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Labor Report

Budget Update

CapitolEarlier this week, state House Republicans pushed through a revised $2.2 billion revenue plan that used, among other things, a wide broom to sweep $630 million dollars from key funds, while making significant deletions of key initiatives passed by the Senate.  

House Republicans, compelled to act by a looming cash shortfall, used their majority status to muscle the plan through the process.  The House Republicans failed to participate in a negotiated bipartisan response the budget shortfall and pursued their own course. 

The plan is markedly different than the negotiated revenue package that was supported by Senate and House Democrats, Senate Republicans and the governor.  The House plan takes funds from key mass transit, environmental and parks programs.  The House-passed plan does not include significant recurring revenue.

In responding to the House action, the governor called the revenue plan “irresponsible.”

The Senate returns to session on Monday. 

Labor and Industry Committee Update

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee will meet next week to consider House Bill 298 and discuss an amendment proposed by Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland).  House Bill 298 would give the Department of Labor and Industry the authority to create a trainee classification. The trainee classification is non-renewable, optional and limited to a two-year time period for residential and accessibility, with a three-year window for all other categories. 

The Training and Certification of Inspectors section of the Pennsylvania Construction Code establishes basic guidelines for training certifications of code officials. This regulation established the general rule that a person cannot perform a plan review of construction documents, inspect construction or equipment, or administer or enforce the UCC without being certified by the Department of Labor and Industry in the category applicable to the work being performed.

The Ward amendment changes the Uniform Construction Code regarding the composition of the UCC Council and includes changes to distribution of fee proceeds.  Specifically, it would allow cities of the first class (Philadelphia) to be exempt from the UCC adoption process and, therefore, allow Philadelphia to adopt 2018 building codes.  

This amendment, which was originally House Bill 409, has already received unanimous support in two Senate committees. So, to move the measure forward, it’s been inserted into House Bill 298.