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Legislative Review
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PMHA Legislative Review                            


February 2017

                                                                                                       

 

Harrisburg Happenings Compliments of Milliron & Goodman:

Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to the Capitol this month to start the 2017-2018 session with plenty of old business awaiting them. In addition to addressing the mounting billion-plus budget deficit, lawmakers are expected to consider bills on the expansion of gambling, property tax relief and public employee pension reform.

Both the state Senate and House will be in session next week to hear Governor Tom Wolf deliver his 2017-18 budget address on Tuesday, February 7.

February 21 kicks-off the state’s annual cycle of budget hearings. Over the course of three weeks, the heads of state departments and agencies will appear before the state Senate and House Appropriations Committees to defend Governor Wolf's 2017-18 budget proposal. After the hearings are over, it will be up to lawmakers to determine what will be in the final budget plan that moves through the legislative process.

Here’s a look back at the noteworthy events for the past month.

Budget

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, who is facing voters again in 2018, has said his budget will not include any broad-based tax increases, such as a hike in Pennsylvania's 3.07 percent personal income tax or the 6 percent sales tax. Wolf has said moves to streamline state government will be part of the budget address. Most recently, he announced the closing of the state prison in Pittsburgh to save $81 million and the consolidation of four health agencies into one – departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs. This proposal came to light after Gary Tennis, Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, was dismissed from the administration. Tennis says he was let go after he refused to go along with the plan to consolidate the department into a larger agency. Last week, the head of the state Legislature’s Independent Fiscal Office said revenue collections are weaker than expected. Without any changes, the projected budget gap is now approaching $3 billion through mid-2018.

Health Care

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released application forms to grow and distribute medical marijuana in the Keystone State. Up to 25 grower-processor and 50 dispensary permits are up for grabs. The applications are available on the department's Medical Marijuana Program website. Applications will be accepted from February 20 to March 20, 2017. Growers will be required to submit a non-refundable $10,000 application fee, a permit fee of $200,000, which is refundable if the permit is not granted; and proof of $2 million in capital with $500,000 that must be on deposit with a financial institution. Dispensaries will have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $5,000, a permit fee of $30,000, which is refundable if the permit is not granted; and proof of $150,000 in capital.

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Gary Tennis will no longer serve as Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Deputy Secretary Jennifer (Jen) Smith will serve as Acting Secretary. Smith issued a statement on her commitment to continuing the Wolf Administration’s efforts to battle the opioid epidemic. Smith previously served in Pennsylvania’s Office of the Budget, most recently as Bureau Director for Planning and Management.

Politics

State Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) officially threw his hat in the ring for the GOP nomination to take on fellow York Countian Democratic incumbent Governor Tom Wolf. Wagner, a multi-millionaire businessman who owns Penn Waste and KBS Trucking, is known for his blunt style and business approach. He won his state Senate seat in a historic 2014 special election by winning as a write-in candidate, fending off challenges from the Republican-endorsed candidate as well as a Democrat. Since being elected, Wagner has worked to bolster the GOP ranks in the Senate, increasing their majority to 34 seats from 31 in the 50-seat chamber. Other GOP candidate names that have been mentioned include: U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, owner of Butler County car dealerships and natural gas holdings; Paul Mango, a healthcare consultant and the Pittsburgh office director of the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co; Former Lt. Gov. and Bucks County native Jim Cawley, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey; Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre; House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana; and House speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny.

Pennsylvania row officers – Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor General – take office; new attorney general and treasurer promise to restore public trust. Democrat Josh Shapiro is now the state’s top prosecutor, becoming the fourth person to hold the position since August when Attorney General Kathleen Kane resigned after being convicted of leaking secret grand jury material and lying about it. Shapiro is a former state representative who more recently had been commissioner in Montgomery County. Democrat Joe Torsella became the state’s next treasurer. He’s a former deputy mayor in Philadelphia and former chief executive of the National Constitution Center. Former Treasurer Rob McCord, admitted to using the office to shake down campaign donors in his unsuccessful bid for governor. Democrat Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was sworn-in for a second term in office. He’s a former state representative from York.

2017 Leadership Teams

Senate Republican Standing Committee Chair Assignments:

  • Aging & Youth – Senator Michele Brooks (R-Mercer)
  • Agriculture & Rural Affairs – Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver)
  • Appropriations – Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh)
  • Banking & Insurance – Senator Don White (R-Indiana)
  • Communications & Technology – Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster)
  • Community, Economic & Recreational Development – Senator Mario Scavello (R-Monroe)
  • Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure – Senator Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks)
  • Education – Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair)
  • Environmental Resources & Energy – Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming)
  • Finance – Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango)
  • Game & Fisheries – Senator Pat Stefano (R-Fayette)
  • Intergovernmental Operations – Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington)
  • Judiciary – Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
  • Labor & Industry – Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland)
  • Law & Justice – Senator Charles McIlhinney (R-Bucks)
  • Local Government – Senator Scott Wagner (R-York)
  • Health & Human Services– Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne)
  • Rules & Executive Nominations – Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre)
  • State Government – Senator Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon)
  • Transportation – Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery)
  • Urban Affairs & Housing – Senator Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware)
  • Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness – Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny)

Senate Democratic Standing Committee Chair Assignments:

  • Aging & Youth – Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery)
  • Agriculture & Rural Affairs – Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks)
  • Appropriations – Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery)
  • Banking & Insurance – Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia)
  • Communications & Technology – Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery)
  • Community, Economic & Recreational Development – Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia)
  • Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure – Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh)
  • Education – Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester)
  • Environmental Resources & Energy – Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon)
  • Finance – Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe)
  • Game & Fisheries – Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland)
  • Intergovernmental Operations – Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware)
  • Judiciary – Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware)
  • Labor & Industry – Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia)
  • Law & Justice – Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland)
  • Local Government – Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe)
  • Public Health & Welfare – Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks)
  • Rules & Executive Nominations – Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny)
  • State Government – Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware)
  • Transportation – Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia)
  • Urban Affairs and Housing – Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny)
  • Veteran’s Affairs and Emergency Preparedness – Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny)

House Republican Committee Chair Assignments:

·         Aging and Older Adult Services - Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester County)

·         Agriculture and Rural Affairs - Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/Potter/McKean Counties)

·         Children and Youth - Rep. Kathy Watson (R-Bucks County)

·         Commerce - Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler County)

·         Consumer Affairs - Rep. Robert Godshall (R-Montgomery County)

·         Education - Rep. Dave Hickernell (R-Lancaster/Dauphin Counties)

·         Environmental Resources and Energy - Rep. John Maher (R- Allegheny/Washington Counties)

·         Finance - Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks County)

·         Game and Fisheries - Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York County)

·         Gaming Oversight - Rep. Scott Petri (R-Bucks County)

·         Health - Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford and Tioga Counties)

·         Human Services - Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks County)

·         Insurance - Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna Counties)

·         Judiciary - Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin County)

·         Labor and Industry - Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin County)

·         Liquor Control - Rep. Adam Harris (R-Juniata/Mifflin/Snyder Counties)

·         Local Government - Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery County)

·         Professional Licensure - Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny County)

·         State Government - Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, (R- Butler County)

·         Tourism and Recreational Development - Rep. David Millard (R-Columbia County)

·         Transportation - Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia County)

·         Urban Affairs - Rep. Mark Keller (R-Cumberland/Perry Counties)

·         Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness - Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester and Delaware Counties)

House Democratic Committee Chair Assignments:

·         Aging and Older Adult Services – Rep. Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton)

·         House Agriculture and Rural Affairs – Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne)

·         House Appropriations – Rep. Joseph Markosek (D-Allegheny)

·         House Children and Youth – Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre)

·         House Commerce – Rep. Curtis Thomas (D-Philadelphia)

·         House Consumer Affairs – Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks)

·         House Education – Rep. James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia)

·         House Environmental Resources and Energy – Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne)

·         House Finance – Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny)

·         House Game and Fisheries Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria)

·         House Gaming Oversight – Rep. Patrick Harkins (D-Erie)

·         House Health – Rep. Flo Fabrizio (D-Erie)

·         House Human Services – Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia)

·         House Insurance – Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny)

·         House Judiciary – Rep. Joe Petrarca (D-Westmoreland)

·         House Labor and Industry – Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks)

·         House Liquor Control – Rep. Paul Costa (D-Allegheny)

·         House Local Government Rep. Bob Freeman (D-Northampton)

·         House Professional Licensure – Rep. Harry Readshaw (D-Allegheny)

·         House State Government Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware)

·         House Tourism and Recreational Development – Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer)

·         House Transportation – Rep. William Keller (D-Philadelphia)

·         House Urban Affairs - Michael O'Brien (D-Philadelphia)

·         House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness – Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence)


2017 Legislative Schedule

2017 SENATE SESSION SCHEDULE                                              2017 HOUSE SESSION SCHEDULE

January                3, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31                                                                            January                 3, 23, 24, 25

February               1, 6, 7, 8                                                                                                February               6, 7, 8

March                    20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29                                                                          March                    13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22

April                      17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26                                                                          April                      3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26

May                        8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24                                                                               May                        8, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24

June                       5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20,                                                                  June                       5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20,

21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30                                                                                                   21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

PMHA is monitoring the following legislation….


 


HB 38/PN 45 (Saccone/R-Allegheny) Amends PA Human Relations Act to include the exercise of self-defense rights as a protected practice.

Status:     State Government

Position:  No position

                                               

HB 130/PN 95 (Ortitay/ R-Allegheny) Amends the Tax Reform Code decreasing the annual rate of tax on corporate net income for taxable years 2016 through 2021 to 4.99 percent.

Status:  Finance

Position:  No position

                                               

HB 137/PN 101 (Moul/R-Adams) Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally), in taxation and assessments general provisions, adding that "owner" includes a tenant who possesses and resides under a life lease and is contractually responsible for making all necessary real estate tax payments.

Status:     Local Government

Position:  No position

                                               

HB 162/PN 126 (Maloney/R-Berks) Amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act, in Uniform Construction Code, adding language allowing the Department of Labor and Industry to contract with the ICC to establish and publish code manuals that contain the standards of the Uniform Construction Code. The department shall require in any such contract that the standards be made available on the department's website.

Status:     Labor and Industry

Position:  Support

                                               

SB 41 /PN 22 (Williams/D-Delaware) Joint Resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in taxation and finance, authorizing the legislature to permit a city of the first class (Philadelphia) to impose taxes for the benefit of the city of the first class on real estate used for business purposes at a tax rate that exceeds the tax rate applicable to other real estate, with certain stipulations. Constitutional amendments require approval in two consecutive legislative sessions and then approval by the voters through a referendum.

Status:  Finance

Position:  No position

                                               

SB 45/PN 26 (Williams/D-Delaware) The Veterans' Homeownership Assistance Act establishes the Veterans' Homeownership Assistance Program to award financial assistance to qualified veteran applicants who are first-time homebuyers in the form of grants, no-interest forgivable loans, or deferred loans. The act provides for the application and review process as well as guidelines for the program. The act appropriates $2.5 million from the General Fund to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for the period of July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, no more than $250,000 of which may be used for administrative costs.

Status:  Urban Affairs and Housing

Position:  No position

                                               

SB 50/PN 31 (Greenleaf/R-Bucks) Amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property), in seller disclosures, requiring the real estate seller disclosure form to disclose the property's location in a flood zone or wetlands area and the property's flood history including the frequency and the extent of flooding.

Status:  Senate Calendar

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 51/PN 32 (Greenleaf/R-Bucks) Amends the Landlord and Tenant Act requiring the disclosure of flood history to lessees of residential real property.

Status:  Senate Calendar

Position:  No position

                                               

SB 82/PN 61 (Greenleaf/R-Bucks) Amends Title 68 (Real and Personal Property), in residential real property, repealing provisions relating to home inspections; providing for home inspections; establishing the Pennsylvania Board of Home Inspectors; providing for licensure of home inspectors and for disciplinary proceedings by the Pennsylvania Board of Home Inspectors; and making an appropriation of $85,000 from the Professional Licensure Augmentation Account to the Department of State for the payment of costs associated with processing licenses and renewing licenses, for the operation of the Pennsylvania Board of Home Inspectors and for other costs associated with the implementation of 68 Pa.C.S. Ch. 75A. The bill repeals the current chapter on home inspections and replaces it with a new chapter on home inspections. The Pennsylvania Board of Home Inspectors shall promulgate regulations and the provisions requiring the licensure of home inspectors shall not apply until publication that the regulations are in effect.

Status:  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

Position:  Must include language requiring training if inspecting mfg and modular homes

                                               

SB 97/PN 72 (Greenleaf/R-Bucks) Amends the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law requiring manufacturers to disclose a product's estimated lifespan.

Status:  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

Position:  Opposed

                                               

SB 128/PN 163 (Eichelberger/R-Blair) Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) adding a new section stipulating that a municipality may not: (1) enact or administer a mandate requiring an employer to provide an employee or class of employees with vacation or other forms of leave from employment, paid or unpaid, that is not required by Federal or State law; or (2) require an employer to compensate an employee for any vacation or other forms of leave for which Federal or State law does not require the employee to be compensated. Further provides this new section may not be construed to invalidate a mandate enacted by a municipality prior to January 1, 2015. The new section shall apply retroactively to January 1, 2015.

Status:  Senate Calendar

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 138/PN 92 (Yaw/R-Bradford) Amends the Oil and Gas Lease Act defining "lessee," "lessor," and "joint venture"; further providing for payment information to interest owners by requiring a unique property identification; provides for accumulation of proceeds from production by adding that proceeds shall be paid within 60 days, but proceeds from oil and gas may be remitted quarterly for accumulation of proceeds totaling less than $100; further provides for conflicts; adds language providing for joint ventures; and provides for a lessor to inspect the records of a lessee. The bill outlines the procedure for inspections for records and provides for confidentiality and for frequency.

Status:  Senate Calendar

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 139/PN 93 (Yaw/R-Bradford) The Natural Gas Lease Anti-Retaliation Act provides protection for a lessor of natural gas rights who reports a violation or suspected violation of a contractual agreement and for remedies and penalties. No lessee may retaliate by ceasing development or production or take other reprisals against a lessor because the lessor takes a good faith action. The bill provides for remedies and enforcement.

Status:  Senate Calendar

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 140/PN 94 (Yaw/R-Bradford) The Natural Gas Consumer Access Act requires each natural gas distribution utility to submit a plan to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) within two years after a franchise territory is awarded that includes data on the service area. The commission will review the plan and implement periodic reviews of the distribution system. At the request of the natural gas distribution utility, the PUC shall maintain confidentiality of specific information deemed to be proprietary. Natural gas distribution utilities will also provide residential, commercial and industrial customers with customer contribution criteria for extension and expansion, as well as notifications of its distribution system extension and expansion plan and customer contribution criteria once a year. The bill provides for supplemental filing requirements, provisions related to customer contributions, and for definitions.

Status:  Environmental Resources and Energy

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 141/PN 118 (Yaw/R-Bradford) Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas) providing for lease extended by production by adding that any portion of land subject to a lease, which is combined with other lands or leases to form a unit, shall be subject to operations and production on and in the unit. The operations and production shall continue a lease in force and effect during or after the primary term according to the lease provisions only as to that portion of the leased land which is included in the unit. Any land covered by a lease and not included in the unit shall not be subject to operations or production on or in the unit. The lease may be kept in force in any manner provided in the lease agreement for leased land not included in an agreement. The bill provides for applicability and definitions.

Status:  Environmental Resources and Energy

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 142/PN 119 (Yaw/R-Bradford) Amends Title 58 (Oil and Gas), in unconventional oil and gas conservation, consolidating the Oil and Gas Conservation Law with modifications relating to definitions, standard unit order, process, administration, standard of review, hearings and appeals, establishment of units, integration of various interests, lease extension and scope, providing for gas and hazardous liquids pipelines; and repealing the Oil and Gas Conservation Law. The bill adds a chapter providing for Unconventional Oil and Gas Conservation, entitled the Unconventional Oil and Gas Unit Conservation and Integration Act. The chapter seeks to promote the development of unconventional oil and gas resources in accordance with the best principles and practices of oil and gas conservation while reasonably protecting the correlative rights of the person affected and to provide for the protection of the environment.

Status:  Environmental Resources and Energy

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 159/PN 132 (Tartaglione/D-Philadelphia) Amends the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act further providing for procedures for registration as a contractor by requiring a registrant to provide proof of workers' compensation coverage in compliance with the Workers' Compensation Act.

Status:  Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

Position:  No position

                                               

SB 164/PN 137 (Tartaglione/D-Philadelphia) Amends the Tax Reform Code, in corporate net income tax, further providing for the definition of "taxable income," for imposition of tax, for reports and payment of tax and for consolidated reports; and, in general provisions, further providing for underpayment of estimated tax. The goal of the legislation is to close the "Delaware Loophole."

Status:  Finance

Position:  No position

                                               

SB 207/PN 195 (Hughes/D-Montgomery) The Healthy Employee and Healthy Workplace Act provides for mandatory statewide employer-paid sick leave for employees for diagnosis, treatment, care, counseling, and emergencies and provides for civil penalties and remedies for violations.

Status:  Labor and Industry

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 213/PN 197 (Leach/D-Delaware) The Regulate Marijuana Act provides for personal use of marijuana by adults over the age of 21 and for lawful operation of marijuana-related facilities. Further provides for the powers and duties of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) under the proposed act. Requires the PLCB to adopt regulations necessary for the implementation of the act no later than July 1, 2018 and provides the regulations may not prohibit the operation of a marijuana establishment, either expressly or through a regulation that makes the operation unreasonably impracticable. Also provides for what shall be included in the regulations. Further adds provisions relating to individual privacy; locality; ordnance or regulation by a locality; and employers, minors and control of policy. Requires the General Assembly to enact an excise tax upon marijuana sold or otherwise transferred by a marijuana cultivation facility to a marijuana product manufacturing facility or to a retail marijuana store.

Status:  Law and Justice

Position:  No Position

                                               

SB 235/PN 217 (Leach/D-Delaware) Amends the Pennsylvania Human Relation Act further providing for findings and declaration of policy, for right to freedom from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation, for definitions and for unlawful discriminatory practices. The bill adds marital status and familial status to the scope of the act.

Status:  Labor and Industry

Position:  No Position