Senate Approves Bill to Strengthen Oversight of Proposed Government Regulations

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a bill today to strengthen the review process for government regulations and provide for better oversight by lawmakers, according to Sen. Judy Ward (R-30), who supported the bill.

Senate Bill 398 would 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 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.

“State agencies are responsible for implementing the laws passed by the General Assembly, but they can also create new burdens based on how they interpret our intent,” Ward said. “Ensuring a strong, transparent review process is the best way we can ensure government regulations do not grow any more burdensome on citizens and employers.”

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.

Similar legislation was approved during the 2015-16 Legislative Session, but was vetoed by the Governor. Senate Bill 398 was changed to address a number of the concerns raised in the Governor’s veto message.

The legislation was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT:  Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490

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