HB 2101 on Track for Final Senate Vote
The long, windy road to an updated Registration Act may finally be ending. The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee reported out HB 2101 on October 6, and it is now in position for a final vote in the Senate the week of October 19. The bill came out of committee without amendments, though your lobbyists remain vigilant for potential floor amendments, as we have heard of some concerns raised from GIS professional groups, despite them being at the table when the bill was negotiated last year. Members are requested to email their Senators immediately, using this link: https://www.votervoice.net/WannerAssoc/campaigns/75564/respond
Design Professionals Added to Indemnification Bill
House Bill 1887 prohibits indemnification provisions in construction contracts. Forty-five other states already have laws that prohibits shifting one party’s negligence to another party via a contract provision. When introduced last year, the bill’s protection applied only to construction contractors. Before the bill passed out of the House Commerce committee on September 17th, an amendment was added that extends the same protection to architects, engineers and land surveyors at the request of the Society. The bill is presently on the House tabled calendar. Given the relatively few voting days left during the current legislative session, the big question is if there will be time to get the bill all the way to the Governor’s desk. The Society urges your support for the bill as amended.
State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists September 16 Meeting Notes
- The State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists met on September 16, by Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are the highlights.
- Board Vice President James Szalankiewicz, PE, PLS presided, and welcomed the members and acknowledged the guests.
- Board Prosecutor Glenn Masser, Esq., presented three cases the Board had considered in executive session.
- Szalankiewicz did not have a report on behalf of President Stanton. Member Joe McNally, PG, reported that ASBOG will be holding its annual meeting virtually this year.
- On behalf of BPOA Commissioner Kalonji Johnson, Deputy Commissioner Ted Stauffer welcomed new board member Jonathan Tabas, PLS, and expressed his gratitude to the Board and guests for their patience with the new meeting format.
- Board Administrator Jeannie Bronshtein also welcomed Tabas, and updated the Board on the Pearson testing agency sites. The Philadelphia site cancelled the fall testing, but an alternate site was located.All applications are currently on schedule, despite staff working from home in most cases. The state specific surveyors exam has been resumed.
- Board Counsel Bill Fritz reported on the Seals regulation, noting the approved draft language had been sent to the Office of General Counsel, and were “moving along,” as is the Act 41 regulation. The proposed Seals regulation has been sent out to interested parties for comment prior to publication.
- Next meeting is November 10. 2021 Board meeting dates have not yet been published
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
HB 2353 RE: Reforms to Prevent Fraud and Stop Improper Payments (by Rep. Valerie Gaydos, et al)
Amends Title 71 (State Government) adding language requiring a commonwealth agency, no less than once every two years, to conduct an assessment of improper payments. Requires each agency to review their programs and expenditures and assess whether they are highly, moderately or unlikely to be susceptible to an improper payment. Requires this assessment to be sent to the governor, the Budget Office, the Independent Fiscal Office, the state inspector general, and the members of the General Assembly. Also requires the inspector general to establish a schedule to review at least one agency during each calendar year beginning in 2021. The inspector general shall examine the agency’s programs and activities susceptible to improper payments, the number of the agency’s improper payments, and the total amount of federal or state funds that were expended through improper payments. Provides if the agency has an improper rate which exceeds 3 percent, the agency is required to adopt a corrective action plan to reduce its improper payment rate by 50 percent since the initial review. Requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to perform an audit on a commonwealth agency no later than five years after the inspector general has completed its review of the commonwealth agency.
Laid on table in Senate State Government Committee, 9/9/2020
HB 2354 RE: Do-Not-Pay Initiative (by Rep. Clint Owlett, et al)
Amends Title 71 (State Government) adding language establishing the Do-Not-Pay Initiative in the Department of the Treasury for the purpose of monitoring improper payments across commonwealth agencies. Requires the governor’s Budget Office to assist the department in the operation of the initiative and ensure the department has the necessary information from each commonwealth agency. Requires the initiative to provide a searchable database of recipients that are not eligible to receive payment from the commonwealth and requires an agency to utilize the database in order to determine eligibility for the awarding and disbursement of payments. Further provides for information sharing, prohibition, award and payment, procedural review, and database review.
Reported as committed from Senate State Government Committee, and read first time, 9/9/2020
HB 1737 RE: Environmental Liability Exemption for Land Banks (by Rep. Austin Davis, et al)
Amends the Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act establishing environmental liability exemption for land banks.
Reported as committed from Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and read first time, 9/3/2020
HB 1292 RE: Deeds by Rep. Carl Metzger, 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. Effective January 1, 2021, or in 60 days, whichever is later.
Removed from the table, 9/15/2020
Read second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 9/16/2020
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 9/17/2020 (202-0)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee, 9/9/2020
HB 2073 RE: First Class Township Code Recodification (by Rep. Dan Moul, et al)
Amends the First Class Township Code, in preliminary provisions, modernizing and recodifying numerous provisions. Among numerous changes to the First Class Township Code, the legislation replaces obsolete provisions; incorporates language to reflect current case law and current practices, standards and requirements; replaces and updates certain language, including language in conflict with other statutes; consolidates common subject; and provides language included in previous recodifications, including Act 43 of 2012 (Borough Code), Act 22 of 2014 (Third Class City Code) and Act 60 of 1995 (the Second Class Township Code, reenacted). This legislation may be referred to as the First Class Township Code recodification bill.
Reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, 9/21/2020
HB 21 RE: Licensure of Home Inspectors (by Rep. Sue Helm, et al)
Amends the Real Estate Appraisers Certification Act providing for the licensure of home inspectors and making a related repeal. Changes to the composition of the State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers to include two qualified home inspectors and the promulgation of regulations are effective immediately and the remainder of the legislation shall take effect in two years.
Reported as committed from Senate Appropriations Committee, 9/21/2020
HB 1566 RE: Advisory Opinions (by Rep. Bill Kortz, et al)
Amends the act of July 2, 1993, 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 the power to issue an advisory opinion, upon request of a licensee, registrant, certificate holder or permit holder, concerning the meaning or interpretation of an act or regulation pertaining to the license, registration, certificate or permit issued by a licensing board or commission. No person who acts in good faith shall be subject to criminal or civil penalties or any disciplinary action by the licensing board or commission, provided that the material facts are as stated in the opinion request. An advisory opinion shall not be binding upon the licensing board or commission except with respect to the person to whom the opinion is rendered. Advisory opinions shall be public records and may be published.
Amended on House floor, read second time, and Rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 9/1/2020
Reported as committed from House Appropriations Committee, read third time, and passed House, 9/2/2020 (115-87)
Received in the Senate and referred to Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, 9/18/2020
HB 2101 RE: Registration Law (by Rep. Joe Emrick, et al)
Amends the Engineer, Land Surveyor and Geologist Registration Law further providing for definitions, for continuing professional competency requirements and for exemption from licensure and registration. The bill establishes a competency requirement for the completion of distance learning courses if the course relates to professional practice, and if it is verifiable and measurable by hours of instruction. Further, the act shall not be construed to require the licensure and registration of the practice of engineering or land surveying by a regular employe or agent of an electric cooperative corporation in connection with the facilities of the electric cooperative, provided that the electric cooperative corporation or agent thereof either shall employ at least one professional engineer or professional land surveyor or belongs to a Pennsylvania electric cooperative association that employs a professional engineer or professional land surveyor. The exemption is removed for the practice of engineering, land surveying or geology by any person or by any employe of any copartnership, association or corporation upon property owned by such person or such copartnership, association or corporation, unless such practice affects the public safety or health or the property of some other person or entity. Provides an exemption for the practice of engineering, land surveying or geology work by the employees, contractors or agents of cable service, VOIP, broadband internet or other service delivered over a cable system, a provider of enhanced telecommunications system, or a provider of telecommunications services if those services are in connection with or incidental to products of, or non-engineering, land surveying or geology services rendered by the company.
Reported as committed from Senate Consumer Protection & Prof. Licensure Committee, and read first time, 10/6/2020
HR 968 RE: Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day (by Rep. Stan Saylor, et al)
A Resolution designating October 10, 2020, as “Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day” in Pennsylvania.
Adopted, 9/2/2020 (202-0)
SB 1199 RE: Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee (by Sen. Ryan Aument, et al)
Amends Title 75 (Vehicles), in general provisions, further providing for definitions; and, in highly automated vehicles, further providing for Highly Automated Vehicle Advisory Committee and providing for personal delivery devices. Authorizes the use of a personal delivery device for a business entity or an agent of a business entity that exercises physical control over the navigation and operation of the personal delivery device and is within 30 feet of the personal delivery device, or has remote support of the personal delivery device and the agent possesses a valid driver’s license from a licensed authority in the United States.
Reported as amended from House Transportation Committee, read first time, and laid on the table, 9/17/2020 Amended on House floor, rad second time, and rereferred to House Appropriations Committee, 9/30/2020
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/
UPDATED 2020 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE
October 19, 20, 21
UPDATED 2020 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE
October 19, 20, 21
NOTE: Some days MAY be added to do budget legislation
State Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists Meeting Schedule
All Board meetings are held at Penn Center, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA, at 9:30 a.m.
Remaining 2020 Meeting Dates (Subject to change): November 10
State Geospatial Coordinating Board
NEW Location: 1 Technology Park, Commonwealth Technology Center (CTC), Harrisburg, PA 17110 • 2020
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Remaining 2020 Board Meetings: November 16, 2020 / 1:30-3:00 PM Via Skype