Senate Local Government Committee Approves 4 Bills Including Energy Choice Legislation

HARRISBURG – Four bills, including legislation to protect consumers’ energy choices, were approved by the Senate Local Government Committee, according to Sen. Cris Dush (R-25), chairman of the committee.

House Bill 1947, sponsored by Rep. Timothy O’Neal (R-48) would prohibit a municipality from enacting a policy that restricts or prohibits a specific type of energy source or discriminating against a utility service provider based on energy source.

“As prices rise exponentially on everything from gasoline to food, we must not limit choices for consumers,” O’Neal said. “This legislation is another way to give people options that can best fit their needs and preferences. I thank Sen. Dush for advancing this legislation and am hopeful the entire Senate will take up the bill soon.”

HB 1947 is the companion bill to Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), which has already won Senate approval and is awaiting consideration by the full House of Representatives.

O’Neal and Yaw are championing these bills as cities across the nation have already taken steps to ban natural gas in newly constructed buildings, all at a time when energy limitations imposed by short-sighted climate policies have inflated energy costs for consumers.

The committee also approved House Bill 1213, sponsored by Rep. Lee James (R-64) to provide a different way to form a government study commission to consider and potentially propose a new, or amend an existing, home rule charter in a municipality that is currently in the Act 47 recovery program.

“House Bill 1213 offers an alternative process to form a study commission to propose Home Rule Charter to help distressed communities solve any issues they face,” said James. “It would also help the Local Government Commission to study the recovery objectives of municipalities under home rule in Pennsylvania, and permit enforcement of voter adopted taxpayer protection provisions contained in a home rule charter.”

According to the Local Government Commission’s analysis, tax rates adopted prior to the clarification language in HB 1213 would be grandfathered.

Two bills related to local government powers during a declared emergency were likewise considered by the committee:

  • Senate Bill 1052, sponsored by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21), amends Title 53 to provide for emergency meeting powers and succession of local officers during an emergency. The bill was amended to make changes to notice and posting requirements, as well as a technical change.
  • House Bill 2116, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-83), amends Title 11 to increase the maximum length of a state of emergency declared by a mayor from five days to seven days unless extended by council.

CONTACT:    Zack Ankeny

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