Senator Mensch’s Harrisburg Highlights

Dear Friends,

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

This week was quiet in Harrisburg, as both Chambers recessed following a busy week wrapping up the Session for 2019-2020.  While there is still a possibility of further action on legislation after the Election, those final days in November will most likely be reserved for budget-related active.  Nevertheless, the last week of session saw the General Assembly send 23 different bills to the Governor for his signature, a significant effort by both parties and both chambers to get things accomplished before the end of the year.

  1. House Bill 81, Creates the Central Service Technician and Surgical Technologist Regulation Act, providing for the certification of surgical technologists and central service technicians to be administered by the Department of Health.
  2. House Bill 86, Requires the POW/MIA flag to be flown on state grounds and buildings when the American flag is also being flown and when the POW/MIA flag can be reasonably accommodated at the location.
  3. House Bill 375, Removes the value of federal veterans’ disability payments and the value of all state service-connected payments from income eligibility calculations for the PACE and PACENET programs (state law currently requires these payments be counted as income).
  4. House Bill 440, Expunges the criminal history record of an individual who has been unconditionally pardoned or fully acquitted following a trial, while also updating the Clean Slate Law passed two years ago to help more Pennsylvania residents.
  5. House Bill 703, Requires the establishment and publication of email addresses for school board directors and charter school and cyber charter school board trustees, with those email addresses available to members of the public, school staff and students for communication.
  6. House Bill 716, Creates a Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees within the Department of Labor and Industry to investigate the practice of employee misclassification and to develop and implement a plan to reduce such practices.
  7. House Bill 1032, Increases the number of State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraiser members from 11 to 13 by adding two certified PA evaluators to the board.
  8. House Bill 1439, Requires health insurers to file with the Insurance Department an attestation of the insurer’s documented analyses of efforts to comply with the federal and state law governing mental health parity.
  9. House Bill 1673, Implements several of the recommendations made by the 2018 Senate Resolution 6 Report seeking to address the shortage of volunteer fire and EMS services in Pennsylvania.
  10. House Bill 1696, Requires Pennsylvania insurers to annually file with the department a statement attesting to the insurer’s documented analyses of its efforts to comply with federal and state laws concerning mental health parity and substance use disorder treatment benefits.
  11. House Bill 1961, Requires the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) to prepare a separate report detailing its investment performance for the period of July 1 through June 30 each year, as well as retain non-vested employer defined contributions, interest and investment gains.
  12. House Bill 2073, Recodifies and incorporates the First-Class Township Code into Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 73 (Townships).
  13. House Bill 2370, Permits the electronic notarization of documents.
  14. House Bill 2438, Allows electric cooperative corporations or an affiliate to use existing infrastructure facilities to deploy fiber optic lines for broadband through an existing easement owned, held or used by the cooperative corporation, though an electric cooperative corporation may only supply retail broadband services through one or more affiliates.
  15. Senate Bill 30, Extends the deadline (from June 15, 2020, to August 31, 2020) for qualified businesses to file the required report in response to the novel coronavirus and the proclamation of disaster emergency, create a tax credit program to encourage the development of qualified low-income housing projects in Pennsylvania, and allow city revitalization and improvement zones (CRIZ) state tax monies in specified locations within the state to be used for specific things.
  16. Senate Bill 395, Requires the display of the official POW/MIA flag at Soldier’s Grove at the state Capitol, all roadside PennDOT rest stops and welcome centers, as well as PTC service plazas.
  17. Senate Bill 530, Requires school districts to remove any student convicted or adjudicated delinquent of sexual assault against another student enrolled at the same school, mandating the school district expel, transfer or reassign the offender to another school or educational program to ensure the offender is not educated in the same school building, transported on the same school vehicle or allowed to participate in the same school-sponsored activities as the victim.
  18. Senate Bill 976, Codifies Veterans Courts into state law, as well as allow Veterans Courts to permit participation by veterans from adjacent counties, and allow county Common Pleas Courts that have other problem-solving courts to establish “Veterans Tracks,” which are programs that utilize some components of a Veterans Court.
  19. Senate Bill 1076, Eliminates the sunset date for the Military Family Relief Assistance Fund.
  20. Senate Bill 1110, Requires the state Department of Health and local health agencies to provide 911 dispatch centers with the address of any known positive case of a communicable disease that is infectious through aerosolized transmission, with the address to be provided within 24 hours of the state or local agencies receiving confirmation of the case. Police officers, fire fighters, and EMS personnel will be told when responding to an emergency if there is a confirmed case of the communicable disease at the address to which they are being sent.
  21. Senate Bill 1164, Requires county coroners to be notified of all suspected deaths in their jurisdiction caused by COVID-19 and other contagious diseases that constitute a health emergency, and require the state Department of Health to provide electronic access to appropriate databases to the coroner for information reportable under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 for deaths known or suspected to be due to a contagious disease constituting a public health emergency or pandemic, as well as death certificates.
  22. Senate Bill 1195, Authorizes a domestic ceding insurer to take a credit for reinsurance as either an asset or reduction from liability based on the reinsurance ceded; mandate that reinsurers, relative to credit for reinsurance and reciprocal jurisdiction, maintain a consistent collateral level for United States claims; and, with regard to the Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association, require equally divided liability for any long-term care insurance insolvency between life and health insurers to ensure adequate funding for any life and health insurance insolvency.
  23. Senate Bill 1281, Rebrands the state’s “Steer Clear Law” as the “Move Over Law” to clarify how motorists should react when approaching or passing an emergency response area – establishing a new point system for a “Move Over” violation; doubling the fines for a summary offense; requiring PennDOT to educate the public throughout the year; and implementing new requirements for drivers approaching an emergency response area.

If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive my newsletters that contain the most up to date information on statewide and local issues 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