation I’m co-sponsoring that addresses two issues raised since the passage of the comprehensive School Safety and Security Law (Act 44) last year.

School districts across the Commonwealth found themselves out of compliance because sheriffs and deputy sheriffs were omitted from the definition of “School Resource Officer.” This was followed by the Department of Education issuing its own interpretation of Act 44 claiming security guards did not have the authority to carry firearms.

In addition to correcting the oversight pertaining to sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, Senate Bill 621  provides direct authority for school security guards to be armed. The legislation establishes a baseline of training for all school security personnel – whether armed or not – to ensure that school police officers, resource officers, and security guards are qualified to work in a school setting and around students.

Senate Bill 621 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Votes to give Full Practice Authority to Nurse Practitioners

The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that would give full practice authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses-Certified Nurse Practitioners (APRN-CNPs).

Senate Bill 25 would allow APRN-CNPs to practice independent of a physician after they fulfill a three-year, 3,600-hour collaboration agreement with a physician. Current law requires nurse practitioners to practice under a collaboration agreement at all times.

The bill is intended to make healthcare services more available and affordable to all Pennsylvanians, especially in rural areas where the needs are greatest. Senate Bill 25 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration

Other Bills Sent to the House

Senate Bill 314 creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.

Senate Bill 543 provides a rate increase for the River Pilots who navigate trade vessels along the Delaware River and its navigable tributaries.

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

Senate Bill 633 provides the Governor with the power to declare public health emergencies.

Senate Bill 695 reauthorizes certain provisions of the Human Services Code before they sunset on June 30, 2019.

Senate Bill 698 amends the Medical Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 699 amends the Osteopathic Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 700 implements recommendations from the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction (PlanCon) Advisory Committee.

Senate Bill 701 provides for the conveyance of the former Allentown State Hospital property.

Senate Bill 703 addresses the promulgation of regulations by joint committees.

Senate Bill 712 extends the authority of the State Treasurer to invest funds according to the prudent person investment standard until 2024.

School Choice Scholarship Expansion Bill Sent to the Governor

Legislation expanding educational opportunities for students in failing schools received final legislative approval on Tuesday and was sent to the Governor for enactment into law.

House Bill 800 would expand Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program with $100 million in additional tax credits for scholarship organizations.

Other Bills Sent to the Governor for Enactment

Senate Bill 43 designates a portion of Route 30 in Westmoreland County, as the J. Edward “Hutch” Hutchinson Memorial Bypass.

House Bill 223 conveys land in Asylum Township, Bradford County, to French Azilum, Inc.

House Bill 619 establishes June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”

Committee Roundup

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Senate Bill 661 creates the Commonwealth Specialty Crop Block Grant Fund.

Appropriations

House Bill 1172 establishes an endorsement process for boards and commissions for the issuance of licenses to applicants who are licensed to practice in another state.

House Bill 384 increases the fine for driving a vehicle without the proper endorsement for that particular type of vehicle.

House Bill 619 establishes June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”

House Bill 800 makes changes to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs concerning definitions and limitations.

Senate Bill 25 modernizes the Professional Nursing Law for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

Senate Bill 91 requires the Department of Labor & Industry to collect and disseminate data about emerging and projected future employment sectors.

Senate Bill 93 makes delivery or distribution of an illicit drug that results in “serious bodily injury” to the user a second-degree felony.

Senate Bill 118 creates a “Recovery to Work” pilot program.

Senate Bill 200 establishes a new trauma-informed system of education.

Senate Bill 223 allows Emergency Medical Services providers to leave a dose of naloxone with a caregiver of a patient who overdosed on opioids.

Senate Bill 314 creates the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Authority and the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center Fund.

Senate Bill 321 gives municipalities the option to ban gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 432 allows Medicaid Managed Care Organizations to have access to information in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Senate Bill 456 allows private licensed schools to create branch campuses in counties outside the county that houses the primary site.

Senate Bill 536 creates the Public Higher Education Commission.

Senate Bill 575 creates a nutrient procurement program.

Senate Bill 621 amends Act 44 of 2018 to clarify language regarding armed school security guards and regarding sheriffs and deputy sheriffs who serve as school security officers.

Senate Bill 633 provides the Governor with the power to declare public health emergencies.

Senate Bill 669 reinstates the permanent legal custodian and adoption assistance subsidies to children from 18 to 21 years old.

Senate Bill 675 provides for the licensure of office-based Suboxone prescribers and ensures that patients receive addiction counseling and treatment.

Senate Bill 695 reauthorizes certain provisions of the Human Services Code before they sunset on June 30, 2019.

Senate Bill 698 amends the Medical Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 699 amends the Osteopathic Practice Act to let physicians use a designee to input information about written agreements into the Department of State’s new online PALS licensing system.

Senate Bill 700 implements recommendations from the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction (PlanCon) Advisory Committee.

Senate Bill 712 extends until 2024 the authority of the State Treasurer to invest funds according to the prudent person investment standard.

Senate Bill 724 amends Title 24 (Education) and Title 71 (State Government) to make technical corrections to sections added or amended by Act 5 of 2017 and adds provisions for non-participating employer withdrawal liability under the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Senate Bill 733 provides for the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund Capital Budget for 2019.

Banking & Insurance

Senate Resolution 49 urges Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act.

Senate Bill 66 grants stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medications and treatments prescribed by their doctors.

House Bill 195 allows pharmacies to synchronize monthly medication fill dates for a patient so all of their prescriptions are filled on the same day of the month.

Senate Bill 332 increases the service charge for bad checks.

Communications & Technology

Senate Resolution 47 establishes a bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas.

Senate Resolution 48 directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation and audit into the compliance of non-rural telecommunication carriers.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

House Bill 826 expands the Sports Raffles Charity Act for 50/50 athletic event raffles to include collegiate teams.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

 House Bill 64 authorizes state professional and occupational licensing boards to allow the carryover of excess continuing education credits.

Senate Bill 325 officially recognizes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) under Pennsylvania statute.

House Bill 751 makes technical and editorial changes to the Public Utility Code.

Education

Senate Bill 200 establishes a new trauma-informed system of education.

House Bill 297 requires the Department of Education to develop materials outlining workforce needs including training opportunities and future earning potential.

House Bill 522 establishes the Career and Technical Education Investment Incentive Program.

Senate Bill 723 would allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements.

Senate Bill 729 requires all public schools to create at least one threat assessment team.

On Wednesday, the committee held a public hearing on Innovation in Education and Communities in Schools initiatives.

Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Finance

House Bill 330 amends the Taxpayer Relief Act making editorial changes to incorrect references.

House Bill 538 provides an income tax exemption for prizes or medals from the Olympic or Paralympic games.

House Bill 615 expands the definition of enforcement officer in the State Employees Retirement Code to include full-time Pennsylvania Game Commission officers and other commissioned law enforcement personnel employed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Senate Bill 724 amends Title 24 (Education) and Title 71 (State Government) to make technical corrections to sections added or amended by Act 5 of 2017 and adds provisions for non-participating employer withdrawal liability under the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund.

Health & Human Services

On Wednesday, the committee held a workshop with the Senate Majority Policy Committee on Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Medicaid Recipients. Hearing Video

Judiciary

Senate Bill 60 addresses human trafficking.

Senate Bill 81 raises the minimum age for marriage to 18.

House Bill 235 allows a correctional facility employee to serve as a witness to the consent to an adoption by an incarcerated birth parent.

House Bill 276 adds a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

House Bill 315 addresses female genital mutilation.

Senate Bill 320 enacts the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.

House Bill 502 protects a victim’s rights to be present at a trial.

House Bill 504 provides that past sexual victimization and allegations of past sexual victimization may be excluded from evidence in certain criminal trials.

Labor & Industry

Senate Bill 94 provides workers compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters.

Senate Bill 601 provides members of National Guard and Reserves who serve on active duty, as well as their spouses, preference for placement into job training programs for one year after discharge.

Transportation

House Bill 65 designates the Route 3047 bridge over the South Branch of Blacklick Creek in Blacklick Township, Cambria County, as the Private First Class Steve L. Klosz Memorial Bridge.

Senate Bill 607 allows municipal police to use radar for traffic speed enforcement.

Senate Bill 742 exempts gas-powered passenger cars, vans, and light-duty trucks from the emissions testing program for the first eight years after manufacture. 

Senate Bill 743 replaces the annual vehicle emissions testing mandate with a two-year testing requirement in counties where testing is required.

Senate Bill 744 exempts Blair, Cambria, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, and Westmoreland counties from vehicle emissions testing.

Senate Bill 745 replaces the tailpipe test in Pittsburgh and the two-speed idle test via a dynamometer/treadmill in the Philadelphia region with a gas cap test and a visual inspection for model year 1994-95 vehicles.

Senate Bill 746 extends the transition date for existing emissions inspection stations to obtain new emissions testing equipment by November 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 748 designates a portion of Route 50 in Independence Township, Washington County, as the Lt. Col. Juanita L. Warman Memorial Highway.

House Bill 1065 designates the Route 3033 bridge over Redbank Creek in Brookville Borough, Jefferson County, as the CPL James Slagle 2nd Ranger Battalion Army Ranger WWII Memorial Bridge.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

Senate Resolution 140 urges Congress to implement the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018.

House Bill 233 amends the Second Class County Code to provide for the decoration of deceased service members graves with flags on Memorial Day.

House Bill 859 authorizes the 911 emergency communications program until June 30, 2023.

Next Week

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

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