Last Week in the Legislature

Last week, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly voted on proposals related to artificial intelligence disclosure, carbon capture, protecting critical infrastructure, proprietary information, water infrastructure, workforce issues, and more.

Here’s a rundown of some of the action that occurred last week in the Legislature relevant to employers.

Artificial Intelligence Disclosure (H.B. 1598)

House lawmakers voted 146-54 to pass House Bill 1598 on Wednesday.

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.

We opposed this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo), which now heads to the state Senate.

Carbon Dioxide Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration (S.B. 831)

Senate lawmakers voted 30-20 to pass Senate Bill 831 on Tuesday.

This legislation would establish a legal and regulatory framework for carbon dioxide capture, utilization, and sequestration.

Establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the deployment of carbon capture technology is vital to ensuring the deployment of billions of dollars in private capital, as well as potentially leveraging federal infrastructure funding, to innovate in low-carbon manufacturing, agricultural, and energy production projects. Carbon capture holds great potential to be added to Pennsylvania’s diverse energy portfolio, which has helped the Commonwealth lead the nation through every major energy transition in its history.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo), which now heads to the state House.

Critical Infrastructure Trespass and Vandalism (S.B. 819)

Senate lawmakers also voted 32-18 to pass Senate Bill 819 on Tuesday.

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.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo), which now heads to the state House.

Proprietary Information Disclosure (H.B. 1943)

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted 14-11 to advance House Bill 1943 on Tuesday.

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 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.

We opposed this legislation, which now heads to the full House for consideration.

Discouraging Water Infrastructure Investment (H.B. 1862, 1863, 1864, and 1865)

The House Consumer Protection, Technology, and Utilities Committee voted to advance several bills related to water and wastewater infrastructure on Tuesday.

This package of bills seeks to significantly amend and restrict Act 12 of 2016, which was passed to provide for healthy and environmentally safe water infrastructure by helping municipalities that struggle to maintain water infrastructure to sell water and wastewater systems.

Some publicly owned and operated entities and authorities can grapple with budgetary constraints and struggle to maintain healthy and environmentally safe water infrastructure, which is necessary for residents and employers within communities. Act 12 of 2016 provided an option to sell municipal water and wastewater systems, thereby encouraging private sector investment, fostering more efficient and technologically advanced water and wastewater systems, enhancing operational efficiency, and providing improved service to consumers. This legislative package would therefore discourage critical investment in water infrastructure upgrades.

We opposed these proposals (CLICK HERE for our memo), which now head to the full House for consideration.

Discouraging ‘Ghosting’ Interviews/Jobs (S.B. 1109)

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 1109 on Wednesday.

This legislation would clarify existing Unemployment Compensation eligibility standards to codify that an individual is not eligible for benefits if they discourage their own employment.

Under current law, UC claimants are generally required to engage in an active search for work, including applying for open positions in their field, engaging in other work search activity, and interviewing for jobs. Unfortunately, employers report interviewing job candidates who admit they are only applying in order to comply with the work search requirement and often fail to show up for job interviews or work, known as “ghosting.” This legislation would clarify the law to disqualify claimants who discourage their own employment. It would not create any additional requirements for claimants who are searching or applying for work in good faith.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo) which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Sharing Workforce Data (S.B. 761)

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee also voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 761 on Wednesday.

This legislation would direct the Department of Labor & Industry to share already collected workforce data on wages, new hires, and UC claimants with local workforce development boards.

Local workforce development boards are on the front lines working with claimants to search for work, apply for and accept jobs. These boards are seeking more timely access to existing data sets, including UC claim data, to better support their pathway to re-employment through targeted services and activities.  Unemployment Compensation and new hire data currently takes up to 24 months to access from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.  This legislation is one part of a broad strategy to help address labor shortages.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo) which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.


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.