Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Next Step in Reducing Breast Cancer Deaths
  • Senate Votes to Provide Security Grants to Faith-Based Institutions, Nonprofits
  • Senate Approves Bill Clarifying the Role of School Police Officers
  • Mensch Supports Bill to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Government Regulations
  • Bill Repurposing Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion Advances
  • Senate Approves Legislation to End Child Marriages
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
  • Committee Roundup
  • Next Week

Next Step in Reducing Breast Cancer Deaths

We’ve been working with the PBCC for a long time breast cancer related legislation. 

I worked closely with the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition to enact Act 86 of 2013, requiring heath care facilities to provide patients with critical information regarding their breast density when receiving a mammogram.

Patients are now informed that if their mammogram shows dense breast tissue, which could hide abnormalities, and other risk factors for breast cancer have been identified, the patient might benefit from supplemental screening tests that may be suggested by their physician.

Passage of this bill was a huge step forward, and now we are trying to take the second step, which is to get insurance companies to cover the breast density screenings (Senate Bill 595). 

In this video, I discuss the need to pass Senate Bill 595 in order to help women to continue fighting breast cancer.

10/22/19 – Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

On Tuesday, Senator Mensch introduced Senate Resolution 256 recognizing Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day in Pennsylvania.

10/23/19 - National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day

On Wednesday, Senator Mensch offered Senate Resolution 260 recognizing National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day in Pennsylvania.

Senate Votes to Provide Security Grants to Faith-Based Institutions, Nonprofits

On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation to provide security grants to faith-based institutions and nonprofit organizations.

House Bill 859 was amended by the Senate to make grants available to faith-based institutions and any nonprofit that services individuals, groups, or institutions included within the FBI’s bias motivation category for hate crime incidents.

Similar to the recently enacted Safe Schools Grant Program, faith-based institutions and nonprofits may utilize the grant dollars for a variety of security planning, equipment, and technology needs, including metal detectors, surveillance cameras, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, threat assessments, and building upgrades.

The General Assembly has enacted several initiatives to increase security in schools, to help pay for equipment, training, threat assessments and more. Unfortunately, it’s clear that places of worship are not free from threats. This legislation will provide the same resources to faith-based institutions and nonprofits that might be targeted.

The amended House Bill 859 returns to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves Bill Clarifying the Role of School Police Officers

The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday clarifying the role of school police officers.

House Bill 49 clarifies that school police officers may exercise the same powers as the police of the municipality in which the school is located. House Bill 49 also extends the deadline for school police officers, school resource officers and school security guards to receive training required by the National Association of School Resource Officers or an equivalent course until the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

The measure amends the Public School Code to allow students to receive credit for the successful completion of a personal financial literacy course and it extends the deadline for the Public Higher Education Funding Commission to issue a report of its findings to November 30, 2020. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Mensch Supports Bill to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Government Regulations

The Senate approved a bill to strengthen the review process for government regulations and provide for better oversight by lawmakers.

Senate Bill 398 would ensure state agencies deliver proposed regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to lawmakers in a timely manner to ensure a thorough review. The bill would also extend the time period for review to coincide with days the General Assembly is in session.

In current practice, state agencies could submit proposed regulations at a time when the General Assembly is in recess, preventing lawmakers from undertaking a comprehensive review and scheduling hearings to air concerns about how those regulations could affect Pennsylvania families and businesses.

The legislation would also ensure Statements of Purpose submitted by state agencies are not published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This provision will remove confusion in the courts regarding the intent of the General Assembly.

Similar legislation was approved during the 2015-16 Legislative Session, but was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 398 was changed to address a number of the concerns raised in the Governor’s veto message. The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Bill Repurposing Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion Advances 

The Senate unanimously passed legislation on Wednesday to repurpose the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence at Fort Indiantown Gap to support veterans and active duty military personnel. Pennsylvania is the only state that provides a residence for its Lieutenant Governor.

Senate Bill 750 requires the Department of General Services to transfer the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion to the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs to be used for the purposes of supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans programs and supporting the National Guard.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Approves Legislation to End Child Marriages 

On Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation that would end child marriage in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 81 would eliminate all legal exceptions that allow for the marriages of children under the age of 18.  Pennsylvania is currently one of 18 states that does not specify a minimum age at which a person can be married.

Current Pennsylvania law allows for those under 18 to marry with a custodial parent or guardian’s consent and those under 16, to marry if a judge thinks it’s in the marriage license applicant’s best interest and with parental consent.

According to Unchained at Last, an organization that works to end child marriages, children who are forced into marriage before the age of 18 face lifelong, devastating consequences in terms of health, education, economic opportunities, and quality of life. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Next Step in Reducing Breast Cancer Deaths

We’ve been working with the PBCC for a long time breast cancer related legislation. 

I worked closely with the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition to enact Act 86 of 2013, requiring heath care facilities to provide patients with critical information regarding their breast density when receiving a mammogram. 

Patients are now informed that if their mammogram shows dense breast tissue, which could hide abnormalities, and other risk factors for breast cancer have been identified, the patient might benefit from supplemental screening tests that may be suggested by their physician.

Passage of this bill was a huge step forward, and now we are trying to take the second step, which is to get insurance companies to cover the breast density screenings (Senate Bill 595). 

In this video, I discuss the need to pass Senate Bill 595 in order to help women to continue fighting breast cancer.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Bill 61 expands the list of organizations eligible to receive a wine and spirits auction permit.

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

Senate Bill 413 amends the state Constitution to eliminate a provision requiring a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines for the retention of justices, judges, and justices of the peace.

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 790 creates a Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act.

In addition, the Senate approved House Bill 1085, which repeals the obsolete State Personal Property Tax Act, and sent the measure to the Governor for enactment into law.

Committee Roundup

Bills approved & hearings held. 

Agriculture & Rural Affairs

Senate Bill 798 removes a loophole relating to dangerous dogs from the Dog Law. 

On Monday, the committee discussed PA’s current Industrial Hemp Program and Senate Bill 335, which would allow industrial hemp as a food product. Video

Appropriations

Senate Bill 61 adds to the list of organizations eligible to receive a wine and spirits auction permit.

Senate Bill 94 ensures all active duty volunteer firefighters, fire police, officers or directors of a volunteer fire company, and integral members of a volunteer fire company are covered under the State Workers Insurance Fund.

House Bill 227 clarifies that school director candidates will be required to submit 10 signatures for nomination.

Senate Bill 320 enacts the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act.

Senate Bill 332 increases the service charge for bad checks.

House Bill 375 eliminates state veterans’ benefits from the definition of “income” for PACE and PACENET eligibility determinations.

Senate Bill 412 amends the state Constitution to repeal a provision that excludes federal, state, county, and municipal employees from serving as poll workers. 

Senate Bill 413 amends the state Constitution to eliminate a provision requiring a separate ballot or a separate column on voting machines for the retention of justices, judges, and justices of the peace.

House Bill 684 excludes the principal and interest accrued from savings bonds in the determination of eligibility for PACE and PACENET.

Senate Bill 693 amends state election law.

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

House Bill 754 provides that PACE and PACENET enrollees will not lose their benefits if they exceed the maximum income limit due solely to a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.

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

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

House Bill 859 authorizes the 911 emergency communications program until June 30, 2023 and creates the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

House Bill 947 sets the hours of operation for breweries, distilleries and limited distilleries.

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

House Bill 49 requires public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements and clarifies the role and training requirements for school security officers.

Senate Bill 491 provides for the appointment of two Certified Pennsylvania Evaluators by the Governor to the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers.

Senate Bill 492 clarifies that revaluation company personnel who are directly responsible for the valuation of real property must be certified as a Certified Pennsylvania Evaluator.

Community, Economic and Recreational Development

On Tuesday, the committee held an informational meeting on economic development opportunities of the data center industry. Video & Written Testimony 

Education

House Bill 49 requires public schools to allow students to apply personal finance credits towards satisfying graduation requirements and clarifies the role and training requirements for school security officers.

Senate Bill 331 creates three grants of $150,000 which would be distributed to three community colleges or State System of Higher Education universities to establish fire training programs for students in high school during the school year.

Senate Bill 836 amends Act 59 to require information be provided to student athletes regarding electrocardiogram testing and that they be notified of the option to request an electrocardiogram in addition to the standard physical examination.

On Tuesday, the committee held a public hearing on charter school entities. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Environmental Resources & Energy

Senate Resolution 191 urges Congress to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.

Senate Bill 726 provides more clarity regarding permit appeals from decisions made by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Senate Bill 727 shortens the term a judge can serve on the Environmental Hearing Board from six to five years. It also restricts judges from serving more than two terms unless they began by filling a vacancy on the bench.

Senate Bill 891 establishes a mechanism for expedited review of permits issued under 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102 and Chapter 105.

Senate Bill 919 establishes statewide uniform requirements restricting the use of Class B firefighting foams containing added PFAS chemistries for training, restricting their use in testing, while also allowing for continued sale and use against real-world fires.

House Bill 1410 amends the Transit Revitalization Investment District Act (Act 238 of 2004) by providing for military installation remediation and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances remediation.

The committee also held a briefing on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Video & Written Testimony 

Finance

House Bill 17 establishes a 10-year time period for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to collect assessed personal income taxes.

Senate Bill 74 allows companies to apply for a tax credit after making an eligible donation to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital. 

Health & Human Services

Senate Bill 842 allows for the omission of health care workers’ last names from their identification badges.

Senate Bill 906 institutes a moratorium on the closing of the Polk and White Haven State Centers.

On Wednesday, the committee held a public hearing on medical assistance statewide preferred drug list. Video

Judiciary

The committee held a public hearing Monday to review the recommendations and other conclusions contained in the report prepared by the PA Department of Corrections entitled “Sentinel Event Reviews of Parolee Homicides.” Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Labor & Industry

The committee held a public hearing Wednesday on private changing facilities for disabled children and adults. Video & Agenda

Local Government

House Bill 917 repeals Act 598 of 1929, an act authorizing municipalities — other than townships — to acquire, operate and maintain a hospital.

House Bill 1034 amends the Consolidated County Assessment Law to more precisely define changes to real property that could occur without authorizing the assessment office to adjust an assessment, and to increase the value of other improvements that may occur before the assessment office is required to be notified. 

House Bill 1035 allows political subdivisions and authorities to enter into contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to receive bids.

House Bill 1036 amends the Borough Code regarding ballot questions for a decrease in the size of a borough council.

House Bill 1174 repeals Act 49 of 1933 which prohibits baseball or football games on Sundays before 2 p.m. or after 6 p.m. in certain circumstances.

House Bill 1180 repeals the Sunday Motion Pictures Act of 1935.

House Bill 1379 repeals the Sunday Polo Act of 1935

House Bill 1405 repeals the Sunday Tennis Act of 1935.

State Government

On Tuesday, the committee held a public hearing on House Resolution 206, calling for a Convention of States. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Urban Affairs & Housing

Senate Bill 329 strengthens blighted property code violations when an owner has received state funds.

Senate Bill 334 bans spot appeals of property assessments.

House Bill 1578 amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property) to make technical changes and clarifications.

Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness

Senate Bill 908 transfers the administration of the Fire Relief Program from the Auditor General to the State Fire Commissioner.

Senate Bill 910 reauthorizes the Fire & EMS Grant Program until June 30, 2024.

Next Week

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

 

 

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Twitter and Facebook I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.

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