July 2, 2014

House Amends, Returns Fiscal Code Bill To Senate For Concurrence, Adjourns

After amending House Bill 278 (Baker-R-Tioga), the Fiscal Code bill designed to implement parts of the state budget, the House voted 121 to 78 to send the measure back to the Senate.
As a result of the House action, the Senate may be back to Harrisburg much sooner than they thought, since Tuesday they recessed until September 15.
The House removed provisions related to the Bank Shares Tax (which helped balance the budget), City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, extra funding for the Allentown school district and authorizing the enactment of a cigarette tax in Philadelphia.
Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, challenged two provisions in the bill related to transferring $95 million from the Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund to balance the budget and a section calling for new, separate operational and environmental standards for regulating conventional oil and gas wells.
Rep. Vitali’s motions to suspend the rules to offer an amendment to impose a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on DCNR land failed 70 to 130 a second amendment to remove sections related to conventional wells failed 79 to 121.
Rep. Vitali also challenged the constitutionality of the consideration of the bill since many of the provisions, including the conventional well sections, were never passed on their own by either the Senate and House.
The motion on constitutionality failed 117  to 83.
As a final order of business the House amended and returned to the Senate House Bill 1177 (Lucas-R-Crawford) which would authorize Philadelphia to adopt a $2/pack tax on cigarettes.
The House then adjourned to September 15, unless sooner recalled by the Speaker.
A detailed summary and House Fiscal Note are available.