Legislative Report–November 17′

Legislative Report Performance-Based Budgeting in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Act 48 of 2017, known as the Performance-Based Budgeting and Tax Credit Efficiency Act (the “Act”), gives the Governor and General Assembly performance-based tools to draft future state budgets.  The Act requires Pennsylvania agencies, boards, and commissions under the Governor’s jurisdiction (each, an “Executive Agency”) to undergo performance-based budget reviews based on existing outcomes and criter...
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Legislative Update- October 2017

COMMONWEALTH DEBT RATING DOWNGRADE On September 2, 2017, S&P Global Ratings downgraded the credit rating of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from AA‑ to A+, thus making our state its fourth lowest rated state in the United States of America.  S&P Global Ratings has applied lower ratings only to Kentucky (A+), New Jersey (A‑) and Illinois (BBB).  This action is significant because it could cost Pennsylvania more to borrow money by general obligation bonds at a time when our unresolve...
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Legislative Update- September 2017

SOLICITOR’S REPORT – THE RIGHT-TO-TRY LAW House Bill No. 45 known as the “Right-To-Try Act” has been adopted as Act 33 of 2017 (the “Act”) to allow terminally ill patients in Pennsylvania to try experimental treatments not yet approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).  The FDA approval process takes many years. A manufacturer must first test a proposed drug on animals and then receive an investigational new drug status before conducting three clinica...
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Legislative Update- NATURAL GAS BURNING VEHICLES

SOLICITOR’S REPORT NATURAL GAS BURNING VEHICLES IN PENNSYLVANIA Senate Bill No.589, adopted as Act31 of 2017 (the “Act”) amends title 75 of Pennsylvania Statutes, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code (the “Code”) to increase the maximum weight limit for natural gas powered vehicles by up to 2,000pounds, in furtherance of the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 (the “FAST Act”). The FAST Act provides in part that natural gas fueled vehicles may weigh a...
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Legislative Update-August 2017

SOLICITOR REPORT–PENNSYLVANIA PENSION REFORM Senate Bill No.1 (the “Act”) will replace the current defined benefit pension plans under Act120 for state and public school employees (the “Current Plans”) with two hybrid plans and a defined contribution plan (the “Revised Plans”). As a result, Pennsylvania taxpayers should bear less risk for market performance of funds in the Revised Plans than the risk to which we are currently exposed with the adequacy and growth of funds in C...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE– MAY 2017

LEGISLATIVE REPORT – FUNDING THE PROPOSED GOP BUDGET Following introduction of Governor Wolf’s $32.34 billion state budget proposal, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives adopted along party lines a Republican budget with $31.27 billion in expenditures known as House Bill 218 (the “House Budget”). While the Governor’s budget raises money from a severance tax on natural gas drilling, a sale/leaseback of the Farm Show Complex, elimination of sales tax exemptions and closing th...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE– MARCH 2017

On February 7, 2017, Governor Wolf proposed a 2017‑2018 budget for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (“Proposed Budget”) based on reduced expenditures and a more modest revenue increase than seen in Governor Wolf’s prior budget proposals.  He would cover a $3 billion deficit with, among other things, (1) a Marcellus Shale natural gas tax, (2) lease of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena, (3) consolidation of four agencies into a Department of Health and Human Services, (4) elimination ...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE– FEBRUARY 2017

The REAL ID Act (the “Act”) was passed by Congress and approved by the President in 2005 to create procedures and rules by which states and territories may lawfully issue drivers’ licenses and other forms of identification that are acceptable for Homeland Security purposes. The Act, called the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief of 2005, has been implemented by regulations found at 6 C.F.R. Chapter I, Part 37 (the “Code...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – JANUARY 2017

HB 1653 known as Act 171 of 2016 (the “Amendment”) amends the Pennsylvania Procurement Code (the “Code”) to require the Department of General Services of the Commonwealth (the “Department”) to establish a process to verify a Pennsylvania business, either minority-owned, women-owned or veteran-owned (each a “Diverse and Disadvantaged Business”) as “Pennsylvania home state-certified for the purpose of other state or national disadvantaged business programs.” Such a process w...
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – OCTOBER 2016

HB 380 known as Act 102 of 2016 (the “Amendment”) amends the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Code (the “Code”) to authorize Courts of Common Pleas to enter divorce decrees on showing that (1) the marriage of parties is irretrievably broken and (2) the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year. The Amendment is significant in reducing from two years to one year the separation of the parties and makes Pennsylvania law more consistent with adjacent states whose waiting ...
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