In this Edition:
Vote on Property Tax Elimination Moved to Next Week
Taxpayers have waited more than 30 years for a legislative vote to eliminate burdensome, outdated property taxes. While we had expected a Senate vote on the issue this week, we’ll have to wait a few more days.
Some minor technical concerns regarding implementation of Senate Bill 76 have been raised and supporters of the bill agreed to make tweaks to the proposal and have it considered next week by the full Senate.
As a co-sponsor of the Property Tax Elimination Act, I look forward to Senate passage and moving this reform one step closer to reality.
Mensch’s Prostate Cancer Surveillance, Education, Detection and Treatment Act Set for Enactment
Legislation I introduced to promote early detection and treatment of prostate cancer received final legislative approval this week and was sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
Senate Bill 609, the Prostate Cancer Surveillance, Education, Detection and Treatment Act, will improve public awareness of the prevalence of prostate cancer and measures available to detect, diagnose and treat it and related chronic prostate conditions. It is also intended to ensure that:
The legislation directs the Department of Health to establish a 19-member task force on prostate cancer and related chronic prostate conditions to investigate and make recommendations.
Prostate cancer in Pennsylvania has similar incidence and mortality numbers as breast cancer. In the past year, over 10,240 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. That's 28 men per day in our Commonwealth. An additional four men will die from prostate cancer every day, adding up to almost 1,300 men per year.
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in Pennsylvania men. African-American men are 61% more likely than Caucasian men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it. Arming men with information will greatly improve their chances of detection and survival.
Hearing on Mensch Bill to Requiring Insurance Coverage for Breast Density Screening
Legislation I am sponsoring to require insurance plans to provide coverage for breast density screening was the topic of a Senate hearing on Wednesday. While I do not serve on the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, I was given the opportunity to provide opening remarks (above).
Dense breast complicate early detection of breast cancer. Women who have extremely dense breast tissue are up to six times more likely to develop breast cancer.
Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer, with a mammogram missing at least 40 percent of tumors in women with the densest breasts. Both cancer and density appear white on a mammogram so detecting tumors is much more difficult in denser breasts without further screening provided by an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Supported by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Senate Bill 842 would amend the Insurance Company Law of 1921 to extend mandated insurance coverage to ultrasound screening and magnetic resonance imaging if a mammogram demonstrates heterogeneous or dense breast tissue, or if a woman is believed to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing or other indications.
I previously introduced this legislation in tandem with a bill that became Act 86 of 2013, requiring heath care facilities to notify women when screening indicates dense breast tissue.
You can view the full hearing here.
Voters to Decide Mandatory Retirement Age for Judges
The Senate approved legislation this week that will give Pennsylvania voters the ultimate decision on whether the mandatory retirement age of judges should be increased.
House Bill 89 increases the mandatory retirement age for judges and magisterial district judges from 70 to 75 years in the Judicial Code. This bill only becomes effective if a proposed constitutional amendment, House Bill 90, which was approved in two consecutive legislative sessions, is adopted by the voters.
Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House of Representatives
Senate Bill 62 amends state law regarding probationary driver’s licenses.
Senate Bill 146 requires passengers in a vehicle to render aid to any person injured in an accident.
Senate Bill 518 gives people the power to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets in the same way they can make plans for their tangible property: by providing instructions in a will, trust, or power of attorney.
Senate Bill 927 requires Senate approval of Pennsylvania’s representatives on the Delaware River Bridge Commission.
House Bill 934 amends the Public Welfare Code to codify the Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) Program. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Senate Bill 1045 standardizes the definition of “Veteran” by defining the term “Conditions other than Dishonorable.”
Senate Bill 1046 standardizes the process for promotion on the retired list of the Pennsylvania National Guard. I am co-sponsoring this measure.
House Bill 1411 brings Pennsylvania into compliance with changes made by Congress to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment
Eight bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
Senate Bill 77 provides regulatory relief for beagle trainers.
House Bill 239 amends the County Pension Law to further provide for definitions and for supplemental benefits.
House Bill 753 establishes the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council within the Department of Aging.
Senate Bill 775 updates and revises the Third Class City Code.
Senate Bill 791, which amends the Second Class Township Code further providing for removal of elected township officers for failure to perform duties.
Senate Bill 793 amends the Second Class Township Code to further provide for property maintenance codes, reserved powers, and the Uniform Construction Code.
Senate Bill 887 protects highway workers, first emergency responders and others from careless and reckless drivers traveling in work zones. I am co-sponsoring this measure.
The Senate returns to voting session on Monday. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
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 you
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