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Senator Bob Mensch

In this Edition:

  • Liquor Modernization Bill Signed by the Governor
  • Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment into Law
  • Senate Acts to Protect Energy Jobs
  • Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to House
  • Committee Approves Measure to Increase Education for Opioid Prescribing
  • Committee Approves Mensch Bills Honoring Two Fallen Heroes
  • Appropriations Committee Round-Up
  • Next Week

Senator Mensch welcomed David Baver (right), his wife Patty Ann and their son Alex to Harrisburg on Tuesday. You can watch their introduction here.

Liquor Modernization Bill Signed by the Governor

The Governor signed into law Wednesday legislation that will allow grocery stores to sell wine, increase opportunities for the sale of beer, and improve consumer convenience for overall liquor sales.

House Bill 1690 provides many changes that increase customer convenience, including:

  • Allowing grocery stores that sell beer, licensed restaurants, and hotels to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer.
  • Permitting licensed wine producers to ship their products directly to Pennsylvania consumers.
  • Allowing “six-pack” shops to upgrade their “eating place” licenses to “full” restaurant licenses to sell wine as well as beer.
  • Lifting the requirement that State Stores close on certain holidays and only operate on limited hours on Sundays.
  • Allowing special discounts and sales at State Stores.
  • Permitting casinos, for a fee of $1 million, to receive a license to sell alcohol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Allowing lottery tickets sales in State Stores.

This is not a final solution – Pennsylvania government still needs to get out of the liquor business – but it’s a step in the right direction.

Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment into Law

Two bills I am co-sponsoring were approved by the General Assembly and are set for enactment:

Senate Bill 489 reduces the maximum fee that a check casher may charge for cashing government checks; requires the public posting of fees for cashing the check; allows for recovery of losses due to fraudulent misrepresentation.

Senate Bill 847 adds a representative from the Korean War Veterans Association to the State Veterans Commission, a panel comprised of representatives from Pennsylvania’s major veterans associations.

Additional bills sent to the Governor:

House Bill 57 amends the Public Utility Code to change the interest rate associated with recovery of purchased gas costs, eliminate the migration rider, and provide for recovery of costs incurred to implement customer choice.

Senate Bill 61 officially recognizes bike medics and permits them to operate their bicycles in the same manner as a police officer on a bicycle.

Senate Acts to Protect Energy Jobs

The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to protect family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs placed at risk by the new federal regulations.

Senate Bill 1195 provides procedures for the General Assembly’s consideration of the Department of Environmental Protection’s implementation strategy for the so-called Clean Power Plan before its submission to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Senate Bill 1195 is a compromise agreement between the General Assembly and Governor Wolf that provides important safeguards that protect local energy-producing industries and the thousands of workers they employ from overreaching regulations that could come with Pennsylvania’s compliance with the federal regulations.

Senate Bill 1195 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to House

House Bill 264 requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in long-term care nursing facilities, personal care homes and assisted living residences that use fossil fuel burning devices or appliances. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 428 provides additional sentencing provisions for trespassing at gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 1227 transfers the responsibilities of the Public Employee Retirement Commission with regard to pension legislation to the Independent Fiscal Office and the Office of the Auditor General.

House Bill 1241 amends the definition of public utility in state law to exempt water or sewer service provided by a resort and to exempt the provision of service by a municipal corporation under certain circumstances. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Senate Bill 1270 amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with updated Federal appraiser standards.

Committee Approves Measure to Increase Education for Opioid Prescribing

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee on Tuesday approved legislation I’m co-sponsoring that would require continuing medical education training as a way to stem the tide of opioid and prescription drug abuse in the state.

Senate Bill 1202 requires state licensing boards to call for two hours of continuing education in “pain management” and two hours in “opioid prescribing practices” for individuals applying for an initial license or renewal of an existing license or certification to prescribe medications in the Commonwealth.

The increased use of heroin, which often has roots in the abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, has catapulted Pennsylvania to seventh in the nation for drug-related overdose deaths in recent federal statistics. According to a National Survey of Primary Care Physicians, nine out of 10 doctors reported prescription drug abuse as a moderate to large problem in their communities, and 85 percent believed that prescription drugs are overused in clinical practice.

Committee Approves Mensch Bills Honoring Two Fallen Heroes

Two pieces of legislation I sponsored were reported out of the Senate Transportation Committee this week.

SB 1219 designates a portion of State Route 663 from the Bucks County line, through Pennsburg Borough to the end of Upper Hanover Township in Montgomery County, as the Army Specialist Ray Ira Haas Memorial Highway.

On March 28, 1968, in the Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, Army Specialist Ray Ira Haas was performing his assigned duties as an infantryman on the battlefield. During these operations, he and his unit came under fire. Army Specialist Haas fought bravely and was mortally wounded during the firefight, later being pronounced dead at a hospital in Vietnam.

SB 1220 designates a portion of State Route 100, from Hereford Township at the Lehigh County line through Washington Township in Berks County, as the First Lieutenant William R. Gendebien Memorial Highway.

On October 26, 1965, in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, VFMA 115 was carrying out combat operations against hostile forces. First Lieutenant William R. Gendebien was performing his assigned duty as Air Traffic Controller from an aircraft in support of VFMA 115 in their combat operations. During these operations, hostile actions downed the aircraft with its crew and it made a crash landing. Lieutenant Gendebien died in the ensuing crash of the aircraft.

Both bills would require the Department of Transportation to erect and maintain appropriate signs displaying the name of the highway to traffic in both directions on the highway. The bills now go before the full Senate for consideration.

Appropriations Committee Round-Up

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills Tuesday:

Senate Bill 703 creates a state plumbers licensing program regulating who can call themselves a state-licensed plumbing contractor rather than who can perform plumbing services.

Senate Bill 805 allows large commercial and industrial energy users to voluntarily exit the utility-administered Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plans under Act 129.

Senate Bill 930 provides for the certification of Pennsylvania-based minority, woman and veteran-owned businesses by the Department of General Services.

Senate Bill 1109 amends the state Constitution to extend the state’s property tax exemption program for disabled veterans to the surviving spouse of soldiers killed in action.

Senate Bill 1270 amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act to bring Pennsylvania into compliance with updated Federal appraiser standards.

Next Week

The Senate will reconvene Monday, June 13. You can watch session live at

On Tuesday at 9 a.m., I’ll be taking part in a Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). You can watch it live at

Stay Connected

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.

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Contact Me

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