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United States: News From 2nd & State

19 April 2022

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC

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Weekly Wrap

It turned out to be one of the busiest weeks of the year so far at the Capitol as the House of Representatives and Senate were in session.

While Monday was light on the committee meeting schedule, the following bills passed finally on the House floor and will now be considered in the Senate:

  • H.B. 604 (Fritz, R-Susquehanna), which would establish requirements for the Department of Environmental Protection related to processes, timelines, and dispute resolutions for environmental general permits, general plan approvals, and individual permits;
  • H.B. 1790 (Silvis, R-Westmoreland), which would amend the Construction Code to provide for specific code references for denied permit applications, the scheduling of required inspections, required disclosures on a permit application, and corrective action against certified code administrators;
  • H.B. 2447 (Benninghoff, R-Centre), which would provide for the divestiture by the State Treasurer, the State Employees’ Retirement System, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, and the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System of investments in assets relating to Russia and Belarus;
  • H.B. 2450 (Fritz, R-Susquehanna), which would amend the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) voting so the number of votes is equivalent to each member’s land area contribution;
  • H.B. 2451 (Fritz, R-Susquehanna), which would end the DRBC’s ban on fracking; and
  • H.B. 2461 (Owlett, R-Tioga), which would require the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish a program for subsurface leasing for oil and gas on state lands.

Tuesday, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee held an informational meeting on workforce challenges in long-term care facilities. Then, the House Health Committee held a public hearing on opioids. Furthermore, the Senate Aging and Youth Committee held a public hearing on the potential impact on children and youth of legalizing adult-use marijuana.

The House Finance Committee reported out H.B. 2277 (Topper, R-Bedford), which would repeal the requirement for businesses to remit prepayments for their sales tax collections. The Committee also reported out S.B. 349 (Hutchinson, R-Venango), which would conform the section 179 expense deduction allowable under the state’s personal income tax to federal law.

Two bills affecting the City of Philadelphia were reported from House Judiciary Committee:

  • H.B. 2238 (White, R-Philadelphia), which would limit the Philadelphia District Attorney to two terms in office; and
  • H.B. 2275 (White, R-Philadelphia), which would give the Attorney General the authority to investigate and institute criminal proceedings for a violation of certain firearm laws within the City.

The House Urban Affairs Committee reported out three bills of note:

  • H.B. 1791 (Twardzik, R-Schuylkill), which would allow communities to create and maintain a vacant property registration and assessment program;
  • H.B. 2210 (Pennycuick, R-Montgomery), which would add land banks to the list of entities that can be a conservator under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act; and
  • S.B. 439 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would allow counties to enact a fee for each deed and mortgage recorded for a demolition program.

In the upper chamber, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee reported out:

  • S.B. 749 (Mensch, R-Montgomery), which would address medical marijuana use in the workplace;
  • S.B. 1121 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would require wage records to be checked against recipients of Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits;
  • S.B. 1124 (Argall, R-Schuylkill), which would require death certificates to be checked against recipients of SNAP benefits; and
  • S.B. 1188 (Brooks, R-Mercer), which would make changes to testing and insurance coverage for Lyme disease.

The full House passed the following bills that will head to the Senate for consideration:

  • H.B. 2401 (Wheeland, R-Lycoming), which would authorize certified registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to order and oversee orders from home health services; and
  • H.B. 2419 (Pickett, R-Bradford), which would allow required psychiatric time to be provided either in-person or through the use of telebehavioral health technology.

Conversely, the Senate sent the House the following bills for their consideration:

  • S.B. 284 (Yaw, R-Lycoming), which would provide for the decommissioning of solar energy facilities;
  • S.B. 962 (Langerholc, R-Cambria), which would establish a grant program to perform construction or renovation of a facility, to extend and improve utility and broadband service connections, and to purchase equipment, furniture, and security systems to create coworking centers in rural counties or rural municipalities; and
  • S.B. 1172 (Vogel, R-Beaver), which authorizes the establishment of sexual assault nurse examiner programs by hospitals.

Wednesday, the House Children and Youth Committee held an informational meeting on the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program. The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee reported out H.B. 1594 (Tomlinson, R-Bucks) and S.B. 895 (Regan, R-Cumberland), which would provide for the collection, verification, and disclosure of information by online marketplaces to inform consumers.

There were four bills reported out of the Senate Finance Committee:

  • H.B. 199 (Dunbar, R-Westmoreland), which would allow a person to claim a deduction for depletion of a mine, oil and gas well, and other natural deposits;
  • H.B. 324 (White, R-Philadelphia), which would increase Philadelphia’s net operating loss carryforward provisions to 20 years;
  • H.B 333 (Nelson, R-Westmoreland), which would allow a business to take the full expense deduction permitted under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code for the purchase of qualified equipment; and
  • S.B 771 (Aument, R-Lancaster), which would gradually reduce the state’s corporate net income tax rate from 9.99 percent to 6.99 percent.

Two bills of note passed on the House floor and will next be considered by the Senate: H.B 1330 (Ortitay, R-Allegheny), which would establish a central online clearinghouse of online courses for students enrolled in grades K-12; and H.B 2458 (White, R-Philadelphia), which would create the Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force.

The Senate passed two bills affecting the administration of elections: S.B. 982 (Baker, R-Luzerne), which would prohibit the use of non-public money for the administration of elections; and S.B. 1200 (Dush, R-Susquehanna), which would eliminate drop boxes and require mail in ballots to be returned to the county board of elections office. They also finally passed S.B. 1167 (DiSanto, R-Dauphin), which would authorize financial institutions and insurers to provide services to cannabis-related businesses and prohibits adverse state regulatory or legal actions.

H.B. 2058 (Mako, R-Northampton), was sent to the Governor’s desk. The bill would conform the filing deadlines of local income tax returns to coincide with the filing deadline of state personal income tax returns. H.B. 245 (Kaufer, R-Luzerne), which would update provisions relating to international medical school graduates, also is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

The Week Ahead

The House returns to session on April 25 and the Senate isn’t back in Harrisburg until May 23. Therefore, the committee meeting schedule is rather light next week.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the film tax credit program.

Thursday, the Senate State Government Committee will hold a public hearing to discuss S.B. 690 (Laughlin, R-Erie), which would allow voters who are registered as independents, to vote in primary elections.

A full list of committee meetings can be found here:



In Other News

  • The Administration announced $2.1 million in Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants to municipalities and businesses for 99 electric vehicles and more clean fuel transportation projects.
  • The Governor announced six projects to be awarded $3.7 million for the construction or rehabilitation of mixed-used developments.
  • Governor Wolf unveiled the Pennsylvania GreenGov Council 2021 Annual Report, which found that agencies and commissions reduced energy usage by 3.2 percent in FY 2020-21, and by 12.3 percent for a savings of more than $8 million in the three years
  • The Governor announced awards totaling more than $11 million for 26 apprenticeship programs.
  • Governor Wolf announced that the Department of Labor & Industry and the Office of Administration have partnered with Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study the feasibility of extending the protections of Occupational Safety and Health Act standards to the workplaces of thousands of public-sector workers throughout Pennsylvania.

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