Legislative Update, May 9, 2019

Legislative Update, May 9, 2019

Senate and House

The Senate and House were in session this week and the House returns to session next week.

The House Local Government Committee held a voting meeting on numerous bills this week. House Bill 1034 requires municipalities, third-party agency code officials (TPAs) and the Department of Labor and Industry to forward a copy of demolition permit information, as well as the currently required building permit information, to the county assessment office. House Bill 1035 amends Act 78 of 1979 to authorize political subdivisions and authorities to enter into contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to induce bids. They are only allowed to enter into negotiations if they do not receive bids after 15 days and would have to bid a second time before they can negotiate a contract. House Bill 1036, sponsored by Chairman Dan Moul, amends the Borough Code allowing for a reduction in the size of borough council. House Bill 1203 amends the Municipal Authorities Act to increase the auditing standards that Municipal Authorities must comply with and preserves the annual publication notice. PNA is fine with these bills.

The House passed House Bill 860, introduced by Representative Brett Miller (R-Lancaster) unanimously on third consideration this week. The bill is designed to prevent misinterpretation and the misapplication of the Right-to-Know Law. This legislation is primarily a technical change that clarifies the language of the Right-to-Know Law to further safeguard both personal financial information and public funds. PNA worked with Rep. Miller on new language in the bill.

The House State Government Committee voted on House Bill 283, sponsored by Representative Justin Simmons, this Monday, which permits local and state agencies to charge additional search, review and duplication fees when responding to public record requests made for a commercial purpose. PNA requested an amendment to the bill, which was amended in Committee.

Pennsylvania Gridiron Dinner

PNA Team at the 2019 Gridiron
L to R: Kimberly Kamowski, Carlisle Sentinel; Holly Lubart, PNA; Brad Simpson, PNA; George Lynett Jr., Scranton Times; Lisa Hurm, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Governor Tom Wolf.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association’s (PLCA) 89th Gridiron dinner and comedy night was held this week. This program helps underwrite paid summer internships in which college journalism students or new graduates (largely from Pennsylvania universities) spend the summer working with news agencies in the state Capitol, including three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers.

A former intern and a PLCA member each were part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team in the 2019 awards announced Monday. In addition, one of last summer’s interns won a best in collegiate journalism award from the Society for Professional Journalists for a story she produced while working in the Capitol. PLCA will host two more interns this summer, including one from Temple University.