Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

In This Update:

  • Senator Mensch’s Breast Cancer Checkoff Legislation Advances Unanimously from Transportation Committee
  • Senator Mensch and Senator Santarsiero ‘Upskirting’ Advances Unanimously from Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Senator Mensch Highlights Importance of Voters on May 18 Knowing ‘What a YES Vote Means’
  • Independent, Third-Party Voters Can Participate in May 18 Election
  • Senator Bob Mensch Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights Week
  • BUDGET Q&A VIDEOS
  • Take My Survey
  • Senator Mensch Hosts Financial Aid Webinar
  • Senators Call on Governor to Halt Unilateral Action on Carbon Tax
  • Hearings Examining Governor’s Budget Proposal Conclude
  • Senate Votes to Extend Program Helping Schools Find Substitute Teachers
  • Protecting the First Amendment Rights of Teachers
  • Comments on 2020 General Election Due by Friday, April 30

Senator Mensch’s Breast Cancer Checkoff Legislation Advances Unanimously from Transportation Committee

4/20/21 - Senate Bill 445

My Senate Bill 445 advanced unanimously out of the Senate Transportation Committee this week. This legislation would give individuals renewing either their vehicle registration or driver’s license an option to donate to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. I was honored to have Pat and others from the PBCC in the gallery during this advancement of such important legislation.

Read more here.

Senator Mensch and Senator Santarsiero ‘Upskirting’ Advances Unanimously from Senate Judiciary Committee

4/21/21 - Remarks on SB 521

This week, legislation sponsored by myself and Senator Santarsiero advanced unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I’m not sure the word ‘upskirting’ connotes just how critically bad this behavior is. It’s predatory. These young women had no idea that he was doing this. As a result of this despicable act, the teacher was charged with invasion of privacy and indecent exposure, which is the least of what he deserved. We believe that Pennsylvania statute can be even more clear in punishing these acts, particularly when they are committed against minors and especially when they are committed by individuals in positions of authority. Specifically, our legislation will make this offense a third-degree felony for a first offense and a second-degree felony for subsequent offenses of invasion of privacy of a minor when committed by a person of authority.

Read more here. 

Senator Mensch Highlights Importance of Voters on May 18 Knowing ‘What a YES Vote Means’

4/20/21 – Constitutional Amendment Ballot Questions

I joined my colleagues to highlight the importance of voters knowing “what a YES vote means” for the May 18 ballot questions. We are encouraging Pennsylvanians to learn about the three proposed Constitutional amendments and one ballot measure up for consideration during the primary election and how a YES at the ballot box means voters favor:

  • Protecting the education of our children;
  • Supporting small employers in our local communities;
  • Prohibiting discrimination; and
  • Providing funding for fire companies.

Read more here. 

Pennsylvania’s independent and third-party voters are eligible to vote on proposed amendments to the state Constitution in this spring’s primary election.

Independent, Third-Party Voters Can Participate in May 18 Election

 

Pennsylvania’s independent and third-party voters are eligible to vote on proposed amendments to the state Constitution in this spring’s primary election.

Current law does not permit Independent or many third-party voters to cast ballots in most primary elections. However, all registered voters are eligible to weigh in on Constitutional amendments in any election.

Three proposed amendments to the state Constitution will appear on the May 18 ballot, including a measure to prohibit discrimination based on race or ethnicity, and two amendments to limit the length of emergency declarations and require more collaboration between the different branches of government during a disaster. A fourth ballot question will also allow voters to decide whether paid fire and rescue organizations should have additional borrowing power. 

More information about these Constitutional amendments is available here.

Senator Bob Mensch Recognizes Crime Victims’ Rights Week

4/19/21 - Crime Victims' Rights Week

I circulated a co-sponsorship memo that would introduce a resolution designating the week of April 18th through April 24th, 2021 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Pennsylvania.

The millions of survivors of crime and their families deserve justice, rights, resources, restoration, and rehabilitation for the violence they have experienced. The citizens of Pennsylvania realize that we can make our homes, neighborhoods, and communities safer and stronger by serving victims of crime and ensuring justice for all. By recognizing “National Crime Victims’ Rights Week” we can work to continue supporting victims of crime throughout this Commonwealth and the nation. 

Read more here.

BUDGET Q&A VIDEOS

Senator Bob Mensch questions Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian during the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing for the Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

4/21/21 – Budget Hearing Q&A: Transportation

I questioned how @PennDOT could say computer issues would delay the implementation of  “Breast Cancer Checkoff” efforts despite being allocated millions each year for technology upgrades.

Senator Bob Mensch questions Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian during the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing for the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) – Part 2

4/21/21 – Budget Hearing Q&A: Transportation - Part 2

I asked for an update on funding levels for the local shared ride programs, which were a crucial lifeline during COVID during today’s #PASenate #PABudget hearing on @PennDot. 

Senator Bob Mensch questions Acting Secretary Alison Beam during the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing for the Department of Health.

4/22/21 – Budget Hearing Q&A: Health

During the #PASenate #PABudget hearing with @PAHealthDept, I asked Acting Secretary Allison Beam for the results of the Vaccine Needs Survey at skilled nursing facilities and urged collaboration in pandemic response.

Take My Survey

If you reside in the 24th Senate District, take my latest survey on COVID-19 passports here.

Senator Mensch Hosts Financial Aid Webinar 

This week, I hosted a Financial Aid informational webinar. The webinar was open to all ages and grades for those who would like to pursue a higher education. The event featured special guest speakers from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

Senators Call on Governor to Halt Unilateral Action on Carbon Tax

Pennsylvania Senate Republicans sent Governor Tom Wolf a letter Wednesday informing him that none of his nominations to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) will be considered by the Senate if he continues to pursue a unilateral carbon tax on Pennsylvania employers and customers.

The letter notes that the governor’s effort to force Pennsylvania to join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without the input of the legislature is a clear violation of the checks and balances provided by the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Hearings Examining Governor’s Budget Proposal Conclude

The Senate Appropriations Committee completed a series of 21 public hearings that closely examined the details of Governor Wolf’s state budget proposal.

The comprehensive review of the Governor’s proposed $40.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, which includes a massive increase in state spending, a substantial personal income tax rate hike, imposition of Marcellus Shale extraction tax, and elimination of funding for broadband expansion and vital agricultural and health programs.

The complete coverage of the hearings can be found here.

Senate Votes to Extend Program Helping Schools Find Substitute Teachers

Pennsylvania schools could have additional opportunities to find qualified substitute teachers under a bill approved by the Senate this week.

Lawmakers created a program in 2016 that allowed individuals training to be teachers to serve as a substitute teacher, provided the individual has valid clearances and at least 60 credit hours. However, the program is set to expire on June 30.

The legislation approved this week would make this temporary program permanent. As a result, schools, intermediate units and career and technical schools can ensure qualified substitutes are available to meet the needs of students.

Protecting the First Amendment Rights of Teachers

The Senate approved a critical bill this week to ensure the First Amendment rights of teachers are better protected. The legislation would repeal a provision of the School Code which prohibits teachers from wearing any garb, mark, emblem or insignia that would indicate they are a member of or adherent to any religious order or sect while in the performance of their duties as a teacher.

Although federal courts have held that the school’s religious affiliations policy violates the free exercise of religion and free speech clauses of the Constitution, these provisions are still in place and public school directors can be held criminally liable for failing to enforce this prohibition. Pennsylvania is the last state in the United States with this provision still in place.

Comments on 2020 General Election Due by Friday, April 30

This is the final week for Pennsylvanians to share their experience from last year’s election with the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Election surveys for Pennsylvanians who voted by mail or in person will be accepted through Friday, April 30.

The committee is expected to use the survey responses and testimony gathered during its series of public hearings to produce a report with recommendations that will be presented to the General Assembly.

Facebook Twitter Instagram

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

2021 © Senate of Pennsylvania | https://www.senatormensch.com | Privacy Policy