Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • General Assembly Terminates Emergency Declaration, Ensures Key Waivers Remain
  • Senate Votes to Rein in Health Secretary’s Power, Ban Vaccine Passports
  • PA House Health Committee Passes Senator Mensch’s Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities
  • Senator Mensch Welcomes Two New Businesses to Quakertown
  • Congratulations to Trinity Monaghan, Girls PIAA State Wrestling Champion from Harleysville
  • 🚨BEWARE: New Unemployment Scam🚨
  • Increasing Community-Based Services in Schools
  • Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended
  • Something to Celebrate this Flag Day
  • U.S. Army Marks 246 Years of Defending America

General Assembly Terminates Emergency Declaration, Ensures Key Waivers Remain

The General Assembly voted this week to end Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency declaration while ensuring Pennsylvania can take the steps necessary to recover.

House Resolution 106 terminates the pandemic emergency declaration and ends the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. The measure does not need to go to the governor for enactment.

The legislature also approved House Bill 854, which will ensure all waivers that were previously effective under the COVID-19 emergency will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021, unless sooner terminated by the authority which initially authorized the waiver. This protects access to critical federal funding and waivers that benefit health and safety, such as the emergency authorization of telemedicine, temporary staffing at nursing homes and personal care homes, and other staffing issues in health care facilities.

The bill was sent to the governor for enactment and it was signed today.

Voters approved two constitutional amendments in May that limited the length of disaster declarations and gave the General Assembly the sole power to extend a governor’s initial disaster declaration. The General Assembly’s action this week reflects the will of the people and is a necessary step to help the Commonwealth transition out of crisis. Read more here.

Senate Votes to Rein in Health Secretary’s Power, Ban Vaccine Passports

Legislation to prevent the excess use of power by the state Secretary of Health and prohibit vaccine passport requirements was approved by the Senate.

The bill prohibits the Secretary of Health from using the 66-year-old Disease Prevention and Control Act to mandate those who have not been exposed or in close contact with the exposed to wear a mask, stay at home or be socially distant. It also prevents the secretary from using the same laws to force business closures.

It also prohibits the state – as well as counties, municipalities, school districts and colleges that are subsidized by state taxpayers – from requiring proof of vaccination. The measure was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. Read more here.

PA House Health Committee Passes Senator Mensch’s Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities

This week, the PA House Health Committee passed my legislation, Senate Bill 156 – Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). This bill now heads to the floor for a full vote.

My bill 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. This often discourages workers from working more hours, or from accepting a raise or promotion.

In Pennsylvania, only 35% of people with disabilities are working, with only 21% working full time. Like everyone else, these workers deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential without the fear of losing healthcare benefits.

Senator Mensch Welcomes Two New Businesses to Quakertown

A member of my staff attended two grand openings in the past week to welcome new businesses to Quakertown. Preferred Nutrition and Alleviate Massage and Muscle Therapy are now open for business. It is so great to see new businesses opening and thriving in our area! Congratulations on this great accomplishment.

Congratulations to Trinity Monaghan, Girls PIAA State Wrestling Champion from Harleysville

This week, I was honored to introduce Trinity Monaghan, Girls PIAA State Wrestling Champion from Harleysville, to the PA Senate. Trinity has been wrestling for the past 4 years and was being honored today for winning the 2021 Championships. It was great to meet Trinity and her family, and I look forward to hearing about her future success in wrestling. Congratulations Trinity!

🚨BEWARE: New Unemployment Scam🚨

There is a new scam that many people have been experiencing regarding Labor & Industry. Employers have been receiving letters that state they are from Labor & Industry. These letters ask the employer to fill out a form for someone that is claiming unemployment compensation from the business. Many times, these employers have never heard of the individual, or the individual has never worked for them. If you receive one of these letters, there are a few things you should do.

First, contact your local police department to report the fraud. Next, you can visit https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/Report-Fraud-Here.aspx to report the fraud to Labor & Industry. You should also fill out a scams complaint form to the Attorney General’s office here: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a…/scams-complaint/. Finally, the employer should indicate on any such form that the individual is not an employee/ never has bee and return the forms to the address provided in the original correspondence.

Increasing Community-Based Services in Schools

The Senate voted to establish the Community Engaged Schools for Success Pilot Program to encourage community partners to work with schools to provide student support services.

Designated schools that qualify would be eligible for grants from the Department of Education to appoint a manager and a coordinator to implement community engagement plans. Physical and behavioral health resources, as well as basic needs such as food and clothing, can be provided to students more quickly if they are available at the school.

The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended

The deadline for older and disabled Pennsylvanians to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2020 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2021.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

Applications can be submitted online with the Department of Revenue’s myPATH system. Filing online leads to fast processing, easy direct deposit options and automatic calculators that help with the process.

Something to Celebrate this Flag Day

June 14, Flag Day, commemorates the 1777 adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. It has grown to mean more than simply the celebration of a banner.

This spring, as we head back outside and reconnect with neighbors, the flag symbolizes what unites us. Despite our differences, we share the unbreakable bond of citizenship in the greatest nation on earth. Fly our flag with pride, gratitude and love of neighbor.

U.S. Army Marks 246 Years of Defending America

“Resolved, That six companies of expert riflemen [sic], be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia; … [and] that each company, as soon as completed [sic], shall march and join the army near Boston, to be there employed as light infantry, under the command of the chief Officer in that army.”  – Continental Congress resolution, June 14, 1775

For 246 years, the U.S. Army has defended the nation and the free world as a fierce fighting force noted for its power and bravery. It’s an honor to recognize the Army’s June 14 birthday, as well as the dedicated men and women who give it its strength all year round.

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