For Immediate Release
October 16, 2018
HARRISBURG - The PA Chamber applauds the General Assembly for passing S.B. 1172 – legislation that would bring more clarity and certainty to employers during disaster emergencies.
“On behalf of our nearly 10,000 members, including manufacturers, retailers and small businesses, we thank the General Assembly for sending S.B. 1172 to Gov. Tom Wolf this week,” PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr said. “The legislation, which had bipartisan support, will protect consumers and provide more certainty for job creators in the Commonwealth.”
This important measure addresses a long-standing concern of many businesses, which is the automatic triggering of price controls on all household and consumer goods and products statewide whenever the governor issues a disaster declaration, per the state’s Price Gouging Act. Under current law, any business that raises prices in the state throughout the duration of the declaration plus 30 days thereafter may be vulnerable to enforcement action by the Office of Attorney General.
The Wolf administration’s recent and renewed disaster declarations to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, as well as the fact that price restrictions are in effect in the summer for late winter snowstorms, have demonstrated the need for the Price Gouging Act to be more focused and effective. This legislation limits the duration of pricing restrictions to 15 days, with extensions up to 60 days, and limits their scope to those goods and services necessary for use or consumption. Senate Bill 1172 also provides guidance and clarity for the consumer on what constitutes an “unconscionably excessive” price, with a lower threshold of 10 percent or less above specified benchmarks, or market and contract prices. This is more stringent than the threshold currently imposed by the law.
“We recognize the vital importance of ensuring consumer protections, especially in times of emergencies,” Barr added. “We also recognize the need for predictability and consistency in our economy and business operations. Therefore, on behalf of our membership, we urge Governor Wolf to sign this important legislation.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.