Mustio Introduces Bill to Update Registration Act
The Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE) is once again spearheading an effort to remove the industrial exemption from the professional engineers registration act. House Bill 1253 was recently introduced by Representative Mark Mustio (Republican, Allegheny County). This legislation is very similar to a bill from last session on which the House Professional Licensure Committee held a hearing public hearing and at which PSPE testified. It has been a long standing goal of PSPE to remove the industry exemption from the law. House Bill 1253 does that as well as making a few other changes. It changes the title of Engineers In Training to Engineer Intern to make it consistent with the NCEES model law. It also cleans up language relating to distance education for Professional Development Hours and eliminates a couple of other little used exemptions currently in the law. The bill has been referred to the House Professional Licensure committee. Follow this link to read the legislation.
Send a letter to your legislators urging support for the proposed changes.
State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists’ May 13 Meeting Highlights
- The State Registration Board met on May 13 in Harrisburg. Here are the highlights.
- Board President Michael Brinkash, PLS, thanked all the members for attending, and for their service to the Commonwealth.
- Board Prosecutor Robert Armour, Esq. presented two Consent Agreements for consideration in Executive Session
- Acting BPOA Commissioner Ian Harlow had no report.
- Board Counsel Juan Ruiz reported on the status of several cases, to be discussed in Executive Session.
- Regulatory Counsel Tom Blackburn reported on the status of regulations, and the Southeastern Reprographics Case.
- Board members Robert Garlitz and Lisa Catania gave a report from the NCEES meeting in Hershey. Garlitz said it went very well. Catania reported that the the PLS exam will be on-line October 16.
- Next meeting is July 8, in Harrisburg. Remaining 2015 meetings: September 9 and November 18.
State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists Publishes Proposed Renewal Fee Rulemaking
The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists proposed to amend § 37.17, to increase the biennial renewal fees for professional engineers, land surveyors and geologists from $50 to $100. The proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking should be directed to the Regulatory Unit Counsel, Department of State, State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, PO Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105- 2649, RA-STRegulatoryCounsel@pa.gov. Reference No. 16A-4713 (renewal fee) when submitting comments.
Primary Election Update: Parties Choose Judicial Candidates, Philly Mayor
The General Assembly was in only for a few days in May, due to the annual primary elections. House and Senate members are not up for election this year, with the exception of a few special elections throughout the year to fill vacancies. However, there were important elections for various court seats and in the Commonwealth’s two largest counties. A brief rundown follows.
Supreme Court: The top three Democrats on the ballot — Judge David Wecht, Judge Christine Donohue and Judge Kevin Dougherty — secured their party’s nominations for Supreme Court. Both Wecht and Dougherty were endorsed by the State Democratic Party. For the GOP their endorsed slate of Judge Judy Olson, Judge Mike George and PEG PAC-endorsed Judge Anne Covey — who had 6th, 4th & 2nd ballot position respectively — won the Republican nominations. Those six candidates, all state or county judges, will square off for the unprecedented three openings on the state’s highest court. Appointed Justice Corry Stevens, who had first ballot position, is in last place in the vote count with nearly 75% of the vote in.
Superior Court: In the Democratic Primary Judge Alice Dubow of Philadelphia easily beat Robert Colville for the party’s nod and will meet Republican Emil Giordano, a Northampton County Judge, in the fall.
Commonwealth Court: Michael Wojcik defeated Todd Eagen for the Democratic nomination; will face Republican Paul Lalley.
Philadelphia Mayor: Ex-councilman Jim Kenney easily won the Democratic primary with State Sen. Anthony Williams far back in second place. The overwhelming Democratic registration in the city means that Kenney will almost surely win in November.
Allegheny County Controller: In something of an upset, incumbent Chelsa Wagner held on to defeat the former Controller, Mark David Flaherty, in the Democratic primary. Flaherty had been endorsed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
5th Senate District Special Election: In the race to succeed Lt. Gov. Mike Stack in his northeast Philadelphia Senate District, Democratic State Rep. John Sabatina, Jr. easily won and will return the Democrat’s complement in the upper chamber back to 20, though only briefly, as Allegheny County Sen. Matt Smith announced his resignation to take the top job with the County Chamber.
Philadelphia Democrat State Rep. Ronald Waters resigned June 1 as part of his sentencing deal in the Philly sting case. Waters, a veteran legislator from west Philly, pled guilty to nine counts of conflict of interest and was sentenced to 23 months of probation and a $13,750 fine. He will not lose his pension. Waters took bribes totaling $8,750 to oppose a bill he already did not support — voter ID. Several more Philly Democrats caught up in the sting are in line to either plead guilty, or in the case of 81-year old Louise Bishop, push for a trial. Waters’ assumed safe Democratic seat – which also includes parts of two towns in Delaware County is now added to the list of upcoming special elections later this year.
Candidates Begin Lining Up For 2016 Attorney General Race
Once thought to be a potential U.S. Senate candidate, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro has announced he is running for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General. Shapiro is also running this year for re-election as Commissioner with a new running mate, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh. Shapiro could face a number of potential Democratic rivals, assuming the sitting AG Kathleen Kane doesn’t run, such as Northampton County DA John Morganelli, was the Democratic nominee for AG in 2008, when he lost to Tom Corbett.
Shapiro, a former state representative and an attorney, has at least one big advantage – Gov. Tom Wolf. Wolf recently appointed Shapiro as Chair of the Pa. Commission on Crime and Delinquency. On the Republican side, State Sen. John Rafferty of Chester County and Montgomery County State Rep. Todd Stephens are both exploring runs; 2012 GOP nominee Dave Freed, Cumberland County DA, has not ruled out a rematch.
House Consumer Affairs Committee Holds Public Hearing on Groundwater Legislation
The House Consumer Affairs Committee held a public hearing on HB 48, sponsored by committee Chairman Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery). The bill provides for the adoption of National Groundwater Association standards, and provides for water well construction standards; decommissioning of abandoned wells; water well completion reports; and inspections. Chairman Godshall explained he has personally experienced the consequences of improperly constructed water wells and believes standards for wells are imperative to health and safety. He said it is important that no one has to suffer the illness that can result from improperly built wells.
Kelly Heffner, Deputy Secretary, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), estimated three million Pennsylvanians draw water from one million private water wells and as many as 15,000 new water wells are drilled each year. Despite all these wells, she remarked, Pennsylvania is one of two states that do not have statewide construction standards for private water wells. She noted that in the absence of state standards, small government units may take responsibility. She indicated a number of municipalities have developed well ordinances in recent years. Speaking to pollution of wells, Heffner explained contamination can occur naturally or through human impacts and opined the first line of defense should be prevention, noting that each well provides an opportunity for pollution to travel underground. She cited studies that found 15 to 50 percent of private water systems fail a minimum of one safe drinking water standard and at least 40 percent of private water wells in Pennsylvania exhibited a failure of some Safe Drinking Water Act parameter. Heffner stated HB 48 is a step in the right direction towards establishing statewide standards for water well construction, but recommended that the bill also include consideration of how minimum requirements for licensing could protect consumers. Further, she suggested additional considerations “would improve the clarity, intent, and effectiveness of the bill and viability of any resulting water well construction program.”
Chairman Godshall mentioned a letter received from the Pennsylvania Builders Association in opposition to the bill on the basis that water wells are already regulated under the Uniform Construction Code, International Residential Code, and International Plumbing Code. He asked if that is correct. Heffner could not speak to specifics of the three codes and offered to research the question more fully, but briefly said her understanding is that the Uniform Construction Code has some comments related to well standards. Chairman Godshall added that someone who formerly worked with DEP told him that there is licensing, but no actual standards. Heffner confirmed well drillers need to be licensed by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford) asked how the bill might interface with the gas industry and the potential of a well being damaged by migrating methane. Heffner could not say that the standards would stop a specific contaminant, but opined an appropriately constructed well prevents against a lot of things, almost regardless of the industry.
Chairman Godshall remarked his personal problem related to a well that was drilled by his builder. He said the well was fine for a while, but after some time problems arose and he found that the well was not sealed or properly cased, thus runoff was getting in the well. He said he has made a number of corrections, but still does not fully trust the well. He commented he spent more on remediation than he did to have the well drilled in the first place.
William Reichart, President, Pennsylvania Ground Water Association (PGWA), testified in support of the bill, but advocated for incorporation of the following within the resultant water resource protection regulations:
- Creation of minimum state standards for location, inspection, construction, alteration, closure and decommissioning of water wells
- Establishment of criteria for proficiency-based licenser and certification of water well contractors and drillers
- Establishment of a State Board of Certification
- Submission of water quality and well yield reports
- Grandfathering of existing agencies and ordinances
- Establishment of a Water Well Conservation Fund that will assist landowners decommission old wells.
- Protection of construction of wells prior to this act from decommission requirements
- Establishment of a permanent technical advisory committee to DEP to assist in the development of rules and regulations
Chairman Godshall asked how many wells the PGWA drills per year. Reichart referred to DEP’s data for the collective drilling, but said his company drills about 400 wells per year. Chairman Godshall asked if all PGWA members adhere to the guidelines of the association. Reichart said his company does, and reiterated that some counties and municipalities have enacted standards. Regarding the earlier question about applicable codes, Reichart said those codes do make some mention of what would be acceptable regarding location and proximity, but argued the real value in HB 48’s effort is to address the areas from location, construction, materials, techniques, methodologies, and particularly enforcement. He commented there is little value to this effort without enforcement. Further, he noted DCNR licensing is tied to the rig, not the individual, and DCNR has little authority to affect individuals in a negative manner for not submitting required logs. Reichart argued for assuring that competent individuals are performing these services. He remarked that spending another $300 when drilling a well to be sure it is sealed can save them thousands. Chairman Godshall commented he spent a significant amount of money and still does not know if the problem has been corrected.
Rep. Mark Longietti (R-Mercer) asked about Reichart’s fifth and seventh recommendations, regarding grandfathering. He asked if Reichart is asking that existing wells not be subject to the requirements. Reichart indicated his preference is to include all related aspects, but past efforts have been met with resistance because of the number of nonconforming wells already in place. He offered his willingness to compromise at a “from this point forward” standard for new and decommissioned wells.
Mark Ioos, P.G., Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists (PCPG), said “PCPG has long recognized the need for private water well construction regulations to protect human health and safety and Pennsylvania’s valuable water resources” and strongly supports HB 48. He spoke to the health and safety risks posed by poorly constructed water wells and cited a 2009 study that found only 16 percent of wells had a sanitary cap, only 18 percent had cement or grout to prevent the introduction of surface contaminants, 54 percent had two of fewer of the five recommended well construction features, and 41 percent failed to meet at least one health-based drinking water standard. That study’s conclusions, he said, imply that the adoption of statewide water well construction regulations will be in the best interest of Pennsylvanians. Ioos recommended that HB 48 apply to any and all new water wells and that rules and regulations be generally consistent with water well construction standards established or recommended by the National Ground Water Association. Lastly, he suggested that any future regulations include language specifying that a professional geologist be consulted in those situations where an interpretation of geologic information is performed with respect to selecting water well locations, logging, reporting, or decommissioning activities.
Chairman Godshall said he would look into the recommendations. He opined this is a problem a lot greater than a lot of people think it is.
Bryan Swistock, Water Resources Specialist, Penn State University, discussed Penn State’s “considerable research and extension efforts to meet the demands of private well owners interested in properly constructing and managing their drinking water supply.” He said research has consistently found that approximately 40 percent of private water wells in Pennsylvania fail to meet at least one safe drinking water standard. He said surface contamination can be prevented by extending a properly sized well casing above the ground surface, installing a cement-like grout seal around the casing, and fitting the top of the casing with a sanitary well cap. He pointed to a study that found some bacterial contamination could be removed by simply having a water well professional disinfect the well and replace loosely-fitted well caps with a sealed, sanitary well cap. Swistock commented that about one-third of water well owners have never had their water properly tested and said “clearly the lack of voluntary water testing is one hurdle to the recognition of existing water quality problems.” He concluded, “Our research has sown that inadequate water well construction is a contributing factor to the failure of some private water wells to meet safe drinking water standards. This, along with the fact that many health-related pollutants have no obvious symptoms in water, water well owner often do not adequate test their water supply, and those that do may not understand the water test results, leads to significant potential health risk among the millions of rural residents, farmers and businesses that access the shared groundwater resource. Our research also found that about two-thirds of water well owners who were made aware of these issues were supportive of statewide regulations for water well construction, even if it added more than $500 to the cost of a new water well.”
Chairman Godshall remarked he first blamed his issues on Marcellus Shale drilling, but found that was not the problem. He asked what Swistock has seen in the studies about the effect of Marcellus Shale drilling. Swistock reported some people had felt their water had changed post-drilling, but the data did not support those claims. He said the studies did not see large scale problems from gas drilling for water wells.
The General Assembly acted on the following bills of interest to PSPE in the past month.
BIDDING / CONTRACTING
HB 726 RE: Contractor & Subcontractor Payment (by Rep. Mike Tobash, et al)
Amends the Contractor & Subcontractor Payment Act adding a language providing the provisions of the Act cannot be waived in any contract. Increases from 1 percent to 1.5 percent the monthly interest rate for an outstanding payment. Also adds a provision allowing for posting of security in lieu of retainage. Increases the penalty from 1 percent per month to 1.5 percent per month in cases where an arbitrator or litigation determines that payment was wrongly withheld.
Public hearing held in House Commerce Committee, 5/14/2015
HB 1071 RE: Extensions of Approvals (by Rep. Ryan Warner, et al)
Amends Development Permit Extension Act by amending the definition of “approval” and adding that for an approval that is granted for or in effect between the beginning of the extension period and July 2, 2016, whether obtained before or after the beginning of the extension period, the running of the period of the approval shall be automatically suspended until July 2, 2016.
Reported as committed from House Finance Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 5/12/2015
Removed from the table, 6/1/2015
Amended on House floor, and read second time, 6/2/2015
HB 1202 RE: Repeal of Redundant Law (by Rep. John Taylor,et al)
Repeals the act of May 28, 1943 (P.L.796, No.333), entitled “An act establishing as state highways, certain county highways and requiring their construction, repair and maintenance as such.”
Introduced and referred to House Transportation Committee, 5/13/2015
Cosponsor memos filed
HCO1730 (Warner) – Allows for the extension of state and local construction permits approved as of July 2, 2013.
HCO1744 (Caltagirone)- Provides for master architectural designs for school facilities, to that districts may adopt or modify one of the master plans, as appropriate for the site.
BUDGET RELATED BILLS
HB 928 RE: RACP Projects (by Rep. Steven Mentzer, et al)
Amends the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act, in capital facilities, further providing for appropriation for and limitation on redevelopment assistance capital projects by adding that beginning July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter until the sum of the outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance capital projects equals $2,950,000,000, the sum of the maximum amount of outstanding obligations for redevelopment assistance projects shall be decreased by $50,000,000.
Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 5/11/2015
HB 1125 RE: General Appropriation Act of 2015 (by Rep. Joe Markosek, et al)
Provides 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. This bill embraces the Governor’s March Budget Proposal.
Introduced and referred to House Appropriations Committee, 5/11/2015
HB 1140 RE: Capital Budget Act of 2015-16 (by Rep. Joe Markosek, et al)
Provides for the capital budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016. A total of $1,290,000,000 is appropriated. Effective July 1, 2015, or immediately, whichever is later.
Introduced and referred to House Appropriations Committee, 5/11/2015
HB 1192 RE: General Appropriation Act of 2015 (by Rep. Bill Adolph, et al)
Provides 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, 2015, to June 30, 2016, 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, 2015. This bill is the House Republican Budget, not like the Governor’s proposal.
Introduced and referred to House Appropriations Committee, 5/122015
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read first time, laid on the table, and Removed from the table 5/13/2015
Amended on the House floor, read second time, and Rereferred to House Appropriations, 6/1/2015
SB 810 RE: General Appropriation Act of 2015 (By Sen. Vincent Hughes, et al)
Provides provide 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, 2015, to June 30, 2016, 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, 2015. This is the Senate Democrats’ Budget, similar to the Governor’s proposal.
Introduced and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 5/8/2015
ENVIRONMENTAL BUILDING STANDARDS
HB 48 RE: Water Well Construction Standards (by Rep. Bob Godshall, et al)
Amends Title 27 (Environmental Resources) providing for the adoption of National Groundwater Association standards. Provides for water well construction standards; decommissioning of abandoned wells; water well completion reports; and inspections. Also provides for the powers and duties of the Environmental Quality Board and Department of Environmental Protection under this new chapter and for penalties for violations of this new chapter. Certain sections shall take effect after the adoption of regulations and the remainder shall take effect in 30 days.
Public hearing held in House Consumer Affairs Committee, 5/12/2015
HB 1103 RE: High Tunnels (by Rep. David Zimmerman, et al)
Amends the Storm Water Management Act defining “high tunnel” and exempting high tunnels from the act. A municipality that has adopted a watershed storm water plan or enacted a local ordinance or regulation that regulates high tunnels prior to the effective date shall amend the plan, ordinance or regulation in order to comply.
Introduced and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 5/4/2015
HB 1166 RE: Toll Road Conversions (by Rep. Mike Vereb, et al)
Amends Title 74 (Transportation) adding a new section relating to toll road conversions by requiring legislative approval of the conversion of any existing public roadway including the Pennsylvania Turnpike but not including bridges and tunnels.
Introduced and referred to House Transportation Committee, 5/11/2015
SB 330 RE: Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization (by Sen. Kim Ward, et al)
Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally), in neighborhood blight reclamation and revitalization, providing for failure to comply with a code requirement. The bill outlines what constitutes noncompliance and grades a second offense as a second-degree misdemeanor and three or more as a first-degree misdemeanor. Repeals the offense of municipal housing code avoidance. Provides for penalties.
Read third time, and passed Senate, 5/5/2015 (48-0)
Received in the House and referred to House Urban Affairs Committee, 5/11/2015
SB 792 RE: Codes in First Class Townships (by Sen. John Wozniak, et al)
Amends the First Class Township Code, in corporate powers, further providing for powers of the board of township commissioners as to building and housing regulations and inspectors; and providing for Uniform Construction Code, property maintenance code and reserved powers. The bill adds a section providing for Uniform Construction Code, Property Maintenance Code, and reserved powers. The Pennsylvania Construction Code Act and the Uniform Construction Code shall apply to the construction, alteration, repair and occupancy of the buildings and structures within a township.
Introduced and referred to Senate Local Government Committee, 5/20/2015
SB 793 RE: Codes in Second Class Townships (By Sen. Scott Hutchinson, et al)
Amends the Second Class Township Code, in corporate powers, further providing for building and housing regulations and repealing provisions relating to building and housing inspectors; and providing for Uniform Construction Code, property maintenance code and reserved powers. The bill adds a section providing for Uniform Construction Code, Property Maintenance Code, and reserved powers. The Pennsylvania Construction Code Act and the Uniform Construction Code shall apply to the construction, alteration, repair and occupancy of the buildings and structures within a township.
Introduced and referred to Senate Local Government Committee, 5/20/2015
SB 855 RE: Preparation Of Comprehensive Plan (by Sen. Mario Scavello, et al)
Amends the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, in comprehensive plan, further providing for preparation of comprehensive plan by requiring a county comprehensive plan to 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 bill provides for definitions.
Introduced and referred to Senate Local Government Committee, 5/29/2015
HB 1119 RE: Waivers of Certain Mandates (by Rep. Kristin Phillips Hill, et al)
Amends the Public School Code to allow public schools to apply for waivers of certain delineated statutory mandates, provided conditions are met. Provides for a five-year report and renewal cycle. Also allows fulfillment of certain legal notice requirements by publishing on a publicly accessible website
Introduced and referred to House Education Committee, 5/6/2015
HB 92 RE: Expungement (by Rep. Kate Harper, et al)
Amends “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; and further providing for civil penalties and license suspension,” to provide a definition for “expunge” or “expungement” and to provide the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs the power to expunge a record based upon certain enumerated conditions. The Commissioner of Professional and Occupational Affairs has the authority and duty to adopt a schedule of civil penalties for operating violations.
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 5/1/2015
HB 157 RE: Military Service Waiver (by Rep. Doyle Heffley, et al)
Amends Title 51 (Military Affairs), in professional and occupational licenses, providing that military service and other related factors may be taken into consideration to determine whether a licensing or certification requirement has been met by or can otherwise be waived by reason of that military service, education, training or experience. A veteran shall only be required to meet a licensing or certification requirement which has not been met by or waived. Defines “veteran” as an individual who has served in the United States armed forces, including a reserve component and National Guard who has been discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
Laid on the table, 5/5/2015
Removed from the table, 6/2/2015
HB 1253 RE: Registration Board Updates (by Rep Mark Mustio, et al)
Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law changing the definition of “Engineer-in-Training” to “Engineer Intern”. Removes certain exemptions from licensure and registration.
Introduced and referred to House Professional Licensure Committee, 5/28/2015
SB 538 RE: Self Reporting (by Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, et al)
Amends “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,” to require all persons licensed, certified, or registered with the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs to report any disciplinary conduct in another jurisdiction by a licensing board or an arrest, indictment or conviction. The legislation would provide penalties for failure to report within 30 days. The legislation also provides for license suspension and hearing process and procedure.
Reported as committed from Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, read first time, 5/12/2015
Amended on Senate floor, 6/1/2015
Read second time, 6/2/2015
SB 845 RE: Soil Scientists (by Sen. Judy Schwank, et al)
Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law expanding the scope of the act to include soil science; further providing for definitions; and providing for procedure for licensing as professional soil scientist.
Introduced and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 5/20/2015
LOCAL/PROPERTY TAX REFORM
HB 504 RE: School Property Tax Reform Act (by Rep. Matt Gabler, et al)
Amends the Tax Reform Code providing an exclusion from the Sales and Use Tax for services or the tangible personal property including, but not limited to, machinery, equipment, parts and supplies to be used or consumed by the purchaser directly in the operations of timbering when engaged in a business enterprise. Pertinent definitions are also provided for. Adds a new article providing for the School Property Tax Reform Act. Establishes the School District Millage Rate Reduction Fund and the School District Homestead and Farmstead Relief Fund. Imposes an additional personal income tax rate of 0.63 percent with the funds generated from this tax to be deposited in the School District Millage Rate Reduction Fund. Also imposes an additional requirement on the Department of Education to calculate the millage rate reduction allocation for each school district. Provides the maximum amount of millage rate reduction a school district may receive is 30 percent of the school district’s overall property taxes levied and the minimum amount of millage rate reduction is 20 percent. If personal income tax collections decline from the previous year, funds shall be transferred from the homestead/farmstead exclusion fund. Also imposes an additional sales and use tax rate of one percent beginning January 1, 2016, with the funds generated by the imposition of this tax to be deposited in the School District Homestead and Farmstead Relief Fund. Requires the Department of Education to calculate the homestead/farmstead exclusion allocations for all school districts. Provides the maximum amount of homestead/farmstead exclusion a school district may receive is 25 percent of the school district’s overall residential property taxes levied and the minimum amount of homestead/farmstead exclusion in 15 percent. Further provides for senior citizens property tax and rent rebate assistance and repeals provisions of the Taxpayer Relief Act.
Amended on House floor, read second time, and Rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 5/12/2015 Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 5/13/2015 (105-86)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Finance Committee, 5/20/2015
HB 1256 RE: Maximum Local Tax Rates (by Rep. Kurt Masser, et al)
Amends the Local Tax Enabling Act adding language providing the maximum income tax rate for a school district that levied an occupation tax for the fiscal year ending in 2015 and a municipality that levied an occupation tax for the calendar year ending December 31, 2014, shall be determined by taking the sum of the rates calculated under the legislation. Further provides the determined tax rate shall be rounded off to the nearest increment of 0.1 percent.
Introduced and referred to House Finance Committee, 5/28/2015
MECHANIC’S LIEN: NONE
MINIMUM WAGE: NONE
SB 846 RE: Home Improvement Contractors (by Sen. Tina Tartaglione, et al)
Amends the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act further providing for procedures for registration as a contractor by adding that the application shall include proof of workers’ compensation coverage in compliance with the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Introduced and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 5/29/2015
OTHER LEGISLATION OF INTEREST
SR 103 RE: Building Safety Month (By Sen. Lisa Baker, et al)
Resolution designating the month of May 2015 as “Building Safety Month,” ” and encouraging residents to participate in “Building Safety Week” from May 3 through May 9, 2015, in Pennsylvania.
Introduced and Adopted, 5/4/2015 (50-0)
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 – 6/9/15
House Finance Committee
9:00 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building
To consider: HB 1256 (Masser) – Amends the Local Tax Enabling Act, in optional occupational tax elimination, further providing for income tax rate limits.
WEDNESDAY – 6/10/15
Senate Local Government Committee
10:00 a.m., Room 461 Main Capitol
SB 792 (Wozniak) – Amends the First Class Township Code, in corporate powers, further providing for powers of the board of township commissioners as to building & housing regulations & inspectors; & providing for UCC, property maintenance code & powers.
SB 793 (Hutchinson) – Amends the Second Class Township Code, in corporate powers, further providing for building & housing regulations & repealing provisions relating to building & housing inspectors; & for UCC, property maintenance code & powers.
2015 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE
June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
2015 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE
June 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
The Fall legislative schedule has not been announced yet
Copies of all bills of interest can be accessed here.