Summary of Legislative Activity | January 2024

Summary Legislation

The Senate returned to session the week of February 5, primarily to receive the Governor’s budget address, but voted on a small handful of bills, including Senate Bill 403.  The legislation Updates Licensing Requirements of Professional Engineers to address several cumbersome provisions. For instance, it replaces the term “engineer in training” with “Engineer Intern,” provides for “distance learning” PDH’s for licensure renewal, clarifies that the "practice of engineering" is not limited only those projects that involve a "design," and will also allow the qualified experience to apply regardless of whether it was earned before or after the EIT certificate was granted.

Currently, an applicant to be granted licensure as a professional engineer must hold an engineer-in-training certificate and show proof of four or more years of experience in engineering work performed after the issuance of their engineer-in-training certificate.  In some cases, an individual may have the years of required experience and training, but it may have occurred prior to them obtaining their engineer-in-training certificate in Pennsylvania.

Before passing the Senate, the bill was also amended in the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee to include similar updates to the Land Surveyor licensing section. The bill passed the Senate by a 48-1 vote, and now heads to the House for consideration. Similar legislation passed the House overwhelmingly last session.

PSPE supports this bill and encourages members to now contact their local state House members to ask for their support. Please click here to help with this effort.

Governor Josh Shapiro and leaders of the General Assembly have outlined some of their goals for 2024. While many of them have yet to align, nevertheless, how to reach a consensus as the nation’s only divided state legislature, there are some similar goals.

 

Education funding looks to be a main priority with an impetus to address a ruling from the Commonwealth Court that the Commonwealth’s current funding system is unconstitutional and recommendations on how to address the issue from the Basic Education Funding Commission. However, a school voucher program, which was part of the recently resolved budget impasse last year will likely be tied to any efforts to increase education funding.  Next, both the Governor and leaders of the Senate Republicans have indicated permitting reform will be part of the legislative agenda, as well as increasing the minimum wage, updating the election code and a constitutional amendment that would open a window for survivors of child sexual abuse to sue. Governor Shapiro’s Budget Address is Tuesday, February 6th and he has also indicated it will include more funding for the already approved expansion of the state’s Property Tax and Rent Rebate program.

 

However, Speaker Joanna McClinton announced that the House will not return to voting session until mid-March. This is apparently partially due to a recently discovered leak in the House Chamber roof and an upcoming special election in Bucks County with State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks) resigning from the House on December 15th.

 

Typically, the first few months of the year are not busy voting months, with the Governor’s budget address on February 6 followed by several weeks of recess for House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings to address the budget asks of various agencies, so this is not really a vast departure from precedent, especially in election years, when ample time is usually granted for the legislators to be home circulating nominating petitions for their re-elections next fall. Expect things to pick up precipitously in the following months leading up to the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks) made good on his previous announcement of his intention to resign from the House on December 15th. As was reported last month, Galloway won a race for Magisterial District Judge in November and will assume the new position in January. Galloway’s resignation will bring the House balance back to a dead even 101-101 until his seat is filled by the voters by a special election, which House Speaker Joanna McClinton has called for February 13, 2024.

 

Jim Prokopiak has secured the Democratic nomination for the upcoming special election to fill the Galloway seat, with Candace Cabanas as the Republican candidate. Prokopiak was unanimously selected by the Bucks County Democratic Committee. Prokopiak is an attorney and serves on the Pennsbury School Board as well as the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority.

 

This year will also see the full House of Representatives and half of the PA Senate up for election. Candidates must start circulating nomination petitions by January 23rd and this has already led to several members of the General Assembly announcing they are not seeking re-election or are running for a different office:

  • Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) SD45
  • John DiSanto (R- Dauphin) SD15
  • Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) SD31
    • Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks) HD 05
    • George Dunbar (R-Westmorland) HD56
    • John Galloway (D-Bucks) HD140
    • Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) HD120
    • Rep Steve Kinsey (D-Phila) HD201
    • Jim Marshall (R – Beaver) HD14
  • Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) HD63
  • Paul Schemel (R – Franklin) HD90
    • Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) HD3 – Running for State Treasurer
    • Dawn Keefer (R-York) HD92 – Running for State Senate –D31
    • Malcom Kenyatta (D – Philadelphia) HD181 – Running for State Auditor General
    • Patty Kim (D - Dauphin) HD103 – Running for State Senate D15
    • Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) HD187 – Running for U.S. House of Representatives – D7
    • Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) HD28 – Running for U.S. House of Representatives – D17
    • Nick Pisciottano (D-West Mifflin) HD38 Running for State Senate – D45
    • Mark Rozzi (D – Berks) HD126
    • Jarred Solomon (D – Philadelphia) HD202 – Running for State Attorney General
    • Craig Williams (R – Delaware) HD160 – Running for State Attorney General

The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists met on January 24, via hybrid meeting format. Following are the highlights.

Board President Joe McNally, PG, presided, and welcomed the members. He reported on the December 11, 2023 meeting with the United Kingdom Consulate. Issues discussed included: international agreements between nations and states regarding educational equivalencies. NCEES will be reviewing the interplay between the countries for possible reciprocity purposes.

∙ Board member Jim Szalankiewicz, PE, PLS, reported that fellow Board member Mike Brinkash had recently received the PSLS President’s Award. Congrats to Mike.

∙ Board member Martin Helmke, PG, reported on the ASBOG meeting.

Deputy Chief Counsel Carlton Smith presented the annual Prosecution Report.

Board Prosecutor Glenn Masser, Esq., presented two Consent Agreements, which the Board had discussed in Executive Session and the consent agreement were approved.

Board Counsel Ashley Goshert, reported on the status of SB 403. She also presented three other cases for the board to consider. She had no regulatory report.

Acting Commissioner Arion Claggett did not attend, nor did he send a report.

Board Administrator Kristel Hennessey Hemler reported on the 2023 CE audits. 550 notices were sent out. 458 PEs passed the audit, 4, discrepancies, 27 were sent to the compliance office. 16 failed, 11 did not respond.

The Board discussed upcoming NCEES and ASBOG meetings, and approved attendance for Board members.

The Board held elections of officers: McNally and Kudlawiec were re-elected President and VP, respectively.

Attorney Ray Michalowski noted that he had made a Board presentation at the recent PSLS meeting, and offered to do similar overview presentations for the Engineers and Geologists if they are interested.

The next meeting is March 13, 2024, with both in-person and virtual options for attendees, at the new location, 2525 N. 7th Street, Harrisburg. Public Session begins at 11 AM

2024 dates: March 13, May 29, July 24, September 25, and November 13.

2025 dates: January 30, March 27, May 15, July 24, September 18, November 13


This Month in the PA Bulletin:

NONE


Legislative Activity

The following bills and co-sponsorship memos for bills to be introduced of interest to PSPE were acted on by the General Assembly this past month. 


HB 1949
RE:  CRIZ Contracting (by Rep. Patrick J. Harkins, et al)

Amends the Tax Reform Code, in city revitalization and improvement zones, providing for establishment of contracting authority board for city of the third class. Provides for board composition and board member terms, compensation and vacancies. Provides definitions.

Referred to House Finance Committee, 1/9/2024 


HR 300
RE: Safe Digging Month (by Rep. Robert F. Matzie, et al)

A Resolution designating the month of April 2024 as "Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month."

Introduced, 1/25/2024 

Referred to House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee, 1/31/2024 

 

SB 961 RE: The Pennsylvania Quality Construction Tax Credit  (by Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, et al)

Amends the Keystone Opportunity Zone, Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone and Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions; and, in keystone opportunity zones, further providing for qualified businesses. Provides additional definitions. Includes certified payroll requirements on the annual certification form for businesses to qualify for tax incentives under the act. Requires businesses that make capital investments of more than $25,000 for the construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration or repair of a facility on a parcel through which the entity seeks tax incentives to have skilled craft laborers as 70 percent of the individuals employed for the investments and to pay all individuals employed for the investments the prevailing minimum wage rate for each craft or classification as determined by the department. Requires the department to enforce the subsection. Establishes a business entity must refund 100 percent of the tax incentive amount if the department determines the entity intentionally failed to pay the prevailing wage or benefit rates necessary. Establishes a finding of violation may be appealed.

Introduced and referred to Senate Finance Committee, 1/11/2024 


HB 1973
RE: Public Facilities Infrastructure (by Rep. Tarik Kahn, et al)

Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) adding a chapter to provide for the Public Facilities Infrastructure Grant Program. Specifies definitions. Establishes the Public Facilities Infrastructure Grant Program within the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) as a competitive grant program.  Provides for the use of grants, department powers and duties, and compliance with the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act. Directs the General Assembly to appropriate money to DCED from the General Fund for the purpose of awarding grants under this chapter. Details that within 90 days of the effective date of this section and each March 15 thereafter, DCED shall adopt a plan that establishes its priorities for that year and describes the method in which grant program money will be distributed that year. Explains what shall apply for reporting. Provides for administration

Referred to House Local Government Committee, 1/31/2024 

HB 1975 RE: Housing Affordability Bill Package (by Rep. Joshua Siegel, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, in zoning, further providing for classifications. Enables the municipality to divide the municipality into zoning districts and regulate and restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair or use of buildings, structure or land. Requires local design and review standards to be clear, objective and necessary to protect public health and safety or to comply with federal law. Provides for fee requirements and low-income housing initiatives within zoning regulation. Requires employees of the municipality to determine compliance with local design standards in a review of an application for a permit or variance.

Introduced, 1/25/2024 

Referred to House Housing & Community Development Committee, 1/31/2024 

 

HB 1988  RE: Housing Affordability Bill Package (by Rep. Joshua Siegel, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in preliminary provisions, adding a subparagraph to further provide for Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council. Asserts that there shall be a technical advisory committee to recommend modifications and limitations to the International Building Code that would allow for a single-exit stairway to serve multifamily residential structures up to six stories above grade plan, detailing what shall apply

Introduced, 1/25/2024 

Referred to House Housing & Community Development Committee, 1/31/2024 


SB 581
RE: (by Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, et al)

Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas), in development, further providing for well location restrictions to replace 500 feet with 2,500 feet and 1,000 feet with 2,500 feet, remove the word “reservoir,” and add language stating, “or within 5,000 feet from a reservoir.” Specifies that no well may be drilled within 5,000 feet of a school or hospital on or after the effective date of this paragraph.

Introduced and referred to Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, 1/22/2024 

SB 960 RE: The Pennsylvania Quality Construction Tax Credit (by Sen. Steven J. Santarsiero, et al)

(PN 1322) Amends the Tax Reform Code, providing for prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. Provides definitions. Establishes prevailing wage requirements for business entities making capital investments of more than $25,000 for the construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration or repair of a facility on a parcel through which the entity seeks tax incentives. Provides for the department’s enforcement of the article. Establishes consequences for the violation of the section in the form of a refund requirement and appeals. Effective in 60 days.

Introduced and referred to Senate Finance Committee, 1/11/2024 

HB1882 RE: Protecting Consumers From Fraudulent Licensees (by Rep. Frank Burns, et al)

Amends Title 63 (Professions and Occupations (State Licensed)), in powers and duties, further providing for civil penalties. Provides that licensing boards and licensing commissions shall have the power to rescind a license, registration, certification or permit issued by the professional or occupational licensing board or licensing commission where there is probable cause that the license, registration, certification or permit was issued based on documentation provided by or on behalf of the applicant that was found to be false or fraudulent. Asserts that the licensing board or licensing commission shall provide at least 10 days’ notice of the recission of the license, registration, certification or permit and shall offer the applicant the opportunity to demonstrate that the license, registration, certification or permit was not issued based on false or fraudulent documentation at a post-recission hearing before the appropriate licensing board or licensing commission, which shall occur within 20 days of the recission. Prohibits certain recessions.

Referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, 1/5/2024 

 

SB403 RE: Licensing Updates of Professional Engineers (by Sen. Lisa Baker, et al)

An Act amending the act of May 23, 1945 (P.L.913, No.367), known as the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law, further providing for definitions, for general powers of board, for procedure for licensing as professional engineer, for procedure for licensing as professional land surveyor, for continuing professional competency requirements, for fees and for penalties.

Re-reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, 2/5/2024

Read third time, and passed Senate, 2/7/2024 (48-1)

HB1833 RE: Design Build Best Value (by Rep. Ed Neilson, et al)

Amends Title 74 (Transportation), in transportation infrastructure, providing for design build best value. Defines agency, alternative technical concept (ATC), design build best value, offeror, request for proposals, request for qualifications, responsible offeror, responsive proposal and state of qualifications. Provides rules and conditions for the use of the design build best value process. Details the steps to request the use of the design build best value process. Requires a preproposal after issuing a request for two-step procurement. Details the guidelines for requests for technical and price proposals in a one-step procurement. Provides a statement of qualifications and a short-list process for a responsible offeror to receive a stipend in a two-step procurement. Provides agency guidelines to request proposals from responsible offerors in a two-step procurement. Provides guidelines for the submission and approval of ATCs. Lists guidelines for records of requests for ATCs and the use of intellectual property. Provides for agencies offering stipends in a one-step or two-step procurement. Provides due dates for technical and price proposals and how business will be conducted before or after the set dates. Requires the agency to select the most advantageous responsible offeror for contract negotiations. Provides for incorporation of an unsuccessful offeror’s ATC into the agreement. Requires the request for a proposal to state the validity period. Adds language to provide for evaluation committee. Provides rules for the applicability of the agreement between the agency and contractor to other laws. Provides a list of provisions in the Procurement Code which apply to this chapter and asserts only the provisions listed shall apply. Provides rules and exceptions for limiting powers of an agency in existing contracts.

Referred to Senate Transportation Committee, 1/5/2024 


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/

House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee

10:00 AM  Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

Public Hearing RE: HB1842 (Schweyer) - Community Solar Legislation

An Act providing for community solar facilities; imposing duties on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, electric distribution companies and subscriber organizations; and providing for prevailing wage for construction of community solar facilities

 

House Appropriations Committee Budget hearings:

https://houseappropriations.com/files/Documents/Budget%20Hearing%202024-25.pdf

 

Senate Appropriations Budget hearings: https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:054f73f3-89ae-39f8-a70d-f1020dcc6c4f

February             6

March                  18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27

April                    8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30

May                      1, 6, 7, 8, 20, 21, 22

June                     3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

February  5, 6, 7

March  18, 19, 20

April  8, 9, 10, 29, 30

May  1, 6, 7, 8

June  3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

PUBLIC WELCOME 

All Board meetings are held in person and remotely via Teams. In-person meetings will be held at a new location: 2525 N. 7th Street, Harrisburg, PA

https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/EngineersLandSurveyorsandGeologists/Pages/General-Board-Information.aspx#.VHNkfFZOk5s

2024 meeting dates: March 13, May 29, July 24, September 25, November 13

2025 dates: January 30, March 27, May 15, July 24, September 18, November 13

1 Technology Park, Commonwealth Technology Center (CTC), Harrisburg, PA 17110

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

2024 Meeting Schedule: March 14, June 13

https://www.oa.pa.gov/Programs/Information%20Technology/Pages/geoboard.aspx

The Department of Labor and Industry Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council announced it would be holding a meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 29 by means of Zoom. Interested individuals may contact Kristen Gardner at 717-346-1497.

The Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council will hold a meeting on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 9 a.m.

Individuals may join the meeting by using the following information:

Dial by individual's location:
(929) 205-6099 US (New York)
(301) 715-8592 US (Washington DC)
(312) 626-6799 US (Chicago)
(669) 900-6833 US (San Jose)
(253) 215-8782 US (Tacoma)
(346) 248-7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 361 131 6502

Passcode: 259161

The Department of Labor and Industry Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council announced it would be holding a meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 28 by means of Zoom. Interested individuals may contact Kristen Gardner at 717-346- 1497. The Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council will hold a meeting on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 9 a.m.

Individuals may join the meeting by using the following information:

Dial by individual's location:
(929) 205-6099 US (New York)
(301) 715-8592 US (Washington DC)
(312) 626-6799 US (Chicago)
(669) 900-6833 US (San Jose)
(253) 215-8782 US (Tacoma)
(346) 248-7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 361 131 6502

Passcode: 259161

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Contact Your State Rep and Ask them to Support Senate Bill 403

Senate Bill 403, formerly House Bill 1801, amends the Registration Act for Professional Engineers to address several cumbersome provisions that impede licensing.  Currently, an applicant to be granted licensure as a professional engineer must hold an engineer-in-training certificate and show proof of four or more years of experience in engineering work performed after the issuance of their engineer-in-training certificate.  In some cases, an individual may have the years of required experience and training, but it may have occurred prior to them obtaining their engineer-in-training certificate in Pennsylvania.  This bill allows for the experience earned prior to the passage of the EIT to apply as well as some other updates to the Act that more closely align with the national model law adopted by NCEES.  It also clarifies that the “practice of engineering” is not limited to only those projects that involve a “design”.  Take Action Now.


Advocate to End Licensing Exemptions

Call your members of Congress and support ending licensing exemptions on public utility pipelines. The National Transportation Safety Board’s report on the deadly pipeline explosion in Massachusetts in September 2018 calls for a significant legislative change that NSPE has strongly advocated for years: elimination of professional engineer licensure exemptions. Take action now.


Legislative Summary Archive

Industrial Exemption