A Look Ahead for the Week of June 10, 2024

A Look Ahead for the Week of June 10, 2024

House and Senate lawmakers are back in Harrisburg this week and, as always, the PA Chamber is currently monitoring several pieces of legislation with the potential to impact the state’s business community. Here is some of the legislation that employers should look out for in the week ahead.


Mandatory Higher Ed Fee Disclosure (H.B. 1686)

House Bill 1686 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would require that institutions of higher education prominently display a description of every mandatory fee charged by the institution of higher education, describe how the fee is expected to be allocated and used, and file a yearly report with the total mandatory fees collected and the amount of fees that were allocated to each use.

Colleges and universities routinely post these fees to their students under their own free will. This legislation would be duplicative to these efforts and would cause institutions to devote more man-hours to maintain and publish the information mandated in this bill.



Gutting Support for Educational Choices for Students (H.B. 2370)

House Bill 2370 may also receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would implement the recommendations of the majority Basic Education Funding Commission report, including adjustment to the funding formula, drastic charter school reforms, and increases in K-12 spending.

Many charter schools provide a valuable alternative to traditional public schools,  often offering specialized programs and innovative teaching methods that cater to the diverse learning needs of students. Charter schools have experienced dramatic increases in enrollment over the past two decades,  and we have serious concerns with any proposals that would have the effect of restricting access to these unique educational opportunities, particularly for students who are not thriving in conventional school environments.



Sharing Workforce Data (S.B. 761)

Senate Bill 761 may receive a vote on the Senate Floor this week.

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, and 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.



Prohibiting Essential Manufacturing Materials (H.B. 2238)

House Bill 2238 is expected to receive a vote in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week.

This legislation would impose a sweeping prohibition on the use of PFAS in the production of a broad range of consumer products.

PFAS refers to thousands of diverse chemistries that are necessary to produce a wide range of products used by consumers and in practically every industry. A Pennsylvania-specific ban could discourage investment in the Commonwealth and force existing PA employers to leave Pennsylvania for other states.

The bill also includes numerous vague terms and broad definitions that will complicate compliance and potentially apply the prohibition to an even broader range of products.



Establishing Consumer Protections for Automatic Contract Renewals (H.B. 2196)

House Bill 2196 is expected to receive a vote in the House Commerce Committee this week.

This legislation would require consumers to be notified of the existence of an automatic renewal clause prior to executing a contract and before any automatic renewal. Sellers would also be required to notify the consumer the contract is sold and allow the consumer to opt out of the automatic renewal provision.

Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams) filed an amendment that is scheduled to be considered on second consideration on Monday, June 10. The underlying bill adds new notice requirements for contracts with automatic renewals and uses the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law as the enforcement mechanism; the amendment would remove the private rights of action and leave enforcement to the Attorney General and District Attorneys.



Mandatory Paid Leave (S.B. 580)

House Bill 1976 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee this week.

This legislation would establish the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, in which all employers would be required to deduct a portion of their employees’ wages for a statewide fund to be made available as wage replacement benefits for family or sick leave. Eligible employees would generally be entitled to up to 20 weeks per year to care for themselves or 12 weeks per year to care for a family member.

The bill would require employers of all sizes to adopt a one-size-fits-all mandatory policy related to time off regardless of a company’s size, industry, etc.; and prohibit employers from developing customized leave policies that benefit their employees while still accommodating their own unique staffing requirements.

While the employee-financed approach may mitigate costs to the employer, businesses would likely still experience higher costs related to wages, staffing, and administration.



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.