Several bills of interest to the business community headed to the Governor’s desk last week, concurrent with budget negotiations wrapping up. The legislature approved bills that clarify the state’s public-private partnership infrastructure law to void a proposed tolling initiative, as well bills that, if signed by the Governor, preserve energy choice at the local level and that enhance disclosure of third-party sellers on online marketplaces.
On July 6, the House sent S.B. 275 to the Governor with a vote of 117-83. The bill, which previously passed the Senate 35-15, protects the right of families and businesses to have access to their preferred energy resource by prohibiting municipal governments from banning access to any particular fuel. In a release, the bill’s prime sponsor, Senator Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, noted the bill affirms that “municipalities do not have the authority to restrict energy sources.” The PA Chamber’s Kevin Sunday was also quoted in the release and by the Pennsylvania Business Report that “the record is clear – mandates and bans result in higher costs and slower environmental progress than letting families and businesses make use of the energy resource that best fits their needs.”
Following the Commonwealth Court’s decision to void PennDOT’s proposal to toll nine interstate bridges across the state, the legislature approved S.B. 382 with a unanimous vote in the Senate and a bipartisan 176-24 vote in the House. S.B. 382 requires legislative approval of any PennDOT P3 that includes a user fee. In a release, the prime sponsor and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee Wayne Langerholc, R-Cambria, noted the bill is agreed to by the governor and will provide significant relief for motorists at a time of raging inflation.
Finally, the General Assembly has sent legislation to Governor Wolf that is intended to help address retail theft by requiring third-party sellers to disclose information to online marketplaces and consumers. Retailers increasingly report incidents of mass thefts with products often emerging for sale on online market places, despite significant efforts by law enforcement and the online marketplaces themselves to address these crimes. While the PA Chamber expressed preference for a national framework, we appreciated the work of both retailers and online marketplaces to develop H.B. 1594, which the Governor is expected to sign.