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Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20190&cosponId=26789
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 5, 2018 12:29 PM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill
To: All Senate members
Subject: Comprehensive Regulatory Reform for Pennsylvania
 
In the near future I will introduce a proposal to address the growing regulatory burdens facing the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania has thousands of regulations on the books. Many of these acts and regulations were enacted several decades ago, and have yet to be re-examined and evaluated in the intervening years as to their relevance, effectiveness and cost. According to the World Bank and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, over regulation consumes between .8 to 2.3% of GDP. Based on those numbers alone, over regulation has consumed much of the Commonwealth’s economic growth.

Regulations are a self-made problem that are in part the result of choices made by the legislative branch of government. Legislation that is passed often states that “The Department will promulgate regulations” which allows state agencies to develop new rules and regulations to implement the laws passed by the General Assembly. The regulations formed by these laws and their economic impact are too often ignored by the General Assembly as the legislative branch moves on to the next topic. We must reverse this trend of growing regulations and the negative impact that it has on our economy.

The General Assembly must adopt reforms to reintroduce the legislative branch into the regulatory process and this piece of legislation will take several steps to address that growing need. This bill will do several things. First, it will contain HB 209 of last session which will establish the Independent Office of the Repealer within the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to review regulations, receive and process recommendations, evaluate the merits of recommendations in accordance with decision rules and quantitative and qualitative criteria, and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor and Executive agencies for repeal, modification, or revision. Additionally, this will also implement a one-in, two-out model for new regulations. For every new regulation added, two must be repealed.

Second, this bill will establish an enhanced review process for major regulations that impose a substantial cost burden on the Commonwealth. An economically significant regulation is defined as having an impact on the state, municipalities, and/or the business community of $1 million or more per year. The General Assembly would be required to vote on a concurrent resolution to approve an economically significant regulation, in order for that regulation to go into effect.

Third, this piece of legislation will give the General Assembly the ability to initiate the repeal of any regulation in effect in Pennsylvania by a concurrent resolution. Under current law, the Regulatory Review Act allows the General Assembly to block the implementation of regulation before it takes effect. Both the House and the Senate as well as the Governor would need to approve the resolution.

Fourth, this bill will also reform the permitting process. It will require all agencies that issue permits to increase transparency throughout the process. The legislation will require agencies to post information about the permits that they grant on their website, to create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications and to clearly state the legal authority that the agency relies on when rejecting a permit application.

Finally, this bill will require each agency to designate an employee as the agency’s regulatory compliance officer. This officer would be tasked with being accessible to the regulated community and working with them to explain regulations and resolve noncompliance issues before imposing penalties.

Presently there is no legislative authority providing for an independent, regular and systematic review of existing statutes and regulations to a) reduce or eliminate unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, onerous, outdated or conflicting statutes that hinder efficiency, understanding, liberty or are detrimental to economic well-being; b) bring statutes up to date to be in harmony with modern conditions; c) foster a more business friendly climate; d) make laws easier to read and understand by a layman.

Whereas proposed new regulations are already addressed by legislation and an executive order [Act of June 25, 1982 (P.L. 633, No.181) providing for oversight and review of proposed/new regulations by the IRRC; Executive Order 1996-1 on review and issuance of regulations in PA signed by Gov. Ridge; and the Regulatory Review Act of June 29, 2012, P.L. 657, No. 76 from HB 1349], this bill will begin to address the tremendous body of existing acts and regulations which have accumulated since the founding of our Commonwealth.

The bill will include a sunset date of five years specifically for the Independent Office of the Repealer to ensure it is able to properly review all regulations and make necessary recommendations while still allowing the other provisions of the bill to remain in place and prevent future over regulation.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation to help foster effective, efficient and responsive government.



Introduced as SB250