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Senator Bob Mensch

In this Edition:

  • June 10 Coffee with your Senator Event
  • June Mensch Report: Ridge Valley Farm
  • Implementing REAL ID in Pennsylvania
  • Health and Human Services Unification Informational Website
  • Potential for Lyme Disease Increases Across PA
  • PennDOT Services and Publications Available Online
  • Preventing Rising Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities
  • Visitor Feedback Prompts Smoke-Free Beaches at PA State Parks
  • Wipers On Means Lights On for Safety

On May 5, Senator Mensch hosted a Coffee with your Senator event at Perkiomen Township building which was well attended. The Senator and constituents discussed a myriad of state-related matters.

June 10 Coffee with Your Senator Event

I am pleased to invite you to attend my next Coffee with your Senator event on June 10, 2017 at the Quakertown Library located at 401 West Mill Street, Quakertown, PA 18951. The event will begin at 9:15 am and conclude at 10:45 a.m.

This event provides constituents the opportunity to discuss and address any state-related matters or concerns with Senator Mensch in an open forum setting. There is no cost to attend and coffee and donuts will be provided. Please RSVP by calling 215-541-2388.

Below you will find the details for the following remaining Coffee with your Senator events in September. Please call 215-541-2388 with any additional questions you may have and please feel free to share this event with any family, friends, or colleagues that may also want to attend.

June Mensch Report: Ridge Valley Farm

June 2017: Ridge Valley Farms Maple Syrup

This edition of the Mensch Report features my walking tour and interview at Ridge Valley Farm. This business is owned and operated by Sue and Jim Myers in Green Lane, Pennsylvania.

Their 30 acre farm in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania is located on the Ridge Valley Creek approximately one mile from its confluence with the Unami Creek in Sumneytown. The farm has been in the family since the late 30’s and they started producing syrup in 2000.

Join me on this tour with Jim Myers to learn about this local business and how they get maple syrup from the tree to your table.

Implementing REAL ID in Pennsylvania

The General Assembly recently took action to maintain Pennsylvania citizens’ access to federal buildings and prevent the burden of needing a passport to fly within the U.S.

Lawmakers approved compromise legislation to bring the Commonwealth into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. Passed in wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this federal law established minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards and prohibited federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that did not meet these standards.

Concerned about costs and that that federal government sought to regulate what was previously under the domain of the states – driver’s licenses – the General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in 2012 to prohibit the Commonwealth from participating in REAL ID.

While these and other concerns were valid, not meeting the federal requirements comes at a cost to citizens: by June 6 of this year, Pennsylvanians could no longer gain access to secure federal buildings using their driver’s license. And, by January 2018, Pennsylvanians would need a passport to fly on commercial airlines within the U.S. To prevent this, the General Assembly enacted Act 103.

Now that the General Assembly passed Act 103, what next?

  • Once it is signed, PENNDOT will submit a request for a compliance extension from the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • PENNDOT will receive a determination from DHS.

What does this mean for constituents?

  • The only thing known for certain at this point in time is Pennsylvanians can continue to use their state driver’s licenses and photo identifications until June 7 to access any federal property, military installations, and nuclear power sites that require an ID for entry.
  • While we anticipate favorable consideration of a compliance extension from DHS, we must await that decision which PENNDOT expects to come before June 7.

What will an extension mean?

  • Pennsylvanians would be able to continue using their state driver’s licenses and photo identifications to access federal property, military installations, and nuclear power sites beyond June 7.
  • Depending upon how long the extension is, it may also ensure Pennsylvanians can use their state driver’s licenses and photo identifications for access to commercial aircraft beyond January 22, 2018.
  • PENNDOT is hopeful the Commonwealth will gain an extension or multiple extensions from DHS until it begins issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo IDs for those residents who choice to obtain them, thereby avoiding any need for Pennsylvanians to obtain a passport in order to gain entry to federal property, military installations, nuclear sites, or domestic commercial air flights.

When will REAL IDs be available in PENNSYLVANIA and how much will they cost?

  • REAL IDs will have to be available by October 1, 2020.
  • PENNDOT estimates it needs 18-24 months for implementation. This timeframe is dependent upon negotiations with DHS, potential need for further implementing legislation, and budgetary concerns.
  • The fee for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or photo ID is to be determined. PENNDOT’s goal is to keep the fee as close to the cost of a standard-issue driver’s license and photo ID but there could be an additional cost for a REAL ID.

Health and Human Services Unification Informational Website

A website has been launched that details the proposed unification of the departments of Health, Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Aging into the new Department of Health and Human Services.

The website offers myriad information to learn more about this initiative by reviewing draft legislation, diving deep into the HHS draft organizational charts, and giving the public an opportunity to weigh in with their own thoughts and ideas. The site will continue to be updated as the unification process moves along.

The comprehensive website, located at, provides details about the unified agency's deputates, or divisions, including primary functions and organizational charts.

Highlights include:

  • The creation of a cabinet-level position focused on coordinating state efforts relating to substance use and addiction policy;
  • No additional Lottery Fund dollars are transferred to offset General Fund expenditures as part of the unification and Lottery Fund revenues will continue to be solely dedicated to support senior programs;
  • Consolidation of front office functions at each agency, including budgeting, procurement and contract management, auditing, and federal reporting;
  • Rather than going to different places for eligibility assessments relating to TANF, LIHEAP, MA, SNAP, PACE, and WIC, individuals will now be able to determine eligibility for each of these at their local County Assistance Office.
  • Providers who are currently subject to multiple inspections and audits will now have one point of contact, the Office of Health Care Quality & Licensure, allowing the commonwealth to reduce bureaucratic hurdles, provide clearer and more cohesive guidance, save taxpayer dollars, and give providers the opportunity to spend more time delivering quality services to Pennsylvanians in need.
  • The Office of Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Services will improve the capacity of and coordination among mental and behavioral health and substance use and addiction programs to provide more efficient, integrated services and systems for Pennsylvanians struggling with one or more related conditions.

The following are just a few examples of the key ways an integrated agency can provide an easier way for citizens to interact with the commonwealth and obtain the services they need. Details on each are provided on the new web content.

  • Enhancing state efforts to fight back against the heroin and opioid epidemic.
  • Bolstering senior benefits and programs.
  • Reducing complexity and confusion for seniors and those with disabilities.
  • Reducing red tape for providers and non-profits subject to regulation.

The website was introduced to all affected agency staff in late April.  

Senator Mensch presented Zachary Ritchey on his Eagle Court of Honor on May 2, 2017.

Potential for Lyme Disease Increases Across PA

Whether maintaining your property or engaging in recreational and leisure activities, Pennsylvania residents in all 67 counties should be vigilant about preventing exposure to deer ticks and Lyme disease, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Combat exposure to Lyme disease through the use of repellents and protective clothing. Check regularly while outdoors and at the conclusion of activities to determine if you picked up an unwanted tick.

Prevent contracting the disease through the prompt and careful removal of the tick with tweezers, followed by application of rubbing alcohol to the bite area and your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer details on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

Senator Mensch performed with the Red Hill Band at the 6th Annual PA Hometown Hero Walk in Lansdale, PA.

PennDOT Services and Publications Available Online

PennDOT has discontinued printing paper copies of several of its larger manuals in order to reduce waste and save tax dollars. These include driver’s manuals, motorcycle operator’s manuals and CDL manuals. The department anticipates saving more than a half-million dollars annually by not printing and storing large quantities of these publications. Publications can be found online.

In addition, PennDOT offers a variety of driver and vehicle services, including the ability to renew vehicle registration and change your address, online at Please note that there are third party businesses that will claim to help you renew your vehicle registration for an additional fee. Constituents are highly encouraged to only visit to obtain driver and vehicle services in order to additional service fees and the sharing of private information with third party businesses.

Senator Mensch was honored to congratulate Sgt. Dean Miller on his 30 years of service at Lansdale Borough Police Department. On May 9, Senator Mensch hosted Senate Guest Chaplain Mr. Brad Mellon, along with his wife Marilyn, and their friends Bryan and Darlene Finnemeyer. You can watch the prayer and their introduction here.

Preventing Rising Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities

Let the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation know if your community has an intersection with a documented car/pedestrian crash history or a location where pedestrians have difficulty crossing the roadway because motorists fail to yield.

Following the loss of 77 pedestrians in Pennsylvania during the first six months of 2016, representing a 30.5 percent increase over 2015, PennDOT is reminding municipalities of the availability of “Yield to Pedestrian” signs. The portable free-standing signs are to be placed within the driver’s line of sight.

Consult the Regional Offices map to identify your county’s region and refer to the Pedestrian Brochure for your local PennDOT Engineering District Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator to obtain free safety signage for your community.  

Senator Mensch was pleased to host and introduce the Senate Guest Chaplain, Pastor Kris Wint, and his family. You can listen to the prayer and their introduction here.

Visitor Feedback Prompts Smoke-Free Beaches at PA State Parks

Visitors to many of Pennsylvania’s State Parks will find clean air billowing across the beach and the absence of cigarette butts soiling the sand, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

While reminding us they will observe the traditional Memorial Day opening of May 29, DCNR announced that 39 of 54 swimming beaches and pools located in state parks are now smoke-free in response to park visitor feedback and agency goals for ensuring clean air and beaches.

You can make your PA State Parks Reservations online, where you can also review the Rules and Regulations of PA’s State Parks to ensure a quality experience for all visitors. Included in the restriction are cigarettes, pipes, e-cigarettes or other handheld lighted smoking devices. Consult the State Park Advisories for a wide selection of helpful information for visitors. Download the free Official Guide for Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests to enrich your trip.

Wipers On Means Lights On for Safety

Pennsylvania safety laws require motorists driving with their wipers on, to also turn on their vehicle’s lights, according to the PA Department of Transportation.

Critical times that your vehicle’s lights are required to be on include:

  • Between dusk and dawn;
  • Posted work zones (not just active); and
  • Precipitation, including rain, snow, sleet, fog and/or mist when the vehicle’s wipers are on.

Motorists with daytime running lights are required to switch on headlights thereby activating their taillights. Wipers On, Lights On became law with the enactment of Act 159 of 2006.

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 for more information about your state government.

Contact Me

Senator Mensch is on facebookTwitter

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203024
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3024
Phone (717) 787-3110
FAX (717) 787-8004

Red Hill Office
56 West 4th Street
Floor 2
Red Hill, PA 18076
Phone (215) 541-2388
Toll Free 1-855-247-9020
FAX (215) 541-2387
Monday - Friday
9-4:30 pm

Lansdale District Office
1 Vine Street Ste 202
Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone (215) 368-3117
FAX (215) 361-4222
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
9-4:30 pm

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