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 the bill’s sponsor, Senator John Gordner (R-27).

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.

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.

“Essentially, this bill would ensure state agencies are implementing the law and not trying to make the laws themselves,” Gordner said. “Government regulations can have an enormous impact on industries, employees and families if they are not implemented properly. Improving the process for reviewing these regulations will help make Pennsylvania more competitive and eliminate some of the red tape that plagues our government and hurts its citizens.”

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.