A Look Ahead for the Week of March 18, 2024

The Pennsylvania General Assembly returns this week for its first voting session since the start of the new year. With state lawmakers back in town, the PA Chamber is monitoring several pieces of legislation that have the potential to impact the state’s business community.

H.R. 170 – Artificial Intelligence Study

House Resolution 170 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This resolution would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on artificial intelligence and make recommendations. The resolution also establishes an advisory committee to assist in the study.

While the resolution currently provides for input from several stakeholders, including organized labor, it does not include input from the business community. The PA Chamber worked with the prime sponsor on an amendment that would allow the business community to be represented on the advisory committee.


H.B. 1201 – Data Privacy

House Bill 1201 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This bill would regulate the collection and use of consumers’ personal data by providing consumers with certain rights and requiring businesses to protect and limit the collection of personal data.

The PA Chamber believes a national framework for data privacy regulation would be preferable to protect consumer data, promote transparency, and provide regulatory certainty in the marketplace. Congress, however, has not yet advanced consumer data privacy legislation and in the meantime eleven states have adopted a patchwork of data privacy laws.

We have advocated that if lawmakers are to advance data privacy legislation at the state level, that they look to state’s such as Virginia and Connecticut, which crafted their laws with input from the business community. Some concerns remain that the low threshold for covered entities (having the data of 50,000 individuals) and short compliance window (6 months) will make it difficult for small business.


H.R. 322 – Lowering the Commercial Driver’s License Age

House Resolution 322 is expected to receive a vote in the House Transportation Committee this week.

This resolution would urge Congress to pass legislation to allow individuals under the age of 21 with a Commercial Driver’s License to drive across state lines and participate in interstate commerce.

Trucking companies report significant workforce shortages, which is a challenge for their industry and the many businesses and customers that rely on trucking to move goods to market. While individuals can obtain a CDL in Pennsylvania at age 18, federal law prohibits drivers from crossing state lines until the age of 21, which limits opportunities at an early stage in their career and exacerbates workforce challenges for the industry.


H.R. 290 – Oppose U.S. Steel Merger

House Resolution 290 is expected to receive a vote in the House State Government Committee this week.

This resolution would urge Congress to oppose the merger of U.S. Steel Corporation and the Nippon Steel Corporation.

The proposed merger between U.S. Steel and Japan-headquartered Nippon should be subject to the same thorough vetting as any proposed transaction. In this case, however, we are encouraged by the opportunity for economic revitalization in western Pennsylvania where, as reported, U.S. Steel would remain headquartered, keep its iconic name, and maintain its workforce and manufacturing facilities. This resolution could have a chilling effect on foreign direct investment in the Commonwealth and sends the wrong message to a critical ally.


H.B. 597 – Fees on Waste Landfills

House Bill 597 is expected to receive a vote in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week.

This legislation could significantly increase the cost of doing business for Pennsylvania employers by authorizing counties to impose an additional fee on residents and commercial operations to pay for waste and recycling programs.


H.B. 2017 – Social Media Access for Minors

House Bill 2017 is expected to receive a vote in the House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee this week.

This legislation would require social media companies to monitor the chats of two or more minors on the platform and notify parents or legal guardians of flagged sensitive or graphic content. Additionally, the bill would require consent from a parent or legal guardian for anyone under 16 to open a social media account and notify parents or legal guardians if a child under 16 opens a social media account without consent. Lastly, the bill would prohibit data mining for users under the age of 18 and allow any individual to request the deletion of data that was mined while they were under the age of 18.

The bill currently includes a private cause of action and concurrent jurisdiction for local district attorneys and other governmental entities such as school districts. The PA Chamber supports an amendment to remove these provisions.


S.B. 819 – Critical Infrastructure Trespass/Vandalism

Senate Bill 819 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

This legislation would increase criminal penalties against individuals who knowingly trespass onto and vandalize critical infrastructure facilities. The legislation also establishes civil liability and allows the owner of a critical infrastructure facility to recover damages from someone convicted of trespass or vandalism.

Assets such as water treatment facilities, pipelines, telecommunications, dams, ports, and manufacturing facilities are vitally important to the well-being of our economy and to the health and safety of our citizens. This legislation puts in place reasonable measures to protect these assets.


S.B. 416 – Clarifying Flexibility for Work from Home

Senate Bill 416 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week.

This legislation would clarify that the imposition of CNI tax for out of state employers shall not include employees who are residents of Pennsylvania and who work remotely (work from home) less than 50 percent of their normal working hours on an annual basis.

Businesses have seen a significant increase in remote workers post COVID-19. This legislation provides relief to out of state companies via an exemption from triggering the CNIT for their employees who are residents of Pennsylvania and work remotely for less 50 percent of their normal working hours.


S.B. 659 – Optional Entity-Level SALT Cap Workaround

Senate Bill 659 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week.

This legislation would allow Pennsylvania partnerships or S-corporations to elect to recognize income from the operation of the business at the entity-level, as opposed to the existing pass-through methodology for income tax purposes.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) imposed a $10,000 limit on the maximum deduction taxpayers may claim for certain state and local taxes through 2025 on individuals but not business entities. This legislation would shift state tax liabilities for pass-through entities’ (PTEs) income from the individual back to the PTE, providing relief to owners and shareholders.


S.B. 1051 – PA Board of Finance and Revenue Appeals Reform

Senate Bill 1051 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week.

This legislation would allow the Pennsylvania Board of Finance and Revenue (BF&R) to consider late-filed tax appeals from the Department of Revenue (DOR) if the taxpayer shows good cause. It also establishes a settlement process at the BF&R as an alternative to the formal and lengthy court appeals process.

Taxpayers who disagree with a final decision made by DOR currently have 60 days to appeal the decision to the BF&R. Without the ability to accept late filed appeals, cases are dismissed on a technicality rather than on the merits. The ability to settle disputes at the BF&R will provide for a quicker and fairer resolution to tax disputes, particularly for smaller businesses which do not have the resources for a drawn out appeals process or litigation in the Commonwealth Court.


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.