Lots More Legislation on Tap in Harrisburg this Week

As in the norm in the Pennsylvania state capitol, lawmakers don’t pass a whole lot throught the year (despite pancakesbeing a full-time legislature) and then, at the very end of the session, or right before the budget deadline, pass a large number of bills.

We’ve been tightly following SB 1155, the bill to enact an unreasonable natural gas tax as well as HB 2497, the recently resurrected and still harmful, state pension legislation, but here’s a quick look at the other legislation on the docket for this week:

  • Delaying Sprinkler Requirements: The Senate is considering HB 1196, legislation to delay for one year the mandate for all new homes built in Pennsylvania to include a sprinkler. The sprinkler requirement is estimated to add an additional $6,000 to the cost of new homes.
  • Legislative Fiscal Office: The Senate may take up legislation to implement the Legislative Fiscal Office.  The most likely version of this to pass is HB 2066.
  • Cancer Occupational Disease of Firefighting: HB 1231 would presume that any firefighter who develops cancer got it as a result of the occupation, requiring local fire departments to cover treatment, unless they can prove another cause. The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (subscription required) is urging the Senate to consider the fiscal impact on local municipalities to cover medical costs before passing this bill. In its current language, HB 1231 makes it difficult for an employer to challenge the occupation as the sourse of the disease.
  • Streamlining State Food Inspections: Waiting final vote in the Senate is HB 174, which standardizes food safety regulations statewide. It will also have implications on churches. The proposed legislation does include an exemption for religious groups that have 501(c)(3) status and a sales tax exemption certificate.
  • Castle Doctrine Expansion: HB 40 would expand the Castle Doctrine to allow legal gun owners to use lethal force in self-defense outside of their homes. Senate Republicans say that there is some chance this will get passed this week.
  • Prison Reform: Cutting down on the growth in PA’s prison population, SB 1161 would redirect nonviolent, technical parole violators from prisons to community correction facilities. The legislation is estimated to save the state $30 to $40 million per year (subscription required).