Senator Mensch’s Harrisburg Highlights

Dear Friends,

Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.

This week was quite lively in Harrisburg, with the Senate in session on Monday and Tuesday, and the House in session on Wednesday in an attempt to override a veto of House Bill 2787 by the Governor. To begin, I want to again wish my heartfelt condolences to my colleague, Senator Jay Costa, who is mourning the loss of his mother over the weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this sorrowful time.

In terms of action on the Senate Floor, the Senate passed pieces of legislation that included bi-partisan support on many important issues that are still being brought up by our constituents.

To begin, my Senate Bill 1279 unanimously passed the Senate Aging & Youth Committee on Monday. This legislation also knows at ‘Essential Family Caregivers’ would allow long-term facilities, such as nursing homes, designate at least one essential family caregiver per resident. This issue is certainly up there with the most common thing I hear about from constituents, and families across the Commonwealth deserve to be able to visit their loved ones when they can follow all of the health guidelines. You can watch my floor remarks on the bill here.

Another one of my bills passed unanimously during a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting this week. My Senate Bill 890 would allow individuals with disabilities to increase earnings under a new category of Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD), called Workers with Job Success (WJS). You can watch my floor remarks on the bill here.

Another important piece of legislation that was passed this week was House Bill 2513, which would allow for more capacity and less restrictions on bars and restaurants. This bill passed with an overwhelming majority and was sent to the Governor after concurrence in the House.

We also moved another important piece of legislation aimed at correcting inherent problems with our loved ones in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Senate Bill 1189 would better align reporting and disease prevention control measures with Federal guidelines. The bill would also require the Department of Health to ensure that no individual who has tested positive for a communicable disease within 14 days in placed in a facility without being placed in isolation.

Two of the more important happenings this week were again in regard to the Governor’s emergency powers and his COVID-19 mitigation measures. First, concerning the ruling that Governor Wolf’s limitation on public gatherings was unconstitutional., the court further issues an order deny the Governor’s request for a stay – which means that the determination that the stay-at-home orders, businesses closures, and gathering limitations are unconstitutional remain in effect unless, and until, the appellate court says otherwise.

More disappointingly, the House tried – and failed – to overturn the Governor’s veto of House Bill 2787, which would have left it up to each school district to determine if spectators could attend sporting events, rather than relying on the Governor’s restrictions. The original bill passed the Senate 39-11 and the House 155-47 but failed to reach the 2/3 majority vote to pass the override, with a vote of 130-71.

I encourage you to continue to stay calm and safe in whichever way you can as we ride this out together. I have been sending out newsletters almost daily with the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 with specific information related to our area.  If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive these newsletters on my website, senatormensch.com.  You can also keep an eye on my website for news releases, email me with questions or concerns, or find contact information for my district offices which you can get in touch with if you need anything.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-541-2388.

Senator Bob Mensch

24th Senatorial District