Senate votes to overhaul bureaucratic permitting and professional licensing process

Codifies and strengthens Shapiro’s executive order to improve business climate in PA

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved key permitting reforms today that will streamline and expedite the state’s historically sluggish permitting process according to the measure’s sponsors, Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland/Dauphin/Perry).

Senate Bill 350 requires state agencies to implement an accessible website so permit applicants can check their application status in real time. All issued permits must be publicly accessible and if rejected, the legal authority the agency relied on must be stated. The legislation would also require that a permit, license, or certification is deemed approved by the state if the agency reviewing the application misses its statutory deadline.

This measure builds on executive orders Gov. Josh Shapiro signed earlier this year, cutting down on permitting delays and bureaucratic red tape by establishing the Office of Transformation and Opportunity and the Economic Development Strategy Group within the governor’s office.

The bill would also create a program for third-party review of permits and a resolution to the current delays in permit decisions.

The senators cite a report released earlier this month from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office that highlights every wage-earning group in Pennsylvania fleeing for a handful of pro-business states, including Florida and North Carolina.

“We are losing Pennsylvanians to other states at an alarming rate. This is not a Democratic or a Republican problem, this is Pennsylvania problem that requires commonsense solutions that have been successful in other states,” Phillips-Hill said. “Regardless of partisan affiliation, I think this is an area we can all agree on: No one wants to lose residents and businesses because they are hitting dead ends within their own state government.”

“Hardworking Pennsylvanians expect their state government to be responsive and efficient,” Rothman said. “With this bill, we send the message that Pennsylvania is serious about growing the economy, attracting job-creators and reforming government for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.”

Key business and labor leaders commended the Senate’s vote today on legislation to reform the state’s permitting process:    

Luke Bernstein, president & chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry:

“We have a generational opportunity within our grasp to advance a significant permitting reform bill that would lead to more jobs, greater transparency, and ultimately, a stronger economy. Senate Bill 350 takes a giant step forward propelling our state to become more competitive.  By building on the governor’s efforts to improve permitting, this measure further helps to modernize, streamline, and add much needed transparency to the permitting process. The PA Chamber is proud to support Senate Bill 350 and be part of the solution that will help Pennsylvania become more competitive. From crafting this bill to ushering it through committee and ultimately the entire Senate, I want to thank Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Greg Rothman for their leadership and tireless dedication on this issue.”

Greg Moreland, state director, NFIB-Pennsylvania:

“Regulatory compliance and red tape are an enormous burden to business owners. Senate Bill 350 would provide certainty and clarity which is critical for small business owners. When a customer purchases a product online every time that order progresses the customer is notified. Pennsylvania needs to implement a similar process to ensure a permittee can track the status so that they can plan accordingly. Without certainty, clarity, and a transparent permitting process, small business owners are left guessing which costs the business and the state money.”

David N. Taylor, president & chief executive officer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association:

“To improve our economy, Pennsylvania’s regulators must move at the speed of business and serve as partners in compliance. The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association applauds the passage of Senate Bill 350, sponsored by Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill and Greg Rothman, which will drastically improve agency transparency and accountability of permitting outcomes in our commonwealth. Gov. Shapiro called on the legislature to act swiftly on permitting reform so that Pennsylvania can become a more competitive business location, and we now respectfully request the House to send this important legislation to the governor for his signature.”

Robert S. Bair, president, Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO:

“While it often seems that a divided legislature struggles to produce legislation that is good for Pennsylvania workers and our partners in the Business community,  it is encouraging when both groups come together on a bill that helps put our businesses on a level playing field with other States and puts workers of this commonwealth building projects so that we can continue towards our goal of making Pennsylvania an economic and energy powerhouse. Senate Bill 350 is an important step in streamlining the permitting process so that we can start the projects that will propel Pennsylvania into the future.”

More than 60 employer associations, chambers of commerce and labor groups support Senate Bill 350, including:

Beaver County Chamber of Commerce

Bedford County Chamber of Commerce

Blair County Chamber of Commerce

Butler County Chamber of Commerce

Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce

Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County

Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry

Clarion Area Chamber of Business & Industry

Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce

Exton Region Chamber of Commerce

Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce

Greater Reading Chamber Alliance

Greencastle- Antrim Chamber of Commerce

Greene County Chamber of Commerce

Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce

Harrisburg Regional Chamber

Huntingdon Chamber of Commerce

Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce

Lancaster Chamber of Commerce

Monroeville Chamber of Commerce

Norwin Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Perry County Chamber of Commerce

Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce

Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber

Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce

Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce

Somerset County Chamber of Commerce

Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce

Southwest Regional Chamber of Commerce

TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce

Venango Area Chamber of Commerce

West Shore Chamber of Commerce

York County Economic Alliance

Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO

Associated Builders and Contractors- Keystone Chapter

Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association

API Pennsylvania

Associated Builders and Constructors of Western PA

Associated Pennsylvania Constructors

Broadband Communications Association of Pennsylvania

Consumer Energy Alliance

Energy Association of Pennsylvania

Keystone Contractors Association

Life Sciences Pennsylvania

Manufacturer & Business Association

Marcellus Shale Coalition

National Federation of Independent Business

Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association

Pennsylvania Association of Realtors

Pennsylvania Builders Association

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council

Pennsylvania Coal Alliance

Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform

Pennsylvania Forest Products Association

Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association

Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association

Pennsylvania Medical Society

Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association

Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association

Pennsylvania Telephone Association

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

AUDIO (Phillips-Hill)

VIDEO (Phillips-Hill)

AUDIO (Rothman)

VIDEO (Rothman)


Kiersten Laird (Phillips-Hill)

Morgan Wagner (Rothman)

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