PRINTER'S NO. 104
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
139
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY ROTHMAN, SCHMITT, PICKETT, HAMM, JAMES, IRVIN,
METCALFE, MENTZER, OBERLANDER, STAMBAUGH, KEEFER, OWLETT,
R. MACKENZIE, SAYLOR, ZIMMERMAN, MOUL AND M. MACKENZIE,
JANUARY 12, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY,
JANUARY 12, 2021
AN ACT
Providing for the administration of permits by State agencies,
for a tracking system for permit applications, for the
establishment of permit programs and for annual reports.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Permit
Administration Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Applicant." A person, municipality, municipal authority,
political subdivision, State agency or an agency of the Federal
Government which submits an application for a permit to a State
agency.
"Application." A submission to a State agency by an
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applicant which seeks any of the following:
(1) A new permit.
(2) A permit renewal.
(3) A permit amendment.
(4) A permit modification.
(5) A permit transfer.
(6) A change of ownership of a permit.
"Completeness review." The process by which a State agency's
staff reviews an application to determine if the application
satisfies all of the applicable statutory and regulatory
requirements.
"Incomplete application." An application which does not
include all required documents and information necessary to
perform a completeness review.
"Permit." An authorization issued by a State agency which
approves the performance of a regulated activity. The term
includes authorization permits, plan approvals and registrations
under a general permit. The term does not include the following:
(1) A certification, license or permit issued to an
individual for personal use.
(2) A certification, license or permit issued by the
Pennsylvania Game Commission.
"Permit decision." The issuance or denial of a permit.
"Permit decision delay." The failure of a State agency to
issue a permit decision within:
(1) the time period specified by statute or regulation,
including the time period specified under 4 Pa. Code Ch. 7a
Subch. H (relating to permit decision guarantee for the
Department of Environmental Protection); or
(2) thirty days after the submission of the permit
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application if there is no time period specified by statute
or regulation, including 4 Pa. Code Ch. 7a Subch. H.
"Permit program." A program designed for the operation and
management of permits which are subject to permit decision
delays.
"Processing time." Beginning when the permit satisfies the
completeness review, the total number of business days allowed
by statute, regulation or State agency policy before a State
agency must take final action on a permit decision.
"State agency." Any office, department, authority, board or
commission of the executive branch which issues permits.
"Technical review." A review of the technical aspects of an
application to determine if the application satisfies all of the
applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for permit
issuance.
"Technically deficient application." An application that
does not include all necessary documents and information in
sufficient detail to perform a technical review.
"Third-party professional." An individual in this
Commonwealth who possesses all of the requisite certifications
and qualifications of an occupation relating to a permit
administered by a State agency.
Section 3. Initial review of permits by State agencies.
Within 60 days after the effective date of this act, a State
agency shall review the State agency's permit decisions and
permit decision delays during the immediately preceding calendar
year and submit a report of findings to the General Assembly.
Section 4. Compilation of permits.
(a) List of permits.--A State agency shall compile, maintain
and make available a complete list of all types of permits
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issued by the State agency. The list, including any revisions to
the list, shall be transmitted to the Legislative Reference
Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall be
posted on the State agency's publicly accessible Internet
website. The list shall include, but not be limited to, the
following information:
(1) The program under which each permit is issued.
(2) The statutory and regulatory authority for each
permit.
(3) The time frame when the State agency must issue each
permit.
(4) The average time frame within which a permit is
actually issued.
(b) Time limit.--A State agency shall have 90 days from the
effective date of this act to complete the initial list required
under subsection (a).
Section 5. Tracking system for permit application.
(a) Establishment.--A State agency shall establish, maintain
and make available a secure tracking system for applicants to
track the status of applications on the State agency's publicly
accessible Internet website within 180 days of the effective
date of this section.
(b) Notice.--Within five business days after receiving an
application, a State agency shall notify an applicant in writing
or by electronic means of the receipt and provide information
instructing the applicant in the utilization of the tracking
system established under subsection (a).
(c) System contents.--The tracking system shall include all
of the following:
(1) The processing time for each permit and the
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statutory and regulatory authority and State agency policy
establishing the processing time.
(2) The dates associated with the receipt of each
permit, completeness review, technical review, elevated
review if necessary, and the final permit decision.
(3) The estimated time remaining for each incomplete
phase of the permit approval process.
(4) The identity and contact information for the State
agency employee assigned to answer questions about the
application process.
Section 6. Notice of incomplete and technically deficient
applications.
(a) Notice.--If a State agency finds an incomplete
application or technically deficient application, the State
agency shall notify the applicant in writing or by electronic
means of all the following:
(1) The statute or regulation which requires a
correction or additional information within the application.
(2) The reasons why the application is not in
conformance with the statute or regulation specified under
paragraph (1) in clear language that is readily
understandable by a layperson.
(3) The correction or additional information needed for
the State agency to issue the permit.
(b) Time limit.--The following apply:
(1) If an application is determined to be incomplete,
the State agency shall notify the applicant of the
determination within 10 business days of receipt of the
application.
(2) If an application is determined to be technically
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deficient, the State agency shall notify the applicant of the
determination within 20 business days after the conclusion of
a completeness review.
Section 7. Notice of permit changes and expiration.
A State agency shall notify a permit holder in writing or by
electronic means of the following:
(1) The expiration date of a permit 60 days before the
permit's expiration date.
(2) A change to a statute or regulation which may affect
the permit.
(3) A change in permit fees which may affect the renewal
of the permit.
Section 8. Validity of permits.
A permit issued prior to the effective date of a statute or
regulation altering the requirements for the permit shall remain
valid under the provisions by which the permit was granted
unless otherwise agreed to by all parties.
Section 9. Third-party review of permit decision delays.
(a) Establishment.--Within 180 days of the effective date of
this section, a State agency shall establish a permit program to
review permit decision delays and resolve issues causing permit
decision delays.
(b) Third-party.--A State agency shall contract with a
third-party professional to administer a permit program
established under subsection (a) in accordance with 62 Pa.C.S.
Pt. I (relating to Commonwealth procurement code). Payments to a
third-party professional under this subsection shall consist of
the remittance of any fees collected by a State agency from
applicants whose applications are subject to a permit decision
delay.
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(c) Review.--A State agency shall, immediately after
establishing a permit program under subsection (a), refer
applications that have been submitted to the State agency and
are subject to permit decision delay to a third-party
professional for review and resolution. A permit application
that becomes subject to permit decision delay after the
establishment of a permit program under subsection (a) shall be
submitted by the State agency to a third-party professional for
review and resolution no later than three business days after
the application becomes subject to permit decision delay.
(d) Issuance.--After a third-party professional's review of
an application which is subject to a permit decision delay and
the resolution of all issues causing the delay, the third-party
professional shall transmit the application to the State agency
for issuance of the permit.
Section 10. Annual reports.
No later than January 31 of each year, a State agency shall
submit a report to the General Assembly that, at a minimum,
shall contain the following information from the immediately
preceding calendar year:
(1) The number of applications received.
(2) The number of applications reviewed by the State
agency that received a decision without being referred to a
third-party professional.
(3) The average time frame for permit decisions from the
State agency on applications that received a decision without
being referred to a third-party professional.
(4) The number of applications reviewed by third-party
professionals.
(5) The average time frame for contracted third-party
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professionals to complete an application review.
(6) The number of State agency employees reviewing
permit applications as organized by each regional office of
the State agency, if applicable, and the number of
applications each State employee reviewed.
Section 11. Construction.
Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit or otherwise
alter a State agency's authority to revoke a permit for failure
to comply with the laws of this Commonwealth.
Section 12. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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