HARRISBURG – Chaired by State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33), the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee took action on several measures Wednesday that would streamline the state’s 153,000 regulations, and reduce red tape for statewide businesses.
The committee approved four bills addressing regulatory reform, including measures that would streamline state code, create a new office to review existing statutes, and foster stronger partnerships between state agencies and the business community.
“We need policies that foster business growth, opposed to being a hindrance,” said Mastriano. “Let’s help our businesses get back on their feet, let’s help them grow and let’s help them prosper.”
Senate Bill 119, proposed by Senator John DiSanto (R-15), would implement a one-in, two-out model for any new regulation proposed. Dubbed the “Red Tape Reduction Act,” similar legislation is in effect in Ohio, and seven other states are reducing regulations through similar models.
“Red tape correlates to rules that do not serve the public interest, because their costs outweigh the benefits,” said Mastriano. “Unfortunately, regulations can quickly become burdensome, impractical and many times cause unintended consequences. Businesses are beginning the process of reopening, and they need help from lawmakers to ensure that over-regulation is not impacting their operations.”
Senate Bill 251, proposed by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28), would establish the Independent Office of the Repealer. It would make recommendations to the legislature about modifying, abolishing or reviewing existing state code. The office would be dissolved in 2025.
“Our state has no idea how many regulations are on the books, which illustrates the great need to rein in old, archaic and no longer needed state regulations, as well as provide answers and transparency to frustrated Pennsylvanians,” Phillips-Hill said. “These measures will help make state government work for the people and not the other way around.”
Senate Bill 252, proposed by Phillips-Hill, aims to enhance transparency during the permitting process. As part of the legislation, online tracking systems would be established by all state agencies.
“The regulatory bureaucracy has evolved into a convoluted and lengthy process for decisions, causing unnecessary delays. The time and cost that it takes to do projects is excessive,” said Mastriano. “Businesses have a right to know where their permit stands in the approval process, we owe this to the people of Pennsylvania.”
Senate Bill 253, also proposed by Phillips-Hill, specifies that a state agency must designate a “compliance officer” to help businesses and taxpayers navigate the state’s regulatory code. The designated employee would serve as a mediator to help resolve any differences during the application process.
“This legislation creates goodwill between job creators and state agencies,” said Mastriano. “It shows that the state and employers are working together as partners, not as adversaries.”
The four bills advance to the full Senate for consideration. You can view the committee meeting and discussion of the regulatory reform bills here.