York County GOP lawmakers tout regulation reform package

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, cuts red tape after touting a new regulatory reform bill package.

A group of York County GOP lawmakers and economic leaders are pushing a package of bills that would reevaluate the state's more than 150,000 regulations and change how future statutes are adopted.

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, led the bicameral group proposing eight regulation reform bills Wednesday, April 24, in front of York College's Kinsley Engineering Center.

"Our regulatory environment is holding us back from achieving our full potential," Phillips-Hill said, standing in front of the site that formerly housed the York Narrow Fabrics Co., which produced the "red tape" used to wrap government documents.

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Roughly 81% of York County businesses support promoting efficiency in regulations and other matters, according to the York County Economic Alliance. The package of bills might answer their calls.

Phillips-Hill is proposing Senate Bill 25, lengthy legislation that contains most of the regulatory reforms in the seven remaining bills. While ideally she'd like to see that go through, the other bills allow lawmakers to narrow their focus if necessary.

The measure would first create and lay out duties for an Independent Office of the Repealer. The office would be in place for five years and function within the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

Over its lifespan, it would evaluate already established regulations and make recommendations to the General Assembly and executive branch to repeal or modify the measures.

Another section of Phillips-Hill's bill would implement a "one in, two out" model for regulations for that five-year duration, meaning for each new regulation two would have to be repealed.

During and beyond the office's lifespan, standing committees would be able to propose to repeal regulations and prompt votes in both chambers, potentially making it to the governor's desk for a final say.

York County Economic Alliance President Kevin Schreiber speaks at a press conference where local lawmakers tout a regulatory reform bill package.

Regulations that would have more than a $1 million economic impact would also need to be approved by both chambers and the governor, borrowing from the tea party-supported Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act.

Lastly, the bill would require all agencies to appoint a regulatory compliance officer tasked with explaining regulations to the community and resolving noncompliance issues.

Phillips-Hill has separate legislation only implementing the Independent Office of the Repealer, which also has a companion bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover.

"Many of these acts and regulations were created several decades ago, and they have yet to be reexamined and evaluated to gauge their level of relevance, appropriateness  and cost effectiveness," Klunk said. "Our state's regulatory system has become the equivalent of extreme hoarding."

Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-Dillsburg, has introduced a bill solely focusing on the REINS legislation. Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland County, is sponsoring legislation with regard to requiring a vote on any economically significant regulations.

The final bill of the eight-bill package — and the only one not included in SB 25 — concerns permitting and is being sponsored by Phillips-Hill and Rothman in their respective chambers.

Those bills would require agencies to post information about granted permits online and require them to clearly lay out the reasons for denying any applications. It would also implement a permit status tracking system.

Most of the measures lawmakers touted Wednesday have been pushed in the past but haven't been able to gain traction in both chambers. The new proposals all sit in their respective committees.

But YCEA President Kevin Schreiber, a former Democratic state representative, praised the group's efforts to again try to reform the state's regulatory process.

"It is incumbent on government to help set the conditions by which our private sector can thrive," he said. "To sustain and evolve a modern economy, we need a modernized, streamlined and economically empowered government."

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.