Emrick Intoduces Bill to Amend PE Registration Act

Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton) has introduced legislation similar to last session’s HB 1106, which amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law.

The legislation makes a number of changes to current exemptions as well as continuing education language. It includes provisions that will alleviate confusion created by a recent court decision involving the practice of both engineering and land surveying. It makes clear that the practice of these professions can occur even if there is not a “design” per se. Additionally, it incorporates sections from the NCEES model law to delineate the difference between land surveying and GIS work. The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers and the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors, and is a reflection of input received from other interested organizations.

The new bill is House Bill 2101 It has been referred to the House Committee on Professional LicensurePSPE members are encouraged to contact their Representatives and urge support for this important piece of legislation. Access a letter which you can email directly. 

Home Inspectors Licensing Bill Advances after Amendments

A bill that would have placed home inspectors under the State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists was amended to move the assignment to the licensing Board for Real Estate Appraisers.  PSLS opposed adding home inspectors to a board that already licenses 3 different professions, all of which have separate “in training” licenses.  House Bill 21 is a better fit under the relatively small real estate appraisers board.  House Bill 21 includes the long standing prohibitions for home inspectors from engaging in engineering unless they are also licensed as professional engineers.  The bill was amended in the House Professional Licensure Committee and subsequently passed the full House 176 to 22.  It must still pass the Senate before it can be approved by the Governor.

Ralph Yanora Joins PUC

On October 23, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) welcomed Ralph Yanora, from Northeastern Pennsylvania, to the PUC. Yanora’s appointment was approved that day by the Senate, by a 45-3 vote, following a unanimous recommendation on Oct. 22, 2019 by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. He was sworn in the following day during a brief ceremony in Harrisburg.

“We look forward to working with Commissioner Yanora and welcome his insights and experience,” said PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille. “His extensive background in the water, wastewater, stormwater and natural gas distribution industries will be beneficial as the Commission continues to tackle a diverse list of infrastructure and other utility issues facing Pennsylvania.”

At his confirmation hearing, Yanora emphasized that his career has been dedicated to ensuring “safe, adequate, and continuous drinking water supply throughout our Commonwealth, which is very much a part of the Commission’s core mission.” He also stressed the key role of consumer protection in the PUC’s work, noting, “I served customers throughout my career, and I look forward to continuing to serve and protect the Commonwealth’s utility customers while finding the appropriate balance between the needs of these consumers with those of the regulated utilities.”

With more than 40 years of experience in the water, wastewater, natural gas, and more recently stormwater industries, Yanora is the founder and retired CEO of Pennsylvania Water Specialties Company – which provides consulting and management services for cross connection control programs, water loss programs, as well as operation and maintenance programs for water distribution companies. Yanora is a licensed Master Plumber and a certified instructor and trainer who has been recognized by the American Society of Sanitary Engineers for his knowledge and dedication to safeguarding water systems.  He is also an associate member of Pennsylvania Rural Water Association, a statewide organization whose mission is to support its approximately 1,100 municipal members along with all water and wastewater operators throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 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

Cosponsor memo filed

HCO2685 (Snyder) – Allowing Municipal Authorities to Deploy Broadband Internet Infrastructure Adds another critical infrastructure need to the scope of projects permitted under the Municipal Authorities Act: deployment of a publicly owned broadband internet network.

Filed, 10/8/2019

 

Budget Related Bills

SB 905  RE: Capital Budget Project Itemization Act of 2019-20 (by Sen. Pat Browne, et al)

Provides for the capital budget for fiscal year 2019-20, itemizes various public improvement projects, authorizes the incurring of debt without the approval of electors for financing projects, authorizes the use of current revenue for the purpose of financing projects and provides appropriations.

Introduced and referred to Senate Appropriations Committee, 10/17/2019
Reported as amended from Senate Appropriations Committee, and read first time, 10/28/2019

Amended on Senate floor and read second time, 10/29/2019

Read third time, and passed Senate, 10/30/2019 (48-0)

 

Local/State Government/Regulations

SB 694  RE: Reducing Surface Impact from Unconventional Gas Wells (by Sen. Gene Yaw, et al)

Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas), in development, establishing a process and accounting mechanism for the development of wellbores crossing multiple units.

Received in the House and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 10/15/2019
Reported as amended from House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 10/22/2019
Removed from the table, read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 10/28/2019

Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 10/29/2019 (197-1)
Received as amended in Senate and rereferred Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, re-reported on concurrence as committed from Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate concurred in House amendments, 10/29/2019 (49-0)
Signed in the Senate, 10/29/2019
Signed in the House 10/30/2019
In the hands of the Governor, 10/30/2019. Last day for Governor’s action, 11/9/2019

 

SB 790  RE: Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act (by Sen. Joe Scarnati, et al)

Provides for separate regulations for family-owned conventional oil and gas operators. The legislation includes general requirements, including well permit, objections, adoption, identification, inactive status, location restrictions, restorations, reporting, safety, and protection requirements; and provisions regarding enforcement and remedy, penalties, civil penalties, third party liability, unlawful conduct, inspection reports and the Relations to the Coal and Gas Resource Collection Act.

Reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed Senate, 10/21/2019 (26-23)
Received in the House and referred to House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 10/22/2019

 

Permitting

HB 247 RE: Reducing Surface Impact from Unconventional Gas Wells (by Rep. Donna Oberlander, et al)

Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas) adding a new subsection allowing an the operator to drill and produce a well that traverses, by horizontal drilling, more than one lease or unit, if the operator reasonably allocates production from the well among the leases or units related to each lessor’s acreage in the unit and the traversing well is not expressly prohibited by the terms of a lease. This does not authorize an operator to drill an oil or gas well that is not subject to a valid lease or royalty agreement that includes a voluntary pooling provision with a lessor.

Laid on the table, removed from the table, 10/28/2019

 

SB 891  RE: Third Party Permit Review (by Sen. Gene Yaw, et al)

Amends Title 27 (Environmental Resources), in administrative provisions, establishing the Advanced Permit Review Program and the Advanced Permit Review Program Fund; and making an editorial change. The program is established within the Department of Environmental Resources to provide an expedited method of reviewing applications for permits. The department shall select qualified licensed professionals to perform an expedited review of permits. Qualified licensed professionals shall be professional engineers, land surveyors or geologists licensed in Pennsylvania, and shall have successfully completed training in an environmental education program approved by the department and have at least five years of relevant environmental experience. The legislation describes the permit review procedure, the erosion and sediment control permit procedure, and the dam safety and waterway management permit procedure, and establishes the advanced permit review program fund. A report to the General Assembly on the progress in implementing the program is due not later than 12 months after the effective date.

Introduced and referred to Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, 10/15/2019
Reported as committed from Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and read first time, 10/22/2019

 

Professional Licensure

HB 21  RE: Home Inspector Licensing (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. Portions are effective immediately, portions are effective in two years, portions are effective 90 days after regulations are published, and the remainder is effective in 60 days. The bill was amended in Committee to move licensure to the Real Estate Appraisers Board.

Removed from the table, 10/23/2019
Amended on House floor, read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 10/29/2019 Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 10/30/2019 (176-22)

Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 10/31/2019

HR 350  RE: Military License Resolution (by Rep. Harry Readshaw, et al)

A Resolution urging the licensing boards and commissions under the Department of State to review how military education and training may partially or completely fulfill licensure requirements and to develop suggested pathways to licensure for active duty military and veterans.

Reported as committed from House Professional Licensure Committee, 10/23/2019

 

SB 637  RE: Occupational Licensure Reform (by Sen. John DiSanto, et al)

Amends Title 18 (Crimes & Offenses), in criminal history record information, requiring occupational licensure boards to only withhold a license for convictions which are directly related to the practice of the occupation, and that boards consider the nature of the offense, the amount of time that has passed since conviction, evidence of the applicant’s ability to practice the occupations and other relevant factors prior to withholding a license. The legislation requires boards to publish regulations to explain how the new Criminal History Record Information Act rules apply.

Reported as amended from Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, and read first time, 10/30/2019

 

Cosponsor memo filed

 

HCO2726 (Emrick) – Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law – Amendments. Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law.

Filed, 10/21/2019

 

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/

2019 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE

November      18, 19, 20, 21
December       16, 17, 18

 

2019 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

November       [12, 13, 14, Cancelled] 18, 19, 20, 21
December        9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18

 

2020 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

January                 7 (non-voting), 13, 14, 15, 21, 22
February              3, 4, 5
March                   16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
April                      6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, ELECTION BREAK
May                       4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
June                       1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30