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Legislative Summary Archive

Industrial Exemption


Summary of Legislation | April 2017

 

House Passes “First Step” Budget Bill

The state House took the first big step toward an on-time budget for fiscal year 2017-18 by amending and passing HB 218, which is expected to be this year’s vehicle bill for the final budget agreement. As usual, the bill passed largely on partisan lines, with Democrats voting no. While the bill keeps much of the Governor’s proposal, released in February, in some Human Services areas, including the consolidation of four existing cabinet-level Departments, it hits hard on economic development programs.

Details of the House Republican plan can be found on the Caucus website: http://www.pahousegop.com/statebudget1718.aspx

This bill is a long way from the finish line, but sets out the House Republican position, as guided by new Appropriations Committee Chairman Stan Saylor and the other Republican leaders, Speaker Mike Turzai, and Majority Leader Dave Reed. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration. Reaction to the House-passed budget bill has been relatively lukewarm in the Senate, though both chambers agree that dealing with the more than a billion dollars of structural deficit from this year’s budget, which is projected to grow over the next several years, needs to be a priority. As has been the case the past several years, though, significant differences in philosophy and focus of priorities exist between the two Republican-controlled chambers, as does their approach toward dealing with the Governor’s priorities. Much work remains.

Prevailing Wage Discussions

Previous monthly updates have reported on both prevailing wage bills and a study committee regarding PLANCON (the state’s school construction reimbursement program).  The two separate issues have reached a nexus as some committee members are suggesting that prevailing wage changes should be a part of the committee’s final recommendations.  The PLANCON committee was created to address funding options so that state funding for a portion of local school construction might continue.  The current Commonwealth budget proposals don’t include any funding for PLANCON and there is a moratorium in place for new applications.  The committee is supposed to report back to the House and Senate with recommendations within the month, although an extension may be requested.

But any recommendations would still need to be introduced as legislation and passed just like any other bill. Proposing changes that repeal or narrow the prevailing wage law isn’t a new idea.  Those kinds of bills are regularly introduced but haven’t moved very far in the past.  The problem is including controversial issues in the committee’s recommendations would likely be a poison pill for the final report.  That would not bode well for the future of PLANCON.  There is a good chance that any recommendations addressing prevailing wage don’t make it into the committee’s recommendations though.   The committee is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republican legislators plus the Education Secretary and 3 outside stake holder groups.   A more daunting obstacle for helping school districts pay for construction is finding revenue in a Commonwealth budget that is already underfunded by hundreds of millions.  The next public hearing of the committee is May 4th at the East Penn School District in the Lehigh Valley.

Legislative Activity

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

Bidding / Contracting

SR 62  RE: Public Construction Laws (by Sen. Mike Folmer, et al)

A Resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive study of the costs and efficiencies of the requirements under Pennsylvania’s public construction laws.

Introduced and referred to Senate State Government Committee, 4/6/2017 

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 amended from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/4/2017 (114-84)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 4/6/2017

HB 785  RE: Capital Facilities Debt Limit Reduction (By Rep. Stan Saylor, et al)

Amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act adding language providing retirements of principal for funding bonds under section 312 relating to funding bonds shall be regular and substantial if made in annual or semiannual amounts whether by stated serial maturities or by mandatory sinking fund retirements computed in accordance with either a level annual debt service plan as nearly as may be or upon the equal annual maturities plan. Also adds language providing that beginning July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter until the sum of the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance capital projects equals $2.95 billion, the maximum amount of outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects shall be decreased by $50 million. Further provides for limitation on additional capital project releases financed by debt and for carry forward. Adds a chapter relating to capital budgets for particular fiscal years. Amendments to section 307 (c) relating to terms and conditions; section 317 relating to appropriation for and limitation on capital projects; and section 318 relating to administration of redevelopment assistance capital projects shall take effect in 60 days.

Read second time and re-referred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/3/2017

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and Passed House, 4/4/2017 (117-81)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 4/6/2017 

HB 1178  RE: High-Performance Buildings Tax Credit (by Rep. Brian Sims, et al)

Amends the Tax Reform Code establishing the High-Performance Buildings Tax Credit,which would be available to a taxpayer, whether owner or tenant, for either the construction of a high- performance building or the rehabilitation of a building which is not a high-performance building into a high-performance building. The total tax credit that is available to a taxpayer for a single eligible project shall be distributed in four equal amounts over four years. The amount shall be based on the number of gross square feet of floor space in the eligible building, that building’s achievement of an appropriate standard, and the tier of achievement earned. In addition, no building may receive a tax credit unless it has earned achievement at or above the Tier I level. All the approved projects shall receive a base tax credit of $35,000 plus an additional tax credit based on a formula outlined in the legislation. The Department of Revenue shall annually report to the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees on the credit. The addition of sections 1901-G, 1902-G, 1903-G, 1904-G and 1910-G shall take effect in 30 days and the remainder of the act shall take effect in 12 months.

Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 4/12/2017 

HB 1179  RE: Energy Star Rated Product Manufacturing Tax Credit (by Rep. Brian Sims, et al)

Amends the Tax Reform Code establishing an Energy Star rated product manufacturing tax credit for a taxpayer that manufactures Energy Star rated products. The credit shall be amount equal to 20 percent of the total amount of all capital, operation, and maintenance costs paid for manufacturing Energy Star related products in the taxable year to be applied against the taxpayer’s qualified tax liability. The addition of sections 1801-H, 1802-H, 1803-H, 1804-H, 1805-H and 1806-CH shall apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2016, and the act shall take effect immediately.

Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 4/12/2017 

HB 1180 RE: Energy Star-Related Glass or Window Technologies Tax Credit (by Rep. Brian Sims, et al)

Amends the Tax Reform Code establishing an Energy Star-related glass or window technologies tax credit for a taxpayer that manufactures Energy Star-related glass or window technologies. The credit would be in an amount equal to 20 percent of the total amount of all capital, operation, and maintenance costs paid for Energy Star-related glass or window technologies in the taxable year to be applied against the taxpayer’s qualified tax liability. The addition of sections 1801-H, 1802-H, 1803-H, 1804-H, 1805-H and 1806-H shall apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2016, and the act shall take effect immediately.

Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 4/12/2017 

HB 1181 RE: Green Roof Tax Credit (by Rep. Brian Sims, et al)

Amends the Tax Reform Code establishing a green roof tax credit.

Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 4/12/2017 

SB 651  RE: Capital Budget Project Itemization Act of 2017-2018 (by Sen. Pat Browne, et al)

provides for the capital budget for fiscal year 2017-2018; itemizing public improvement projects, furniture and equipment projects, transportation assistance projects, redevelopment assistance, flood control projects, Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund projects, Environmental Stewardship Fund projects, State forestry bridge projects, park and forest management projects, State ATV/ Snowmobile Fund projects, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission projects, Oil and Gas Lease Fund projects and Motor License Fund projects to be constructed, acquired or assisted by the Department of General Services, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation or the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, together with their estimated financial costs; authorizing the incurring of debt without the approval of the electors for the purpose of financing the projects to be constructed, acquired or assisted by the Department of General Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation or the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission; authorizing the use of current revenue for the purpose of financing the projects to be constructed, acquired or assisted by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Transportation stating the estimated useful life of the projects; making a related repeal; and making appropriations.

Introduced and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 4/21/2017

Environmental Building Standards 

HB 1090  RE: Erosion and Sediment Control Act (by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, et al)

Outlines requirements for erosion and sediment control. A person proposing the following activities must obtain an erosion and sediment control permit from the department of a conservation district before commencing the activity: (1) Oil and gas activities that involve at least five acres of earth disturbance at any one time; (2) Timber harvesting or road maintenance activities involving at least 25 acres of earth disturbance at any one time; and (3) Activity that does not require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under 25 Pa. Code 102.5 (relating to permit requirements) and which involves at least five acres of earth disturbance at any one time, provided that no permit shall be required for agricultural plowing or tilling activities or animal heavy use areas. The bill provides for review and issuance of permits and requires that a permit application be accompanied by a $500 fee, plus an additional $100 fee for each disturbed acre.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 4/7/2017  

HB 1101 RE: Environmental Permitting Reform Act (by Rep. Steve Mentzer, et al)

Provides for environmental permitting reform; establishes a permit program to expedite decisions on approval or denial of permit applications; and imposes duties on the Department of Environmental Protection. The department shall review all permit decisions and permit decision delays during the immediately prior calendar year and submit a report of findings to the chairmen of the Environmental Resources and Energy committees of the Senate and House. Within a year of issuing that report, the department shall establish and implement a permit program. The department shall contract with third-party licensed professionals for the purpose of administering the permit program. The shall report annually to the legislature thereafter.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 4/7/2017 

SB 144  RE: Alternative Systems (by Sen. Gene Yaw, et al)

Amends Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act authorizing the inclusion of alternative systems in the site planning process.

Reported as committed from Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and read first time, 4/25/2017

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 1269  RE: Extension for Construct of Infrastructure (by Rep. Tom Quigley, et al)

Amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally), in municipal authorities, further providing for purposes and powers adding that the facilities have not been placed into service within seven years, or, for an authority which provides service to five or more municipalities, the facilities have not been placed into service within 20 years (increased from 15), after adoption of a resolution which imposes tapping fees which are based upon facilities to be constructed or acquired in the future. Any refund of fees held for 20 years (increased form 15) shall include interest for the period the money was held.

Introduced and referred to House Local Government Committee, 4/24/2017

HR 176  RE: Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month (by Rep. Bob Godshall, et al)

A Resolution designating the month of April 2017 as “Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month.”

Adopted, 4/3/2017 (195-0)

SB 242  RE: One Call System Sunset (by Sen. Lisa Baker, et al)

Amends the Underground Utility Line Protection Law further providing extensively for definitions, for duties of facility owners, for duties of the One Call System, for duties of excavators, for duties of designers, for duties of project owners and for penalties; providing for enforcement, for underground utility line protection fund and for compliance; and further providing for One Call System authority and for expiration. Among the many changes, facility owners shall maintain existing records of main lines abandoned on or after the effective date and to mark, locate or identify the main lines if possible, based upon the existing records. A damage prevention committee is established to review reports of violations, issue warnings and determinations and require persons to attend damage prevention educational programs. Changes the expiration date from 2017 to December 31, 2024.

Reported as committed from Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, and read first time, 4/18/2017

SR 101  RE: Building Safety Month (by Sen. Kim Ward, et al)

A Resolution recognizing the month of May 2017 as “Building Safety Month” in Pennsylvania and encouraging residents to participate in “Building Safety Month” activities.

Introduced and adopted, 4/26/2017 

Professional Licensure

HB 223  RE: Architects’ CE Requirements (by Rep. Curt Sonney, et al)

Amends the Architects Licensure Law further providing for definitions and requiring the board to establish, adopt, promulgate and enforce rules and regulations setting forth a continuing education requirement to be satisfied by all individuals holding a certificate to engage in the practice of architecture as a condition of renewal of the certificate. The following shall apply to the continuing education requirement: (1) As a condition for the biennial renewal of a license, a licensee must provide certification of successful completion of a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education, at least 12 of which must be in the subject areas of health, safety and welfare credits; (2) A licensee of another jurisdiction in which the architect’s primary practice is located shall be deemed to have satisfied the continuing education requirement if the licensee has a continuing education requirement in the jurisdiction of primary practice and certifies on the biennial renewal application that the licensee has satisfied the continuing education requirement of the jurisdiction of primary practice; (3) Certification of credit hours submitted by a licensee must be properly signed as being correct and true; (4) An individual applying for initial licensure shall be exempt from the continuing education requirement during the biennial licensure period in which the individual obtained the initial licensure; and (5) The board may waive all or part of the continuing education requirement for a licensee who provides evidence satisfactory to the board that the licensee was unable to complete the requirement due to illness, emergency, hardship or active military service.

Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/3/2017

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/4/2017 (189-8)

Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 4/6/2017

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.

Read second time and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/3/2017
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/4/2017 (197-0)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 4/6/2017 

HB 1102  RE: Interior Designer Registration Act (by Rep .Curt Sonney, et al)

Provides for the registration of interior designers; imposes powers and duties on the Bureau of Consumer Protection; and imposes penalties. Effective July 1, 2018.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 4/7/2017 

HB 1106  RE: Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law – Amendments (by Rep. Joe Emrick, et al)

Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, further providing for definitions, for continuing professional competency requirements and for exemption from licensure and registration. The bill establishes a competency requirement for the completion of distance learning courses if the course relates to professional practice, and if it is verifiable and measurable by hours of instruction.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 4/10/2017

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/

THURSDAY – 5/4/17
Public School Building Construction & Reconstruction Advisory Committee
12:00 p.m., East Penn School District Administration Building, 800 Pine Street, Emmaus

Public hearing on funding for school construction and maintenance

WEDNESDAY – 5/10/17
House Local Government Committee
9:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

To consider:

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

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

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

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

And others

2017 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

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

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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