Senator Mensch’s Harrisburg Highlights

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

This week, the Senate had a lively week of session where some considerable legislation was passed and some other noteworthy action within State Government was on full display.

Legislatively, there were a few noteworthy bills passed that speak volumes to progress and improvement in the Commonwealth.

  • Senate Bill 445 (Mensch)
    • This legislation unanimously passed the Senate and gives Pennsylvanians renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration the option to donate $5 to breast cancer research. I am truly grateful to my colleagues for their support in passing this bill. You can view my comments on the floor here.
  • Senate Bill 156 (Mensch)
    • Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) also passed unanimously in the Senate. this legislation allows individuals with disabilities to increase earnings under a new category of MAWD, called Workers with Job Success (WJS). Anything earned over the cap will bump contributions into a new category rather than just eliminating eligibility all together and covers workers from 250% of the poverty level up to 600%, or roughly $76,000. Currently, MAWD services are only available to individuals with disabilities with an income of less than 250%, or roughly $32,000 annually. Workers will pay 7.5% of their income to the MAWD program to cover their healthcare, which is a 2.5% increase from the current 5%. This means, when a worker earns $75,000 annually, they will pay 100% of the average cost of the MAWD program. Watch my floor remarks here.
  • Senate Bill 115 (Boscola)
    • Includes Pennsylvania in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Addresses the critical issue of Pennsylvania nurses leaving the State to practice elsewhere, and simultaneously addresses critical staffing shortages in hospital and health systems as well as congregate care facilities. 

Additionally, there was some massive news that broke this week in terms of another disastrous outcome of the Wolf Administration’s unilateral stranglehold over the management, or mismanagement, of the pandemic. It was realized that the Governor awarded a $29 million contract to Insight Global to do Pennsylvania’s Contract Tracing, and a data breach occurred on the information that Insight Global was supposed to keep secure. It has been further realized that a former employee has raised these issues as far back as February, and the Department of Health did nothing until recently. This problem is continuing to evolve, and my colleagues and I will do our best as an oversight agency to hold those responsible accountable. You can watch the public hearing that was held by the Senate Communications and Technology Committee here – a hearing that after initially agreeing to testify in, Department of Health did not end up participating in.

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

Senator Bob Mensch

24th Senatorial District