Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In This Update:

  • Hearing Explores Progress Toward Protecting Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Police Reform Measures Advance in the Senate
  • PASSHE Reform Bill Heads to the Governor
  • Senate Committee Examines Pennsylvania’s Participation in RGGI
  • Committee Reviews Ways to Safely Reopen Southeast PA Economy
  • Bills Protecting Healthcare Workers Earn Final Approval
  • Senate Approves New Marketing Tool for Veteran-Owned Businesses
  • Lawmakers Approve Bill to Require Insurance Coverage for Additional Breast Cancer Screenings
  • New Guidance Released for Veterinary Care, Reopening Senior Centers
  • Spotted Lanternfly Information 2020
  • Blood Donations Needed

Hearing Explores Progress Toward Protecting Long-Term Care Facilities

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been among the hardest-hit populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a Senate hearing last month exposed the Wolf Administration’s failure to protect these vulnerable members of our communities.

The Senate Aging and Youth Committee scheduled a follow-up hearing on the issue this week to learn more about what is being done to protect residents and staff at these facilities, particularly in light of the $692 million in federal CARES Act funding that was approved by lawmakers to support long-term living services recently.

Video and testimony from the hearing are available here.

Police Reform Measures Advance in the Senate

In response to tragedies that have occurred in other states in recent weeks, the Senate took action on a number of police reform bills this week to strengthen officer training and minimize the risk of similar incidents happening in Pennsylvania. Passage of these bills was the result of hearings by two Senate committees last week that included the support of law enforcement officials, criminal justice experts and public safety advocates, as well as several statewide and national advocacy groups.

The Senate approved bills this week that would ban the use of chokeholds except in situations where the use of deadly force is authorized; and require municipal law enforcement departments to adopt a use of force policy and to train officers on procedures allowed under the policy.

In addition, Senate committees advanced bills this week to promote the use of in-service training, including annual instruction on the use of force, de-escalation, and harm reduction techniques; require law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough background investigation of police officer job candidates; and improve the safety of individuals in police custody, as well as Department of Corrections staff.

In addition, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill this week that would end the practice of blanket prohibitions on state job licenses for certain criminal records. The bill would provide a second chance for rehabilitated individuals seeking meaningful employment, while also expanding our state’s skilled workforce.

PASSHE Reform Bill Heads to the Governor

Many schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) were facing considerable financial and enrollment pressures even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and these problems have been made worse by the temporary closing of all 14 system schools due to concerns about student health. The Senate approved a bill this week that would promote the long-term viability of all schools in the system and protect access to an affordable education for Pennsylvania students.

The legislation would help PASSHE transform its system and take advantage of opportunities to create, expand, consolidate, transfer or affiliate member schools. The bill was created with input from numerous stakeholders and ensures that any future changes to the system would be completed in an open and transparent way.

The bill is on its way to the governor to be signed into law.

Senate Committee Examines Pennsylvania’s Participation in RGGI

6/23/20 - Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

In October, Governor Wolf unilaterally ordered Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state compact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan would impose a carbon tax on electricity production and require fossil fuel generators to purchase allowances, creating the threat of higher energy costs and fewer jobs at a time when the state simply cannot afford it.

Senate leaders have asked Governor Wolf to rescind his order in light of the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on Pennsylvania’s economy. The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a hearing this week on the impact that this proposal would have on Pennsylvania families and employers.

Committee Reviews Ways to Safely Reopen Southeastern PA Economy

6/24/20 - Southeastern PA Economy and COVID-19

The Senate Majority Policy Committee continued a series of workshop discussions regarding the safe reopening of Pennsylvania’s economy this week with a closer look at unique challenges posed by Governor Wolf’s business shutdowns in the southeastern region of the state. Southeastern Pennsylvania was the first part of the state to close and the last to reopen.

Local business leaders detailed the economic devastation caused by the state’s response to COVID-19, and health experts again emphasized the need to safely open businesses in accordance with CDC recommendations.

The discussion followed similar meetings regarding issues in southwestern and northeastern Pennsylvania in recent weeks.

Bills Protecting Healthcare Workers Earn Final Approval

Two bills that would extend new protections for healthcare professionals were approved by lawmakers this week and sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 351 would stiffen penalties for assaults against a broad range of healthcare practitioners and technicians, and Senate Bill 842 would eliminate a requirement for employee badges in healthcare facilities to include an employee’s last name.

Senate Approves New Marketing Tool for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Pennsylvania veterans, reservists and members of the National Guard who own their own business could soon have a valuable new marketing tool under a bill approved by the Senate this week.

The bill would direct the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create special logos to promote veteran-owned businesses, creating new opportunities for Pennsylvanians to support the brave men and women who have served in the military at a time when that support is desperately needed during the state’s recovery from COVID-19. 

Lawmakers Approve Bill to Require Insurance Coverage for Additional Breast Cancer Screenings

Dense breast tissue and other factors can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer early in some women, heightening the long-term risks. The Senate approved a bill this week that would require insurance companies to cover supplemental screenings if a physician believes a woman is at an increased risk for breast cancer due to these conditions.

New Guidance Released for Veterinary Care, Reopening Senior Centers

While we await a decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on whether Governor Wolf must perform his constitutional duty to end the current disaster declaration in accordance with state law – a ruling that could come as soon as next week – the Wolf Administration has released guidance for veterinary care and reopening senior centers, adult day centers and other senior services.

New veterinary guidance allows for the resumption of non-essential services and routine or elective surgical procedures, like spaying and neutering.

Guidance from the Department of Aging includes procedures to resume operations at adult day centers, senior community centers and aging and protective services that involve in-home visits.

Spotted Lanternfly Information 2020

In the summer, Spotted Lanternfly become more mobile and increase in size and strength, specifically around the month of July. This means that these insects will be more visible and able to travel further distances. This year, improved control methods have been introduced for property owners, with the release of modified circle traps. Sticky bands are still effective, however circle traps are better at catching the adult Spotted Lanternfly and assist in minimizing the ecological impact on non-target species.

The circle trap is made of mesh and wraps completely around the tree. As Spotted Lanternfly climb the tree, the mesh guides it up into a collection bag in which it is unable to escape. The bag can be replaced as it fills up, while the rest of the trap remains in place throughout the season.

To purchase a trap, visit:

To make your own trap, visit:

When you leave your home this summer, don’t forget to take precautions that prevent Spotted Lanternfly from traveling with you from place-to-place. Egg masses look like a splash of mud and can be hidden on any flat surface while easily blending in and moving with you anywhere that you go. Be sure to check all vehicles, trailers, campers, and other equipment – including around front and rear windshield wipers, grills, roof racks, wheel wells, and truck beds.

You can check if you live in a Spotted Lanternfly ‘Quarantine Zone’ here. Locations in an active quarantine zone are shown with a red ‘X’ while locations outside of a quarantine zone are shown with a green checkmark. Click here for a Spotted Lanternfly checklist for residents, which includes tips to help keep Spotted Lanternfly from spreading.

With this, a Spotted Lanternfly permit is required for all businesses, agencies and organizations, agricultural and non-agricultural, working within a quarantine zone, which move regulated articles, such as products, vehicles, and other conveyances, within or from a quarantine zone. The goal of the permitting process is education. Through the permit course, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences explain the risks to Pennsylvania’s economy and residents’ quality of life, how to identify the insect in all stages of its life, and how to prevent the spread. Click here for the best management practices developed by industry members, which implement those that work best for businesses to operate or develop protocols to safeguard good and property while reducing the risk of Spotted Lanternfly spread.

You can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture team with questions on permitting and assistance with quarantine compliance at or 717-787-5674. Contact the Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ team for help with questions on Spotted Lanternfly management or to report SLF sightings at or 1-888-422-3359.

Blood Donations Needed

If you are interested in donating blood, you can visit Miller-Keystone’s website and search for blood drives via zip code, city, etc.

Miller-Keystone Donor Center Locations:

  • Allentown, PA – 1255 S. Cedar Crest Blvd, Suite 1300
  • Bethlehem, PA – 1465 Valley Center Parkway
  • Easton, PA – 2925 William Penn Highway, Suite 105
  • Pittston, PA – 400 Route 315, Suite E
  • Reading, PA – 2745A Leiscz’s Bridge Road

To schedule a donation, call 800-B-A-DONOR or visit

To search of an upcoming blood drive in your region, visit

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