As detailed below, the new Shapiro Administration, changes to Leadership in the Senate, fifty-four new legislators, and the continuing argument over who actually holds the majority in the House will impact what policies are considered for the Spring Legislative Session.
One item that will likely be taken up early in the new year is the Larry Krasner Impeachment Trial, which will certainly add to the friction in the Capitol. During the last few days of November, the House voted to impeach the Philadelphia District Attorney and the Senate established the trial rules for the new Session. Impeachment requires a two thirds majority vote which would require more than a few Democratic votes, an unlikely scenario. Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware), Rep. Tim Bonner (R-Mercer), and Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) comprise the House impeachment process team if/when the Senate holds a trial.
Since it is almost guaranteed the Democrats will win the three current vacancies detailed in last month’s report, they will gain control of the House in May at the latest. This is also when the annual state budget negotiations typically begin in earnest. It will be challenging for the Republican Senate, narrowly Democrat controlled House and new Shapiro Administration to agree on a budget package by the June 30th deadline. Many items, budget related or not, could be part of the “trading” to pass an on-time budget. These items include, but certainly are not limited to energy initiatives, election reform and appointees for Agency Secretaries, the vacancies to the Supreme Court and Attorney General.
In the meantime, all legislation not enacted this past session will need to be reintroduced and legislators have already started putting out co-sponsorship memos as detailed in the tracked legislation listed below.
Governor-elect Josh Shapiro will be sworn into office on January 17th and indicated he will resign as Attorney General the same day. In the meantime, he has named members to his Transition Team as well as the hiring of some senior staff.
- Chief of Staff - Dana Fritz will serve as Chief of Staff
- Executive Deputy Chief of Staff- Larry Hailsham Jr
- General Counsel - Jennifer Selber
Transition Committee Chairs
- Matt Smith, Economic Development Transition Advisory Committee
- MeeCee Baker, Environmental/Energy Transition Advisory Committee
- Patrick Murphy, Public Safety Transition Advisory Committee
- Patrick Gallagher, Education/Workforce Transition Advisory Committee
- Alyn Waller, Health and Human Services Transition Advisory Committee
- Brian Hudson, Consumer Protection Transition Advisory Committee
- Joann Bell, State Government Operations Transition Advisory Committee
Shapiro also named Uri Monson as his Secretary of the Budget. Monson and other Secretaries for the various State Agencies and his replacement as Attorney General will all need Senate approval.
The Governor has to prepare a state budget proposal which newly elected Governors are allowed to present the first week of March instead of February. During a press conference with Governor Wolf, both highlighted the financial stability of the Commonwealth and surplus. Shapiro also mentioned that he is developing an energy plan that will include addressing RGGI and he plans to convene a working group on energy issues that will be tasked to find a “consensus on common ground that doesn’t raise energy prices or put anyone out of work,” but also “addresses climate change.”
There are 6 new Senators Statewide - 5 new Republicans and 1 new Democrat.
Sen. Nicholas Miller (D – Lehigh) – Replacing Independent incumbent John Yudichak who did not run for re-election.
Sen. Rosemary Brown (R -Monroe) – Former State Representative who ran to replace Republican incumbent Mario Scavello who did not seek re-election.
Sen. Jarrett Coleman (R -Lehigh) – Defeated Republican incumbent Pat Browne in primary and then won the seat in general election.
Sen. Frank Farry (R – Bucks) – Former State Representative who ran to replace Republican incumbent Tommy Tomlinson who did not seek re-election.
Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R – Montgomery) - Former State Representative who ran to replace Republican incumbent Bob Mensch who did not seek re-election.
Sen. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland)– Former State Representative who ran in a newly drawn district that was previously Jake Corman’s.
The Republicans currently hold a 27-22 majority in the Senate due to resignation of Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia) who resigned his seat on November 30th to take the position as Counsel for the Republican Caucus. The special election is scheduled for January 31st for this seat which comprises Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Luzerne (portion) and Snyder Counties and will likely remain Republican.
Nearly four dozen new House members will be sworn in on January 3, the largest freshman class in decades.
New Democrat House Members:
- Joshua Siegel (D - Lehigh)
- La’Tasha Mayes (D – Allegheny)
- Paul Friel (D - Chester)
- Tim Brennan (D-Bucks)
- Arvind Venkat (D-Allegheny)
- Mandy Steele (D-Allegheny)
- Ismail Smith-Wade-El (D - Lancaster)
- Greg Scott (D -Montgomery)
- Paul Takac (D-Centre)
- Dave Madsen (D - Dauphin)
- Justin Fleming (D - Dauphin)
- Kyle Donahue (D - Lackawanna)
- Jim Haddock (D - Luzerne)
- Melissa Cerrato (D-Montgomery)
- Chris Pielli (D - Chester)
- Carol Kazeem (D - Delaware)
- Lisa Borowski (D-Delaware)
- Pat Gallagher (D - Phila)
- Jose Giral (D - Phila)
- Ben Waxman (D - Phila)
- Tarah Probst (D-Monroe)
- Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz (D - Berks)
- Roni Green (D - Phila)
- Tarik Khan (D - Phila)
- Anthony Bellmon (D - Phila)
New Republican House Members:
- Joanne Stehr (R - Schuylkill)
- Robert Leadbeter (R - Columbia)
- Joe D’Orsie (R – York)
- Wendy Fink (R - York)
- Tom Jones (R - Lancaster)
- Jake Banta (R - Erie)
- Marla Gallo Brown (R - Lawrence)
- Stephanie Scialabba (R - Butler)
- Andrew Kuzma (R-Allegheny)
- Charity Grimm Krupa (R - Fayette)
- Jill Cooper (R - Westmoreland)
- Dallas Kephart (R - Clearfield)
- Jamie Flick (R - Lycoming)
- Thomas Kutz (R - Cumberland)
- John Schegel (R - Lebanon)
- Dane Watro (R - Schuylkill)
- Michael Cabell (R - Luzerne)
- Alec Ryncavage (R-Luzerne)
- Jamie Barton (R - Schuylkill)
- Joseph Adams (R – Wayne)
- Joe Hogan (R-Bucks)
- Donna Scheuren (R-Montgomery)
- Kristin Marcall (R - Bucks)
This Month in PA Bulletin
The State Registration Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists amended Pennsylvania Code to allow licensees to use digital signatures and seals, effective immediately. For further information, contact Jeannie Bronshtein, administrator, BPELS, PO Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, ST-ENGINEER@PA.GOV .
Additional information is available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
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. All bills that did not reach the Governor by November 30, 2022 died, and will need to be reintroduced and begin the process anew in the next session, which begins on January 3, 2023.
HCO 433 (Grove) - E-Contract Law Update (Former HB 2485)
Requires agencies to provide the PA Treasury with a copy of any contract involving $10,000 or more and requires the agency to provide a summary of the contract.
SCO 291 (Yaw) - Bonding of Solar Installations
Establishes decommissioning and bonding requirements for project developers who seek to install or operate commercial solar electric generation facilities in Pennsylvania.
SCO 420 (Tartaglione) - Radon Protection Requires all residential rental properties, schools, and newly constructed properties to receive proper radon testing.
HCO 145 (Ciresi) - Signage Requirements for Subdivision and Land Development Requires signs to be posted on land undergoing subdivision and land development.
HCO 459 (Ecker) - Concrete Inspection Standards
Clarifies and designates responsibilities of the Contractor and Owners Testing Agency for casting concrete test specimens, and provides initial cures of concrete test specimens on commercial construction projects only.
HCO 533 (B. Miller) - Aligning NPDES Permit Program with Federal Standards Allows construction sites resulting in a land disturbance of more than one but less than five acres to apply for a waiver of an otherwise required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.
HCO 3 (Owlett) – Professional License Applications—Paper Applications – Former HB 855
Requires the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs within the Department of State to provide individuals seeking to become licensed in PA the option of applying by paper application under certain circumstances.
SCO 442 (Baker) - Licensing Updates of Professional Engineers
Amends the Engineer's Registration Act to remove barriers to becoming a licensed professional engineer and updates the national model law.
HCO 172 (Ciresi) - Tax Holiday for Energy Star and WaterSense Products Annually excludes Energy Star and WaterSense products from sales and use taxes from April 22 (Earth Day) to April 29.
Upcoming Meetings of Interest
All Board meetings are held in person and remotely via Teams. https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/EngineersLandSurveyorsandGeologists/Pages/General-Board-Information.aspx#.VHNkfFZOk5s
2023 Meeting Dates
- January 23
- March 17
- May 25
- July 21
- September 28
- November 8
Next meeting date | March 16, 2023
Individuals can join the virtual meetings by means of Zoom. The virtual meeting ID is 991 2180 9216. The passcode is 170867.
Questions concerning these virtual meetings may be directed to Kristen Gardner at (717) 346-1497.
All meetings are scheduled to begin at 10 AM. https://www.dli.pa.gov/ucc/Pages/UCC-Review-and-Advisory-Council.aspx
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Contact Your State Rep and Ask them to Support HB 1801
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 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.