ACTION ALERT

 

The PSATS Grassroots Lobbying Network is still under a State of ALERT for the House Prevailing Wage
Legislative Reform Package. 

 

Please contact your House
members
and ask
that they support these bills, particularly House members from the following
counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware,
Erie, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery,
Northampton, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Westmoreland.

 

House Prevailing Wage Reform Package:

 

Currently
before the House are a number of bills that would amend the Prevailing Wage
Law.  The bills may come before the House for a vote next week!
These pieces of legislation represent the first realistic opportunity in a long
while to actually make meaningful and positive changes to one of the most
burdensome mandates currently placed on local governments.

 


HB 1329 (PN 2468)
would increase the current prevailing wage rate threshold from the current
$25,000 to $185,000.  It would also adjust this amount annually based on
the Consumer Price Index.

PSATS
Position:

We feel that this increased rate is much more reasonable.  PSATS
supports HB 1329

 


HB 1191 (PN 1304)
would exempt local governments from the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Law
unless they agree to fall under its regulations.

PSATS
Position:

While the majority of our members believe that prevailing wage rates are
unnecessarily burdensome on taxpayers, there are some townships that support
the intent of the law.  This bill would authorize these municipalities to
“opt-in” to the Prevailing Wage Law’s regulations, while exempting all others. PSATS
supports HB 1191

 


HB 1271 (PN 2467) would
clarify the definition of “maintenance work” as it relates to rehabilitation
work on roads, highways, and bridges.  The new definition would exclude
the replacement of guide rails and curbs, the repair of pavement by overlaying
bituminous material or patching cement surfaces, road widening that does not
result in additional lanes, and bridge cleaning and resurfacing

PSATS
Position:

This bill would remedy the actions of the 2008 Youngwood Borough Supreme
Court case which redefined those activities that have historically been
considered maintenance and thus, exempt from the Prevailing Wage Law.  PSATS
supports HB 1271

 


HB 1541 (PN 1890)
would amend the definition of “public work” to require that at least 51 percent
of the monies used in a project be public funds.

PSATS
Position:

Many times, public agencies and private interests work together on projects
that benefit the entire community.  Unfortunately, any project that
receives any portion of its funding through public sources must be subject to
the Prevailing Wage Law.  As a result, a number of worthwhile
public-private partnerships never happen due to increased costs.  This
bill would exempt those projects in which the majority of the project is funded
by private sources.  PSATS supports HB 1541

 


HB 1367 (PN 1608)
would require the Department of Labor and Industry to determine the prevailing
wage rates for each county by utilizing occupational wage rate data as
determined by the Department’s Center for Workforce and Analysis as the basis
of the determination.  PSATS supports HB 1367


and —


HB 1685 (PN 2469)
would require the Department to develop a complete list of worker
classifications and place this information on a publicly accessible
website.  To assist in developing this list, the Department could consult
a number of sources, including organized labor, contractors, collective
bargaining agreements, the Prevailing Wage Advisory Board, and relevant Federal
occupational classifications.  PSATS supports HB 1685

PSATS
Position on both bills:
The current methodology in determining prevailing wage
rates are based on language that is fundamentally vague and often applied in an
inconsistent manner.  Also, the weight that the statute and regulations
currently give to collective bargaining agreements and union wages tend to skew
the rates unnecessarily higher than they otherwise would have been if
determined under alternative means.   Both bills would establish a
clear and uniform set of guidelines in determining proper wage rates.

 

Now
is the time to act! 

 

Please
contact your House members and
ask them to support the House Prevailing Wage Legislative Reform Package
today!

 

COUNTY CONVENTIONS IN OCTOBER

(Dates are subject to change)

 

Snyder (5th), Cumberland (6th),
Dauphin (6th), Clearfield (7th), Pike (7th),
Fulton (10th), Sullivan (11th), Wayne (12th),
Columbia (13th), Huntingdon (13th), Jefferson (13th),
Monroe (13th), Bedford (17th), Warren (17th),
Crawford (18th), Schuylkill (19th), Greene (20th),
Lebanon (20th), Berks (20th), Union (20th),
Montour (20th), Mifflin (25th), Erie (27th),
Franklin (27th), Lycoming (27th), Mercer (27th),
Susquehanna (27th), Northumberland (27th), Beaver (29th)

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION SCHEDULE FOR OCTOBER

Senate: 17, 18, 19, 24, 25,
26, 31

House:
3, 4, 5, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31

 

TOWNSHIP-RELATED BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW RECENTLY

 

None

 

TOWNSHIP-RELATED BILLS BEFORE THE GOVERNOR:

HB (House Bill), SB (Senate Bill), PN (Printers Number)

 

None at
this time

 

A Look Ahead to NEXT Week

 

Township-Related
Bills on the Calendar:

House: Third consideration:
HB 970; Second
consideration: SB 303, HB 46, HB 1271; Resolutions: HR 70

Senate: Third consideration:
SB 367, SB 405; Second consideration:
HB 10, SB 883

 

Committee
Meetings of Interest to Townships

(All
meetings are at the Capitol in Harrisburg unless otherwise noted)

 

Monday, 10/17:

– The House Gaming Oversight Committee will consider HB 65
(Awarding casino licenses)

 

– The Joint Legislative Conservation Committee will hold an
Environmental Issues Forum to hear testimony from Reclamere, data security
experts from Tyrone, PA, who will offer a presentation on electronic recycling
and data security, to include discussion of compliant recycling of IT
equipment, on and off-site data destruction, and how to properly deal with IT
data

security. 

 

Tuesday, 10/18:

– The House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee
will hold a public hearing on
HB 63
(Snowmobile and ATV registration)

 

– The House State Government Committee will consider: HB 738 (Local
enforcement of immigration laws),
SB 9, HB 41,
and
HB 809
(Public benefits for illegal aliens),
HB 858
(Hiring illegal aliens),
HB 355
(Transporting or harboring illegal aliens),
HB 810
and
HB 865
(“Sanctuary Municipalities”),
HB 857 (Definition
of a “Commonwealth Citizen”)

 

– The House Judiciary Committee will consider HB 1552
(Civil case venues)

 

Wednesday, 10/19:

– The House State Government Committee will hold an
informational meeting on:
HB 153 (Reducing
the size of the legislature),
HB 55
(increasing the terms of legislators and decreasing the size of the
legislature),
HB 56 (increasing
the terms of legislators and decreasing the size of the legislature),
HB 57 (increasing
the terms of legislators and decreasing the size of the legislature),
HB 183 (decreasing
the size of the legislature),
HB 876 (decreasing
the size of the legislature),
HB 936
(decreasing the size of the legislature)

 

– The Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will
meet to discuss and release reports on an inventory of state-owned real property
and subsurface mineral rights, the Volunteer Fire Company and Volunteer
Ambulance Service Grant Program, and the economic contributions of

Sunday hunting alternatives in Pennsylvania: 2010 Update

 

Thursday, 10/20:

– The House Local Government and Urban Affairs Committees,
along with the Senate Local Government and Community, Economic, and
Recreational Development Committees will hold a joint public hearing the
Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47 of 1987)

 

RECENT MOVEMENT ON LEGISLATION OF INTEREST:

HB (House Bill), SB (Senate Bill), HR (House Resolution),
SR (Senate Resolution), PN (Printers Number)

 

HB 823 (Scavello,
R-Monroe) (PN 856):

Would
amend the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, in subdivision and land
development, to provide for the notice to a school district each month for each
residential subdivision finally approved in the preceding month by the municipality.

Last Action: Received in the Senate and
referred to the Senate Local Government Committee (10/11/11)

 

HB 1582
(Taylor, R-Philadelphia) (PN 2440):

Would
amend Title 53 (Municipalities), in municipal authorities, to provide how
assessments must be determined by municipal authorities for condominiums or
single-family homes, including those in developments. The process for objections
for those living in the jurisdiction of the authority is provided for within
the legislation.

Last Action: Received in the Senate and
referred to the Senate Local Government Committee (10/11/11)

 

HB 2020 (Knowles, R-Schuylkill) (PN 2535):

The
Infrastructure Future Fund Act would establish the Infrastructure Future Fund
in the state Treasury which would contain the deposits of the net proceeds from
the privatization of wine and liquor operations of the Pennsylvania liquor
stores and the net proceeds from the sale of any wine or liquor inventory owned
or maintained by the state liquor stores. The money in the account would be
used for the cost of construction of transportation infrastructure
projects.  The state Treasurer would have the authority to manage, invest,
and reinvest money in the fund, and the Governor would be required to submit an
annual itemization of transportation infrastructure projects funded under this
act along with a description and estimated cost as part of his state operating
budget proposal.

Last Action: Discussed in Press Conference
(10/13/11)

 

HR 451 (Gibbons,
D-Lawrence) (PN 2529):

A
Resolution to urge PENNVEST and DEP to establish a task force to study the
feasibility of implementing a water resource restoration sponsorship program.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (10/12/11)

 

SB 400 (Ferlo,
D-Allegheny) (PN 1652):

The
Family and Business Healthcare Security Act would create a comprehensive
Pennsylvania health care plan, create and provide regulations and duties for a
Pennsylvania Health Care Board, establish a Health Professional Quality Panel,
Health Institution Quality Panel, and Health Supplier Quality Panel comprised
of individuals drawn from both the medical service community and providers, and
establish the Pennsylvania Health Care Agency along with pertinent duties and
regulations, to administer the plan.  The legislation would provide health
care coverage for all residents of Pennsylvania and allow for the inclusion of
all licensed health care providers. The legislation would be funded through the
establishment of the Pennsylvania Health Care Trust Fund used solely to finance
the plan and draw revenue from dedicated sources specified by the General
Assembly, which would include a three percent “wellness tax” on income.
The bill would also provide for transitional support and training for health
care industry workers whose jobs are displaces as a result of the
implementation and operation of the plan and a tax credit for volunteer
emergency responders equal to $1,000 towards the state income tax.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee (10/12/11)

 

SB 820 (Smucker,
R-Lancaster) (PN 837):

Would
amend the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Law further to stipulate that the
minimum wage rate would be equal to the average hourly occupational wage for
each county as determined from wage information submitted by employers on
quarterly unemployment compensation tax returns.

Last Action: A public hearing was held before
the Senate Labor and Industry Committee (10/11/11)

 

SB 821 (Smucker,
R-Lancaster) (PN 839):

Would
amend the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Law to increase the wage threshold to
$200,000 (from $25,000).

Last Action: A public hearing was held before
the Senate Labor and Industry Committee (10/11/11)

 

SB 822 (Smucker,
R-Lancaster) (PN 840):

Would
amend the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Law to further define “maintenance
work” to includes the following actions taken on roads: (1) Replacement in
kind, or compliance with current PennDOT design criteria and standards, of
guide rails, curbs, pipes, line painting, and other related road equipment; (2)
repair of pavement service; (3) widening of existing alignment which does not
result in additional lanes or new shoulders; and (4) bridge cleaning, washing,
resurfacing with blacktop, minor nonstructural repairs, or improvements and
painting, except when combined with complete bridge rehabilitation.

Last Action: Public hearing held in committee
Senate Labor and Industry 10-11-11 S

 

SB 1271 (Yudichak, D-Luzerne) (PN 1653):

The
Flood Control and Disaster Mitigation Itemization Act of 2011 would authorize
$90 million to be used for public improvement projects, specifically flood
mitigation projects, and itemize those projects, estimating their useful life
at 30 years.  Funding sources for the projects are detailed and would be
derived from debt incurred under the Pennsylvania Constitution, Federal
funding, and public assistance which would be split between the Commonwealth
and the political subdivisions, with local waivers available for political subdivisions
meeting necessary criteria, such as its tax base being impacted by the recent
storms.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
Senate Appropriations Committee (10/12/11)

 

SB 1285 (Brewster, D-Allegheny) (PN 1654):

The
Marcellus Shale Unconventional Well Job Training and Certification Act would
require job training and certification of workers at unconventional well sites
in the Marcellus Shale formation allowing a 12-month transitional period from
the effective date of the act for workers to obtain the necessary job
training.  Would require the Department of Labor and Industry to establish
standards for job training and certification for workers in conjunction with
the Marcellus Shale Industry Job Training Certification Advisory Board to be
created under the legislation.  This legislation would not include
individuals working in a clerical or administrative position.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
Senate Labor and Industry Committee (10/12/11)

 

SB 1286 (Brewster, D-Allegheny) (PN 1655):

Would
amend the Tax Reform Code to provide for a natural gas extraction tax and for a
municipal improvement tax credit.  The legislation would establish and
regulate a natural gas severance tax of 29 cents on every thousand cubic feet
of natural gas.  The legislation would create a Natural Gas Severance Tax
Fund to allocate, annually, 25 percent to the local Government Services
Account, 25 percent to the Environmental Stewardship Fund, and 50 percent to a
restricted revenue account established in the General Fund for distribution by
the Department of Education to provide additional funding to school
districts.  The legislation would also establish a tax credit for
individuals who contribute money to a participating municipality for the repair
and maintenance of municipal infrastructure.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
Senate Finance Committee (10/12/11)

 

SB 1288
(Baker, L, R-Luzerne) (PN 1657):

Would
amend the Underground Utility Line Protection Law to protect crude oil and
natural gas production and gathering lines and facilities located in the
Marcellus Shale region from excavation or demolition work.

Last Action: Introduced and referred to the
Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee (10/12/11)

 

FUTURE
TOWNSHIP-RELATED LEGISLATION:

(Click
on the links to read the actual co-sponsorship memos)

 


Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna) will soon introduce
legislation to authorize the Commonwealth to incur debt, as authorized under
the Pennsylvania Constitution, of $250 million to rehabilitate road and bridges
damaged from the recent storms.

 


Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) will soon introduce
legislation to allow for changes to farmstead provisions in the Agricultural
Security Area Law.

 


Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia) will soon introduce
legislation to provide more funding to the state’s Unemployment Compensation
Fund.