DiSanto: Senate Acts to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Government Regulations

Harrisburg – The Senate approved a bill today to strengthen the review process for government regulations and provide for better oversight by lawmakers, according to Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry), who supported the bill.

Senate Bill 398 would ensure state agencies deliver proposed regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to lawmakers in a timely manner to ensure a thorough review. The bill would also extend the time period for review to coincide with days the General Assembly is in session.

In current practice, state agencies could submit proposed regulations at a time when the General Assembly is in recess, preventing lawmakers from undertaking a comprehensive review and scheduling hearings to air concerns about how those regulations could affect Pennsylvania families and businesses.

The legislation would also ensure Statements of Purpose submitted by state agencies are not published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This provision will remove confusion in the courts regarding the intent of the General Assembly.

“The people expect their elected representatives to make laws, not unaccountable government agencies,” said DiSanto. “Too often, the intent of approved legislation is not reflected in the regulations implementing the law. The impact on employers, the economy and citizens can be severe. Opening up the process to more legislative oversight will improve transparency and ensure that elected legislators, and not government agencies, are making law.”

Similar legislation was approved during the 2015-16 Legislative Session, but was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 398 was changed to address a number of the concerns raised in the Governor’s veto message. The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senator DiSanto is sponsoring two additional bills to put the brakes on excessive state regulations. 

Under Senate Bill 5, no regulation with an economic impact or cost to the Commonwealth, to its political subdivisions, and to the private sector exceeding $1 million could be imposed without approval of the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 119 would count, cap and cut the number of regulations in Pennsylvania. The bill institutes a “one-in, two-out” regulatory model. For every new requirement in a Pennsylvania regulation, two must be eliminated. After six years, this would be replaced by “one-in, one-out.”

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801