PA Senate Week in Review
Week of May 28, 2021
Bills Passed by the Senate this Week
Regulatory Reform Measures to Spur Job Creation
With Pennsylvania’s employment rate lagging behind those of other states emerging from the pandemic, the Senate approved several bills this week to rein in job-stifling regulations.
The bills increase legislative oversight of a process too often influenced by unelected bureaucrats, adding special scrutiny for the costliest proposed regulations.
Senate Bill 28 (Phillips-Hill) Ensures transparency in permitting. The bill would require all agencies that issue permits to post information about the permits on an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications.
Senate Bill 126 (Brooks) Provides for an automatic review after three years of all regulations with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, local governments and the private sector exceeding $1 million.
Senate Bill 426 (Gordner) Provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process. The goal of the legislation is to ensure state agencies are implementing the law and not trying to make the laws themselves.
Senate Bill 520 (DiSanto) States that no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, local governments and the private sector exceeding $1 million can be imposed without approval of the General Assembly.
Improving Broadband Access
Senate Bill 341 (Phillips-Hill) would remove regulatory barriers to broadband deployment for landline telecommunications providers. The legislation would require the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to waive certain regulations, review regulations every three years and eliminate those that are no longer necessary or in the public interest.
Senate Bill 442 (Phillips-Hill) would fund access to broadband by using revenue from renting excess wireless capacity on towers, land, and assets owned by the Commonwealth. The bills were sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Boosting Fundraising for First Responders, Veterans Groups
Senate Bill 243 (Pittman) would allow volunteer fire departments, veterans organizations and other non-profits to conduct online small games of chance fundraisers during the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration. It also allows organizations to accept payment via mobile payment applications.
A Motorcycle Lemon Law for PA
Senate Bill 82 (Brooks) would establish a motorcycle “lemon law” similar to the consumer protections for car buyers provided by the PA Automobile Lemon Law. It requires manufacturers to repair significant defects occurring in the first year of ownership or 12,000 miles.
Criminalizing “Upskirting” that Targets Minors
Senate Bill 521 (Mensch) would more substantially criminalize the act of “upskirting” involving a minor by making the offense a third-degree felony for a first offense and a second-degree felony for subsequent offenses of invasion of privacy of a minor when committed by a person of authority, such as a teacher.
Senate Committee Hearings
Senate State Government Committee holds First Hearing on Congressional Redistricting
The Senate State Government Committee held its first hearing of the 2021-22 legislative session on congressional redistricting. The committee heard testimony about the science of map-making, demographic trends in rural and urban areas of the state, and recommended map criteria. More
Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and Senate Local Government Committee
Senate Community, Economic, and Recreational Development Committee
Baker, Argall Issue Statement on Inspector General Report
Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) and Senator Dave Argall (R-29) issued the following statement regarding the Inspector General report on the Department of State’s failure to meet its constitutional mandate concerning House Bill of 2019.
“We are currently evaluating the report released today by the Inspector General, on the failure of the Department of State to advertise the constitutional amendment for the statute of limitations reform for child sexual abuse. However, at this point it seems to have raised more questions than answers.
“The devastation that this colossal failure has caused for countless victims cannot be dismissed without a full account of what took place. The public and the victims deserve transparency and the truth.
Classifying this as a personnel matter should not shield any public employee from accountability.
“We are appalled by the lack of oversight at the Department of State and stunned that a state agency did not have the core functions of government under control. As chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate State Government Committee, we will continue our bipartisan pursuit to get to the bottom of what happened, and how it can be prevented from happening in the future. The victims deserve better.”