Legislative Updates

No one is more concerned about your quality of life and your business than you are, although the Chamber runs a close second. Click here for a list of local elected officials and contact information and let them know your thoughts and concerns.

As of 06/16/2016

H.B. 1800, PN 2681 — Workers’ Comp Medical Treatment Guidelines

  • House Bill 1800 would ensure that medical treatment provided to employees under the Workers’ Compensation Act be consistent with nationally-recognized, evidence-based medical treatment guidelines.
  • Workers’ Compensation insurance can be very expensive for business owners – with Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation premium rates much higher than the national average. Successfully implemented in other states, treatment guidelines have shown to improve patient care and outcomes, which ultimately helps control costs. The PA Chamber supports this legislation because it will help protect the integrity of Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation system.

H.B. 1888, PN 3037 — Tax Amnesty

  • House Bill 1888 would amend the Tax Reform Code to provide for a tax amnesty program for Pennsylvania for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
  • This legislation would allow for tax delinquents to file tax returns in exchange for reduced interest on unpaid tax, abatement on penalties and, in some cases, a limited “look back” in the statute of limitation. The last state tax amnesty program, which took place in 2010, generated more than $250 million in back taxes.

H.B. 1952, PN 3080 — Apprenticeship and Training Act Ratio Amendment

  • House Bill 1952 would help strengthen apprenticeship programs by establishing a standard 1:1 ratio for apprentices and supervisory journeyman, which is a federal standard.
  • This legislation will help to strengthen workforce development efforts by encouraging the use of apprenticeship training programs. Currently, open shops are required to use more journeymen per apprentices, making bids from open shops more expensive and also making it easier for union shops to attract apprenticeships. This bill will level the playing field among contractors by providing a standard 1:1 ratio.

S.B. 876, PN 1733 — Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund

  • Senate Bill 876 would improve the administration of the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund.
  • The UEGF is funded by the business community and pays medical expenses and lost wages for injured workers whose employer failed to purchase or maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. With the fund nearing insolvency, this legislation will provide the Department of Labor and Industry with the tools to help prevent illegitimate claimants from accessing benefits, as well as the ability to pursue and penalize negligent employers, whose failure to purchase workers’ compensation coverage increases costs on other employers.


S.B. 1195, PN 1677Clean Power Plan Review

  • Senate Bill 1195 would extend the amount of time the General Assembly has to review the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed plan to implement the federal Clean Power Plan.
  • In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a sweeping set of regulations mandating significant emissions reductions from new and existing coal-fired power plants, as well as requiring wholesale changes to individual states’ energy portfolios. Known as the “Clean Power Plan,” the EPA has previously admitted that these regulations will increase energy costs throughout the nation while having little impact in reducing overall global emissions. This legislation would make sure the state Legislature has time to thoroughly review Pennsylvania’s compliance plan and raise any concerns with potential negative impacts the draft plan may have on Pennsylvania jobs and energy prices.

H.B. 1731, PN 2604Keystone Energy Enhancement Act

  • House Bill 1731 would create the Keystone Energy Authority to authorize up to 20 Keystone Energy Enhancement Zones across the state. Businesses operating within a zone that utilize natural gas will be eligible for state and local tax exemptions, deductions, abatements and credits for a 10 year period beginning January 1, 2017. They will also be eligible for a job creation tax credit for each full-time job created within the zone.
  • House Bill 1731, the Keystone Energy Enhancement Act, would provide the state an additional tool in its suite of economic development programs. The Keystone Energy Enhancement Zones, as outlined in the legislation, will allow the state to better grow its workforce and economy by attracting investment into brownfields properties and making use of natural resources within our state’s borders.

S.B. 562, PN 731 — Regulatory Review Act Update

  • Senate Bill 562 would increase legislative oversight of the regulatory rulemaking process by requiring committee chairs to provide legislative committee members with a copy of the proposed regulation, stakeholder comments and any IRRC comments related to the regulation within five days of receipt. The bill would also delay IRRC consideration of regulations if the committee announces its intention to review regulations further.

House Bill 805Teachers

  • This bill passed the State House and Senate but has been vetoed by Governor Tom Wolf. Despite calls from lawmakers, the business community and educational advocacy organizations  Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the bill last week that would have put an end to the state’s antiquated “last in, first out” rules regarding teacher layoffs.

S.B. 984, PN 1440 — Ridesharing

  • Senate Bill 984 would provide for regulation of Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, throughout the Commonwealth. Currently, these companies are operating under temporary authority granted by the Public Utility Commission. This legislation will enable TNCs to operate permanently and consistently throughout the state.
  • This legislation will enable TNC services to permanently operate throughout the Commonwealth, while at the same time establishing a number of driver and consumer protections to ensure the safety of TNCs drivers and passengers.

S.B. 1195, PN 1677 — Greenhouse Gas Implementation

  • Senate Bill 1195 would extend the amount of time the General Assembly has to review the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed plan to implement the federal Clean Power Plan.
  • In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a sweeping set of regulations mandating significant emissions reductions from new and existing coal-fired power plants, as well as requiring wholesale changes to individual states’ energy portfolios. Known as the “Clean Power Plan,” the EPA has previously admitted that these regulations will increase energy costs throughout the nation while having little impact in reducing overall global emissions. This legislation would make sure the state Legislature has time to thoroughly review Pennsylvania’s compliance plan and raise any concerns regarding potential negative impacts the draft plan may have on Pennsylvania jobs and energy prices.

S.B. 601, PN 594 — Small Business Tax Reform

  • Senate Bill 601 would improve the Commonwealth’s small business tax climate by allowing for “like-kind” exchanges in Pennsylvania to mirror Internal Revenue Code Section 1031.
  • Pennsylvania’s current business and regulatory environment creates barriers to growth. This legislation will put the Commonwealth in line with every other state by allowing for “like-kind” exchanges for tax-deferral when property is exchanged for similar property. This change to the Commonwealth’s tax structure will remove a disadvantage Pennsylvania small businesses face when competing with businesses in other states.

 

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