The House of Representatives' first voting session week of 2020 kicked off on Monday with the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reporting out S.B. 790  (Scarnati, R-Jefferson), which would provide for regulations specific to conventional oil and gas wells. Governor Wolf already stated he plans to veto the bill.

The House Labor and Industry Committee disapproved Regulation #12-106: Minimum Wage.  The regulation would, by 2022, increase the earnings threshold for when the state's overtime requirements are applied to executive, administrative and professional salaried workers to $45,500 annually, or $875 per week, and then automatically adjust it every three years. The current threshold is $23,600 in annual earnings, or $455 per week. The Administration believes the changes, once fully implemented, would expand eligibility for overtime to 143,000 people and strengthen overtime protections for 251,000 more.

Then on the House floor, S.B. 742  (Ward, R-Westmoreland) received unanimous support as it goes back to the Senate for concurrence. The bill would require the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection to conduct vehicle emissions testing modeling to determine an exemption period for newer vehicles from the vehicle emissions program.

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed two bills of note: H.B. 1069  (Bernstine, R-Lawrence), which would require a public agency to post their meeting agendas, if they have one, no later than 24 hours prior to a meeting, and prohibits an agency from taking official action on items not on the agenda; and H.B. 1796  (White, R-Philadelphia), which would increase the City of Philadelphia's net operating loss (NOL) carryforward to 20 years.

Wednesday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held an informational meeting on Regulation #7-534: Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards. In addition the following bills were passed finally and head to the Senate for their consideration:

  • B. 37  (Brown, R-Monroe), which would prohibit a person from using an interactive wireless communications device while operating a motor vehicle;
  • B. 1860  (Longietti, D-Mercer), which would allow municipalities to create a redevelopment authority; and
  • B. 906  (Yudichak, I-Luzerne), which would establish a moratorium on the closure of the Polk and White Haven State centers.

The Week Ahead

The House is back in session next week, starting on Tuesday with a House Education Committee public hearing on H.B. 1897 (Sonney, R-Erie), which would require school districts to offer cyber education programs. The House Insurance Committee will hold an informational meeting on H.B. 2200 (Gaydos, R-Allegheny), which would allow small business to join together to offer healthcare benefits to their employees through association health plans.

The House Human Services Committee will consider H.B. 1895 (Rowe, R-Snyder), which provides patients receiving mental health care the right to be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation, and H.R.  344 (Cruz, D-Philadelphia), which urges the Office of Attorney General to file lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, distributors and manufacturers for the practices that caused or contributed to the opioid crisis.

Moving to Wednesday, the House Local Government Committee will consider H.B. 2055 (Snyder, D-Greene), which would allow municipalities to deploy broadband internet infrastructure.

Then the Performance Based Budget Board will hold a public hearing to review the Independent Fiscal Office's performance-based budget plan for the following agencies and tax credits:

On Thursday, the Board will meet again to review plans for:

  • Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Human Services
  • Research and Development Tax Credit
  • Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit

Reports for the first hearing are found above. Thursday's reports will be posted here on Tuesday.

A full list of committee meetings can be found here:

In Other News

  • The Chancellor of the State System of Higher Education gave his annual State of the System address.
  • Lawmakers rolled-out a legislative package aimed at curbing Medicaid fraud.
  • The Department of Banking and Securities announced an "Investing in Women" Initiative.
  • Kim Pizzingrilli, Chair of the Buchanan's Pennsylvania State Government Relations Group, was re-elected Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Emeritus.

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