House and Senate lawmakers return to Harrisburg this week and both chambers are expected to consider a number of bills and topics of interest to the business community.
This morning, the House Labor and Industry Committee will meet to consider H.B. 950, a constitutional amendment which appears intended to prohibit future lawmakers from ever enacting “Right to Work” legislation, or laws that most states have enacted to protect individuals from being forced to join or contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. In a memo last week to committee members, the PA Chamber expressed its concerns about the unintended consequences of the bill, which has ambiguous and broad language that could be interpreted to impact many other laws. “We urge the committee to carefully consider this language and its potential application to a broader range of public policy beyond simply Right to Work,” the memo stated.
The full House may take up bills that passed committee last week, including H.B. 930, the workers’ compensation scar benefit expansion bill discussed above; as well as H.B. 760 to provide for direct deposit of workers’ compensation benefits.
The House might also consider H.B. 636, legislation that would classify “advertising, displaying or offering a price for goods or services that does not include all mandatory fees or charges other than taxes imposed by a government entity” as an unfair method of competition. We recently expressed a number of concerns that this bill is broadly defined, vague and lacks guidelines necessary to comply, and could end up reducing pricing transparency and increase prices for consumers.
Bills that are key to improving Pennsylvania’s competitiveness – including permitting reform, and legislation by Sens. Ryan Aument and Greg Rothman to expedite the reduction of the Corporate Net Income Tax and improve treatment of Net Operating Losses could also see legislative action this week.
Lastly, as discussed at the PA Chamber’s recent Energy and Environmental Policy Briefing by Senator Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, it is anticipated that the House and Senate will be introducing legislation shortly to establish a framework for carbon capture regulation, which is key to Pennsylvania landing a hydrogen hub.