Legislative Round-up: Summer 2014

Jul 7, 2014

As we approach the final turn of the 2013-14 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, it’s 90 degrees, humid, and there is still no budget in Harrisburg.  Fortunately, the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) continues to promote the interests of common interest communities throughout the state.  Here are some things to watch for as we head into the home stretch.

-The CAI-LAC had another very effective day in Harrisburg on April 2.  Sixteen members of the CAI-LAC participated in 25 meetings with legislators and staff.  Duane Morris Government Strategies continues to be an effective facilitator in pushing forth CAI’s association-driven agenda.  Your continued support ensures that our voice is heard in Harrisburg.

-CAI-LAC efforts have helped to stall Senate Bill 1302, which would impose burdensome quorum and notice requirements on community associations.  We are working with legislative staff to change the bill to enhance association transparency and accountability, albeit in a more practical and cost-effective manner.

-CAI-LAC continues to work with counties and the legislature to minimize the impacts of the Uniform Parcel Identification system on common interest communities throughout the Commonwealth.  As you may know, certain counties have been imposing per-parcel filing fees in order to record a declaration amendment.  These necessary amendments help associations define their future and comply with the law.  However, the imposition of thousands of dollars of unbudgeted filing fees has had a chilling effect on many communities’ energy to make these document changes.  We are working with the Local Government Commission to return some common sense to the process.

-Some of the association-related bills pending in Harrisburg include: 1) HB 551, which provides a 75% deduction on one’s personal income tax on amounts paid for association assessments; 2) HB 1688, the Planned Unit Development Data Collection Act); 3) SB 557, HB 319 and HB 1254, all dealing with open meetings and document access; 4) HB 2133, dealing with sinkholes; and 5) HB 2234, dealing with corporate reorganizations. You can review these bills, as well as PA LAC's position, on our legislative pages.  At present, none of these bills are set for a final vote by either house.

- 2014 is an election year, which means a summer of campaigning and only a few session days left before the November 4 election.  All 203 House seats, 25 Senate seats, and the Governor’s office are all up for grabs.  Right now, it is unclear how aggressive either house will be in moving any legislation.

In closing, remember that you, the voter, can make a difference.  Learn the issues, let your legislators know your concerns, and get out the vote.  Stay cool (and informed) this summer.  

This post was authored by Gregory D. Malaska, Esq., Vice Chair of CAI's Pennsylvania Legislative Action Committee. 


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