Senate passes regulatory reform measure designed to provide greater oversight and transparency

HARRISBURG – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) supported a measure this week that will provide the General Assembly with greater oversight of state regulations submitted by state agencies.

Senate Bill 398, sponsored by Senator John Gordner (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Montour/Northumberland/Snyder), will 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.

“In too many cases, legislators defer their responsibility to agencies, commissions and departments, and forget that we have a responsibility that legislative intent is honored in the regulatory process,” Phillips-Hill said. “So many times, we see that the regulations that get promulgated do not match the legislative intent, and then it is too late to reverse course. This will provide another check and balance in state government to ensure that excessive regulations are not added that inevitably burden taxpayers.”

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.

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments on the legislation here.

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