Senators Offer No-Tax Alternative to Wolf’s Restore PA Plan

Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Pat Stefano (R-32) offered an alternative April 8 to Governor Wolf’s Restore PA plan that would fund infrastructure projects throughout the state without the the Governor’s severance tax. As part of his budget address, Governor Wolf proposed a bond issue – funded by an additional tax on the natural gas industry – to provide funding for blight remediation, stormwater projects, flood prevention, brownfield cleanups and infrastructure projects. Bartolotta and Stefano proposed a plan that would fund similar projects through revenues generated by lifting the Governor’s moratorium on non-surface disturbance natural gas drilling on state forest lands.

The Senators’ plan would not require the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to authorize new non-surface disturbance horizontal drilling. It would only lift the moratorium on leases for existing wellpads.

“This legislation represents a commonsense approach to best protect and utilize our natural resources without massive borrowing that could have a negative impact on job creators and consumers,” Stefano said. “Imposing job-killing taxes and long-term debt will only result in a step backward for our state’s economy and environment.”

“We have an opportunity to fund all of the projects that Governor Wolf wants to complete without creating new taxes that will stifle investment, chase away new jobs and boost energy costs to consumers,” Bartolotta said. “The natural gas industry already pays higher taxes in the form of impact fees that have helped fund billions of dollars in projects throughout the state. We need to explore different options other than piling on taxes that will ultimately be passed on to ratepayers.”

As part of the alternative plan, revenues generated from new gas leases on state forest land would be placed in a special fund managed by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be distributed for blight remediation, flood control infrastructure, stormwater infrastructure, paving and repairing dirt and gravel roads, green infrastructure and abandoned mine reclamation projects.

Pennsylvania Weighs Legislation That Could Deliver +30K Jobs

Pending bipartisan legislation in Pennsylvania could unlock 30,000 jobs and about $6.4 billion in net savings by removing barriers to energy efficiency investment, according to ACEEE analysis released today.

The House and Senate bills would remove the caps on efficiency spending included in Act 129, which Pennsylvania lawmakers passed in 2008 to set savings targets for electric utilities. Those targets delivered significant energy savings to businesses and residents. But because of the spending caps, the savings remain below the potential levels identified by statewide evaluators, and below savings achieved in neighboring Maryland, Ohio, and New York.

ACEEE, building on prior research by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., assessed the economic impacts of removing the investment cap, which Senate Bill 232 and House Bill 193 — if passed — would do. We compared the impacts of slowly ramping up electricity savings over five years beginning in 2021 to a base scenario in which utilities continue to implement efficiency programs at current spending-constrained levels.

Each scenario saves energy and creates jobs, but the economic impacts of ramping up electricity savings to 1.2% are significantly better. Ramping up energy savings from 2021 to 2025 leads to 30,000 jobs, about 50% more jobs than would be created if energy savings stay flat. As the graph below shows, these job impacts don’t occur just in five years of program implementation. Instead, new jobs are projected to continue growing as long as efficiency measures are delivering savings (through 2050).

ACEEE’s study looked only at the job-creation impacts of five years of program implementation. However, it’s likely that Pennsylvania utilities will continue to deliver these popular energy efficiency programs to customers well after 2025. As programs continue to achieve energy savings, we expect job growth to continue to grow, as well.

Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 232 and House Bill 193 enjoy support from Democrats and Republicans, as well as more than two dozen business groups. If passed, they would give electric utilities the green light to ramp up energy efficiency programs. The result? More energy savings for consumers and at least 30,000 jobs across the Commonwealth.

EQB Publishes Proposed Rulemaking – Water Quality Management and National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit Application And Annual Fees

The Environmental Quality Board proposed to amend Chapters 91 and 92a, relating to general provisions; and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting, monitoring and compliance, to establish new fee schedules for Water Quality Management (WQM) permit applications, National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit applications and NPDES annual fees, and to make clarifications. This proposed rulemaking was adopted by the board at its meeting of December 18, 2018. More information is available on the Pennsylvania Bulletin. For further information contact Sean Furjanic, PE, Environmental Program Manager, Bureau of Clean Water, PO Box 8774, Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17105, (717) 787-2137; or Margaret O. Murphy, Assistant Director, Bureau of Regulatory Counsel, PO Box 8464, Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17105, (717) 783-7472.

Written comments, suggestions, support or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking may be submitted to the board here by May 14, 2019. Comments may also be emailed to RegComments@pa.gov, or mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, PO Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105.

The board scheduled a public hearing for accepting public comments on the proposed rulemaking for 1 p.m. at 909 Elmerton Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17110. Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the Environmental Quality Board, PO Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105, (717) 783-8727. More information on presenting testimony is available on the Pennsylvania Bulletin. https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol49/49-13/453.html

Iovino Wins Special Election, Adding to Democrats Numbers

Democratic candidate Pam Iovino defeated Republican D. Raja in a special election to fill the unexpired term the 37th Senate District in the Pittsburgh suburbs on April 2. The race was the first of three special elections called by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for this spring, with two more scheduled for May 21. The seat, previously represented by Guy Reschenthalter (R-Allegheny), became open after he resigned when he was sworn into U.S. Congress. The seat is solidly in the “swing” category, as Democrat Matt Smith represented the district for three years prior to Reschenthaler. Iovino, a Navy veteran, had not yet been assigned to committees at press time for this report.

The GOP now hold a four seat majority in the state Senate, 26-to-22, after Iovino was sworn-in on April 29. It is expected that Republicans will take the two special elections to fill GOP vacancies scheduled for May 21 in Indiana and Franklin Counties.

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 163 RE: Separations Act (by Rep. Garth Everett, et al)

Amends Title 62 (Procurement), in general provisions, further providing for definitions; in procurement organization, further providing for specific construction powers, duties and procedures; in procurement of construction and design professional services, further providing for procurement of design professional services; providing for project delivery methods; and making a related repeal. The bill establishes that a government agency or a state-related institution shall utilize a project delivery method for the procurement of construction services for the design, erection, construction and alteration of a public building in this commonwealth if the total cost of the work exceeds $4,000.

Informational meeting held House State Government Committee, 4/30/2019

HB 885 RE: Performance Bonds (by Rep. Valerie Gaydos, et al)

Amends the Public Works Contractors’ Bond Law further providing for duty of prime contractor to provide financial security in certain contracts involving public works and public improvements. The bill requires financial security in the form of a payment bond, performance bond, federal or commonwealth chartered lending institution irrevocable letter of credit or restrictive or escrow account in such lending institution, equal to 100 percent of the contract amount, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the contract in accordance with the plans, specifications and conditions of the contract. Such financial security shall be solely for the protection of the contracting body which awarded the contract. Applies to contracts exceeding $50,000.

Reported as amended from House Local Government Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 4/17/2019

Budget Related Bills

HB 790 RE: General Appropriation Act of 2019 (By Rep. Stan Saylor, et al)

Provides appropriations from the General Fund for the expenses of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Departments of the Commonwealth, the public debt and the public schools for the fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019; providing appropriations from special funds and accounts to the Executive and Judicial Departments for the fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and for the payment of bills remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019; and providing for the appropriation of Federal funds to the Executive and Judicial Departments for the fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, and for the payment of bills remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. Effective July 1, 2019, or immediately, whichever is later.

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 4/30/19 Removed from the table, 4/30/2019
Read second time, and Rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 5/1/2019

HB 880 RE: RACP Cap (by Rep. Andrew Lewis, et al)

Amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act, in capital facilities, further providing for appropriation for and limitation on redevelopment assistance capital projects. The bill establishes that beginning July 1, 2022, and each July 1 thereafter until the sum of the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance capital projects equals $2,650,000,000, the sum of the maximum amount of outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects shall be decreased by $100,000,000.

Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 3/19/2019
Reported as committed from House Finance Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 4/8/2019
Removed from the table, 4/9/2019
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/10/2019

Cosponsor memo filed

SCO 796 (Bartolotta) – No-Tax Alternative to Restore PA Plan. Provides a non-tax alternative to the Restore Pennsylvania initiative.

Filed, 4/8/2019

Environmental Building Standards

HB 414 RE: Erosion and Sediment Control Permit Act (by Rep. Dave Zimmerman, et al)

Provides for an erosion and sediment control permit, for compliance, for an annual report and for duties of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Reported as amended from House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, read first time, and Laid on the table, 4/17/2019

HB 422 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 and trainee classification. The department may by regulation establish a separate trainee classification for each certification category, which shall be considered optional for all individuals seeking certification.

Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/8/2019
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/9/2019 (196-1)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Labor and Industry Committee, 4/22/2019

HB 1105 RE: Energize PA Legislative Package (by Rep. Eric Nelson, et al)

Amends the Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act, in miscellaneous provisions, further providing for permits and other requirements. The bill states a person conducting remediation activities under this act may obtain a consolidated standards permit. A person who is issued a consolidated standards permit in connection with the remediation activities is not required to obtain a permit, license, plan approval or other approval in connection with the activity under the Clean Streams Law, the Air Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Infectious and Chemotherapeutic Waste Law, or the Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act. A person who obtains a consolidated standards permit is deemed to be in compliance with the requirement to obtain a permit, license, plan approval or other approval in connection with the activity under the applicable provisions of those acts and regulations. The department shall grant or deny a consolidated standards permit within 120 calendar days from its receipt of an application.

Introduced and referred to House Commerce Committee, 4/29/2019

HB 1106 RE: Environmental Permits and Plan Approval (by Rep. Michael Puskaric, et al)

Amends the Administrative Code providing for environmental permits and plan approvals; making related repeals; and abrogating regulations. The bill adds an article providing for environmental permits and plan approval, which applies to general permits, general plan approvals and individual permits.

Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee, 4/29/2019

HR 231 RE: Resilient Infrastructure (by Rep. Stephen Barrar, et al)

A Resolution urging the federal government to prioritize and consider the need for resilient infrastructure to reduce risks and meet the country’s economic, environmental and social needs.

Introduced and referred to House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee, 4/12/19

SB 129 RE: Large Commercial and Industrial Opt-Out of Act 129 (Energy Efficiency & Conservation) (by Sen. Lisa Boscola, et al)

Amends Title 66 (Public Utilities), in restructuring of electric utility industry, further providing for energy efficiency and conservation program. The requirement that ten percent of reductions come from government is repealed. Further, the term of a plan shall be determined by the commission but shall not exceed five years. A customer that is a member of a large commercial class or industrial class may opt to cease participation in the electric distribution company plan for all of the customer’s eligible accounts. Any overcollections or undercollections from any customer classes shall be refunded or recovered, as appropriate in accordance with the commission’s implementation order for the subsequent phase. The commission shall not mandate any peak demand reductions in any new plan implemented after May 31, 2021.

Introduced and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, 4/8/2019

Liability

SB 517 RE: Statute of Repose (by Sen. Lisa Baker, et al)

Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), in limitation of time, providing for a statute of repose in product liability. The legislation establishes a civil action or proceeding brought against any person or businesses to recover damages for death, injury to persons or property, or for economic loss allegedly resulting from a defective product must be commenced within 15 years under certain circumstances.

Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee, 4/4/2019

Local/State Government/Regulations

HB 349 RE: PA Construction Code Act legislation (by Rep. Doyle Heffley, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act requiring that municipalities which opt to enforce the Uniform Construction Code (UCC) by utilizing third-party agencies have at least two or more of them under contract for UCC administration.

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/8/2019 (114-84)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Labor and Industry Committee, 4/22/2019

HB 1037 RE: Historic Agriculture Buildings Exclusion from PCC (by Rep. John Lawrence, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions and for application; and, in exemptions, applicability and penalties, further providing for penalties. The bill excludes from the act historic agriculture buildings to which all of the following apply: the owner files with the municipality a report completed by a third-party agency which states the structure is in compliance with the Uniform Construction Code for fire alarm and detection systems, and portable fire extinguisher requirements; egress standards for historic buildings; and electrical wiring installed in the structure is in compliance with the electrical provisions of the Uniform Construction Code.

Introduced and referred to House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, 4/2/2019

HB 1292 RE: Validating Acknowledgements for Deeds and Mortgages (by Rep. Carl Metzgar, et al)

Amends an act entitled “An act to validate conveyances & other instruments which have been defectively acknowledged,” validating acknowledgements for deeds and mortgages which are dated after 2013 and prior to 2018.

Introduced and referred to House Judiciary Committee, 4/25/2019

Permitting

HB 509 RE: Permit Administration Act (by Rep. Greg Rothman, et al)

Provides for the administration of permits by state agencies, for a tracking system for permit applications, for the establishment of permit programs and for annual reports. The bill requires state agencies to establish, maintain and make available a secure online tracking system for applicants to track the status of applications. Delineates the types of categories that are required for reporting to the General Assembly.

Reported as committed from House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, read first time, and Laid on the table, 4/16/2019
Removed from the table, 4/17/2019
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 4/29/2019
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 4/30/2019
(109-86)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Inter-Governmental Operations Committee, 4/16/2019

HB 954 RE: Well Drilling Permits (by Rep. Scott Conklin, et al)

Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas), in development, further providing for well permits by requiring the well operator to give public notice of the filing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation, published in the locality where the permit is applied for, once a week for four consecutive weeks.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 4/29/2019

HB 1107 RE: Pennsylvania Permitting Commission (by Rep. Tim O’Neal, et al)

Amends Title 27 (Environmental Resources) establishing the Pennsylvania Permitting Commission and providing for its powers and duties. The commission shall have the power and its duty shall be to administer the permitting and plan approval processes vested in the department by law.

Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee, 4/29/2019

Cosponsor memo filed

SCO 893 (Yaw) – Establishes a mechanism for expedited review of certain permits by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Filed, 5/2/2019

Professional Licensure

HB 811 RE: Second Chance Employment Opportunities (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, 4/9/2019

HB 1172 RE: License Portability for Professional Licensees Entering Pennsylvania (by Rep. Dave Hickernell, et al)

Amends an 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,” providing for licensure by endorsement. The bill establishes that a licensing board or commission shall issue a license, certificate, registration or permit to an applicant to allow practice in this Commonwealth if, upon application to the licensing board, the applicant satisfies all of the following conditions: holds a current license, certificate, registration or permit from another state, territory or country and the licensing board or commission determines that state’s, territory’s or country’s requirements are substantially equivalent to or exceed the requirements established in this Commonwealth; demonstrates competency in the profession through methods determined by the licensing board; has not committed any act that would have constituted grounds for refusal, suspension or revocation of a license; is in good standing; and pays any fees.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 4/10/2019

Cosponsor memos filed

HCO1686 (Kortz) – Permitting Licensed Professionals To Receive Advice From Licensing Boards Allows licensing boards to answer inquiries from licensees in the form of advisory opinions.

Filed, 4/1/2019

SCO 780 (DiSanto)Occupational Licensure Reform Addresses consideration of criminal records in occupational licensure.

Filed, 4/3/2019

HCO1850 Legislation to put Engineers with Foreign Degrees to work more quickly in PA. Puts engineers with foreign degrees to work more quickly in Pennsylvania.

Filed, 4/17/2019

School Construction

HB 1216 RE: Roof Construction Contracting (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 roof construction. The bill establishes that a school district may not participate in, sponsor, conduct or administer a cooperative purchasing agreement for the procurement of roof construction.

Introduced and referred to House State Government Committee, 4/15/2019

Other Bills of Interest

HR 302 RE: Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month (by Rep. Robb Matzie, et al)

A Resolution designating the month of April 2019 as “Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month” in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as noncontroversial resolution, 5/2/2019

SR 71 RE: Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month (by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, et al)

A Resolution designating the month of April 2019 as “Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month.”

Introduced and adopted, 4/9/2019

Cosponsor memo filed

SCO 820 (Bartolotta) – Resolution recognizing May 2019 as Building Safety Month.

Filed, 4/17/2019

Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed via the Internet at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm

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/

MONDAY – 5/6/19

House Labor and Industry
11:00 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

Public hearing on: HB 1234 (Cox) – Amends the Workers’ Compensation Act, in liability & compensation, for definitions, for diseases with long latency periods between occupational exposure and manifestation of the disease and further providing for liability.

TUESDAY – 5/7/19

House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
9:00 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

To consider: HB 1037 (Lawrence) – Amends the PA Construction Code Act, in preliminary provisions, further providing for definitions and for application; and, in exemptions, applicability and penalties, further providing for penalties; and others

THURSDAY – 5/16/19

Independent Regulatory Review Commission 
10:00 a.m., 14th Floor Conference Room, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg

To consider the following regulations:

Reg. No. 3232 Department of Labor & Industry #12-108: Uniform Construction Code (Final-Omit)

Reg. No. 3163 State Board of Pharmacy #16A-5419: Compounding

Updated Meeting Agenda

THURSDAY – 5/30/19

House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee  
10:00 a.m., Delaware County Community College, Marple Campus, 901 S. Media Line Road, Media

Public hearing on the public safety aspects of natural gas pipeline systems

2019 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

May                       1, 6, 7, 8
June                       3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

2019 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

May                       1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 22
June                       3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

Fall House and Senate session calendars have not been published yet

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

2019 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): 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.