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Senator Bob Mensch


In this Edition:

  • Bill to Help Children with Seizures Sent to Governor
  • Senate Votes to Allow Police Body Cameras
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House
  • Bill to Prohibit Costly Regulations without Legislative Approval Advances
  • Senate Panel Approves Measure to Protect Domestic Violence Victims
  • Committee Round-Up
  • Up Next

Bill to Help Children with Seizures Sent to Governor 

The Senate approved a measure on Monday that would provide immunity from lawsuits to school bus drivers and crossing guards who administer an epinephrine auto-injector, or “epi-pen,” to assist a student who is experiencing a seizure. House Bill 224 now goes to the Governor for his signature and enactment into law. 

Under the legislation, a bus driver or crossing guard must first complete a training program developed by the state Department of Health and comply with school district policy to be qualified to use an epi-pen. The bill does not require school districts or school bus companies to enact an epi-pen policy, but would ensure that such a policy would provide for civil immunity if the guidelines are met. 

Senate Votes to Allow Police Body Cameras 

The Senate on Wednesday approved a measure I am co-sponsoring to allow police officers to use body-worn cameras. 

Senate Bill 560 will allow police to record statements and actions at a crime scene, holding both police and the public accountable for their actions during law enforcement incidents. 

Currently, police may record video, but not audio inside a residence.  Senate Bill 560 eliminates this restriction. It also removes the requirement that an officer must announce to everyone in a public space that they are being recorded. 

Senate Bill 560 allows access by the public to audio and video recordings by police. The media and the public may submit a written request to the law enforcement agency for the recordings. If the request is denied, they may petition the county court of common pleas for access to the recordings. Senate Bill 560 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House 

Senate Bill 143 makes changes to the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board.

Senate Bill 201 provides for “like-kind” exchange tax deferrals.

Senate Bill 222 adds two judges to the court of common pleas in Bucks County for a total of 15, and one in Montgomery County for a total of 24.

Senate Bill 289 designates a portion of Business Route 22 over the Norfolk Southern Mainline Railroad in Blair County as the John Frederick Bridges Memorial Bridge.

Senate Bill 354  strengthens licensee reporting requirements to the Department of State. 

Bill to Prohibit Costly Regulations without Legislative Approval Advances 

Legislation to prohibit costly government regulations from being imposed without approval by the General Assembly and Governor was reported out of the Senate Rules Committee on Monday. 

Under Senate Bill 561, no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, to its political subdivisions, and to the private sector exceeding $1 million could be imposed without approval of the General Assembly and Governor. 

Currently, the regulatory review process requires the General Assembly to pass a concurrent resolution disapproving a regulation. However, the Governor must sign the disapproval resolution to bar his own agencies from enacting the regulation. Senate Bill 561 aims to restore the constitutional balance and ensure that elected representatives of taxpayers have appropriate oversight of economically significant regulations. 

Senate Panel Approves Measure to Protect Domestic Violence Victims 

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Tuesday clarifying that judges can use risk assessment tools to determine whether a defendant poses a danger to a victim when setting bail in domestic violence cases. Risk assessment tools have proven to be effective in predicting an offender’s odds of re-offending and creating a dangerous circumstance for victims. 

In many cases, judges don’t have the tools they need to determine whether an offender is likely to seek retribution against their victim. Clarifying the law regarding the use of risk assessment tools will help more judges keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars. 

Senate Bill 449 is named “Tierne’s Law” in honor of Tierne Ewing, a Washington County resident who was kidnapped and murdered by her estranged husband in August 2016. The killer had been arrested a few weeks prior to the kidnapping for domestic violence and other offenses, but was granted bail in spite of the prosecutor’s request for bail to be raised or revoked. 

Committee Round-Up 

Appropriations 

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved five bills on Monday. 

Senate Bill 222 adds two judges to the court of common pleas in Bucks County for a total of 15, and one in Montgomery County for a total of 24.

Senate Bill 269 amends the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code.

Senate Bill 522 amends Title 42 and Title 61 to merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Senate Bill 523 amends the Crime Victims Act to merge the Department of Corrections and the Board of Probation and Parole as the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Senate Bill 651 is the Capital Budget Project Itemization Act of Fiscal year 2017-18.  

Law & Justice

The Senate Law and Justice Committee approved three measures on Tuesday. 

House Bill 27 addresses the release of law enforcement officer information in cases involving the discharge of a firearm or use of force.

Senate Resolution 75 directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review how Pennsylvania accounts for and analyzes forensic evidence kits (rape kits).

Senate Bill 403 removes the Governor’s appointment of an FBI Agent to the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission and replaces it with a Governor’s appointment of a member of the State Fraternal Order of Police. 

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved five bills on Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 113 would allow family members to have access and visitation rights with regard to a person who is incapacitated and under court-appointed guardianship.

Senate Bill 121 expands access to the Statewide Intermediate Punishment Program to individuals who have committed crimes due to gambling addiction.

House Bill 267 adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by utility and transportation companies as well as copper, aluminum or other metals that are valuable for recycling or reuse.

Senate Bill 449 would allow Magisterial District Judges to use a risk assessment tool when determining bail in domestic violence cases.

Senate Bill 636 prohibits the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal. 

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved six bills and a resolution on Wednesday.

Senate Resolution 76 directs the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of increasing passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

House Bill 93 designates a portion of State Route 93 in Columbia County as the Stuart Tank Memorial Highway.

House Bill 103 designates a bridge on State Route 980 over the Chartiers Creek in Canonsburg Borough, Washington County, as the Officer Scott L. Bashioum Memorial Bridge.

House Bill 199 designates a portion of Route 3078 Route 3090 in York County as the Private First Class Donald Gise Memorial Road.

Senate Bill 431 increases fines for littering.

Senate Bill 444 adjusts the reimbursement rate annually (based on inflation) for municipalities under the State Highway Transfer Restoration Restricted Account.

House Bill 834 designates a bridge on a portion of Route 588 in Beaver County as the TFC Blake T. Coble Memorial Bridge.


Up Next

The Senate will reconvene Monday, May 22 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.


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