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Senator Bob Mensch


In this Edition:

  • In this Edition:
  • Senate Passes Measure to Promote Independence of Inspector General
  • Senate Adopts Mensch Resolution Recognizing the 242nd Anniversary of the U.S. Army Founding
  • Other Bills Approved by the Senate and sent to the House
  • Bills Sent to Governor
  • Committee Round-Up
  • Next Week

Senate Passes Measure to Promote Independence of Inspector General

The Office of Inspector General would have greater authority and independence to investigate and eliminate waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 527, which I am co-sponsoring, would establish the Office of Inspector General in statute. The office currently operates under Executive Order and could be eliminated at any time. The bill would provide the office its own appropriation in the state budget and broaden the office’s authority to bring criminal charges, issue subpoenas and investigate and eliminate fraud in human services programs.

Similar legislation was approved by the General Assembly last year, but Governor Wolf vetoed the measure. Senate Bill 527 would allow the governor to appoint an Inspector General who meets certain qualifications, including a prohibition on serving in any elected office. The bill also allows the Governor to remove the Inspector General for cause, a provision that is consistent with the Executive Order that created the position in 1987.

Senate Bill 527 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate Adopts Mensch Resolution Recognizing the 242nd Anniversary of the U.S. Army Founding

6/13/17 - The 242nd Anniversary of the Founding of the United States Army

On Tuesday, the Senate adopted a resolution I introduced that recognizes the 242nd Anniversary of the founding of the United State Army.

On June 14th 1775, the United States Congress voted to adopt the Boston troops, formed a committee to create rules for the government of the Army, and provided funding for its support.

“Two hundred and forty-two years later, the United States Army still proudly defends this nation, and this resolution will urge all Pennsylvanians to remember the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have served.

Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to the House

Senate Bill 303 addresses Project 70 restrictions on lands owned by the Borough of Topton.

Senate Bill 496 provides additional sentencing provisions for trespassing at gaming establishments.

Senate Bill 561 requires the approval of the General Assembly and the Governor for all new regulations with an economic impact or cost exceeding $1 million to the Commonwealth, its political subdivisions, and the private sector.

Senate Bill 646 amends Act 101 of 1988, the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act.

Bills Sent to Governor

The Senate gave final legislative approval to three House Bills this week and sent the measures to the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.

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

House Bill 267 adds the new offense of theft of secondary metal. Secondary metal is defined as wire, pipe or cable commonly used by communications, gas, water, wastewater, and electrical utilities and railroads and mass transit or commuter rail agencies, copper, aluminum or other metal, or a combination of metals valuable for recycling or reuse as raw material.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Committee Round-Up

Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on Monday and Tuesday to approve 14 bills.

House Bill 16 amends the Local Tax Collection Law to prohibit tax payments to an account in an individual’s name and requires the creation of a separate account to be used solely for tax purposes.

Senate Bill 168 provides for public notice of collective bargaining agreements prior to approval.

Senate Bill 178 updates and modernizes the state History Code.

Senate Bill 461 would modernize and strengthen the use of DNA technology to better fight violent crime in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 527 creates an independent Office of Inspector General.

Senate Bill 680 provides for expenses of the State Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 681 provides for expenses of the Public School Employees' Retirement Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 682 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

Senate Bill 683 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding to the Department of Labor & Industry and the Department of Community & Economic Development to provide for the expenses of administering the Workers' Compensation Act.

Senate Bill 684 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Public Utility Commission.

Senate Bill 685 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Consumer Advocate in the Office of Attorney General.

Senate Bill 686 provides Fiscal Year 2017-18 funding for the Office of Small Business Advocate in the Department of Community & Economic Development.

Senate Bill 687 makes appropriations from restricted revenue accounts within the State Gaming Fund and from the State Gaming Fund to the Attorney General, the Department of Revenue, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 688 makes appropriations from the Philadelphia Taxicab & Limousine Regulatory Fund and the Philadelphia Taxicab Medallion Fund to the Philadelphia Parking Authority for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

Senate Bill 697 is the Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18.

House Bill 1071 prohibits political subdivisions from imposing a recyclable plastic bag ban or levying a fee, surcharge or tax on plastic bags.

Banking & Insurance

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved five bills on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 471 provides an expedited foreclosure process for vacant or abandoned properties.

Senate Bill 590 increases the service charge for bad checks.

Senate Bill 629 updates the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act.

Senate Bill 751 provides for regulation and licensure of mortgage servicers.

House Bill 1039 authorizes and regulates savings promotion raffles.

Community, Economic & Recreational Development

On Tuesday, the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee held a public hearing on the state of Pennsylvania tourism and its impact on the economy. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 472 limits the prescription for a controlled substance containing an opioid to seven days.

Senate Bill 542 permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for up to 30 days pursuant to certain restrictions.

Senate Bill 616 requires funeral directors, pre-need or cemetery companies to provide information regarding the availability of VA burial benefits.

Finance

The Senate Finance Committee approved two bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 144 excludes certain fundraising activities from triggering the requirement for registration and reporting to the Department of State.

House Bill 411 amends the state Bingo Law to remove the restrictions on the number of days a licensed association may conduct bingo games and increases the limit on prizes that may be awarded.

Game & Fisheries

The Senate Game and Fisheries Committee and the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD affects the brain and nervous system of infected deer, elk and moose, eventually resulting in death. CWD has been detected in three locations in Pennsylvania: a captive deer farm in Adams County, free-ranging deer in Blair and Bedford counties, and a captive deer farm in Jefferson County. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Health & Human Services

The Health and Human Services Committee approved eight bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 17 amends the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act to specify that a parent or guardian is authorized to provide consent for treatment of their minor child.

Senate Bill 31 invests $1 million in a program that awards grants for research into spinal cord injuries.

House Bill 118 encourages health care facilities to convert beds to provide medically supervised detoxification.

House Bill 126 allows entities such as summer camps, colleges and universities, restaurants, amusement parks, sport facilities, daycares and other facilities to have non-patient specific epinephrine auto-injectors.

Senate Bill 211 enhances the PA 2-1-1 system.

House Bill 239 establishes a Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Department of Health.

Senate Bill 533 creates an Emergency Addiction Treatment Program under the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs.

Senate Bill 728 exempts Schedule V epilepsy drugs currently included in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program requirements.

On Wednesday, the committee held a joint public hearing with the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on Hospital and Healthsystem Preparedness in Pennsylvania. Hearing Video & Written Testimony

Judiciary

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four bills on Tuesday.

House Bill 168 makes it a crime for anyone to fraudulently present themselves as a soldier or a veteran of any branch of the armed forces, or to be the recipient of a service medal or other military decoration.

Senate Bill 180 updates and revises state law relating to organ and tissue donations.

House Bill 217 amends the Crimes Code concerning endangering the welfare of children.

House Bill 1238 updates and clarifies the existing animal abuse statute and increases the penalties for abusing any animal.

Labor & Industry

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee approved Senate Bill 663 on Tuesday. The bill requires a municipality to contract with at least three third party agencies and amends the Uniform Construction Code Act to eliminate the current “monopoly.”

Local Government

The Senate Local Government Committee approved six bills Tuesday.

Senate Bill 252 allows the Pittsburgh Parking Authority to enter into transactions with private developers through the allocation of a percentage of parking spaces for private projects.

Senate Bill 653 consolidates the collection of local, non-real estate taxes at the county regional level.

Senate Bill 736 authorizes the parking authorities in Second Class A and Third Class Cities to adjudicate disputed parking violation notices or citations issued through enforcement.

House Bill 422 updates eligibility provisions for First Class Township offices, aligns the procedure used to fill vacancies with other municipal codes, and provides for the filling of vacancies that result from a resignation.

House Bill 423 establishes a procedure for filling vacancies created as the result of a resignation of an elected Second Class Township official.

House Bill 1269 extends from 15 years to 20 years the timeframe for a municipal sewer authority serving five or more municipalities to complete infrastructure and facility projects funded by a sewer tapping fee.

State Government

The Senate State Government Committee approved three bills on Wednesday.

House Bill 599 creates the Results First Project and provides for data collection and analysis by the Independent Fiscal Office.

Senate Bill 610 designates quartz as the official State Mineral.

Senate Bill 658 designates the Eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) as the State Amphibian.

Transportation

The Senate Transportation Committee approved five bills on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 145 requires passengers in a vehicle to render aid to anyone injured in an accident.

House Bill 188 increases the income limit for retired persons to qualify for a vehicle registration fee exemption from $19,200 to $23,500.

House Bill 283 renames several highways and bridges.

Senate Bill 753 limits liability for emergency service responders who move a vehicle off of the roadway from an accident scene.

House Bill 952 is a bridge renaming bill.

Next Week

The Senate will reconvene on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch live at PASenateGOP.com.


Next Week

The Senate will reconvene on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch live at PASenateGOP.com.


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