Legislative Activity

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Legislative Summary Archive

Industrial Exemption


Summary of Legislation | March 2017

Registration Board Moving Toward Full Complement

In recent months, the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists has been working shorthanded. The Board is comprised of 13 members (5 PEs, 2 PLS, 2 PGs, 3 public members and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs). Terms are for 6 years plus an additional 6 months if a successor is not appointed to replace them. Until recently, the Board only had 8 current members due to openings that had not been filled. These Board members are nominated by the Governor and require the PA Senate to confirm the nomination. If that sounds political, it’s because it is. In fact, it is not unusual for openings to take some time before they are filled. However the recent situation was getting to be a serious concern. It takes 7 of the 8 remaining members for a quorum and one of those was beyond the term expiration and nearly beyond the additional 6 month a board member may serve.

The good news is that the Senate confirmed two members at the end of March. Elizabeth A. Catania, PE was reappointed to the Board and Francis J. Stanton, Jr., PE was added as a new member. Both are Past Presidents of PSPE. Another PE is still pending before the Senate: Robert Kudlawiec, PE. That confirmation vote could take place as early as April 18th. There are still 2 public member positions open for nomination.

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists March 8 Meeting Highlights

The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists met on March 8 in Harrisburg. Following are the highlights.

  • Board Chair Theodore Tesler, PG, welcomed Board members and guests, and thanked them for their service. He acknowledged the guests and invited them to share any concerns.
  • John Fuehrer, PE, PLS raised the continuing issue of the PSLS being no longer part of the exam. The Board heard a report from the Bureau of Finance and Operations, regarding the annual budget presentation. Bureau staff estimated that the pending $50 increase should be sufficient, assuming it is approved by IRRC, for several years.
  • NCEES President Daniel Turner gave a report on upcoming issues. He noted that NCEES has developed a recruiting film called, “Dream Big”, designed to promote the professions to middle and high school students. He said NCEES is looking at the number of times an applicant may fail; plan stamping; and recognition for software engineering.
  • President Tesler had no further report.
  • BPOA Commissioner Ian Harlow shared the monthly Department of State report. The renewal process, known as PALS is on time and on budget, will be utilized in the next cycle. Harlow noted a number of vacancies exist on many of the licensing Boards under BPOA, including the Registration Board, but he anticipates the Governor’s office sending names for all of the openings to the Senate for confirmation over the next few months.
  • Board Counsel Juan Ruiz reported on cases and applications that are before the Board, which were to be discussed in Executive session. Ruiz also reported that the state Supreme Court had denied the Board’s petition for appeal in the DRG (Davey Tree) case. Board members then discussed creating a “legislative initiative” to address the deficiencies in the Act. Ted Mowatt, on behalf of PSPE and PSLS, noted that a bill is being circulated now to accomplish this, to be sponsored by Rep. Joe Emrick. Harlow offered the Bureau’s help in passing the legislation.
  • Regulatory Counsel Tom Blackburn reported that the Fee increase regulation should be back on track, after the Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) sent a number of questions, which the Budget Bureau answered. Blackburn hoped to know more before the next meeting. Blackburn also noted that he had discussed that a previously passed Act 48 regulation made a reference to the wrong section of the law regarding CE, so it will be resubmitted as final-omitted.
  • Lisa Catania, PE, inquired about the Seals regulation. Blackburn indicated he sent it to OGC in January. Commissioner Harlow said it is on his list to discuss with OGC. Catania and Tesler both suggested it may be obsolete by the time it is published, due to technology advances.

Next meeting is May 10, in Harrisburg. Future 2017 meetings: July 12, September 13, November 8.

Legislative Activity

The following bills of interest to PSPE have been introduced and/or acted upon in the past month.

Bidding / Contracting

HB 1003 RE: Lists of Permits Issued (by Rep. Jason Ortitay, et al)

Amends the Administrative Code, in powers and duties of the Department of Environmental Resources, its officers and departmental and advisory boards and commissions, requiring that the department shall compile, maintain and make available a complete list of all permits issued by the department and all permits issued by a delegated authority, and publish it in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and make it available on the department’s website.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 3/28/2017 

HB 1007 RE: Consultants (by Rep. Doyle Heffley, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in adoption and enforcement by municipalities, providing applicants the option of using an alternative third party agency if they are in a municipality that only has one third party agency.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 3/28/2017

Budget Related Bills 

HB 218 RE: General Appropriation Act of 2017 (by Rep. Stan Saylor, et al)

Provides from the General Fund for the expenses of the Executive and Judicial Departments, the State Government Support Agencies and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth, the public debt and the public schools for the fiscal year July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, for certain institutions and organizations, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017; to provide appropriations from the State Lottery Fund, the Tobacco Settlement Fund, the Aviation Restricted Account, the Hazardous Material Response Fund, The State Stores Fund, the Milk Marketing Fund, the Home Investment Trust Fund, the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, the Tuition Account Guaranteed Savings Program Fund, the Banking Fund, the Firearm Records Check Fund, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority Fund, the Oil and Gas Lease Fund, the Home Improvement Account, the Cigarette Fire Safety and Firefighter Protection Act Enforcement Fund, the Commonwealth Financing Authority Debt Service Restricted Revenue Account, the Insurance Regulation and Oversight Fund, the Pennsylvania Racehorse Development Restricted Receipt Account, the Justice Reinvestment Fund and the Multimodal Transportation Fund to the Executive Department; to provide appropriations from the Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account to the Judicial Department for the fiscal year July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018; to provide appropriations from the Motor License Fund for the fiscal year July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, for the proper operation of several departments of the Commonwealth and the Pennsylvania State Police authorized to spend Motor License Fund money; to provide for the appropriation of Federal funds to the Executive Department of the Commonwealth and for the payment of bills remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017. The bill is effective immediately and retroactive to July 1, 2017, if enacted after that date.

NOTE: This bill was introduced BEFORE the Governor’s budget address, and does not reflect the Administration’s spending priorities. It will likely, however, serve as the vehicle for the budget, as the process moves along.

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 3/13/2017
Removed from the table, read second time, and re-referred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/20/2017

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 162 RE: Construction Code Manuals (by Rep. David Maloney, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in Uniform Construction Code, adding language allowing the Department of Labor and Industry to contract with the ICC to establish and publish code manuals that contain the standards of the Uniform Construction Code. The department shall require in any such contract that the standards be made available on the department’s website.

Read second time, and re-referred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/13/2017
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed Senate, 3/20/2017 (196-0)

HB 298 RE: Training and Certification of Inspectors (by Rep. Sheryl Delozier, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in training and certification of inspectors, further providing for training of inspectors. The bill states that the department may by regulation establish a separate trainee classification for each certification category. The trainee classification shall be considered optional for all individuals seeking certification under this act. An applicant for trainee classification shall secure the sponsorship of an individual certified in each category for which the trainee seeks certification. A trainee classification is nonrenewable and shall be limited. Individuals with trainee classifications may perform all the duties of a certified individual while under the supervision of a sponsor. The department may establish fees and applications and registration procedures to establish the trainee classification system. Individuals with trainee classifications shall be listed on the department’s website.

Read second time, and re-referred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/13/2017
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed Senate, 3/20/2017 (195-1)

HB 911 RE: Economically Significant Regulations (by Rep. Greg Rothman, et al)

Amends the Regulatory Review Act further providing for definitions; and providing for economically significant regulations and for abrogation of regulations. Each regulation submitted by an agency shall include a fiscal note prepared by the Office of the Budget. The fiscal note must contain an examination of the aggregate direct cost and aggregate indirect cost associated with the regulation for the first five years following implementation of the regulation. The Office of the Budget shall notify each committee if the regulation is an economically significant regulation, as defined in the bill. The bill provides for notification to and review by the legislature. The General Assembly may adopt a concurrent resolution abrogating a regulation.

Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee, 3/21/2017 

HB 913 RE: Fees for Storm Water Management Activities (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends Title 8 (Boroughs & Incorporated Towns) adding language allowing an incorporated town council to assess fees for storm water management activities and facilities without the need to establish a municipal authority.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 3/22/2017 

HB 914 RE: Fees for Storm Water Management Activities (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends Title 8 (Boroughs & Incorporated Towns) adding language allowing a borough to assess fees for storm water management activities and facilities without the need to establish a municipal authority.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 3/22/2017 

HB 915 RE: Fees for Storm Water Management Activities (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends the First Class Township Code adding language allowing the board of commissioners to assess fees for storm water management activities and facilities without the need to establish a municipal authority.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 3/22/2017

HB 916 RE: Fees for Storm Water Management Activities (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends Title 11 (Cities) adding language allowing a city to assess fees for storm water management activities and facilities without the need to establish a municipal authority.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 3/22/2017

Professional Licensure

HB 548 RE: Self-Reporting of Convictions (by Rep. Harry Readshaw, et al)

Amends the act entitled “An act empowering the General Counsel or his designee to issue subpoenas for certain licensing board activities; providing for hearing examiners in the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs; providing additional powers to the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs; and further providing for civil penalties and license suspension,” by adding a subsection on hearing examiners requiring all licensees under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to report convictions within 30 days.

Reported as committed from House Professional Licensure Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 3/21/2017
Removed from the table, 3/22/2017  

HB 670 RE: Fire Sprinkler Contractors Licensing Act (by Rep. John Taylor, et al)

Provides for licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and inspectors; and imposing duties on the Department of Labor and Industry. Provisions regarding refusal, suspension or revocation of license are effective immediately and the remainder is effective upon the effective date of the regulations promulgated by the department or on July 1, 2017, whichever is sooner.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 3/2/2017 

HB 1001 RE: Home Inspector Licensing Act (by Rep. Susan Helm, et al)

Regulates home inspectors; provides for funds, for licensure, for disciplinary action, for remedies and for penalties; and repeals provisions relating to home inspections.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 3/28/2017

Cosponsor Memo Filed

HCO1547 (Emrick)- Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law – Amendments – Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law making changes to current exemption and cleans up loose continuing education language.

Filed, 3/8/2017

School Construction

HB 711 RE: Prototypical School Design Clearinghouse (by Rep. Tedd Nesbitt, et al)

Amends Public School Code requiring the use of certain approved designs in the construction of school facilities. Authorizes the Department of Education to establish a prototypical school design clearinghouse, accessible by any school entity in Pennsylvania. Provides for submission and review process of designs, and for their approval. Requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the program after five years to determine savings.

Introduced and referred to House Education Committee, 3/6/2017 

Upcoming meetings of Interest

Some House Committee meetings and session can be viewed online at: http://www.pahousegop.com/

Senate Committee meetings and session can be streamed at: http://www.pasenategop.com/  

2017 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

April                      17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
May                       8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24
June                       5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30  

2017 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

April                      3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
May                       8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24
June                       5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30  

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists Meeting Schedule 

2017 Meeting Dates (Subject to Change)

May 10, July 12, September 13, November 8

PUBLIC WELCOME

All Board meetings are held at Penn Center, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA, at 9:30 a.m. Other meeting dates may be scheduled as needed.

Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed here.

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