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01/29/2023 10:11 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=35158
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 23, 2021 02:33 PM
From: Representative Zachary Mako
To: All House members
Subject: Price Gouging Act
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Price Gouging Act.

Act 133 of 2006 prohibits sellers from charging “unconscionably excessive” prices for all consumer goods and services when a state of disaster emergency is declared by the governor. This prohibition is effective for the duration of the declaration (initially 90 days, but renewable) plus an additional 30 days after termination. This is an excessively long period compared to other state laws and has resulted in situations where pricing restrictions from a disaster declaration for a winter snowstorm remained in place until June or beyond. In fact, emergency declarations issued for winter storms in early March can remain in place and maintain price restrictions through the Fourth of July.

Consequently, on January 10, 2018, Governor Wolf signed a disaster declaration to combat the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic. Although it is important to note the seriousness of this epidemic, this action by the governor was the Commonwealth’s first declaration for a non-natural disaster, but it still triggered the provisions of the Price Gouging Act, and with 13 subsequent and consecutive renewals since then, all manufacturers, distributors and retailers statewide on all consumer goods and services are subject to pricing restrictions. This situation brings into sharp focus the need to amend the law so that its restraints on commerce apply only to the extent necessary.
 
This proposal will:
 
  • Require that the declaration expressly state if the price gouging provisions are applicable during the time period of the declaration.
  • Limit the duration of pricing restrictions to 15 days (with extensions up to 60 days).
  • Limit applicability to those goods and services necessary for use or consumption.
  • Provide guidance as to what prices would not violate the law -- with safe harbors for prices that are 10% or less above specified benchmarks or consistent with external market prices.
  • Simplify the compliance process (important for small businesses).
 
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation which is supported by the following organizations:

American Petroleum Institute of PA
National Federation of Independent Business
Pennsylvania Builders Association
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association
Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association
Pennsylvania Petroleum Association
Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association
Pennsylvania Retailers Association
 
 



Introduced as HB1577