State Lawmakers, Business Leaders Assemble to Avenge Regulatory Overreach
HARRISBURG — State lawmakers and business leaders from across the Commonwealth joined together today to announce the introduction of the House State Government Committee’s Regulatory Overreach Report and five pieces of legislation specifically designed to rein in overregulation.

“The Regulatory Overreach Report is a compilation of the findings from a series of public hearings that I convened to gather testimony from various employers, organizations and experts on state regulatory policy,” said House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler). “Without question, this report clearly demonstrates that it’s long-past time for the Legislature to avenge the ever-increasing injustices of Pennsylvania’s restrictive regulatory environment. Overregulation caused by unelected government bureaucrats is killing family-sustaining jobs, strangling opportunity and crippling economic growth.”

Dr. James Broughel from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia testified last year that Pennsylvania currently has more than 153,000 regulatory restrictions that stretch across every industry operating within the Commonwealth. Overregulation not only puts Pennsylvanians at serious risk of losing family-sustaining jobs to other states where regulatory compliance is less onerous, it can even weaken the effectiveness of legitimate health and safety regulations already in place.

Another significant finding from these public hearings is that Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act, of which the House State Government Committee has oversight, does not give the Legislature any authority to repeal a regulation without the governor’s approval. Not surprisingly, regulations created under the administration of both Republican and Democrat governors have been piling up for decades.

Sponsored by House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), House Bill 1792 would give the Pennsylvania General Assembly the ability to initiate the repeal of any state regulation in effect by concurrent resolution.

“State government has a history of piling on unnecessary, costly regulations that, in the end, only hurt everyday Pennsylvanians,” Benninghoff said. “Every dollar that is spent dealing with Pennsylvania’s overzealous state agencies is a dollar that could have, and should have, been spent hiring a new employee, increasing wages, buying new equipment or giving back to the local community. It’s time to remove these unnecessary impediments to job creation in Pennsylvania.”

House Bill 209, introduced by Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), would establish the Independent Office of the Repealer to undertake an ongoing review of existing regulations; receive and process recommendations; and make recommendations to the General Assembly, the governor and executive agencies for repeal.

Additional provisions of this legislation would both establish a moratorium on new regulatory burdens and create a process for sunsetting existing regulations by placing a cap on the number of regulations and requiring the repeal of existing regulations when promulgating new ones.

“Establishing the Office of the Repealer will allow Pennsylvania to focus on sensible, not outdated, burdensome regulation so that the Commonwealth can be a place where people want to live and do business once again,” said Phillips-Hill.”

The World Bank and the Mercatus Center both estimate that over-regulation has a negative impact on economic growth, ranging between 0.8 percent and 2.3 percent. Since 2000, Pennsylvania’s yearly real Gross Domestic Product has averaged just 1.5 percent.

As a mechanism to improve Pennsylvania’s regulatory culture by stopping bad regulations before implementation, Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland) has introduced House Bill 1237 which would require the General Assembly to vote on a concurrent resolution to approve an economically significant regulation (which has an annual fiscal impact totaling $1 million or more on the government or private sector), in order for that regulation to go into effect.

“Since taking office last January, I have heard from many business owners and residents about the suffocating regulations Pennsylvania imposes,” Keefer said. “My bill would transform the Commonwealth into a less bureaucratic state and would enhance the review of proposed regulations that stifle economic growth.”

The final two elements of successful regulatory reform introduced during this morning’s press conference focus on improving the regulatory culture so the application of existing laws is collaborative and not punitive.

With permits processed at a significantly slower pace and Pennsylvania losing business whenever there is uncertainty in the permitting and regulatory environment, Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) has sponsored the Pennsylvania Permit Act. House Bill 1959 would require state agencies to create and develop a navigable online permit tracking system; cite specific legal authority for permit denial and provide guidance for correcting deficiencies; establish timelines for completion notifications; and allow certain permit reviews to be transferred to third-party reviewers.

“My bill is a common sense proposal to make the permitting process more transparent, boost economic growth and promote job creation,” Rothman said. “My bill would create a system so applicants can track the progress of their permits. The reform also would require an explanation of the statutory reasons for a permit denial.”

Lastly, House Bill 1960, sponsored by Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler) would require each agency to appoint a regulatory compliance officer to better educate the regulated community regarding implementation for any new regulation and the requirements prior to the effective date.

The complete House State Government Committee 2017-18 Regulatory Overreach Report is available for review at

“Members of the General Assembly need to use every tool available under the current law in order to ensure that Pennsylvania’s regulations encourage, rather than discourage, the entrepreneurial spirit of hard-working job creators,” said Metcalfe. “As Chairman of the House State Government Committee, I will continue to advance legislation that streamlines and modernizes Pennsylvania’s job-killing, regulatory environment, and most importantly, protects taxpayers!”

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin