What’s Happening in the House – Week of Feb. 13

Following up on a hugely successful legislative week, Marcellus/Utica Impact Bill and two jobs bills awaiting governor’s signature

 

Redefining Much-Abused Pork-Barrel Grant Program and Implementing Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation On House Agenda Next Week

 

The state House returns to session on Monday, Feb. 13. All of House session and most committee meetings will stream live on http://www.PAHouseGOP.com.

 

Ending pet projects…

Reforming and redefining the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP), an economic development grant program which was largely abused by the previous administration, is the aim of House Bill 2175 (Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny). RACP is a grant program, funded by borrowed money, for private or public economic development or infrastructure projects. The legislation would create a new stringent review and approval process within the Office of the Budget. The Budget Office would develop eligibility criteria and establish guidelines for the process.

 

Improving roads and bridges through public-private partnerships

House Bill 3 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair County) which allows the Commonwealth the ability to form public-private partnerships, or P3s, is scheduled for a House vote on Monday. The need is clear, as Pennsylvania’s infrastructure includes 5,646 structurally deficient state-owned bridges, the most of any state in the nation. It also includes 7,000 miles, roughly 18 percent, of state-maintained roads that are in poor condition. A recent study by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Advisory Committee estimated about $3.5 billion annually is needed to meet existing and immediate transportation infrastructure needs in the Commonwealth. And according to the state Department of Transportation, about 5 percent of the department’s $3.8 billion annual budget is used for new capacity construction projects.The potential state partnerships with private firms would be for the purposes of developing, constructing, managing, operating or financing transportation projects. The state would retain ownership of the asset or facility. According to Geist, there is a potential $200 billion in private equity waiting for public-private partnership investment opportunities.

 

The Weekly Schedule

 

Bill numbers will be used to identify the legislation being considered either in committee or on the House floor. The bills, sponsors and summaries are posted below. You can research bills by number at http://www.legis.state.pa.us.

 

Monday, Feb. 13

 

Committee Meetings/Hearings

o FINANCE, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

HB 2175 (Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny): Redefines the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) program, implements a more stringent application and approval process, expires all existing RACP itemized projects that have not been authorized and reduces the RACP debt ceiling.

Public hearing on HB 1877 (Rep. George Dunbar, R-Westmoreland): Eliminates the commissions paid to tax claims bureaus when the tax claim bureau does not actually participate in the collection of delinquent real estate taxes.o LABOR AND INDUSTRY, 11 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

HB 1754 (Rep. Ron Miller, R-York): Modifies unemployment compensation eligibility for individuals who voluntarily quit their employment, with exceptions, and establishes definitive standards of “willful misconduct.”

HB 1852 (Rep. Seth Grove, R-York): Increases the penalty weeks that must be served by individuals who commit willful unemployment compensation fraud from four weeks to 10 and removes the four-year limit on the imposition of penalty weeks.

 

Session

 

On Monday, the House will convene at 1 p.m. for legislative business. The members will vote the uncontested calendar and Rule 35 resolutions.

 

 

Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 3 (Rep. Rick Geist, R-Blair): Authorizes the implementation of transportation-specific public-private parternships.

• HB 1329 (Rep. Fred Keller, R-Union/Snyder): Raises the threshold for the Prevailing Wage Act from $25,000 to $185,000 and establishes an annual inflation adjustment.

• HB 1523 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler): Establishes that a party who successfully challenges a county, municipality, or township for regulating the lawful ownership, possession or transportation of firearms is entitled to reimbursement of actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

• HB 1685 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster): Requires the Department of Labor and Industry to establish a list of classifications, with respective definitions, to determine the scope of craft/classification of workmen under the Prevailing Wage Act.• HB 2059 (Rep. Ron Miller): Decreases the current agricultural conservation easement inspection requirement from an annual to biennial basis and eliminates the requirement for the county inspection board to file a copy of all inspection reports with the state board.

• HB 2105 (Rep. Scott Hutchinson, R-Venango/Butler): Authorizes, with approval from the governor, the transfer of specific lands in Venango County from the Department of General Services to VARHA, Inc.

• HB 2021 (Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton): Road designation: the World War II Homefront Heroes Highway.

• HB 2060 (Rep. Will Tallman, R-Adams/York): Bridge designation: the Sgt. Michael C. Weigand Memorial Bridge.

• HB 2106 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester): Permits a landowner to voluntarily relinquish and extinguish the existing right to construct an additional residence for the principal landowner or employees on a preserved farm under the Agricultural Area Security Law.

• HB 2133 (Rep. Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion/Armstrong): Bridge designation: the Sergeant Joseph M. Garrison Memorial Bridge.

• HB 2134 (Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-Delaware): Amends Pennsylvania’s Risk Based Capital (RBC) statutes for life or health and property or casualty insurers and for health organizations to require such organizations to more quickly formulate corrective action plans to address solvency problems before the regulator needs to take action.

 

Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 1617 (Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York): Suspends operating privileges for individuals who have failed to pay restitution authorized by an issuing authority or the courts for a violation of the vehicle code.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 14

 

Committee Meetings/Hearings

 

o LOCAL GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

HB 1047 (Rep. Edward Staback, D-Lackawanna/Wayne): Allows the governing body of a municipality to appoint up to three residents of the municipality to serve as alternate members of the planning commission.

HB 1484 (Rep. Dick Stevenson, R-Butler/Mercer): Sets forth the process for municipality planning commissions to provide meeting notifications to individuals who have requested written notice.

HB 1718 (Rep. Tom Creighton, R-Lancaster): Under the Municipalities Planning Code, requires municipalities to designate at least three professional consultants from multiple firms who are able to review proposed development plans and monitor projects, clarifies that the municipality may only retain 10 percent of the original financial security for public improvement projects as they are completed, and extends the time period for a property owner to dispute the amount of review fees from 30 days to 180 days.

HB 1719 (Rep. Tom Creighton): Under the Municipality Authorities Act, requires municipalities to designate at least three professional consultants from multiple firms who are able to review proposed development plans and monitor projects, clarifies that the municipality may only retain 10 percent of the original financial security for public improvement projects as they are completed, and extends the time period for a property owner to dispute the amount of review fees from 30 days to 180 days.

 

o ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, 9:15 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

HB 1934 (Rep. Fred Keller): Excludes the number of individuals residing in a state or federal facility that operates a facility-wide recycling plan when determining the population of a municipality under Pennsylvania’s Recycling Law.o COMMERCE, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

Informational meeting on HB 1616 (Rep. Gordon Denlinger, R-Lancaster): Creates a new corporation class within the Commonwealth, a Benefit Corporation, which redefines the fiduciary duty of a corporation’s directors allowing them to take non-financial interests into consideration when making decisions for the corporation.

 

o JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

HB 1841 (Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne): Establishes the crime of a parent providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony criminal investigation involving a minor child as a third-degree felony.

HB 1842 (Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton): Increases the grading of a parent concealing the death of his or her child from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

HB 253 (Rep. Seth Grove): Allows the Department of Labor and Industry to garnish the wages of an individual who has been found to have fraudulently received an overpayment of unemployment compensation.

 

o TRANSPORTATION, 10:30 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

HB 2158 (Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland): Bridge designation: the Cpl. Paul Walters Memorial Bridge.

HB 2192 (Rep. Marguerite Quinn, R-Bucks): Bridge designation: the 1st Lt. Colby J. Umbrell Memorial Bridge.

 

 

Session

 

On Tuesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.

 

 

Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 955 (Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-Chester/Delaware): Reauthorizes the Fire and Emergency Medical Services grant program for another four years, increases the grant funding from $25 million to $40 million, and extends eligibility to independent non-profit volunteer quick response services licensed by the Department of Health.

• HB 1106 (Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams/Franklin): Removes the establishment of a residence outside of the Commonwealth from the requirements needed to grade the willful failure to comply with a support order of a Pennsylvania court as an ungraded misdemeanor with the penalty of up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.

• HB 1682 (Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia): Enables any county, city or borough with a population of 10,000 or more to establish a land bank and enables any township, borough or town to form a land bank with any land bank jurisdiction through an intergovernmental cooperation agreement.

 

Votes on Third Consideration

 

• HB 3 (Rep. Rick Geist)

• HB 1329 (Rep. Fred Keller)

• HB 1523 (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe)

• HB 1685 (Rep. John Bear)

• HB 2059 (Rep. Ron Miller)

• HB 2060 (Rep. Will Tallman)

• HB 2105 (Rep. Scott Hutchinson)

• HB 2021 (Rep. Joe Emerick)

• HB 2106 (Rep. Chris Ross).

• HB 2133 (Rep. Donna Oberlander)

• HB 2134 (Rep. Nicholas Micozzie)

 

Wednesday, Feb. 15

 

Committee Meetings/Hearings

o EDUCATION, 9 a.m., Room 39, East Wing

Informational meeting to hear presentations from cyber charter school administrators regarding cyber charter school funding and other operating issues.

 

o STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

Public hearing on:

• HB 249 (Rep. Seth Grove): Expands the powers and duties of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to authorize the entity to audit government agencies and programs to determine their effectiveness and sets forth the committee’s composition and funding.

• HB 250 (Rep. Seth Grove): Establishes the Council on Efficient Government, a group of individuals in private enterprise who would provide recommendations to state agencies to ensure that state-provided goods and services are delivered in the most effective and efficient manner.

• HB 357 (Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin): Requires the State Treasurer to create a plain language fiscal note, to be certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth, for all ballot questions that would authorize the Commonwealth to take on more debt and requires the county boards of elections to publish the certified fiscal notes as a part of the notice of elections.

• HB 116 (Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Westmoreland): Constitutional amendment to establish a spending limit for the Commonwealth, with enumerated adjustments for population and economic growth, and sets forth the parameters for exceeding the spending limit.

 

o AGING AND OLDER ADULT SERVICES, 9:30 a.m., Room 60, East Wing

Informational meeting to discuss the role of government in addressing elder abuse and adult protective services.

o URBAN AFFAIRS, 9:30 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

SB 1174 (Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Bradford/Lycoming/Sullivan/Susquehanna/Union): Expands the size of the housing authority of a city of the first class from five to nine members, and authorizes the mayor of the city to appoint all housing authority board members for terms to be served concurrently with the appointing mayor.

o PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

HB 1832 (Rep. Curt Sonney, R-Erie): Allows physician assistants to authenticate additional forms; eliminates the requirement that the State Board of Medicine approve the written agreement between a supervising physician and physician assistant; and establishes that the frequency of physician review of patient records completed by the physician assistant shall be determined by the supervising physician.

HB 1833 (Rep. Curt Sonney): Allows physician assistants to authenticate additional forms; eliminates the requirement that the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine approve the written agreement between a supervising physician and physician assistant; and establishes that the frequency of physician review of patient records completed by the physician assistant shall be determined by the supervising physician.

Reg. 16A-4711: Establishes a two-step licensing process for professional geologists, updates current licensure regulations for engineers to identify the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology Inc. as the accrediting body for U.S. engineering schools, and requires applicants that graduated from a foreign school to undergo a professional evaluation to determine whether that education is equivalent.

 

Session

 

On Wednesday the House will meet at 11 a.m. for legislative business.

 

Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 1602 (Rep. Thomas Killion, R-Chester/Delaware): Eliminates mechanics’ lien rights for subcontractors who performed work on residential property if the property owner paid the contractor in full and creates a “Notice of Commencement” process whereby owners can identify subcontractors working on their project.

• HB 2175 (Rep. Mike Turzai)

 

 

Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 955 (Rep. Stephen Barrar)

• HB 1077 (Rep. Kathy Rapp)

• HB 1106 (Rep. Dan Moul)

• HB 1682 (Rep. John Taylor)

• HB 1976 (Rep. Bryan Cutler): Restricts, with enumerated exceptions, the venue for personal injury action suits to either the county where the plaintiff resides, the county where the cause of action arose, or the county where the registered office or principal place of business of the corporation or similar entity is located.

 

Thursday, Feb. 16

 

Committee Meetings/Hearings

o INSURANCE, 9:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building.

Public hearing on HB 717 (Rep. Robert Matzie, D-Allegheny/Beaver): Establishes an independent Office of Consumer Advocate for Health Insurance within the Department of Community and Economic Development.


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