Summary of Legislation | September 2018

No Action on HB 1106: PSPE Members Asked to Contact the Senate

The state Senate was in session for two weeks after the long summer break, and unfortunately did not take action to move forward the much needed amendments to the Registration Act. Although PSLS and PSPE have reached agreement with all of the groups which had spoken up during the spring and summer, other entities came out of the woodwork at the last minute upon the legislature’s return, and expressed opposition, but provided no suggestions on how to address their concerns. The Senate returns for what is likely its final voting week on October 15. THERE IS STILL TIME TO GET THIS BILL DONE, but we need ALL members to contact their state Senators all across the state, and ask that this bill be considered, passed, and returned to the House for its concurrence, so it can be sent to the Governor before the close of session in November.

Click here to access a letter which you can e-mail your legislator as it is written, or you can customize it. If you haven’t done it before, do it NOW. If you have done it before, DO IT AGAIN. Better yet, contact your Senator by phone in the district office immediately. You can find your Senator by clicking here: http://www.pasen.gov/

Your help is essential, and greatly appreciated. If the Senate does not pass this bill in October, we will have to start all over in January.

 

New PA State Building Codes Take Effect Oct. 1

Not since 2009 have Pennsylvania’s building codes been updated, but that will soon change. Following last year’s adoption and enactment of a long-sought fix to the state’s process of adopting building codes, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) recently approved the adoption of updated regulations for the state’s Uniform Construction Code (UCC), with those changes to a majority of the codes affecting both commercial and residential construction to become effective on Oct. 1. The state’s building codes apply to all commonwealth residents including business owners who build and/or renovate commercial structures, commercial and residential contractors, building and construction code officials, architects, engineers and construction trades. The state Department of Labor and Industry on Tuesday announced that as part of the 2017 building code law, it is required to enact regulations incorporating the newly adopted 2015 International Code Council (ICC) codes, which were directed for incorporation by the UCC Review and Advisory Council (RAC) – and approved by the IRRC – to become part of Pennsylvania’s UCC. The RAC consists of 21 members and is charged with making recommendations to the governor, the general assembly and the Labor and Industry Department regarding proposed changes to the he Pennsylvania Construction Code Act. The members represent industry sectors that participate in the various aspects relating to building – including building design, construction, building code enforcement and local government representation. The ICC – a member-focused association with over 64,000 members – develops model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities employ ICC codes.

 

Legislative Activity

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

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 1346 RE: Aerial Data Collection (by Rep. Jeff Pyle, et al)

Amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 53 (Municipalities Generally), in burglary and other criminal intrusion, defining the offense of unlawful use of unmanned aircraft; and, in preemptions, prohibiting local regulation of unmanned aircraft. Includes an exception, with conditions, for aerial data collection.

Read third time, and passed Senate, 9/25/2018 (49-0)

Signed in the House, 9/26/2018

Signed in the Senate, 10/1/218
In the hands of the Governor, 10/2/2018. Last day for Governor’s action, 10/12/2018

 

HB 2154  RE: Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act (by Rep. Martin Causer, et al)

Provides for conventional wells and the development of oil, gas and coal; imposes powers and duties on the Department of Environmental Protection; and provides for preliminary provisions, for general requirements, for underground gas storage, for enforcement and remedies, for related funds, parties and activities and for miscellaneous provisions. The purposes of this act are to: (1) Permit the optimal development of the oil and gas resources of Pennsylvania consistent with the property rights of owners of the oil and gas resources and the protection of the health, safety, environment and property of the residents of this Commonwealth; (2) Protect the safety of personnel and facilities employed in the exploration, development, storage and production of natural gas or oil or the mining of coal; (3) Protect the safety and property rights of persons residing in areas where exploration, development, storage or production occurs; (4) Protect the natural resources, environmental rights, property rights and values secured by the Constitution of Pennsylvania; and (5) Provide a flexible and cost-effective way to implement and enforce the provisions of this act. Further provides the requirements of the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act shall apply to this act for the issuance of a permit.
Reported as committed from Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and read first time, 9/25/2018

 

HB 2670 RE: On-Lot Septic Systems (by Rep. Jonathan Fritz, et al)

Amends the Delaware River Basin Compact, in pollution control, adding language providing that in matters relating to on-lot septic systems, the Delaware River Basin Commission may report its investigation findings to the water pollution abatement agencies of the signatory parties. Further provides nothing contained in the compact shall be construed as affecting or intending to affect or in any way to interfere with the law of the respective signatory parties relating to on-lot septic systems.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee 10/1/2018

 

SB 652  RE: Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) (by Sen. Mike Regan, et al)

Amends Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses), in burglary and other criminal intrusion, further providing for the offense of criminal trespass by establishing an offense for critical infrastructure facility trespass. Provides differing grading for the offense depending whether it is a first offense, whether the defendant is a minor, and whether there is an intent to damage or obstruct the operation of the facility.

Reported as amended from House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 9/25/2018

 

SB 1005 RE: County Code Recodification (by Sen. John Eichelberger, et al)

Amends the County Code making extensive revisions relating to preliminary provisions; names and corporate powers, classification of counties; fixing and relocating lines and boundaries; county officers; county commissioners and chief clerks; controller; auditors; treasurer; county solicitor; engineer; sheriff and coroner; prothonotary, clerks of court, clerk of orphan’s court, register of wills, recorder of deeds; district attorney, assistants and detectives; salaries of county officers; fees of salaried county officers, salary boards, payment of solicitors appointed by county officers; fiscal affairs; contracts and special powers and duties of counties; public health; aeronautics; grounds and buildings; eminent domain and injury to property; recreation places; bridges, viaducts and culverts and roads; providing for military and veterans affairs; and making editorial changes.

Re-reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 10/1/2018 (183-0)
Received as amended in Senate and rereferred to Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, 10/1/2018

 

Professional Licensure

HB 2585  RE: Occupational Licensing for Convicted Criminals (by Rep. Jim Cox, et al)

Amends Title 63 (Professions and Occupations (State Licensed)) providing for licensing for individuals with a criminal conviction and for occupational licensing for low-income individuals.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 9/11/2018

 

School Construction

HB 2614  RE: Cooperative Purchasing (by Rep. Jesse Topper, et al)

Amends Title 62 (Procurement), in intergovernmental relations, prohibiting school districts from participating in, sponsoring, conducting or administering a cooperative purchasing agreement for the procurement of construction.

Introduced and referred to House State Government committee, 9/5/2018
Informational meeting held House State Government Committee, 9/13/2018

 

Transportation

HR 1078  RE: Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day (by Rep. Stan Saylor, et al)

A Resolution designating October 10, 2018, as “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as noncontroversial resolution, 9/24/2018
Adopted, 9/26/2018 (193-0)

 

Worker’s Comp

HB 1781 RE: Independent Contractors (by Rep. Fred Keller, et al)

Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act, in liability and compensation, providing for registration of status as independent contractor by adding that a person may file a registration with the department regarding the status of an individual who is classified for Federal income tax purposes as an independent contractor of the person. The bill provides for contents of the registration and states that a person who registers an individual as an independent contractor shall not be liable to the individual for benefits under this act and shall not be required to provide insurance coverage or self-insure under this act regarding the individual. The bill provides for revocation of the registration and stipulates that a person may not offer or provide an incentive, pecuniary or otherwise, for an individual to complete the waiver and affidavit or refrain from filing a request for revocation.

Reported as amended from House Labor and Industry Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 10/1/2018

HB 1840  RE: Physical Examination or Expert Interview (by Rep. Rob Kauffman, et al)

Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act, in liability and compensation, further providing for schedule of compensation, for computation of benefits and for physical examination or expert interview. Allows employers to request an Impairment Rating Evaluation after an employee has received total disability compensation for a period of 104 weeks. Requires the employee to submit to a medical evaluation which shall be requested by the insurer within 60 days upon the expiration of the 104 weeks to determine the degree of impairment due to compensable injury. If such determination results in an impairment rating that meets a threshold impairment rating that is equal to or greater than 35 per centum impairment, the employe shall be presumed to be totally disabled and shall continue to receive total disability compensation benefits. If the determination is less than 35 percent, the employe shall then receive partial disability benefits provided that no reduction shall be made until sixty days’ notice of modification is given. Further provides for physical examination or expert interview.

Amended in committee and held in Senate Labor and Industry Committee, 10/1/2018
Reported as amended from Senate Labor and Industry Committee, and read first time, 10/2/2018

Read second time, and rereferred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/3/2018

 

SB 676  RE: Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund (by Sen. John Gordner, et al)

Amends Workers’ Compensation Act relating to the Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund. Provides if an employee alleges an injury that is incurred with an employer which is domiciled in another state and which has not secured the payment of compensation as required by the act, the employee is required to provide the fund and to any worker’s compensation judge hearing a petition against the fund, a written notice, denial, citation of law or court or administrative ruling from such other state or an insurer licensed to write insurance in that state as to that employer, indicating that the employee is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in that state. No compensation shall be payable from the fund until the employee submits the required information. Requires a claim petition to be filed within 180 days after notice of the claim is made to the fund. Requires an employee to provide proof of wages before filing a claim of lost wages under the act. Adds language allowing the fund to establish lists of at least six designated health care providers that are accessible in each county in specialties relevant to the treatment of work injuries in the Commonwealth. Transfers $4 million from the Workers’ Compensation Administrative Fund to the Uninsured Employers Guarantee Fund. Also provides for uninsured employer obligations and for administrative penalties and stop-work orders. Requires the Department of Labor and Industry to annually submit a report to the House and Senate Labor and Industry committees outlining the department’s efforts to identify and prosecute uninsured employers, any penalties resulting from that activity, the status of claims and operations, including the number of claims filed, pending and paid in the past year and an analysis of the administrative expenses of the fund. Increases the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund assessment from 0.1 percent to 0.25 percent. Requires the department to reduce the current year UEGF assessment if prior year assessment exceeds 130 percent of prior year expenditures. Reduces the cap on the excess amount that may be maintained in the Workmen’s Compensation Administration Fund from 133 percent to 120 percent. Requires the department to report reasonable suspicion of underreporting or delinquency and the department may suspend a license or certification for an employer subject to a stop-work order.

Reported as amended from House Labor and Industry Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 10/01/2018

 

Workforce Development

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/

2018 FALL SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE (Subject to change)

October                 1, 2, 3, 15, 16, 17
November            14

2018 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

October        1, 2 (NV), 9, 10, 15, 16, & 17
November     13

 

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

Remaining 2018 Meeting Dates: November 14

2019 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): January 9, March 13, May 8, July 10, September 11, November 13

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 via the Internet here.

Take Action

Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Act Update

The Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Act (Pennsylvania) governs how these design professions practice.

House Bill 1106 addresses fundamental aspects of the act.

Click here to access a letter which you can e-mail your legislator as it is written, or you can customize it.

PSPE PAC

To give financial support to the PSPE Political Action Committee
Click here.

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