The state Senate convened in session last week and considered legislation of importance to the business community.
Two infrastructure-related bills that saw action included H.B. 2458, which advanced from the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and aims to establish an LNG Exports Task Force to support increased development of energy infrastructure in Pennsylvania. The task force would be comprised of state agency officials, legislative appointees, local government, and energy and union representatives to plan for exports of liquefied natural gas from Philadelphia – taking full advantage of our domestic natural gas assets to drive energy production and distribution across the Northeast and beyond. The PA Chamber supports this legislation because the increased development of energy infrastructure will boost additional economic development in the state throughout the value chain, and increased delivery of domestically produced natural gas to Europe and other allied nations abroad will help them secure their energy position and make continued emissions progress.
House Bill 2398 would also develop Pennsylvania’s infrastructure through the testing and deployment of automated vehicle technology. The bill advanced last week in the Senate Transportation Committee, along with a PA Chamber-supported amendment that would address concerns regarding the safety, liability and certification of these technologies. In a memo to the committee urging its passage, PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday wrote, “Pennsylvania has become a hub for tech investment and a leader in this sector, and continued growth and investment into automation of the transportation sector will yield substantial economic growth for the state, in addition to providing greater efficiencies to the logistics sector, decreased traffic congestion, and improved highway safety. More than a dozen other states have already legislated a pathway for the testing and deployment of this innovative technology, which promises to yield substantial economic, safety and efficiency increases provided there is a statutory path to testing and use. The continued success of our state’s economy depends on its ability to remain competitive in both legacy and emerging industries.”
Despite the PA Chamber’s memo urging lawmakers to hold off considering legislation that would prohibit certain noncompete agreements in the healthcare industry, Senate Health and Human Services Committee lawmakers advanced the bill last week to the full Senate for consideration. The PA Chamber is concerned with Senate Bill 1358 or any legislation that would intervene in private employer contracts or would impose additional regulations or notifications requirements on employers. “Employers seek to include restrictive covenants in contracts for a variety of reasons, many of which may be particularly relevant in healthcare,” PA Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Alex Halper wrote. “These employers should generally not be prohibited from pursuing an agreement in which a hire commits, for a period of time, to refrain from leaving and starting a competing practice. Noncompete agreements already have limits and may be deemed unenforceable if found to be unduly restrictive or impede patients access to care.”
“We respectfully request the committee hold off considering S.B. 1358 and work with impacted employers to understand their concerns and ensure these proposals are feasible and do not trigger unintended consequences.”