Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Committee Approves Mensch Bill Overhauling Older Adult Protective Services Act
  • Mensch Committee Releases Report on PA Dairy
  • Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Turns 60
  • Bills Strengthening “Do Not Call,” Prohibiting Illegal Construction Workers set for Enactment
  • Senate Approves Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Purchases from 18 to 21
  • Senate Approves Bill Improving Career & Technical Education and Workforce Development in Pennsylvania
  • Senate Approves Measure for Financial Knowledge Graduation Credit
  • Additional Bills sent to the House
  • Mensch Resolution Recognizes American Payroll Association
  • Committee Roundup
  • Up Next

Committee Approves Mensch Bill Overhauling Older Adult Protective Services Act

9/23/19 - Older Adults Protective Services Act Re-Write (SB 819)
Legislation I sponsored to better protect Pennsylvania’s aging senior population by overhauling the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) gained committee approval Monday.

Senate Bill 819, approved by the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, would improve the delivery of resources and efficiency of services provided to older adults by:

  • Streamlining communications between organizations and agencies that care for seniors, and finding ways to increase health care efficiency.
  • Confronting the rise of financial exploitation of older Pennsylvanians by giving financial institutions tools to intervene if they suspect an elder is being taken advantage of through the illegal taking, misuse or concealment of money, property or assets.
  • Providing mandatory reporters (physicians, health care providers, coroners and police) with a procedure for reporting suspected elder abuse, as well as giving them the tools to work together on the investigations that follow.

The bill would also fix the constitutionality issue and provide for employment practices that are safe for care organizations and older adults. Identical legislation, Senate Bill 899, was approved by the Senate in the 2017-2018 legislative session, but not taken up by the House of Representatives.

To meet the rapidly changing needs and lifestyles of older Pennsylvanians, the Older Protective Services Act itself has to change. Experts, professionals and constituents have for years urged the General Assembly to improve OAPSA. Let’s work together to ensure this is the session that it gets done.

Mensch Committee Releases Report on PA Dairy

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, which I chair, held a meeting Tuesday to release a study on the past, present, and future issues impacting PA dairy producers and the dairy industry. You can watch the meeting here.

Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Turns 60

9/25/19 – LBFC 60th Anniversary

Bills Strengthening “Do Not Call,” Prohibiting Illegal Construction Workers set for Enactment

The Senate sent three bills to the Governor this week including measures to strengthen Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call list and require employers in the construction industry to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure that their employees are authorized to work in the United States.

House Bill 318 removes the renewal requirement, which means phone numbers can be placed on Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call list permanently. Currently, phone numbers must be re-registered every five years.

In addition, computerized auto-dialers (robocalls) would be required to give residents an “opt-out” option at the beginning of the call. The bill also allows businesses to register for the Do Not Call list, and bans telemarketing calls on legal holidays

House Bill 1170 prohibits the employment of unauthorized employees in the construction industry and requires construction industry employers to utilize the E-Verify system when hiring a new employee.

An additional bill, House Bill 1557 amends the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act to conform with federal law related to cessation of operations.

Senate Approves Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Purchases from 18 to 21

On Tuesday, the Senate today approved legislation that would increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from age 18 to 21.

Senate Bill 473 would make it a summary offense for anyone under 21 to purchase any tobacco product, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars and pipe tobacco.

Cigarette smoking causes 22,000 deaths each year in Pennsylvania. An annual health care cost of $6.38 billion is directly caused by smoking, along with another $5.73 billion in lost productivity.

Nearly 90 percent of cigarette smokers first try cigarette smoking by age 18, and teen nicotine vaping rates this year are double that of 2017. Twenty-four percent of Pennsylvania high school teens use e-cigarettes, driving up the state’s overall youth tobacco use rates to over 32 percent.

More than two-thirds of Pennsylvanians surveyed (68.4%) favor raising the legal age for tobacco sales to 21. Twenty-one states, with more than half of the U.S. population, have a tobacco and e-cigarette sales law of 21.

Senate Approves Bill Improving Career & Technical Education and Workforce Development in Pennsylvania

The Senate approved a comprehensive bill Wednesday that seeks to address deep-seated issues within our state’s career and technical education system that have long stymied the growth of this critical component of post-secondary education options for Pennsylvania students.

House Bill 265 makes it easier for students to pursue career and technical education by modernizing the system, streamlining the process for students to receive and transfer credits, and removing barriers for students to be exposed to different training options and available career paths. Among other provisions, the bill:

  • Requires the creation of an online database to contain information on statewide and regional articulation agreements to allow users to be aware of these agreements before making course enrollment decisions.
  • Authorizes creation of the “The PASmart Online Career Resource Center,” with information on career pathways, data and statistics on employment and compensation, and other relevant resources to help students understand all of the opportunities that are available to them after graduation.
  • Establishes a grant program to support the creation of workforce development partnerships between schools, employers, trade associations, and other organizations to create pathways to training and employment.

The bill is now headed to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Approves Measure for Financial Knowledge Graduation Credit

On Monday, the Senate approved a measure I’m co-sponsoring that will allow students to apply their practical financial knowledge toward their school district’s graduation requirements.

Senate Bill 723 will require public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards to satisfying graduation requirements. The bill gives schools the discretion to determine the graduation credit requirement to which the credit earned would be applied. Senate Bill 723 now goes to House of Representatives for consideration.

Additional Bills sent to the House

Senate Bill 439 expands the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to include several law enforcement entities that are not currently protected by this coverage.

Senate Bill 586 addresses licensing requirements for cosmetologists.

Senate Bill 694 allows gas well bores to cross multiple units provided the operator has the right to drill wells on the units via leases with all applicable landowners.

Mensch Resolution Recognizes American Payroll Association

9/24/19 – National Payroll Week

Committee Roundup

Bills approved in committees.

Aging & Youth

House Bill 775 requires the Department of Aging to review the PACE and PACENET programs to remove deceased enrollees.

Senate Bill 819 updates and revises the Older Adults Protective Services Act.

House Bill 956 amends the State Lottery Law to lower the mandated margin rate of return from 25 percent to 20 percent for five-years, ending on June 30, 2024.

Appropriations

Senate Bill 114 requires the removal of snow and ice from vehicles before driving.

House Bill 233 amends the Second Class County Code to provide for the decoration of deceased service members graves with flags on Memorial Day.

Senate Bill 439 expands the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act to include several law enforcement entities that are not currently protected by this coverage.

Senate Bill 473 increases the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 years of age.

House Bill 510 amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) regarding intergovernmental cooperation.

House Bill 511 amends the Second Class Township Code, providing for intergovernmental cooperation.

House Bill 512 amends Title 11 (Cities) providing for municipal authorities and cooperation with other political subdivisions.

Senate Bill 586 addresses licensing requirements for cosmetologists.

Senate Bill 688 amending Title 8 (Boroughs and Incorporated Towns) addressing powers and duties of elected officials, the organization of council, quorums, participation by telecommunication devices, voting, compensation and eligibility; and salaries for mayors.

Senate Bill 689 amends the Second Class Township Code standardizing the maximum salaries of supervisors, and adjusting the annual maximum salary limits according to changes in the Consumer Price Index.

Senate Bill 690 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Incorporated Towns.

Senate Bill 691 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Second Class Townships.

Senate Bill 692 increases the public bidding threshold from $1,500 to $6,000 for Boroughs and Third Class Cities.

Senate Bill 694 allows gas well bores to cross multiple units provided the operator has the right to drill wells on the units via leases with all landowners/members of the units.

House Bill 1557 amends the Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act to conform with federal law related to cessation of operations.

Environmental Resources & Energy

House Bill 374 establishes the Keystone Tree Restricted Account and allows for $3 contributions to the Keystone Tree Restricted Account when electronically renewing a driver’s license.

Senate Bill 790 creates a Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act.

Finance

House Bill 1085 repeals the obsolete State Personal Property Tax Act.

Intergovernmental Operations

Senate Bill 398 provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process.

State Government

House Bill 305 directs the Department of General Services to include, in its surveys and inventories of Commonwealth real estate structures and assets, information on the possible use of such assets for fixed or mobile broadband services.

Senate Bill 327 requires executive, independent and state-affiliated agencies to report their space usage to the Department of General Services on an annual basis.

Senate Bill 470 directs the Department of General Services to include, in its surveys and inventories of Commonwealth real estate structures and assets, information on the possible use of such assets for fixed or mobile broadband services.

Senate Bill 532 designates March 6 as First Gulf War Veterans Day, October 7 as Afghanistan War Veterans Day, and December 18 as Second Gulf War Veterans Day,

Senate Bill 750 requires the state to repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion to support programs for veterans and the National Guard.

House Bill 1222 repeals and then consolidates the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act of 1990 and the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act of 1997 into Title 10 (Charities) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. 

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

House Resolution 470 recognizes October 13, 2019 as the 244th birthday of the United States Navy.

Up Next

The Senate returns to voting session on Monday, October 21 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.

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