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Last week in Legislature

Source: PA Chamber of Business and Industry

With negotiations still ongoing, the state House of Representatives and Senate returned to Harrisburg last week to continue working on the 2024-25 state budget, accompanying code bills, and other legislative initiatives tangentially related to the annual spending plan.

Despite missing the June 30 budget deadline, reports indicate that talks continue between the Shapiro administration, Democrat-controlled House, and Republican-controlled Senate. Legislative leaders have expressed optimism in their quest to reach an agreement.

Additionally, lawmakers are also taking action on a range of bills, unrelated to the state budget, relevant to the employer community. These include proposals related to antitrust, health care, education, and more.

Below is a rundown of legislative action that was taken by House and Senate lawmakers last week:

Anti-Trust Expansion (H.B. 2012)

The House of Representatives voted 112-89 to pass House Bill 2012 last Tuesday.

This legislation would create a Pennsylvania anti-trust statute that would expand anti-trust provisions and require pre-merger notifications to the Attorney General’s Office for health care facilities. The language of what constitutes a violation is sweeping and ambiguous, subjecting the Commonwealth’s employer community to severe criminal penalties and costly civil liability based upon undefined standards.

The bill expands anti-trust powers for the Attorney General and creates private causes of action that will allow for private anti-trust lawsuits in state courts across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the pre-merger notification requirement will subject health care mergers to additional scrutiny well below the current thresholds for reporting to the FTC and the DOJ.

Along with a coalition of leading employer groups, we opposed this legislation (CLICK HERE for our letter to lawmakers), which now heads to the Senate for committee consideration.

Health Care Transactions (H.B. 2344)

The House Rules Committee voted 18-15 to advance House Bill 2344 last Monday.

This legislation would empower the Pennsylvania Attorney General to unilaterally determine the fate of every health care industry transaction in Pennsylvania and decide whether the transaction is “against the public interest.”

The bill creates a new, duplicative, and bureaucratic review process while placing the sole financial cost for the process back onto our health care systems, with no limits. This legislation is duplicative of existing state and federal processes and adds power to a single government agency to subjectively determine if health care transactions are “against the public interest.”

We opposed this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo). House Bill 2344 is now pending before the full House.

Ready-to-Drink Products (S.B. 688)

The House of Representatives voted 163-38 to pass Senate Bill 688 last Tuesday.

This legislation would authorize the private sector to sell “Ready to Drink” adult beverages.

“Ready to Drink” cocktails are a popular alcoholic beverage product that currently can only be purchased through state stores. It is simply unfair to deny local convenience stores and supermarkets the ability to respond to their customers and sell these products.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for our memo), which has been referred to the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.

Allowing Highly Qualified Individuals to Receive CTC Certificates (S.B. 700)

The House Education Committee voted unanimously (25-0) to pass Senate Bill 700 last Monday.

This legislation would amend the requirements to receive a CTC teaching certificate to more readily allow highly qualified individuals to transition from the private sector to the classroom.

The bill will help ease the Commonwealth’s workforce shortage, particularly in technical and trades jobs, by ensuring Pennsylvania’s career and technical centers are equipped with the brightest educators.

We supported this legislation (CLICK HERE for PA Chamber of Business and Industry memo), which is now pending before the full House.


The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce closely monitors proposed legislation and its potential impact on the local business community. Businesses are encouraged to offer feedback to Chamber President Chris Berleth, at

Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.


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