In this Update:
Senator Mensch’s Upskirt Legislation Passes Senate
This week, my Senate Bill 521, also known as “upskirting” legislation, advanced out of the Senate. This bill would more substantially criminalize the act of “upskirting” in Pennsylvania. The bill was made necessary by the unspeakable actions by a former teacher in my district. As a result of this despicable act, the teacher was charged with invasion of privacy and indecent exposure, which is certainly the least of what he deserved. 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. You can read more in my press release here.
Senator Mensch’s Legislation to Expand the 21st Century Manufacturing Innovation and Reinvestment Deduction Act Advances from Senate Finance Committee
Legislation I sponsor advanced out of the Senate’s Finance Committee this week. Senate Bill 288 would expand the 21st Century Manufacturing Innovation and Reinvestment Deduction Act. The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a vote. Large manufacturers throughout the state, several of them in my area, employ thousands of people and have utilized this program to make investments well over $100 million to make capital improvements and continue to invest in the Pennsylvania workforce. I believe the program can also be utilized in incentivizing smaller manufacturers to expand in Pennsylvania and grow their workforce. Read more in my press release.
Letter to the Editor: Know the Facts About Redistricting
Readers of Town and Country might have seen recent letters discussing legislative and congressional reapportionment and redistricting in Pennsylvania. Similar letters, from different authors but containing the same wording, have appeared in other publications.
The letters seem designed to sow confusion over an already complex situation. I would like to offer some clarity here.
You can follow the work of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission at www.redistricting.state.pa.us. The process is orderly and deliberate, but it’s good to explore new procedures. That’s why, in recent years, I supported legislation to create an Independent Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission to perform the duties of reapportionment and redistricting.
Introducing Isabella Yackanicz to the Senate
It was my pleasure to introduce Isabella Yackanicz to the Senate this week. Isabella is currently job shadowing in my Red Hill District Office.
Honoring Two Lower Salford Township Police Officers for Retirement
Yesterday, I was honored to attend the retirement event of two Lower Salford Township Officers and present them with Senate citations. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication in serving and protecting our communities over the years.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Now Accepting Applications
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is now taking applications. This program can help renters who are behind on rental or utility payments and landlords with tenants in this situation to pay these bills so their housing is not jeopardized.
Pennsylvanians can apply online through COMPASS.
For more information, visit: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/ERAP/Pages/ERAP.aspx.
Honoring Those Who Gave All this Memorial Day
I hope you will join me in taking time this weekend to remember our fellow citizens who gave their lives for our nation. Even with everything that has occurred throughout the last year, we can say we live in the greatest nation on earth. Our independence was hard-won, and defended by those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us never forget what they did for us.
Senate Approves Regulatory Reform Measures to Spur Job Creation
With Pennsylvania’s employment rate lagging behind those of other states emerging from the pandemic, the Senate approved several bills this week to rein in job-stifling regulations.
The bills increase legislative oversight of a process too often influenced by unelected bureaucrats, adding special scrutiny for the costliest proposed regulations.
The bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Read more in my press release here.
Measures Aimed at Improving Broadband Access Approved
The Senate approved two measures aimed at bringing high-speed broadband service to more areas of Pennsylvania.
One bill would remove regulatory barriers to broadband deployment for landline telecommunications providers. The legislation would require the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to waive certain regulations, review regulations every three years and eliminate those that are no longer necessary or in the public interest.
A second measure would fund access to broadband by using revenue from renting excess wireless capacity on towers, land, and assets owned by the Commonwealth. The bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Reminder: Changes Coming to Unemployment Compensation System Next Week
The state’s Unemployment Compensation system will complete a major upgrade next week that will require changes in the way that claimants will file for benefits. It is critical for claimants to understand the timeline and new process to file for benefits to avoid any interruption in payments.
The Unemployment Compensation system will be offline from May 30 through June 7 to allow data to be moved from the old system to the new one. No new claims will be processed during this time, and some services will not be accessible during this time. Claimants who are eligible to file a bi-weekly claim from June 3-7 can file May 30 through June 2.
Beginning on June 8, claimants must file for benefits and initial claims at benefits.uc.pa.gov following the same schedule as before. There will no longer be paper forms available; claimants will be required to create a Keystone ID to log into the new UC system. Claimants will still be able to file by phone starting June 10.
More information is available on the Department of Labor and Industry’s FAQ page.
Work Search Requirement for Unemployment Benefits to Resume
The Department of Labor and Industry announced that work search requirements for individuals receiving unemployment benefits will restart the week of July 11, with individuals to begin certifying on July 18 that they have looked for work during the previous week.
As pandemic business closures rocked the job market last year, the department suspended the requirement that claimants actively search for work and register with the PA CareerLink database. In January, without legislative approval or input, the department then extended the suspension indefinitely.
With the pandemic easing and employers desperate for workers, the Senate Labor and Industry Committee approved legislation to reinstate the job search and CareerLink requirements earlier. The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.
First 2021 “Fish for Free Day” is May 30
Pennsylvania’s Fish for Free Days are scheduled for May 30 and July 4 this year. They allow residents and non-residents to fish on PA waterways with no fishing license, trout/salmon permit or Lake Erie permit required. All other fishing regulations still apply.
It’s a great opportunity for families to try their hand at a new outdoor activity. Learn about where to borrow fishing tackle, where the best fishing waters are, and more, here.
Tips for Safe Boating
This is National Safe Boating Week, time for some friendly reminders on how to have fun on the water this summer: wear a lifejacket, check the weather forecast, let someone know you’re heading out, and don’t drink and boat.
You can find everything you need to know about boating in PA, including boat titling/registering, boating basics, regulations, safety courses and more here.
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