HARRISBURG – The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee approved three reform measures on Wednesday sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) that would overhaul the state’s regulatory process to cut through red tape and bureaucracy in state government.
Senate Bill 251 would establish the Office of the Repealer tasked with performing an independent, regular and systematic review of existing statutes and regulations. Additionally, the bill would implement a one-in, two-out model for all new regulations. For every new regulation added, two must be repealed. If approved, the law would sunset after five years.
Senate Bill 252 would require all state agencies that issue permits to increase transparency by requiring agencies to post information about the permits that they grant on their website. State agencies would also be required to create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications and to clearly state the legal authority that the agency relies on when rejecting a permit application.
The tracking system shall include processing time, dates of each permit, completeness review, technical review, elevated review, and an estimated time remaining for each incomplete phase of the permit approval process, as well as a contact person assigned to answer questions about the application process.
Senate Bill 253 would require each state agency to designate an employee as the agency’s regulatory compliance officer. This officer would be tasked with being accessible to the regulated community and working with them to explain regulations and resolve noncompliance issues before imposing penalties.
Phillips-Hill noted Governor Wolf has repealed various regulations to help get medical professionals on to the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our state has no idea how many regulations are on the books, which illustrates the great need to rein in old, archaic and no longer needed state regulations, as well as provide answers and transparency to frustrated Pennsylvanians,” Phillips-Hill said. “These measures will help make state government work for the people and not the other way around.”
The committee’s chair, Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York), said the legislation is long overdue.
“We need policies that foster business growth, opposed to being a hindrance,” said Mastriano, whose committee held a hearing on regulatory reform and red tape reduction in December. “Let’s help our businesses get back on their feet, let’s help them grow and let’s help them prosper.”
All three bills were reported to the full Senate for consideration.
You can watch the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee meeting in its entirety here.