In this Edition:
In this Edition
Bill Signing Ceremony for Mensch’s Prostate Cancer Surveillance, Education, Detection and Treatment Act
I was honored Thursday to take part in the bill signing ceremony for a new law I authored to promote early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.
Act 66 of 2016, 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.
Gov. Wolf himself is being treated for prostate cancer. It was detected early and the prognosis is good. Arming men with information will greatly improve their chances of detection and survival.
Property Tax Elimination Constitutional Amendment Advances
The Senate approved a measure on Monday that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to permit complete property tax relief for principal places of residence.
House Bill 147, which was approved by the House of Representatives last year, would allow for the complete elimination of residential school property taxes through the homestead exclusion. Since constitutional amendments must be approved in two consecutive sessions, the exact language of the measure must be approved by the General Assembly during the 2017-18 Legislative Session before it can be put up for a statewide referendum vote.
The Governor’s signature is not required for constitutional amendments.
In a related matter, the Senate also approved Senate Bill 1109 on Monday. The bill provides for a constitutional amendment to extend the property tax exemption program for disabled veterans to the surviving spouse of soldiers killed in action. That bill was sent to the House for consideration.
Cost-saving Legislation for Schools Sent to Governor
Legislation that will allow school districts to save thousands of dollars in annual mailing costs received final legislative approval Tuesday and is headed to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 1077 eliminates the mandate that school districts annually inform parents by physical mailing when the district uses audio and video recording to identify and address discipline issues on school buses.
The mailer mandate was included as part of Act 9 of 2014, which gave school districts the ability to use audio recordings on school buses. Instead of the physical mailing, which can easily cost thousands of dollars each year, schools must post notice of the policy in the student handbook as well as on the school’s website.
Bills to Protect Energy-Related Jobs Sent to the Governor
Two bills to protect family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs placed at risk by state and federal energy regulations received final legislative approval Wednesday and were sent to the Governor, who is expected to sign them into law.
The Senate concurred Wednesday on amendments by the House of Representatives to Senate Bill 1195, which addresses Pennsylvania’s compliance with the federal coal regulations, and on amendments to Senate Bill 279, which removes conventional oil and gas drillers from the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed changes to state (Chapter 78) regulations on drilling operations in the Commonwealth.
Other Bills Sent to the Governor for Enactment
Senate Bill 772 updates the state Professional Psychologists Practice Act for the first time since 1986.
Senate Bill 837 expands title protection to marriage and family therapists, ensuring that only licensed and properly trained professionals can market their services to clients.
Senate Bill 983 allows parents and/or guardians of disabled adult children, who are in their care, to receive disability license plates.
Senate Approves Measure to Increase Education for Opioid Prescribing
The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday 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.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Other Bills Sent to the House of Representatives
Senate Bill 163, which addresses the needs of children of incarcerated parents and services available to them.
Senate Bill 1113, which provides broader representation of crime victims on the Victims’ Services Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
House Bill 1325 gives second class townships the authority to implement storm water management ordinances and to assess a fee to fund the planning, management, implementation, construction and maintenance of storm water facilities. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
House Bill 1766, which allows future life insurance policy reserves to be based on Principle-Based Reserving, a methodology that is more advanced and better reflects the risks of new innovative insurance policies. The bill returns to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.
Committee Releases Reports on Fish and Boat Commission, Afterschool Programs
The Legislative, Budget and Finance Committee, which I chair, held a meeting Wednesday to consider two reports.
The first report was a Performance Audit of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Act159 of 2004 amended the Fish and Boat Code to implement a new license fee structure and requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a performance audit of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission every three years.
The second report, or Afterschool Programs in Pennsylvania, is an update of a report the committee released in May 2009 on the availability and affordability of afterschool/out-of-school time programs in the Commonwealth.
Bills to Support Veterans, Civil Air Patrol, Approved by Committee
On Tuesday, I joined my colleagues on the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee in approving two measures strengthening the Commonwealth’s support for our veteran’s community and another bill that enhances the status of the Civil Air Patrol.
House Bill 1600 exempts veterans and reservists from having to pay a business fee for starting up a small business.
House Bill 1727 creates the Pennsylvania Medal of Achievement and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award.
House Bill 2026 codifies the role of the Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol into the state’s Military Code.
Senate Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills Monday:
Senate Bill 876 amends the Workers' Compensation Act to address underfunding of the Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund.
Senate Bill 1161 makes corporations eligible for an Education Improvement Tax Credit donation if they had applied for the credit in the taxable year to which they want it to apply.
Senate Bill 1166 authorizes the Pennsylvania Game Commission to establish the fees for hunting and fur-taking licenses.
Senate Bill 1168 authorized the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to establish the fees for fishing and boating licenses.
Senate Bill 1202 requires “pain management” and “prescribing practices of opioids” to be included in continuing medical education credits for professionals licensed to prescribe in the Commonwealth.
House Bill 1734 extends for one year the continuing professional education compliance deadlines for public school entities and public school teachers and administrators.
Panel Reviews Distribution of Food Stamp/SNAP Benefits
The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on how Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are distributed by county and possible changes.
The panel heard from representatives of food outlets, a food bank and the state Department of Human Services. You can view the hearing and written testimony here.
Mensch Introduces Resolution Recognizing PA Chamber’s 100th Anniversary
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Educational Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) organization created to fund timely and insightful research and educational programs that will positively impact Pennsylvania’s economic future and enhance the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.
In 100 years, the Pennsylvania Chamber Foundation has grown from a membership of 100 influential business leaders at its inception to more than 8,000 members today. Their membership comprises of nearly half of the private work force in Pennsylvania.
They are one of only five state chambers to be accredited with distinction by the United States Chamber of Commerce. They plan to build on its past successes during the next 100 years to make the Commonwealth an even better place to work and live.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, June 22 at 3 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
On Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Labor and Industry Committee will hold a joint public hearing to examine the impact of recent changes in federal wage, hour and over-time regulations on businesses, non-profits and the state budget.
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
Red Hill Office
Lansdale District Office
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.
2016 © Senate of Pennsylvania