A Look Ahead for the Week of March 25, 2024

With House lawmakers back in Harrisburg for session this week, the PA Chamber is monitoring several pieces of legislation with the potential to impact the state’s business community.

Equal Pay Law Amendments (H.B. 98)

House Bill 98 is expected to receive a vote in the House Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation would make drastic changes to Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay law, adding new vague standards, essentially gutting the exceptions section of the law and making it nearly impossible for an employer to defend against a legal action brought under this Act. The bill would also restrict the type of questions employers may ask job applicants related to wages, significantly increase penalties, create new causes of action, extend the statute of limitations from 2 to 3 years, and allow for uncapped punitive damages.

Federal and state laws require employers to pay women and men equally for equal work. The law has also always recognized pay disparities often do exist for reasons that have nothing to do with discrimination and therefore provides several exceptions. This law guts these exceptions, putting the burden on employers to demonstrate that discrimination was not a factor and setting an impossibly high bar to do so. This legislation will expose honest, law-abiding employers to lawsuits and severe penalties, which may particularly harm small businesses.

Expanding Liability on Small Business (H.R. 2105)

House Bill 2105 is also expected to receive a vote in the House Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation would lower the threshold for an employer to be subject to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act from four to two employees.

Both state and federal anti-discrimination laws have always recognized the unique impact on small businesses; for example, the Federal Civil Rights Act does not apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees and most state laws include a threshold. Small businesses just getting started may be particularly susceptible to unfounded or frivolous claims but lack the resources to defend themselves, as responding to PHRC claims typically require substantial investments in time and legal costs for extended periods of time (average case age is over 450 days according to PHRC).

Prohibiting Noncompete Agreements (H.B. 1633)

House Bill 1633 is expected to receive a vote in the House Health Committee this week.

This legislation would prohibit and render void non-compete clauses in health care practitioners’ employment contracts.

The PA Chamber opposes legislation that would inappropriately interfere in private contracts. In this case, hospitals and health systems invest considerably to recruit and provide the infrastructure, operational support, advanced medical equipment, continuing education, training, and patient base for a provider to establish a practice. These employers should not be prohibited from requesting an agreement in which a potential hire commits, for a period of time, to refrain from leaving and starting a competing practice.

Amendments to Solid Waste Management Act (H.B. 1732)

House Bill 1732 is expected to receive a vote in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week.

This legislation would add additional regulations and testing requirements on waste management facilities.

The PA Department of Environmental Protection already regulates such residual wastes in order to protect public health and safety, the health and safety of workers and waste disposal facility inspectors, and to protect the environment. Additional layers of regulation are not necessary and would increase costs that are ultimately borne by residents and the business community.

Proprietary Information Disclosure (H.B. 1943)

House Bill 1943 is also expected to receive a vote in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week.

This legislation would impose new disclosure requirements for chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

Current law requires energy companies to disclose to the PA Department of Environmental Protection the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process – even those chemicals considered proprietary. Additionally, federal law requires access to confidential information for health professionals and employees. Federal and state law, however, have always recognized the right of private companies to maintain proprietary information or trade secrets and therefore does not provide that proprietary information disclosed may be accessible to the general public and does not require disclosure of chemical blends if they are considered proprietary or a trade secret. This legislation would remove these reasonable exemptions and disrupt the balance that existing law has attempted to achieve.

Artificial Intelligence Disclosure (H.B. 1958)

House Bill 1958 is expected to receive a vote in the House Consumer Protection, Technology, and Utilities Committee this week.

This legislation would amend the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) to require a disclosure statement when Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to generate any written, visual or audio content.

The bill creates a broad disclosure requirement that does not differentiate between deceptive content and non-deceptive content. As such, it would require widespread use of disclosure statements across the thousands of ways that AI technology is currently used. Additionally, since the UTPCPL allows for private lawsuits and the potential for treble damages, the bill would create a significant expansion of liability exposure for Pennsylvania businesses.


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.