State Agency-Crippling Bill Heads to a Vote in the Senate Rules Committee Today

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When we last left the IRRC bill Republicans cooked up to completely defang Executive branch rule-making, it had passed the House on close to a party-line vote, and has now headed back to the Senate.

Laura Legere at the Post-Gazette brought us up to speed late last week:

A bill passed by a divided Pennsylvania House on Tuesday would give legislative committees new opportunities to intervene as state agencies develop regulations for everything from gas drilling to gambling.

Opponents of the measure, including House Democrats and Gov. Tom Wolf, say it could cause the state’s already complicated rule-making process to grind to a halt.

The chamber passed House Bill 965 with a vote of 113-84 and sent it to the Senate for concurrence. Five Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill, and one Democrat joined Republicans in supporting it. The Senate passed a companion bill unanimously this spring, but the House version varies slightly.

The issue, for those just tuning in, is that the Independent Regulatory Review Committee already places bipartisan checks and balances on Executive agency rule-making, and there’s already a process for lawmakers to reject any regulations they think are overreaching after IRRC approves them. The point of this bill, which sends proposed agency rules to state legislative committees before ever going to the IRRC, isn’t to promote good-faith review, it’s too empower obstructionists to kill new rules in the crib without even having to vote on them.

HB 965, the House version, is now in the Senate’s Rules Committee being amended for concurrence. We’re hearing the committee will vote on this later today, so right now is a great time to contact these lawmakers and tell them not to pass it out of committee.


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