The House and Senate are in recess until January 17, 2012.
A New Year Ahead
On behalf of the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney State Government Relations team, Happy New Year! We hope that you had a wonderful holiday and that 2012 has greeted you with the promise of opportunity and success. Governor Corbett will present his 2012-2013 budget proposal in just a few weeks. Budget Secretary Charles Zogby’s mid-year budget briefing in December set the stage for another economically challenging fiscal year, making it all the more important that anyone with a budget interest has an advocacy and education plan in place. In addition, the second half of the 2011-2012 legislative session will see continued work on several issues that will reach a critical mass in the coming months. A bill addressing a fee and regulatory structure for Marcellus Shale is expected to go to conference the week of January 17. We expect Governor Tom Corbett to press on with his campaign for school choice. And for the first time since the end of Prohibition, a bill that would change the system for liquor sales in Pennsylvania was reported out of a legislative committee. More information about some of these issues in contained within this newsletter.
Budget Challenges Lead to Budget Freeze
With commonwealth revenues continuing to come in below estimate for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Governor Tom Corbett has directed his Budget Office to freeze nearly $160 million in state spending. The governor also ordered a salary freeze for members of the governor’s cabinet and executive-level state government employees, and has asked government entities not under his jurisdiction to reduce their spending by nearly $66 million.
Reapportionment Plans Completed and Approved
The 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Plan was approved by the Reapportionment Commission, and the Congressional Reapportionment Plan was passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor. The final plans differ from the previous preliminary plans.
Marcellus Shale Bill Expected to Go to Conference Committee
In December, the House voted unanimously to reject Senate amendments to H.B. 1950 (Ellis, R-Butler), one of the Marcellus Shale fee and regulation bills. The Senate is expected to formally insist on its amendments when session resumes in January, which will trigger the creation of a conference committee.
New Approach to Liquor Sales
The move to modernize Pennsylvania’s liquor system took a historic step forward, but with an entirely different approach than was first proposed. In December, the House of Representatives amended and reported H.B. 11 (Turzai, R-Allegheny) out of committee.
Business Delegation Being Formed for Governor’s Trade Mission
In March, Governor Tom Corbett will head to France and Germany with a delegation of Pennsylvania business leaders on a trade mission that will focus on connecting Pennsylvania companies with potential export partners and encouraging international businesses to invest in the commonwealth.
More Members Announce Retirements
Five members have been added to the list of those who previously announced they will not seek re-election in 2012.
Philadelphia's New Lobbying Law Now in Effect
Philadelphia's Lobbying Law (Chapter 20-1200 of the Philadelphia Code, Board of Ethics, Regulation No. 9) became effective January 3, 2012. The new law requires individuals and organizations working to influence legislative or administrative action in Philadelphia to register and begin reporting lobbying activities and expenses.
Approved by the Governor
Act 111 - S.B. 1183 (Orie, R-Allegheny) amends Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses), 23 (Domestic Relations), 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), 44 (Law and Justice) and 61 (Prisons and Parole) to extensively revise provisions related to treatment, classification, sentencing and registration of sexual offenders pursuant to court decisions and federal mandates under the Adam Walsh Act.
For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center directly at 717-237-4800. H.B. 469 and H.B. 470 (Cox, R-Berks) Amend the Practical Nurse Law and the Professional Nursing Law to prohibit the use of the title “nurse” except by certain licensees. Both bills passed the House by a vote of 193 to 0 and have been referred to the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee.
For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center directly at 717-237-4800. Tort Reform The House Judiciary Committee and the House Appropriations Committee reported H.B. 1976 (Cutler, R-Lancaster) which amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) to provide for venue in personal injury actions against corporations and similar entities. Under the bill, suits could be brought only in the county of domicile of the plaintiff, the county where all or a predominant part of the cause of action arose or the county where the principal place of business of the corporation or similar entity is located.
Senate Secretary/Parliamentarian Retires
Senate Secretary/Parliamentarian Mark Corrigan retired at the end of 2011. Corrigan began his service as an aide to former Senator Doyle Corman. He was employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for more than 37 years and served as the Secretary and Parliamentarian of the Senate for 31 years.
Attorney General Race Takes Shape Senator John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) and Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed have announced their candidacies for the Republican nomination for attorney general.
Committee Meeting Calendar
For the most up-to-date listing of the standing committee meeting schedule, log on to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm.