The House and Senate will be in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5-7. They will then break after Wednesday’s session until after the Primary Election on May 20, returning on June 2. This session week will be the last before the legislature turns its almost full attention to 2014-2015 budget negotiations. The Pennsylvania Constitution requires the budget to be signed by June 30.
In committee next week, expect the focus to be on combined heat and power, environmental technologies, tax issues, tuition account programs, controlled substances, insurance co-payments, travel and tourism, and gaming.
Here’s the breakdown:
On Monday, the Joint Legislative Conservation Committee will hold an environmental issues forum on the TreeVitalization program, a public-private partnership to restore tree cover in Pennsylvania’s communities. The House Finance Committee will consider H.B. 2013, which amends the Tax Reform Code, in realty transfer tax, to further provide for excluded transactions, and H.B. 2202, which amends the Tuition Account Programs and College Savings Bond Act to further provide for general provisions governing both tuition account programs. Additionally, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will meet to consider legislation to amend the Plumbing System Lead Ban Act and a resolution directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review the Commonwealth’s program for beneficial use of sewage sludge by land application.
In Philadelphia, the Public Utility Commission will hold a hearing on combined heat and power (CHP) technology. The hearing at Drexel University’s AJ Picture Gallery from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., will feature discussions by CHP experts, project developers, technology vendors and representatives from Philadelphia Gas Works and PECO Energy Company. PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson will attend, as well as Commissioners Gladys M. Brown, Pamela A. Witmer and James H. Cawley.
Also on Monday, members of the coalition known as CompetePA will be in the capitol visiting legislators to promote economic development and job creation in Pennsylvania, as well as efforts to keep Pennsylvania competitive with other states. CompetePA is a 130-member coalition of businesses and organizations representing half of the private sector employment in the state.
On Tuesday, the House State Government Committee will hold a public hearing on HR 578, a resolution that, as introduced, commended Attorney General Kathleen Kane for her dedication to the Commonwealth, but would be amended into articles of impeachment by Rep. Daryl Metcalf (R-Butler). The House Human Services Committee will consider H.B. 2203, which amends the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act to further provide for schedules of controlled substances including the prohibition of Zohydo.
In the Senate, the Banking and Insurance Committee will hold a public hearing on S.B. 594. This bill limits the imposition of copayments and coinsurances for non-physician services to not more than the cost of the copayment or coinsurance for an insured’s primary care physician office visit. It also says that an insured person may not be subjected to more than one copayment or coinsurance amount per visit for outpatient medical services provided by one provider or deplete more than one visit for outpatient medical services provided by one provider. The Senate State Government Committee will consider H.B. 201, which amends Title 62 (Procurement), in source selection and contract formation to further provide for competitive sealed proposals; provide for investment activities in Iran; and impose civil penalties. The committee will also consider H.B. 1672, which provides for the testing of new, environmentally beneficial and energy efficient technologies within various state agencies.
Expect to see shale supporters in Harrisburg for a Pennsylvania Jobs, Pennsylvania Energy rally that organizers are predicting will be one of the largest gatherings to date on the steps of the Harrisburg State Capitol. The rally will be in-person and through social media using the hashtag #PaEnergyRally. More information is available by visiting ShaleAdvocates.com.
On Wednesday, the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee will hold an informational hearing regarding tourism in Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Travel and Tourism Summit, which is being held at the Harrisburg Hilton.
Finally, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will meet to release a report on “The Current Condition and Future Viability of Casino Gaming in Pennsylvania.” This report will be issued pursuant to a resolution sponsored by Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Cameron) and is expected to include an analysis of the potential impact of online gaming in the Commonwealth. Similarly, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on the issue of internet gaming on May 1. Testimony and remarks from that hearing can be seen here: http://www.pahouse.com/policycommittee/