By: DAVID G. GREINEDER, IOM, ABC PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
In mid-March, the legislature returned from the budget hearing recess to begin the spring session. The government affairs team has been working with the legislature and promoting our public policy agenda, as approved by the ABC of Pennsylvania board of directors. The following updates are a few areas of focus on which the government affairs team is working:
Journeyperson-to Apprentice Ratios (HB 536): ABC of Pennsylvania was invited to brief a small group of legislators appointed by the House Majority Leader to serve on an economic recovery subcommittee on workforce development. The task force is charged with reviewing legislative proposals that will improve workforce development. The meeting went well. Legislators asked good questions and asked us to provide supplemental information. There is a growing interest on moving this bill, and we will continue to tack onto the momentum. Staff is in the process of reaching out to partner organizations to gear them up for the big push, as we want the support list to be as large as possible.
Construction Contract Indemnity (HB 424): ABC of Pennsylvania is working with stakeholders to advance legislation that would require construction contracting entities to be responsible for their own negligence. In other words, the legislation would prohibit indemnification clauses in construction contracts. This legislation would align with 41 other states that have similar laws and is being vetted with the new committee chairman. We will keep ABC members posted on any developments.
Freshman Legislators: ABC of Pennsylvania chapters continue to meet with newly elected legislators. The calls are going well and have provided an opportunity for ABC members to introduce themselves and their companies to new legislators.
Taxing Marcellus Shale: ABC of Pennsylvania continues to participate in calls with the Marcellus Shale coalition to oppose shale taxes. The calls have been productive, and all indications point to the issue not having enough support to pass the legislature, despite the governor’s call for an extraction tax.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Akin to a shale tax, the governor is proposing a carbon tax program pursuant to his, unilaterally joining the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The proposed rules are going through a lengthy public comment period and review process. On behalf of our members, ABC of Pennsylvania submitted comments in opposition to the carbon tax program to the Department of Environmental Protection and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.
PRO Act: Turning to the federal level, the U.S. House passed the ABC-opposed “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act by a vote of 225-206. The bill advances to the U.S. Senate where ABC National is working to keep as many Senators as possible in the opposed column.
Mark Your Calendars!
Virtual Advocacy Day: ABC of Pennsylvania staff will be hosting a virtual advocacy day on April 12, as the Capitol will still be closed at that time. A pre-event training session will be conducted to ensure ABC members are briefed on the policy issues and understand the logistics of the event. Please register at www.abcpa.org/events or by sending a quick email of your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sponsorship opportunities are also available!
May Ballot Questions: Along with municipal elections and statewide judicial elections, voters will be asked a series of ballot questions pertaining to the governor’s emergency powers. The questions are meant to ask the voters if they approve of changes in the emergency declaration process, which currently allows the governor to declare an emergency for 90 days with an unlimited number of extensions.
Under the proposed constitutional amendments, if the governor declares an emergency, that declaration will expire in 21 days unless extended by the General Assembly. While the Department of State worded the questions in a slanted manner, the goal of the questions is to provide a more balanced approach to the emergency declaration process. The ballot questions are as follows:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law and increase the power of the General Assembly to unilaterally terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration—and the powers of Commonwealth agencies to address the disaster regardless of its severity pursuant to that declaration—through passing a concurrent resolution by simple majority, thereby removing the existing check and balance of presenting a resolution to the Governor for approval or disapproval?
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to change existing law so that: a disaster emergency declaration will expire automatically after 21 days, regardless of the severity of the emergency, unless the General Assembly takes action to extend the disaster emergency; the Governor may not declare a new disaster emergency to respond to the dangers facing the Commonwealth unless the General Assembly passes a concurrent resolution; the General Assembly enacts new laws for disaster management?
ABC has been hard at work advancing our mission in Harrisburg. If you have any questions about legislation or ABC’s position on an issue, please
contact David Greineder, IOM, at email@example.com or Austin Cawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not signed-up to receive email alerts, please download the “ABC Action App” from the app store on your mobile device or at abc.org/abcaction.
ABC PA’s Virtual Legislative Week
(Virtual meetings held during the week of 4/12)
Be a Part of ABC PA’s Advocacy Efforts!
Join ABC Members in virtual lobbying on behalf of the merit shop. Through Zoom, you will have the opportunity to connect with members of the House Labor & Industry Committee to talk about your role as a job creator and employer. This event is FREE and open to all ABC members!
Posted April 9, 2021