ABC Keystone Merit Shop Advocacy Blog

The Merit Shop Advocacy Update

By: David G. Greineder, IOM, ABC Pennsylvania Director of Government Affairs

Summertime Fun

The summer is upon us. The legislature completed their work on a $44 billion state budget, along with accompanying “code bills” that specify how taxpayer dollars are to be allocated. The budget represents an 11 percent increase over last year, largely due to unspent federal stimulus and increases in public education spending. The budget deposited $2.1 billion into the Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total to about $5 billion. Lawmakers believe the fund will help shield Pennsylvanians from tax increases if the economy slips into a recession and/or revenues decrease.

ABC PA has been engaged during this time on our legislative agenda and working hard internally on a robust strategy for statewide elections. First, the government affairs team has been adding our comments to bills that would benefit our members and voice opposition to bills that will negatively impact our members. Examples include:

• House Bill 536 (Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland): This bill would set the “default ratio” in registered apprenticeship to a 3:1 and establish parity between joint and non-joint programs. HB 536 is ABC Pennsylvania’s main priority. We continue conversations with the bill sponsor and others on the importance of the legislation. ABC Pennsylvania supports the bill.

• House Bill 2324 (Carrie Lewis DelRosso, R-Allegheny): This bill requires contractors tied to the construction industry to register with the Department of Labor & Industry. ABC Pennsylvania has voiced opposition to the bill, and it appears unlikely to move.

House Bill 424 (Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery): This bill prohibits indemnity clauses in construction contracts. ABC Pennsylvania supports the bill.

House Bill 1104 (Eric Davanzo, R-Westmoreland): This bill would list contractors and subcontractors working on a project on a building permit, if required by the building code official. ABC Pennsylvania has expressed some concerns about the impact the bill would have on our members.

• Senate Bill 1147 (Devlin Robinson, R-Allegheny): This bill would increase penalties for contractors that violated e-Verify for public work projects. ABC Pennsylvania provided comments on the bill and was successful in making some changes through the amendment process. We continue to question the need for the bill, as the Department of General Services, the agency that oversees public work projects, has found very few violations since the e-Verify requirement was enacted over a decade ago.

• Philadelphia Apprenticeship Licenses: The ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter had a major victory for the merit shop in the City of Philadelphia. The chapter led a successful effort to challenge discriminatory rules by the City to implement more stringent rules on apprenticeship training, going as far as revoking apprenticeship licenses. The chapter challenged those rules and was successful in getting ALL revoked apprenticeship licenses reinstated with credit of time lost.

Regarding the upcoming elections, the ABC Pennsylvania board approved an action plan specifying how ABC will be engaged in the election. The plan was put together through a work group of ABC members representing all chapters. It is a well-rounded plan that includes partnering with like-minded groups, fundraising, and messaging around how important the upcoming election is to our industry. It is terribly important that we elect candidates that support the merit shop and will support policies that will turn our economy around. We look forward to everyone’s engagement on the long journey before us.

If you have any questions about legislation or ABC’s positions on an issues, please contact David Greineder, IOM, at davidg@abcpa.org.


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Posted June 30, 2022