HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a bill today to strengthen the review process for government regulations and enhance legislative oversight, according to Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), who supported the measure.
Senate Bill 398 would ensure state agencies deliver proposed regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to lawmakers in a timely manner to ensure a thorough review. The bill would also extend the time period for review to coincide with days the General Assembly is in session.
“Essentially, this bill would ensure state agencies are implementing the law and not trying to make the laws themselves,” said Senator Mastriano. “Government regulations can have an enormous impact on industries, employees and families if they are not implemented properly.”
The bill was originally assigned to the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, chaired by Mastriano. He was named chair of the committee in June, after taking the oath of office.
“The regulatory review process is complex and confusing and often times cumbersome – our Commonwealth currently has 153,000 regulatory restrictions, impacting every industry,” added Mastriano. “This is an opportunity to provide the openness and transparency that our constituents deserve. To me, it is all about accountability.”
In current practice, state agencies could submit proposed regulations at a time when the General Assembly is in recess, preventing lawmakers from undertaking a comprehensive review and scheduling hearings to air concerns about how those regulations could affect Pennsylvania families and businesses.
The legislation would also ensure Statements of Purpose submitted by state agencies are not published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This provision will remove confusion in the courts regarding the intent of the General Assembly.
Similar legislation was approved during the 2015-16 Legislative Session, but was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 398 was changed to address a number of the concerns raised in the Governor’s veto message.
The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
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