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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 8, 2017 12:23 PM
From: Representative Joe Emrick
To: All House members
Subject: Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact
 
There is a genuine need for greater state oversight of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge commission. Historically, the Commission has been a bastion of political patronage, and many of its financial and management decisions have been questionable at best. Oversight of the Commission has been a cumbersome issue because the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact, which governs the Commission, requires legal consistency between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Because the decision of the Commission affects a large number of citizens and businesses whom I represent, I will be re-introducing a legislative package designed to rectify inconsistencies between Pennsylvania and New Jersey law relating to the operation and oversight of the Commission.

My first bill would amend PA law to grant the governor veto power over actions of the Commission members of PA. NJ already has enacted such a provision granting its Chief Executive veto power over actions of NJ commissioners. I believe the Governor of PA should also have the authority to review and veto actions of PA commissioners that do not serve the best interests of PA residents, such as the Toll Hike increase. This bill was passed 197-0 in the House last session and after being reported by the Senate Transportation Committee last September, it stalled on the Senate Calendar.

The second bill in the package sets for the process by which the gubernatorial veto may be exercised. The Governor would have ten days to review the actions of PA commission members and either ratify, veto or allow the actions to stand (if he takes no action). The language in the bill mirrors NJ law.

Although there are provisions in the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge compact that call for member state auditing of the Commission, an inconsistency in the state law has resulted in a situation where neither PA Auditor General nor NJ Office of State Auditor has the authority to conduct an audit. The third bill in the package will amend PA law to provide that an annual financial management audit of the Commission be performed jointly by the Auditor General of PA and the State Auditor of NJ. Passage of this legislation will remove the current inconsistency between the two states' laws on auditing and allow the Commission to be appropriately audited after many years where no auditing has taken place. This bill is the same as HB 1873 2011-12) that was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives with no further action in the Senate.

The final bill of the package is a combination of all three of the above bills rolled into one bill. There is no listing of prior sponsors since this will be the first time that this legislation has been introduced.



Document #1

Introduced as HB649

Description: Prior HB 812 - A supplement to the act of June 25, 1931, referred to as the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact, providing the Governor of each state with power to ratify or veto certain actions taken by commissioners.

Prior Co-sponsors: EMRICK, FREEMAN, COHEN, JAMES, HELM, FABRIZIO,
HARHART, STAATS, TOPPER, MACKENZIE, LAWRENCE, B. MILLER,
HEFFLEY, DIAMOND, HICKERNELL, O'NEILL, TOOHIL, GROVE, TOEPEL,
MENTZER, HAHN, GABLER, RADER, D. PARKER, MURT, JOZWIAK,
R. BROWN, PEIFER, DUSH, GILLEN, KORTZ, SACCONE, EVANKOVICH,
SAMUELSON, KAUFFMAN AND SANTARSIERO
 

Document #2

Introduced as HB650

Description: Prior HB 813 - An Act amending the act of June 25, 1931, referred to as the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact, providing for veto power by the Governor over certain actions.

Prior Co-sponsors:  EMRICK, FREEMAN, COHEN, HELM, FABRIZIO, STAATS,
TOPPER, MACKENZIE, HARHART, LAWRENCE, B. MILLER, HEFFLEY,
DIAMOND, HICKERNELL, O'NEILL, TOOHIL, TOEPEL, MENTZER, HAHN,
GABLER, RADER, D. PARKER, MURT, JOZWIAK, R. BROWN, PEIFER,
DUSH, GILLEN, KORTZ, SACCONE, EVANKOVICH, SAMUELSON, KAUFFMAN
AND SANTARSIERO
 

Document #3

Introduced as HB651

Description: Prior HB 814 - An Act amending the act of June 25, 1931, referred to as the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact, providing for audits.

Prior Co-sponsors:  EMRICK, FREEMAN, COHEN, JAMES, HELM, FABRIZIO,
STAATS, TOPPER, MACKENZIE, HARHART, LAWRENCE, B. MILLER,
HEFFLEY, DIAMOND, HICKERNELL, O'NEILL, TOOHIL, TOEPEL,
MENTZER, HAHN, GABLER, RADER, D. PARKER, MURT, JOZWIAK,
R. BROWN, PEIFER, DUSH, GILLEN, KORTZ, SACCONE, EVANKOVICH,
SAMUELSON, KAUFFMAN AND SANTARSIERO
 

Document #4

Introduced as HB652

Description:
An Act amending the act of June 25, 1931, referred to as the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Compact,  providing the Governor of each state with power to ratify or veto certain actions taken by commissioners; and providing for veto power by the Governor over certain actions, and providing for audits;.