In this Edition:
Teletown Hall Meeting Set for Oct. 24
I invite you to participate in my next Teletown Hall Meeting which will take place on Tuesday, October 24, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Teletown meetings are simply Town Hall meetings that are held via telephone. This meeting format allows you the opportunity to have your opinions heard, ask me questions, and listen to state-related questions from other constituents from the comfort of your home.
You can register for the teletown by visiting www.senatormensch.com/tele-town-hall. By registering for this event, you will receive a phone call and have the option of asking a question during the call. If you have any additional questions, please contact my Red Hill District Office at 215-541-2388.
Veterans Appreciation Breakfast Nov. 11
I will be holding my annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Upper Perkiomen High School located at 2 Walt Road, Pennsburg, PA 18073. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m. and the event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Veterans can register themselves and up to one guest by Monday, November 6. You can register online or call 215-541-2388. Space is limited so please register promptly.
The Mensch Report: Community Safety Conference
This month’s edition of the Mensch Report features my Community Safety Conference, which was held on August 29 at the Upper Bucks Activity Center located in Milford Township, Bucks County. The conference was part of a series of Community Safety Conferences (CSC).
The topic of the CSC focused on the Statewide Radio System in Pennsylvania. The event featured Major Diane Stackhouse from the Pennsylvania State Police.
First authorized in 1996, the radio system was to allow state and county emergency responders, as well as local police, fire and EMS, to communicate with each on a shared network. However, the mobile radio component has been plagued with problems and remains unreliable.
Major Stackhouse provided a presentation that addressed the Statewide Radio Network’s (PA-STARNet) issues and provided details about the Pennsylvania State Police’s Pilot Program on P25 Deployment. The P25 program provides interoperability and enables first responders to communicate without boundaries and without a proprietary radio system. A contract was awarded through the P25 program to a vendor and two pilot programs will occur before statewide deployment. The P25 program will result in cost savings, fewer towers, maintenance savings, increased vendor competition, and more.
Major Stackhouse’s presentation also referenced SR 325 of 2016 which was introduced by Senator Mensch. SR 325 urged the administration to fix the problematic, taxpayer funded statewide radio system also known as PA -STARNet. Since introducing his resolution, the Senate Communications & Technology Committee, Senate Law & Justice Committee, and the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee held a joint hearing to discuss the Statewide Radio System and the Pennsylvania State Police’s Pilot Program on P25 Deployment. The full hearing and testimony can be viewed here.
I encourage you to participate in my newest online constituent survey. All answers are kept confidential and the results will be displayed for constituents who participate in the survey.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding state matters, you are welcome to contact me via my constituent contact form.
Voters Will Decide on Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Expand Homestead Exclusion
On November 7, Pennsylvania voters will be asked to consider a proposed constitutional amendment to enact legislation to expand the current homestead exclusion. The existing homestead provision was approved by the electorate in 1997 by a vote of 1,240,406 to 778,104.
In order for the Pennsylvania Constitution to be amended outside of a constitutional convention, the General Assembly must pass identical legislation containing the proposed amendment in two consecutive legislative sessions. The proposal must then be approved by the voters. In the 2015-2016 legislative session, the proposed language was contained in House Bill 147, which passed the House 200-0 and the Senate 45-2. During the current session, House Bill 1285, containing the proposed change, passed the House 190-0 and the Senate 46-2. I supported both HB 147 and HB 1285 when they were before me for a vote.
Under Section 1, Article XI of the Pennsylvania Constitution, after passage by the General Assembly, the proposed amendment must be published in at least two newspapers in every county in which such newspapers are published. The Secretary of the Commonwealth is responsible for ensuring the proper publication of the amendment. Pursuant to law, the Secretary of the Commonwealth will submit the proposed amendment to the electors of Pennsylvania in the form of a ballot question at the Municipal Election to be held on November 7. If a ballot question is approved by a majority of electors voting on it, the corresponding amendment becomes part of the Constitution.
The question which will appear on the ballot states:
Illegal Card Skimming: Know the Facts
A statewide effort is underway to capture illegal credit and debit card skimmers at gas stations and ATMs and eliminate this type of high tech fraud.
State agencies suggest purchasers adopt six consumer protection tips against skimming:
Those victimized by card skimming will find the Scam Alert Card provides a list of resources and necessary contacts with phone numbers to report the crime to the appropriate authorities.
Talk to your Senator Statewide Video Contest
I encourage Pennsylvania middle and high school students to help find solutions to the growing heroin and opioid epidemic facing the state by producing a video aimed at focusing greater awareness on the crisis.
“Talk to Your State Senator,” a statewide video competition sponsored by the Senate of Pennsylvania with support from members of the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Association of PA, is intended to get students involved in legislative efforts to fight heroin and opioid abuse. Students are encouraged to submit video entries of no longer than five minutes that highlight ways to combat abuse, help those who suffer from addiction and develop laws to address the current crisis.
“Talk to Your Senator” is open to Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12 and will provide a total of $10,000 in cash prizes to winning entries that focus on ways to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among young people. Prize money will be awarded through the TAP 529 Account program in the PA Department of Treasury and will be deposited into a college savings account in the winner(s) name. Videos will be judged based on creativity, content and effectiveness of message delivery.
Entries must be submitted using the registration form available at www.acommonwealthcrisis.com. The site includes more information on the contest, including guidelines for submitting videos, content, judging, and prizes. The deadline for video entries is December 10, 2017.
Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expanded
On September 22, the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine has been expanded. Please review the municipal list below to find out if your municipality is located in the quarantine:
Berks County: Albany, Alsace, Amity, Centre, Colebrookdale, Cumru, District, Douglass, Exeter, Greenwich, Hereford, Longswamp, Lower Alsace, Maidencreek, Maxatawny, Muhlenberg, Oley, Ontelaunee, Perry, Pike, Rockland, Richmond, Robeson, Ruscombmanor, Washington, and Union Townships. Bally, Bechtelsville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centreport, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Lyons, Laureldale, Mount Penn, St. Lawrence, and Topton Boroughs. Reading City.
Bucks County: Bedminster, East Rockhill, Haycock, Hilltown, Milford, New Britain, Plumstead, Richland, Springfield, and West Rockhill Townships. Chalfont, Dublin, New Britian, Perkasie, Quakertown, Richlandtown, Sellersville, Silverdale, Telford, and Trumbauersville Boroughs.
Chester County: East Coventry, East Pikeland, East Vincent, North Coventry, South Coventry, Warwick, and West Vincent Townships. Phoenixville and Spring City Boroughs.
Lehigh County: Heidelberg, Lower Macungie, Lower Milford, Lowhill, North Whitehall, South Whitehall, Upper Saucon, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Weisenberg and Whitehall Townships. Alburtis, Catasauqua, Coplay and Macungie Boroughs. Allentown and Bethlehem City.
Montgomery County: Douglass, Franconia, Hatfield, Limerick, Lower Frederick, Lower Pottsgrove, Lower Providence, Lower Salford, Marlborough, New Hanover, Salford, Skippack, Towamencin, Upper Frederick, Upper Hanover, Upper Pottsgrove, Upper Providence, Upper Salford and West Pottsgrove Townships. Collegeville, East Greenville, Green Lane, Hatfield, Lansdale, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill, Royersford, Schwenksville, Souderton, Telford, Trappe Boroughs.
Northampton County: Allen, East Allen, Hanover, Lower Nazareth, Moore, and Upper Nazareth Townships. Northampton and Nazareth Boroughs. Bethlehem City and Bethlehem Township.
If you are unfamiliar with the Spotted Lanternfly, it is an invasive species native to China, India and Vietnam and was first discovered in Berks County in September 2014. The insect has the potential to destroy high-value crops including grapes, tree fruits and hardwood lumber. Early detection is vital to the effective control of this pest and the protection of PA agriculture and natural resources-related businesses.
The quarantine order, which has been supported by the affected communities, means that any item that could hold any life stage of this insect may not be moved outside the quarantined area without inspection and compliance. That includes firewood, vehicles, outdoor household items and any items stored outside during the fall, as well as building materials and plants or plant parts.
Top Recommendations to Thwart Package Thieves
Early bird holiday shoppers and those who regularly receive home-delivered packages are being reminded to adopt recommendations decreasing the likelihood that “Grinches” will steal your packages, according to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). The recommendations are especially important for individuals who plan to be away from home for a period of time.
Law enforcement and the insurers recommend thwarting package thefts by:
Nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians have valuables delivered to their homes and eight percent reported package theft in a 2015 insurance poll cited by the PSP. Across the country, nearly 23 million Americans have had home-delivered packages stolen. Consult your insurance agent about coverage, including current cash value, replacement cost coverage, personal property coverage, and a floater policy.
Autumn’s PA Preferred Arrival
As cooler temperatures begin to yield fields full of autumn crops, Pennsylvania’s Farmer’s Markets and Roadside Stands are overflowing with PA Preferred Produce, according to the PA Department of Agriculture.
Check the Seasonal Calendar for peak freshness, whether it’s cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower or peaches, pears, and plums, or any of the other crops that contribute to the $6.1 billion in annual cash receipts from production agriculture, making it the leading economic driver in Pennsylvania.
Consult the interactive locator map or the most recent printable hard copy of the Pennsylvania Farm Market Guide. It is recommended you check the market’s website, where provided, or call ahead to confirm days and hours of operation and availability of specific products.
Montgomery County Health Department Offering No Cost Walk-In Flu Shots for Residents
The Montgomery County Health Department is offering no cost walk-in flu shots for Montgomery County residents. For more information, visit www.montcopa.org/flu.
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