IRRC Approves Board Fee Reg
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) met on August 24 to consider several regulations.
Chairman George Bedwick and Commissioners Russell Faber, Murray Ufberg, and Dennis Watson were in attendance. Commissioner John Mizner participated via conference call.
One regulation of interest to Registration Board licensees was State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists #16A-4713: Renewal Fee (http://www.irrc.state.pa.us/regulations/RegSrchRslts.cfm?ID=3105) was approved, with Commissioner Faber voting in the negative. The regulation increases the biannual renewal fees for professional engineers, land surveyors, and geologists from $50 to $100 in order to cover the operating costs of the board. No comments were received, and the House and Senate committees deemed the regulation approved.
Board Regulatory Counsel Thomas Blackburn noted the board is required to be self-funded through fees and may increase them to cover those costs. He said a 2014 recommendation to increase the renewal fee from $50 to $150 for the 2017-2019 cycle was determined to be too much and instead was approved for an increase to only $100. However, Blackburn explained it is too late to implement that fee for the 2017-2019 cycle and implementation will be deferred to the 2019-2021 cycle if approved.
Commissioner Ufberg wondered why the regulation took so long if it was suggested in 2014. Blackburn offered a timeline of events with the board approving the proposal in March 2014, an approved rulemaking at the end of the Corbett administration, approval by the Wolf administration in May 2015, IRRC comments received in July of 2015 which was too late to consider for that month’s meeting, considered in September, approval by the board in November 2015 and submitted for review, subsequent questions from the Office of General Counsel (OGC), and all approvals necessary collected by June 2017. Ufberg asked how the deficit is being funded now with a deferral. Blackburn noted the board participates in the Professional Licensure Augmentation Account with enough money to pay the bills on debit to the board eventually paid back in surplus, projected to occur by 2024-2025. Commissioner Ufberg opined the government should be able to operate more efficiently than that.
Commissioner Faber wondered where the augmentation account funds come from. Blackburn explained there are 29 licensing boards within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs and the funds come from the current surplus of the 25 participating boards, but did not know the current status of the fund. On the proposal’s surplus, Commissioner Faber noted a surplus running through 2032 in the proposal which he said is “quite a ways out” and “well beyond the intent of the legislature.” He suggested the board consider a phased approach or lower the rate for a smaller and more appropriate surplus while also covering necessary costs. Blackburn said he will take the idea back to the board.
Chairman Bedwick stated that IRRC is often blamed for delays in regulation implementation, but said more concise and quick action on the front end by agencies could help the process along. He also agreed with Commissioner Faber’s comments on an unnecessarily large surplus.
Commissioner Mizner echoed concerns with the surplus amount and length, opining it is on the far edge of reasonable.
Chairman Bedwick added he is voting a cautious yes.
The Regulation will be effective upon publication in the PA Bulletin
Governor Announced Regulatory Agenda
Executive Order 1996-1 requires all agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor to submit for publication semi-annually an agenda of regulations under development or consideration. The agendas are compiled to provide members of the regulated community advanced notice of regulatory activity. It is the intention of the Administration that these agendas will serve to increase public participation in the regulatory process. Agency contacts should be contacted for more information regarding the regulation and the procedure for submitting comments.
This Agenda represents the Administration’s present intentions regarding future regulations. The nature and complexity of an individual regulation obviously will determine whether and when any particular regulation listed (as well as any considered subsequent to publication of this Agenda) is published.
|Regulation Being Considered||Proposed Date of Promulgation||Need and Legal Basis for Action||Agency Contact|
|State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists|
|Electronic Seals and Signatures
49 Pa. Code Chapter 37
|Fall 2017, as Proposed||In addition to updating their current regulations on seals, the three boards that regulate design professionals in this Commonwealth (including the State Architects Licensure Board, the State Registration Board for Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, and the State Board of Landscape Architects) are proposing new regulations setting forth standard requirements for electronic seals and electronic signing of design documents. The goal of these proposals is to provide all design professionals with regulations that are as consistent as possible with respect to both traditional seals and electronic seals to benefit both the design professionals and their clients.||Robin Shearer
49 Pa. Code § 37.17
|Fall 2017, as Final||Under section 9(a) of the Professional Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law (63 P.S. § 156(a)) (act), the Board is required by law to support its operations from the revenue it generates from fees, fines and civil penalties. In addition, the act provides that the Board shall increase fees if the revenue raised by fees, fines and civil penalties is not sufficient to meet expenditures over a 2-year period. The current fee structure is inadequate to support the operations of the Board. This proposed rulemaking seeks to increase the biennial renewal fee for licensees from $50 to $100 so that revenues are sufficient to cover projected expenditures as required by the act.||Robin Shearer
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
|Water Quality Management Fee Amendments and NPDES Program Fee Amendments
25 Pa. Code Chapters 91 and 92a
|Quarter 4, 2017,
EQB Consideration, as Proposed
|This rulemaking proposes to amend fees related to water quality management permitting (Chapter 91) and proposes to amend the fee schedule for NPDES permit applications (Chapter 92a). Chapter 91 establishes, among other things, a water quality management (WQM) permitting program for the construction of sewage and industrial waste treatment facilities and for land application of sewage and industrial wastes. DEP began its Chapter 92a annual invoicing and fee collection program in December 2010.||Sean Furjanic
|Chapter 92a updated the fee schedule for NPDES permit applications for persons to discharge pollutants from point sources into surface waters. In addition, Chapter 92a introduced an annual fee for certain facilities authorized to discharge pollutants by individual NPDES permits. A fee analysis that DEP presented to the EQB in 2014 highlighted that, despite the fee increase in 2010, revenue continues to fall short of expenses, impeding the work of Programs to carry out necessary tasks for protecting water resources in the Commonwealth. (Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law)|
|Administration of Sewage Facilities Planning and Permitting Programs and Standards for Onlot Sewage Treatment Facilities
25 Pa. Code Chapters 71, 72 and 73
|Quarter 2, 2018,
EQB Consideration, as Proposed
|This rulemaking proposes to create 25 Pa. Code Chapters 71a, 72a and 73a, replacing the current Chapters 71, 72 and 73. The proposed amendments would provide necessary updates and clarity to the regulations to address environmental and public health and safety issues. (Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, Clean Streams Law)||Lee McDonnell
The following bills of interest to PSPE have been introduced and/or acted upon in the past month.
Budget Related Bills
NONE. The House is still considering the “code” bills sent from the Senate in July, to finish the FY 2017/18 budget approval process. The Fiscal Year started on July 1, with only the spending package approved, via HB 218. The bills required to fund the spending, and to describe how the funds are driven out, remain to be decided.
Environmental Building Standards
HB 1700 RE: Pipeline Safety and Communication Board Act (by Rep. Carolyn Comitta, et al)
Establishes the Pipeline Safety and Communication Board as an independent administrative board. The board shall consist of certain specified cabinet secretaries, House and Senate leaders, the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the State Fire Commissioner and six members appointed by the governor who shall be operators or owners of interstate or intrastate pipelines located or under construction in Pennsylvania. The new board’s powers and duties include collecting and disseminating to the public information of commonwealth agencies relative to the planning, siting, construction, operation, maintenance, management, inspection and safety of and emergency response procedures for pipelines and coordinating communications relating to pipeline activities with federal, state and local government agencies and regulatory authorities, pipeline companies and the public. Also provides for interagency cooperation; logging of information; and Right-to-Know requests.
Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 8/15/2017
HB 1721 RE: Notice of Well 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 shall give public notice of the filing for a well permit 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, 8/16/2017
Cosponsor Memo Filed
HCO2409 (Galloway) – Extends the statute of repose for construction to 20 years.
SB 843 RE: Preparation of Comprehensive Plans (by Sen. Mario Scavello, et al)
Amends the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, in comprehensive plan, further providing for preparation of comprehensive plan by adding that the plan shall identify, by name and physical location, the residential and mixed-use condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities, as well as the total land area, lot size and number of units of each; and, to the extent available, the infrastructure of each, including, but not limited to, information concerning the presence and condition of sanitary sewer, water and storm water systems, recreation facilities and roadways. The municipality may post the information to the municipality’s website and shall provide any requested paper copies for a fee not to exceed the fees set under section 1307 of the Right-to-Know Law.
Introduced and referred to Senate Local Government Committee, 8/11/2017
Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed via the Internet at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm