As Budget Talks Heat Up, Legislature Eyes Prompt Pay and Plumbing Licensure Legislation

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

In Pennsylvania, June is Budget Month – the last 30 days before the Constitution requires a balanced budget to be in place for the succeeding fiscal year. And while the legislature hasn’t always done the best job at meeting that June 30 deadline, the race to come reasonably close always brings other legislation to the surface.

Next week, the House and Senate will dust off two perennial issues that never seem to get resolved. First, the House Professional Licensure Committee will vote on House Bill 442, introduced by Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), and the Senate Labor & Industry Committee will vote on Senate Bill 183, introduced by Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware). While the bills have minute differences, they both propose a structure for the licensure of “licensed plumbing contractors” in Pennsylvania. Currently, there is no industry regulation on plumbing and neither bill would universally mandate requirements on the practice, but would only regulate individuals practicing under the title of “licensed plumbing contractor.” In past sessions, plumbing licensure legislation has passed easily in the Senate and has stalled in the more conservative House, but this session, Professional Licensure chairman Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Beaver) is taking a more proactive approach.

Also, the House Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler), will consider House Bill 566, introduced by Rep. Jamie Santora (R-Delaware). HB 566 would allow for work stoppage without penalty after sufficient notice had been given to the owner or owner’s agent. The bill amends the existing Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA) and addresses industry-wide concerns about payment issues during the construction process. Versions of the bill were circulated last session but never received consideration.