House Republicans Pass Bills To Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing, Waive Penalties, Provide Defenses To Violators
On April 30, House Republicans passed a series of bills adding new bureaucracy and cost to government by authorize the House and Senate to kill a final regulation by doing nothing, take permit reviews away from state agencies and give them to 3rd parties, authorize the waiving of penalties and give violators defenses for their actions.
The bills would apply to all state agencies, but they are primarily aimed at agencies that protect the environment and public health.
The PA Environmental Council and the Environmental Defense Fund opposed this legislation saying, "This legislation will create greater uncertainty for regulations and permits, and unduly threaten public health and environmental protections by positioning politics ahead of science and law.
"While the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund welcome discussion on improving agency and regulatory performance, these bills fall well short of those considerations.
"The General Assembly already has ample authority to review and act on regulations, and has used that authority in prior sessions. In our view, the Commonwealth is better served by advancing inclusive, constructive dialogue on shared goals instead of legislation that will only foster further difficulty and disagreement."
Click Here for a copy of the PEC/EDF letter with comments on each bill.
The bills include--
-- Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing: House Bill 806 (Keefer-R-York) would authorize the General Assembly to kill an economically significant final regulation by doing nothing. It would require all final regulations with an estimated economic impact of $1 million or more to be submitted to the General Assembly for a vote by concurrent resolution. If the House and/or Senate fail to take action to approve the final regulation, the regulation is deemed not approved and the regulation shall not take effect. (House Fiscal Note and summary.) The House voted 103 to 91 to pass the bill (Republicans supporting).
-- Waiving Penalties/Providing Defenses To Violators: House Bill 762 (O’Neal-R- Washington) requires all state agencies to establish a new bureaucracy in the form of a Regulatory Compliance Officer with no oversight of any kind giving him the ability to issue an opinion on what any person’s obligations are under the laws administered by that state agency (within 20 business days) which can be used as a “complete defense” against any enforcement proceeding. The Officer can also review any fine or penalty issued by the agency before it is imposed and set guidelines for waiving that penalty if the person being penalized “has taken or will take [steps] to remedy the violation.” DEP, on average, issues 31,000 permits and approvals a year-- surely 1 Compliance Officer can handle all those questions without delays. (House Fiscal Note and summary.) The House passed the bill by a vote of 102 to 94 (Republicans supporting).
-- Require Third Party Permit Reviews: House Bill 509 (Rothman-R-Cumberland) requires all state agencies to establish a new bureaucracy in the form of third party permit review programs that delegate decision-making authority to persons other than the public agency with the legal authority to make those decisions with no conflict of interest or other protections for the public or applicants. (House Fiscal Note and summary.) The bill passed the House by a vote of 109 to 86 (Republicans supporting).
-- Repeal Any Regulation At Any Time: House Bill 430 (Benninghoff-R-Mifflin) authorizes the General Assembly to repeal any regulation at any time by concurrent resolution, with review by the Governor. (House Fiscal Note and summary.) The House voted 105 to 90 to pass the bill (Republicans supporting).
The bills now go to the Senate for action.
One bill in the package was voted down--
-- Office Of The Repealer/ Vote To Approve Regulations: House Bill 1055 (Klunk-R-York) establish the Office of the Repealer unaccountable to anyone, General Assembly must vote to approve economically significant regulations, repeal 2 regulations for every new one adopted, reauthorize repeal of any regulation by resolution. (House Fiscal Note and summary.) The bill was NOT passed by the House by a vote of 100 to 97 because it was not a constitutional majority (Republicans supporting).
[Posted: April 30, 2019]
|Go To Preceding Article Go To Next Article|