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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: September 10, 2014 12:39 PM
From: Senator Bob Mensch
To: All Senate members
Subject: Amendments to Title 35 Streamlining Infrastructure Repair During Declared Disasters
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has had its share of natural disasters over the past few years from ice storms to floods to Superstorm Sandy. These situations not only impact life and property but also our ability to communicate. We rely not only upon government agencies to help ensure a quick recovery, but we also rely on the support of the private sector to minimize the disruption of public utilities and other services.

In major disasters, private companies routinely deploy assets to Pennsylvania communities from other states to help with the restoration and recovery of electric, telecommunications and other important services. During these all too-frequent events, we have seen convoys of repair trucks on our highways. For many disasters, teams of skilled employees from outside the Commonwealth work hand-in-hand with their Pennsylvania-based colleagues to get our residents re-connected quickly and efficiently.

With this in mind, I am proposing legislation that protects out-of-state businesses, (typically affiliates of PA based companies) solely in the state to respond to a state declared disaster from the state’s licensing and legal reporting requirements. The bill further eliminates barriers that could hinder the quick and efficient deployment of individuals and hard assets during a declared disaster. When individuals are deployed to a disaster-stricken area, they can be subject to state and local taxes, as well as a number of other reporting, registration and other rules that impede recovery efforts. The companies that deploy these resources are burdened with additional compliance costs associated with processing these payments and meeting other local requirements.

These requirements can also be a disincentive for private sector employees to volunteer their time to their employers to travel to other states to do their part to help their neighbors. My proposed legislation is a measure that would allow our residents to recover from disasters more quickly and efficiently with the help of experts from other states who engage only as long as is necessary to restore normal operations during declared disasters. My legislation is only proposed to be implemented during Presidential or Gubernatorial declared disasters.

I believe that this effort represents a strong public-private partnership that is essential when a disaster strikes. By relieving certain bureaucratic rules, businesses will have the flexibility to deploy resources that are necessary to help Pennsylvanians recover, which is why I encourage you to sign on to this important legislation.

Thank you for considering this legislation, if you have any questions please contact Matt Azeles in my office at 717-787-3110.

Introduced as SB1480