Labor & Industry Committee 2017-2018

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee met on Monday, December 11, 2017 to consider the following:

HB 1915, PN 2735 (Kauffman) – This bill amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to provide an additional $115.2 million to the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund through 2021.  $30.2 million is earmarked for technological upgrades to the UC delivery system, with the rest going towards general operations and services for claimants and employers.  Senator Wagner offered amendment A05158, which would have added a definition for “abuse,” provided for claim dispute hearings over the phone, and prohibited additional SIIF transfers in the future.  The amendment was rejected by a vote of 4-7.  The bill was reported as committed, 8-3.

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee met on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 21, PN 1053 (Mensch) – This bill establishes Employment First- a policy initiative that promotes the employment of working-age Pennsylvanians with a disability who participate in publicly funded education, training and employment services.  The Act also creates an oversight Commission (Employment First Oversight Commission), as well as the Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities to review policies and regulations at the state agency level.  Senator Ward offered amendment A04683, which adds two positions to the proposed Employment First Oversight Commission and makes technical changes.  The amended was approved (unanimous) and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

HB 1597, PN 2106 (James) – This bill amends the Unemployment Compensation Law to extend from 15 to 21 days the time allotted for parties to appeal a decision of an Unemployment Compensation Service Center or Unemployment Compensation referee.  During the meeting, Senator Tartaglione asked if this bill would potentially be used as a vehicle for a State and Infrastructure Improvement Fund (SIIF) funding agreement.  Senator Ward confirmed that it would.  The bill was not amended at this time, and was reported as committed (unanimous).

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee met on Monday, October 23, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 537, PN 651 (Wagner) – This bill amends the Public School Code of 1949 to provide for athletic leaves of absence when employees are chosen to participate as a member of a United States athletic team, including the Olympics.  The bill was reported as committed, 8-4.

SB 538, PN 652 (Wagner) – This bill amends Titles 24 (Education) and 71 (State Government) to provide for athletic leaves of absence when employees are chosen to participate as a member of a United States athletic team, including the Olympics.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

SB 936, PN 1281 (White) – This legislation amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to require the Department to select an evidence-based prescription drug formulary to resolve issues related to drugs prescribed for the treatment of work-related injuries.  This includes guidance and standards on the type, dosage and duration of prescription drugs.  The bill was reported as committed, 7-5.

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee met on Saturday, July 8, 2017 to consider the following:

HB 176, PN 1818 (Pickett) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to exempt roadside stands used to sell seasonal agricultural products.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee met on Monday, June 26, 2017 to consider the following:

HB 409, PN 1235 (Evankovich) – This legislation amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act by adding two additional seats to the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council, extensively revising the code review process and increasing the building permit fee.  Senator Ward offered amendment A02305, which permits the City of Philadelphia to enact an ordinance that adopts the 2018 ICC triennial commercial building code, and increased the building permit fee from $4.00 to $4.50.  The amendment was approved and the bill was reported as amended (unanimous).

SB 676, PN 795 (Gordner) – The bill amends the Workers’ Compensation Act to reform the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund (UEGF) and strengthen liability and compensation provisions for out-of-state employers.  Senator Ward offered amendment A01759, which: increases the yearly UEGF assessment, from 0.1 to 0.25 percent, of the total compensation paid by all insurers in the previous year; and adds a provision requiring the UEGF to reduce the current year’s assessment if there’s an excess in the fund (this will apply when the previous year’s assessment exceeds 130% of expenditures).  The amendment was approved and the bill was reported as amendment (unanimous).

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee met on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 to consider the following:

SB 663, PN 781 (Laughlin) – This bill amends the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act to increase the number of third party code officials a municipality would be required to contract with and sets limitations on fees.  The bill was reported as committed (9-2).

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee met on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 to consider the following:

Reported as amended:

SB 183, PN 173 (McGarrigle) – This bill creates the Plumbing Contractors Licensure Act.  A nine-member board– the State Board of Plumbing Contractors– would be responsible for authorizing plumbers to perform services and supervise apprentices and journeyman plumbers.  The Board will create a registry of licensed plumbers and provide access to the public.

The Senate Labor & Industry Committee met off the floor on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 to consider the following bill:

SB 241, PN 281 (McGarrigle) – This bill amends the Equal Pay Law to explicitly allow employers to pay employees with similar job functions differently based on the level or amount of education, training or experience they have.  It also prohibits discharge or discrimination if an employee makes a complaint under the Law.  The bill was reported as committed (unanimous).