The annual summertime budget drama isn’t over yet, but the agenda for this fall’s legislative session is already taking shape. Looking ahead to the session that begins September 11, PA Environment Daily has compiled a running list of the key environment bills that lawmakers will consider in the weeks ahead, including several measures upon which PEC has already staked out a position:
Game, Fish Commission Fees
Legislation that passed the Senate in March giving the Game and Fish and Boat Commissions the ability to set their own fees by regulations is now stalled in the House Game and Fisheries Committee.
Landowner Recreational Liability
House Bill 544 (Moul-R-Adams) further providing for landowner liability protection for opening land for use by snowmobiles and ATVs (sponsor summary) was reported out of the House Rules Committee in June, amended on the House Floor and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
General Assembly Approval Of Regulations
In June the Senate passed, along party lines, Senate Bill 561 (Disanto-R-Dauphin) which requires an up or down vote by the General Assembly on every final regulation approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission if that regulation has a fiscal impact of $1 million or more. If the General Assembly does nothing, the regulation dies.
Uniform Construction Codes
There have been several attempts to amend the process by which the state amends the Uniform Construction Code covering residential buildings in the Commonwealth. The PA Environmental Council and other groups see having a robust Construction Code is important because it contains provisions that set standards for energy-saving construction.
Roll Back Protection From Surface Mining
In June the House passed House Bill 1333
(Gabler-R-Clearfield) which eliminates the current DEP limit on how long surface mine operators can temporarily cease mining operations from 180 days to the federal standard of what could be years.