Governor Launches Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation

Governor Tom Corbett announced the creation of an Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation and appointed Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney CEO Jack Barbour to serve as chair. The council, which is comprised of 22 business and community leaders throughout the commonwealth, will explore ways to deliver state services more efficiently and cost -effectively. “We have an obligation to taxpayers to find new and innovative ways to make government more efficient,” Governor Corbett said. “This panel will further evaluate potential privatization, public-private partnerships or managed-competition opportunities with the ultimate goal of streamlining government and saving taxpayers’ dollars.”


Corbett Announces Impact Fee Proposal

Governor Corbett outlined his plans to implement a Marcellus Shale impact fee, announced his proposals to help move Pennsylvania toward energy independence and recommended changes to enhance industry-related environmental standards. Many of the recommendations were made by the governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last summer. The governor’s proposed impact fee would be adopted by counties for use by local communities impacted by the drilling. The fee would be used by local governments, counties and state agencies that respond to issues arising as a result of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.


Scarnati Warms to Liquor Store Privatization

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said during September’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon at the Hilton, Harrisburg & Towers, that “I’m all in with moving forward with privatization and I’ve opened up some on the issue.” He also said that there should be full disclosure of what privatization would mean. When asked by if he was opposed to selling the liquor stores or if he was just trying to leverage it so the House would agree to pass a shale bill if privatization passed, Scarnati replied with a smile, “Both.”


Harrisburg’s Financial Crisis

A compromise was reached, the House passed S.B. 1151 – a bill seeking to address the capital city's ongoing financial crisis – and called for an immediate recovery plan and state intervention. A vote in the Senate to concur in House amendments to the bill is expected after the Columbus Day recess. Senator Jeff Piccola (R-Dauphin) and Representative Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) crafted an agreement which would take immediate steps to intervene in the city's financial crisis. The compromise would allow the governor to declare a state of fiscal emergency in the city and immediately direct the secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development to develop an emergency action plan to provide for the city’s vital and necessary services, including police and emergency services, water and sewer services, trash pickup and other services.


DEP Announces Reorganization

The Department of Environmental Protection announced a new organizational structure to refocus the agency on its core mission of protecting the environment while improving efficiency and regulatory consistency. Some of the specific highlights of the changes are —


Legislative Actions

Editor’s Note: For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center at (717) 237-4800.

H.B. 9 (Watson, R-Bucks) Amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to limit the number of passengers under age 18 in a vehicle driven by the holder of a junior driver’s license. The bill also makes failure to use a booster seat for children four years of age or older but under eight years of age a primary offense and makes it a primary offense for anyone under age 18 not to use a seat belt. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 42 to 7. The House concurred in Senate amendments by a vote of 188 to 6. The bill has been signed in the House and must be signed in the Senate before going to the governor.

H.B. 1192 (Saccone, R-Allegheny) Amends Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) to expand coverage of the non-medical good Samaritan civil immunity provision. The bill passed the House by a vote of 199 to 0 and has not yet been referred to a committee in the Senate.

H.B. 1294 (Godshall, R-Montgomery) Amends Title 66 (Public Utilities) to give the Pennsylvania Utility Commission the power to allow additional regulatory procedures and mechanisms proposed by a fixed utility or a city natural gas operation to accelerate infrastructure improvements and investment. The bill passed the House by a vote of 184 to 17 and has not yet been referred to a committee in the Senate.


Committee Actions

Editor’s Note: For the latest information regarding the status of bills and resolutions, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center at (717) 237-4800.

Prevailing Wage The House Labor and Industry Committee reported several bills amending the Prevailing Wage Act including:

H.B. 1191 (Marsico, R-Dauphin) excludes political subdivisions and their authorities, agencies or instrumentalities from the act and authorizes them to elect, by ordinance or resolution, to be subject to the act. The bill has received first consideration and is on the House Tabled Bill Calendar.

H.B. 1685 (Bear, R-Lancaster) requires the Department of Labor and Industry to develop a complete listing of worker classifications and definitions. The bill received first consideration and is on the House Tabled Bill Calendar.

H.B. 1329 (F. Keller, R-Snyder) increases the amount needed to constitute "public work" from $25,000 to $185,000. The bill received first consideration and is on the House Tabled Bill Calendar.

H.B. 709 (Kampf, R-Chester) makes the act optional for school districts. The bill received first consideration and is on the House Tabled Bill Calendar.


Executive Nominations

The nomination of Joseph "Skip" Brion to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) was reported unanimously by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.


Political Grapevine

Montgomery County Democrat Dan McCaffery announced his candidacy for the Office of Attorney General of Pennsylvania. McCaffery is a former assistant district attorney, an Army cavalry veteran and is the brother of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery. Representative Scott Boyd (R-Lancaster) announced he will retire and not seek re-election next year for his 43rd Legislative District seat. Republican Keith J. Greiner became the first to announce his candidacy to replace Boyd. Griener is an accountant and currently serves as Lancaster County controller.


Committee Meeting Calendar

Editor’s Note: For the most up-to-date listing of the standing committee meeting schedule, please contact Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s State Government Relations Center at (717) 237-4800 or log on to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/session.cfm.

Tuesday, October 11

Senate Labor and Industry Committee 10:00 a.m., Chambersburg Area School District, Administration Building, 435 Stanley Avenue, Chambersburg The committee will hold a public hearing on S.B. 820 (amends the Prevailing Wage Act to further provide for duty of secretary), S.B. 821 (amends the Prevailing Wage Act to further provide for the definition of "public work") and S.B. 822 (amends the Prevailing Wage Act to further provide for definitions).