Bill Would Place Home Inspectors Under Engineers and Surveyors Licensing Board

For more than a few years, the licensing of home inspectors has been kicked around the halls of Pennsylvania’s Capitol but with no enactment.  Presently home inspectors are certified by national associations.  A new bill was just introduced and it proposes to create a true licensing process for home inspectors but with an odd twist, making them part of the Board that regulates the practice of engineering, land surveying and geology.  HB 21 amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Act and adds home inspectors representatives to the Board.  

  • Last legislative session a licensing bill for home inspectors passed the House but not the Senate.  That bill, however, created a new licensing board that would have been under the PA Department of Labor and Industry.  House Bill 21 was introduced and referred to the House Professional Licensure committee in March.
  • State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists March 13 Meeting Highlights
  • The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists met on March 13 in Harrisburg. Following are the highlights.
  • Board President Francis Stanton, PE, welcomed Board members and guests
  • Board Prosecutor Robert Armour, Esq. reviewed one Consent Agreement with a PE for deliberation in Executive Session, and noted the Board had one hearing scheduled for later in the meeting. He noted that James Osman will be handling cases for the Board going forward.
  • The Board heard a presentation from the BPOA Budget & Finance Office. Kim Adams report the Board is on target with budget lines, barring unexpected legal costs, after the fee increase that is expected in the fall, which doubles the renewal fee.
  • Acting BPOA Commissioner Kalonji Johnson had nothing to report.
  • Board Counsel Ariel O’Malley reported on three other cases before the Board to be discussed in executive session, along with several applications.
  • Board President Stanton opened the meeting to public comment, and John Fuehrer, PLS, raised a concern on behalf of PSLS that the new Board exam is watered down and too easy. The Board members shared that concern, and would be looking into it further.
  • Next meeting is May 8, 2019, in Harrisburg. Future 2019 meeting dates: July 10, September 11, November 13.

Governor’s Office Publishes 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 information provided is current as of February 22, 2019. The following regulation announcements of interest to PSPE were published in the Saturday, March 23, 2019 issue of the PA Bulletin.

 

State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists

Electronic Seals and Signatures
49 Pa. Code Chapter 37
(# 16A-4712)

Spring 2019,
as Proposed

The proposed regulations would update existing regulations on seals and set forth standard requirements for electronic seals and electronic signing of design documents. The goal of this proposal is to be consistent with proposed regulations of the State Architects Licensure Board and the State Board of Landscape Architects to provide all design professionals with standards that are as consistent as possible with respect to both traditional seals and electronic seals to benefit both the design professionals and their clients.

Jeannie Bronshtein (717) 783-7049

Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs

Expungement; Fees
49 Pa. Code Chapter 43b, §§ 43b.101—43b.103
and 43b.201
(# 16A-060)

Spring 2019,
as Final

The proposed rulemaking would implement the expungement provisions in the act of February 15, 2018 (P.L. 14, No. 6), which authorizes the Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs to expunge certain disciplinary actions upon application, and to require the applicant to pay a fee to cover all costs associated with the expungement as established by the Commissioner by regulation.

Cynthia Montgomery (717) 783-7200

 

Democrats win Special Elections to Succeed Kavulich and Brown

The parade of special elections to be held this spring commenced on March 12, with two House races to fill seats where incumbents were reelected in November, but were unable to serve this session, for two very different reasons.

In the 114th House District, Democratic candidate Bridget Malloy Kosierowski defeated Republican Frank Scavo for the 114th House District in Lackawanna County.  She won by nearly 25 points, according to unofficial results.

The district had been represented by the late state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-Lackawanna), who died in October at the age of 62 from complications of open heart surgery. Kavulich remained on the ballot and won re-election after his passing. Kosierowski, a registered nurse, made fighting for health care a central theme to her campaign.  This was Scavo’s third attempt at running for elected office, but indicated during his concession speech he would be running for the Senate in 2020.

The other special election was also held March 12, to fill the open state House seat in West Philadelphia’s 190’s district. To no one’s surprise, Democrat Movita Johnson-Harrell won the race for the seat. Johnson-Harrell captured 66 percent of the votes in a field of four candidates. Johnson-Harrell becomes the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania state House. This seat was held by state Rep. Vanessa Lowery-Brown (D-Philadelphia) since 2009 until she resigned in December after she was sentenced on a bribery conviction. Johnson-Harrell, who most recently served as the supervisor of Victim/Witness Services and Restorative Justice at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, tried to unseat Brown in a six candidate field in the 2016 Democratic primary, but was unsuccessful.

More specials in the Senate will follow in the coming months. In the 37th Senatorial District, to be held April 2, 2019, Democrat Pam Iovino faces Republican D. Raja. The two seek to succeed Republican Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, who won a seat in Congress in 2018, midway through his state Senate term. This race is seen as being very close, with Democrats hoping to continue cutting into the Republican majority, after winning 5 open seats last fall. Then, on May 21, special elections will be held to fill the unexpired terms of Republican Sens. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin) and Don White (R- Indiana), who resigned on February 28. These seats are both seen as likely to stay Republican. White’s long-time Chief of State, Joe Pittman, is considered the odds-on favorite to replace his former boss.

Also on May 21, voters in the 12th Congressional District will choose a successor for Cong. Tom Marino, who retired recently citing health reasons. Fourteen Republican candidates were nominated, with state Rep. Fred Keller (R-Snyder) being awarded the GOP nomination for the May 21 election against Democrat Marc Friedenberg.

And finally, former House Commerce Committee Chairman Brian Ellis (R-Butler) resigned this past month, and a special election to replace him will also be called on primary day.

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.

Bidding / Contracting
NONE

Budget Related Bills

HB 140  RE: 2019-20 Budget Bill (by Rep. Matt Bradford, et al)

An Act appropriating 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.

Introduced and referred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/11/2019

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.

Introduced and referred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/12/2019

HR 148  RE: Funding for Storm Water Infrastructure Projects (by Rep. Aaron Kaufer, et al)

A Resolution urging the Congress of the United States to provide additional funding for storm water infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania.

Filed, 3/13/2019

SB 234  RE: General Appropriation Act of 2019 (by Sen. Pat Browne, et al)

Provides appropriations from the General Fund for the expenses of the executive and judicial departments, the state government support agencies and the General Assembly of the commonwealth, the public debt and the public schools for the fiscal year July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for certain institutions and organizations and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019; to provide 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, 2018; to provide 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; and to provide for the additional appropriation of federal and state funds to the executive and judicial departments for the fiscal year July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. Effective July 1, 2019, or immediately, whichever is later.

Reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, and read first time, 3/18/2019

Read second time, 3/19/2019

Recommitted to Senate Appropriations Committee, 3/20/2019

Environmental Building Standards
NONE

Liability
NONE

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 amended from House Labor and Industry Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 3/25/2019

Removed from the table, 3/26/2019

Amended on House floor, read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/27/2019

HB 804  RE: Groundwater (by Rep. Dan Moul, et al)

Amends Title 27 (Environmental Resources), in water resources planning, providing for departmental control of groundwater matters and for groundwater regulation review. The bill establishes that the department shall exercise exclusive authority to: regulate groundwater within this commonwealth; impose fees, fines or penalties regarding the use, withdrawal or retention of groundwater within this commonwealth; regulate the impact that drilling may have on groundwater within this commonwealth; and mandate the testing of groundwater within this commonwealth.

Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 3/13/2019

HB 832  RE: Adoption of Decisions by Previous Code Administrators (by Rep. Clint Owlett, et al)

Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in adoption and enforcement by municipalities, further providing for administration and enforcement by adding that in the case of a change of code administrator with jurisdiction over a project, subsequent code administrators shall be subject to decisions previously rendered on the project by the board of appeals.

Introduced and referred to House Labor and Industry Committee, 3/14/2019

Local/Property Tax Reform
NONE

Mandate Waivers
NONE

Mechanic’s Lien
NONE

Permitting
NONE

Professional Licensure

HB 21  RE: Home Inspector Licensure (by Rep. Sue Helm, et al)

Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law providing for the regulation of the practice of home inspection; and making a related repeal.

Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 3/18/2019

HB 64 RE: Continuing Education Credit Carryover (by Rep. Harry Readshaw, et al)

Amends an act empowering the General Counsel to issue subpoenas for certain licensing board activities, permitting individuals under the purview of the Bureau of Professional and Occupations Affairs Act to accrue continuing education credits in credit carryover.

Reported as committed from House Professional Licensure Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 3/13/2019

Removed from the table, 3/18/2019
Read Second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/19/2019

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 3/20/2019 (193-0)

School Construction

HB 834  RE: Choke Point in New School Construction and Renovations (by Rep. Marcy Toepel, et al)

Amends the Public School Code, in reimbursements by Commonwealth and between school districts, further providing for payments on account of building costs. The bill adds to the Payments of Account of Building Costs section that payment required by this section shall be made only if the approved building construction or approved renovation includes the designation of a single secure point of entry for a building through which individuals must enter during school hours.

Introduced and referred to committee on House Education, 3/14/2019

Cosponsor memo filed

HCO1471 (Gillespie) – Creates a Prototypical School Facility Design Clearinghouse.

Filed, 3/11/2019

Transportation
NONE

Worker’s Comp
NONE

Workforce Development

HB 425  RE: CareerBound Act (by Rep. Ryan MacKenzie, et al)

Provides for school-to-work programs; establishing the CareerBound program; and imposing powers and duties on the Department of Labor and Industry. Funding and notice effective immediately, remainder of the act effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Reported as amended from House Labor and Industry Committee, read first time and laid on the table, 3/13/2019

Removed from the table, 3/18/2019
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 3/19/2019

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 3/20/2019 (192-1)

HB 796  RE: Schools-to-Work Act (by Rep. Jared Solomon, et al)

Establishes the Schools-to-Work Program in the Department of Education to distribute grants on a competitive basis to schools to support the establishment or enhancement of partnerships with local businesses in order to fill current and anticipated needs for employees with necessary job qualifications and certifications. Expires June 30, 2024, and effective in 60 days.

Introduced and referred to House Education Committee, 3/12/2019

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/

TUESDAY – 4/9/19
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
Off the floor, Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

To consider: HB 414  (Zimmerman) – Act providing for an erosion and sediment control permit, for compliance, for an annual report and for duties of the Department of Environmental Protection; and others

2019 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

April                      8, 9, 10, 29, 30
May                       1, 6, 7, 8
June                       3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

2019 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

April                      8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30
May                      1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23
June                      3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

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

2019 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): 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 at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm