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Pa. House committee targeting government regulation

Hoping to peel back layers of state regulations, Republican lawmakers, in tandem with a new report on regulatory overreach, introduced a package of five bills on Tuesday.

The legislation ranges in scope from giving the General Assembly the ability to initiate a repeal of any state regulation to creating a new Independent Office of the Repealer, which would be responsible for ongoing review of state regulations, processing recommendations for repeal and making its own recommendations for repeal.

Similar to the Trump administration’s push to cut red tape at the federal level, additional provisions of the legislation would require the repeal of existing regulations when new ones are introduced.

Another bill in the package would require the General Assembly to vote on concurrent resolution to approve regulations, before they go into effect, if they would have an annual fiscal impact of $1 million or more on the government or private sector.

Other proposals would require government agencies to appoint regulatory compliance officers to help regulated industries better understand new regulations and requirements before they take effect, and improve permit processes. The latter would include creating an online permit tracking system. 

The package of bills is before the state House as H.B. 1792, H.B. 209, H.B. 1237, H.B. 1959 and H.B. 1960.

In its Regulatory Overreach Report, meanwhile, the House State Government Committee said Pennsylvania has more than 153,000 regulatory restrictions applying to every industry in the commonwealth. Republican lawmakers pushing the legislation say costly regulations are hurting job and wage growth in Pennsylvania, as well as business investments.

In a statement on the package of bills, J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf, said the administration remains focused on making government more efficient and effective.

“It’s why he found $2 billion in savings and efficiencies in last year’s budget and why he created the Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management, and Efficiency that has identified more than $373 million in additional savings and customer service improvements like digital management of oil and gas inspections,” Abbott said.

Under Wolf’s leadership, he said, state government has better utilized technology and more effective processes to cut red tape and provide oversight of regulated entities without sacrificing protections and accountability.

To view the committee’s report, click here.

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