What’s Happening in the PA House – Week of Jan. 23

Improving Pennsylvania’s Jobs Climate is the Main Issue On House Agenda Next Week; Reducing the Size of the House to be Voted in Committee

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

The state House returns to session on Monday, Jan. 23. All of House session and most committee meetings will be streamed live on the Web at http://www.PAHouseGOP.com

Improving the Commonwealth Jobs Climate

As state revenues come in lower than anticipated, and agencies are trying to cope with less money, House Republicans believe, “the best social program is a good economy.”

Following up on this week’s successful vote to help curb lawsuit abuse (House Bill 1907, capping punitive damages for long-term care facilities), the House will again put its focus on improving the state’s economy and jobs climate.

While the unemployment rate dropped for the third straight month, topping more than 7.5 percent is still too high according to House GOP members. The top priority of the House Republican Caucus is to make improvements to the Commonwealth’s jobs climate and lower the cost of doing business in the state. Republicans are concerned that according to various reports and business groups, Pennsylvania has one of the highest costs of doing business in the country when combining state and local taxes, fees, regulatory requirements and health care. Improvements will lead to higher employment and economic growth.

The House will consider two bills next week aimed specifically at job creators: House Bill 1972 (Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton) would remove the sunset provision on the existing Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. The R&D Tax Credit supports start-up, highly advanced businesses within the Commonwealth.

House Bill 2022 (Rep. Mike Peifer, R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne) would create a state “One Stop Shop Business Permit and License Portal.” The online portal for businesses creates personal accounts to submit and track permits and licenses; it offers opportunities to make payments on licenses and permits; and tracks the status of applied-for permits.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, a bi-partisan group of legislators, led by Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Majority Policy Committee Chairman, Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) will hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. in front of the lieutenant governor’s office in the Capitol to announce an initiative to make Pennsylvania more competitive for job creators. The group will announce proposed reforms to the state’s antiquated business tax structure to bring more equity and fairness to all job creators.

By working together, the House Republicans, Senate and Gov. Tom Corbett are working to change the state’s reputation and throw open Pennsylvania’s doors to job creation and retention. Getting Our Own House in OrderThe House State Government Committee will be voting on House Bill 153, sponsored by Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Jefferson/Armstrong/Indiana), aimed at reducing the size of the General Assembly. The bill, a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the state House of Representatives from 203 members to 153, would require the same bill be debated and passed in two consecutive sessions, and subsequently approved by referendum vote of the people of Pennsylvania.


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.


Monday, Jan. 23


Committee Meetings/Hearings

• LABOR AND INDUSTRY, 11 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

oHB 1543 (Rep. Duane Milne, R-Chester): Exempts projects on property owned or held by nonprofit historical organizations or land conservancies from the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act.

• COMMERCE, 11:30 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

oHB 2022 (Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne): Establishes within the Department of Community and Economic Development the Pennsylvania Business Permitting Portal, an online single access point to assist businesses in identifying and securing appropriate permits, licenses, applications, forms and registrations needed to establish and operate a business in the Commonwealth.



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 193 (Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery): Requires the design, construction, and renovation of state-owned or state-leased buildings to comply with specified energy and high-performance building standards.

• HB 601 (Rep. Kevin Murphy, D-Lackawanna): Adds a mandatory minimum sentence of 13 years upon conviction of murder of the third degree where the victim is less than age 13.

• HB 1398 (Rep. Edward Staback, D-Lackawanna/Wayne): Bans future possession of certain exotic wildlife by the general public by ending the issuance of general exotic wildlife possession permits as of January 1, 2012, and redefines “Exotic Wildlife” and “Exotic Wildlife Dealer.”

• SB 159 (Sen. Robert Robbins, R-Crawford/Mercer/Butler/Lawrence): Authorizes Pennsylvania to enter into an interstate compact in order to make education more accessible to children of military families and to make school transfers more uniform, provides for the form and procedure of the compact, and establishes the State Council on Interstate Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

• SB 923 (Sen. John Pippy, R-Allegheny/Washington): Expands the Housing Authorities Law to allow counties of the second class to hire police officers, specifies that the officers have the same powers given to the police of the municipality in which the authority is located, and enumerates certification requirements.


Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 1156 (Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington): Defines “phishing,” establishes the offense of phishing as a third-degree felony, and establishes the distribution or sale of indentifying information obtained via phishing as a second-degree felony.

• HB 1159 (Rep. Glen Grell, R-Cumberland): Comprehensive revision of the Uniform Arbitration Act.

• HB 1761 (Rep. Matthew Smith, D-Allegheny): Regarding employee retirement systems in the Second Class County Code, excludes overtime pay from the definition of compensation, authorizes the board to make technical changes to the plan in order to be qualified under the Internal Revenue Code, and specifies eligibility and retirement allowance criteria for future employees.

• HB 1847 (Rep. Ken Smith, D-Lackawanna): Bridge designation: the Andrew and Durando Pompey Memorial Bridge.


Tuesday, Jan. 24


Committee Meetings/Hearings

• STATE GOVERNMENT, 9 a.m., Room 140, Main Capitol Buildingo

HB 153 (Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson/Armstrong/Indiana): Constitutional amendment to reduce the number of districts in the House of Representatives from 203 to 153.

• JUDICIARY, 10 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Buildingo 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 a third-degree misdemeanor.

o HB 1405 (Rep. Glen Grell): Allows a licensed psychologist to perform an exam to determine whether a defendant is mentally competent to stand for trial.

o 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.

o HB 1668 (Rep. Tim Krieger, R-Westmoreland): Establishes that a person who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing, using, controlling, selling, transferring or manufacturing a firearm may transport a firearm without a license if the firearm is not loaded and is not being transported for illegal purposes.

o SB 1167 (Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Pike/Wayne/Wyoming/Luzerne/Monroe/Susquehanna): Allows a service member to petition the court for modification of a custody order when he/she receives notice of deployment, including temporary assignment of custody rights to family members.



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


Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 19 (Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Beaver): Allows first-class townships to purchase used equipment from another governmental unit without advertising and bidding.

• HB 21 (Rep. Jim Marshall): Allows second-class townships to purchase used equipment from another governmental unit without advertising and bidding.

• HB 774 (Rep. Michael Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre): Establishes the formation of boards of visitors for charitable reform and penal institutions as optional.

• HB 1439 (Rep. Tom Creighton, R-Lancaster): Repeals the provisions relating to the failure of a first-class township officer to perform duties.

• HB 1440 (Rep. Tom Creighton): Repeals provisions relating to incorporated towns and the removal of a town council member for nonfeasance in office.

• HB 1442 (Rep. Tom Creighton): Repeals provisions relating to the removal of a second-class township officer for failure to perform duties.

• HB 1453 (Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester): Expands the authorized methods of recording and storing judicial records to include optical imaging technology and establishes that a copy of any record that has been destroyed, or disposed of as provided by law, shall be admissible in evidence in any matter with the same force and effect as if the original record had been produced.

• HB 1830 (Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster): Establishes special license plates for any person who was in the service of the United States Merchant Marine during World War II.

• HB 1857 (Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh/Northampton): Allows home rule charter municipalities to incur debt when approved by the electors.

• SB 894 (Sen. Robert Robbins): Allows second-class townships to pay, in whole or in part, the cost of providing supplemental Medicare insurance coverage to supervisors, their dependents and township employees who are over 65 years of age.


Votes on Third Consideration

•HB 193 (Rep. Kate Harper)

• HB 601 (Rep. Kevin Murphy)

• HB 1398 (Rep. Edward Staback)

• SB 159 (Sen. Robert Robbins)

• SB 923 (Sen. John Pippy)


Wednesday, Jan. 25


Committee Meetings/Hearings

• AGING AND OLDER ADULT SERVICES, 9:30 a.m., Room 205, Ryan Office Building

o Informational meeting regarding the role of government in addressing elder abuse and adult protective services.


• AGRICUTLTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS, 10 a.m., Room G-50, Irvis Office Building

o HB 2059 (Rep. Ron Miller, R-York): 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.

o HB 2106 (Rep. Chris Ross): 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.


• INSURANCE, 10 a.m., Room B-31, Main Capitol Building

o HB 2134 (Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, R-Delaware): Amends the Insurance Department Act further providing for definitions, exemptions and supplemental provisions and rules.



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


Votes on Second Consideration

• HB 63 (Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Elk/Clearfield): Defines ‘vintage snowmobile’ and establishes a permit through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for vintage snowmobiles that are used only while participating in an exhibition, or other event of interest that is open to the public.

• HB 1972 (Rep. Justin Simmons): Codifies an existing research and development tax credit of 10 percent of the excess of qualified expenses and up to 20 percent if the taxpayer is a small business; the total amount of credits approved by the Department of Revenue in any fiscal year is limited to no more than $75 million, $11 million of which must be allocated exclusively to small businesses.

• HB 2022 (Rep. Michael Peifer)


Votes on Third Consideration

• HB 19 (Rep. Jim Marshall)

• HB 21 (Rep. Jim Marshall)

• HB 774 (Rep. Michael Hanna)

• HB 1439 (Rep. Tom Creighton)

• HB 1440 (Rep. Tom Creighton)

• HB 1442 (Rep. Tom Creighton)

• HB 1453 (Rep. Chris Ross)

• HB 1830 (Rep. John Bear)

• HB 1857 (Rep. Justin Simmons)

• SB 894 (Sen. Robert Robbins)


Thursday, Jan. 19


Committee Meetings/Hearings

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

o Public hearing on SB 388 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland/York): Requires dentists to maintain medical professional liability insurance in the minimum amount of $1 million per occurrence or claim and $3 million per annual aggregate.

• EDUCATION, 10 a.m., Room 60, East Wingo Informational meeting to hear presentations from cyber charter school administrators regarding cyber charter school funding and other operating issues.

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