Monday, November 11, 2019, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvanians living downstream may not often think about what could happen if something goes wrong with one of the state’s many dams, but threats to life and property are scattered along the state’s 86,000 miles of streams and rivers.
“Our infrastructure in Pennsylvania is old — we’re an old state,” said Rich Reisinger, chief of the Dam Safety Division for the state Department of Environmental Protection. “A lot of dams have been around a long time, and occasionally the public gets, I’ll say, not as vigilant as we should be, when they say, ‘The dam’s been there 100 years. It’ll be there 100 more.‘”
Bob Bauder | Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Officials in Pittsburgh on Wednesday called for the passage of state legislation that would require school districts to test their drinking water for lead.
Legislation from state Rep. Karen Boback, R-Luzerne, introduced Wednesday would also drastically reduce a statewide threshold for lead levels in water at schools and require districts to disclose test results to the public.
- Senator Baker (R-Luzerne County) is introducing legislation providing for a comprehensive gift ban, prohibiting elected officials and other public employees from accepting cash gifts and non-cash gifts–including meals, travel, lodging, and entertainment (with exceptions)–from individuals and entities trying to influence government action.
- Sen. Solobay (D-Washington County) has introduced legislation calling upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respect the primacy of state government in developing guidelines for regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and to rely on state regulators to develop performance standards for carbon dioxide emissions that consider the unique economic, resource, and energy needs and issues of Pennsylvania. (Sen. Resolution 438)
- Senate Resolution 439 also sponsored by Sen. Solobay calls upon the EPA to schedule public hearings on the proposed Clean Power Plan rule in coalfield communities and to withdraw the proposed rule or revise it to eliminate the economic shock that will occur to coalfield communities in the state. Representative Snyder (D-Greene County) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
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During the months of June and early July, the state legislature considered legislation pertaining to a variety of public policies. Here are some examples:
- House Bill 2302 sponsored by Rep. Harhai (D-Westmoreland County) would authorize the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue grants to municipalities to eradicate and prevent blighted property conditions through a property maintenance code enforcement program.
- House Bill 1550 sponsored by Rep. Milne (R-Chester County) would consolidate business loan programs under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA). The programs to be consolidated include the following: Small Business First and its affiliated programs, Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, and Industrial Development Program.
- House Bill 1699 sponsored by Rep. Ross (R-Chester County) would establish the Reciprocal Internal Combustion Engine Act to regulate standby emergency generators that are compensated for their participation in PJM (the electric grid) demand response programs.
- House Bill 2354 sponsored by Rep. Snyder (D-Greene County) establishes the Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Regulation Implementation Act that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to obtain approval from the state legislature for a State plan designed to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants before submitting such a plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.
- House Bill 2239 sponsored by Rep. Evankovich (R-Westmoreland County) would establish guidelines for public private partnerships for local governmental buildings or facilities used for public water supply or treatment, storm water treatment and disposal, and waste water treatment and disposal.
- Senate Bill 1409 sponsored by Sen. Rafferty (R-Montgomery County) would amend the Board of Vehicles Act to allow a manufacturer of electric cars (such as Tesla) to sell directly to the consumer through up to five manufacture-owned dealerships. Senate Bill 1409 has been signed into law as Act 125 of 2014.
- Senate Bill 1096 sponsored by Sen. White (R-Indiana County) would amend Title 26 (Eminent Domain) by clarifying that a property owner whose property is taken via eminent domain shall be reimbursed up to $4,000 per property for appraisal, attorney, and engineering fees (regardless of right, title, or interest). Senate Bill 1096 has been signed into law as Act 120 of 2014.
- Senate Bill 1422 sponsored by Sen. Tomlinson (R-Bucks County) amends Title 42 (Judiciary) by limiting successor liability for asbestos-related claims. Senate Bill 1422 was signed into law as Act 112 of 2014.
- House Bill 118 sponsored by Rep. Ellis (R-Butler County) would extend whistleblower protections to employees of for-profit and non-profit corporations that receive money from a governmental entity to perform work or services. House Bill 118 has been signed into law by Governor Corbett as Act 87 of 2014.