The House and Senate were back in session last week for the first full week of business since the primary took place. Several bills of interest to the PA Chamber and its members saw movement and discussion.
On Wednesday, the House Local Government Committee sent S.B. 275 to the floor. The legislation, supported by the PA Chamber, preserves energy choice and prohibits municipalities from impinging on the right for families and businesses to make use of the energy resource that best fits their needs. S.B. 275 previously passed the state Senate with a bipartisan vote of 35-15. In a press release, prime sponsor Gene Yaw noted the bill will work to “prevent a chaotic patchwork of regulations that ultimately undermine statewide energy and environmental policies.” Yaw’s release also quoted the PA Chamber’s Kevin Sunday applauding the legislature for “keeping up the momentum on this important issue.”
That same day, the House Consumer affairs committee listened to testimony from a variety of stakeholders, including a written statement from Alex Halper of the PA Chamber, regarding HB 2202, data privacy legislation introduced by Rep. Rob Mercuri. Halper’s testimony recommended rules for data collection be established at the national level to avoid a patchwork of state and local requirements; absent that, Halper recommended the state legislature incorporate the concerns of impacted businesses should the state pursue such legislation.
The hearing came a day after the same committee advanced H.B. 761, which amends the Unfair Trade Practices Act by increasing by fivefold the minimum penalty a judge can levy on employers. The PA Chamber opposes the legislation.
The PA Chamber also sent a memo to the House floor in support of H.B. 922, which is supported by the PA Chamber but was ultimately not taken up by the House last week. The legislation would have addressed a workers’ compensation court decision known as Whitmoyer and helped employers avoid cost increases. The PA Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in the case upended 100 years of precedent.