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Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Labor and Industry Building, Room E-100
651 Boas Street
Harrisburg, PA  17121

Council Members Present:

Thomas F. McCosby, Chair
Michael Schubert Vice Chair
Walter Schneider, III
David Nice
John E. Kampmeyer
David Brooke Rush
Nathan Schaffer
E. Mitchell Swann
Tim Scott
Tim Solobay
Steven Black
Joe Lavalle
Kevin Maynard
Maureen Guttman

Also Present:

Karen Galli, Deputy Chief Counsel, Dep’t of Labor & Industry
Peter Von Getzie, Deputy Chief Counsel, Dep’t of Labor & Industry
Dwight Decker, Esquire, Asst. Counsel, Dep’t of Labor & Industry
Rebecca A. McClincy, Asst. Counsel, Dept. of Labor & Industry
Rick Allen, Pugliese & Assoc.
Dominick Kasmauskas, National Fire Sprinkler Assoc.
Joe Marchioni, BOIS, Dept of Labor & Industry
Doug Meshaw, PA Builders Assoc.
Sara Miller, PA Builders Assoc.
Jack Lyons, National Electrical Manufacturing Assoc
Katie Blansch, PA Housing Research Center
Olivia Perry, AI Pennsylvania
Jennifer Rapach, Policy Director of PHRC
Nathan Clark, Labor and Industry
Bruce Hanson, Republican Caucus


Rhonda K. Thorpe

The meeting was called to order by Chair Thomas McCosby. The group recited the Pledge of Allegiance followed by introduction of all Council Members and attendees.

  1. Modification and Approval of Agenda:  Chair McCosby noted that there were 2 changes to the Agenda – House Bill 1575 will be reviewed again under Old Business, and Bruce Hanson will speak regarding proposed amendments to House Bill  568.  With those modifications, Mr. Schneider moved to approve the meeting agenda, and Mr. Scott seconded the motion. A vote was taken and the Council approved the amended agenda by unanimous consent.

  2. Chairman’s comments and correspondence:  The only correspondence received will be discussed under Old Business.  Otherwise, thank you to all members for their hard work this year despite the challenges.

  3. Report of RAC counsel – Mr. Decker reminded members of the requirements of the Sunshine Law, and also advised them that keeping a separate email for all RAC business is important for several reasons, including for communication regarding changes to the particulars of upcoming meetings.

  4. Report of the Legislative Working Group, Chaired by Tim Solobay: The group did not meet to discuss House Bill 568 due to the changing nature of the legislation and the dwindling number of days left in this legislative session.  Thereafter, a discussion ensued among the membership as to the best procedure for looking at prospective legislation.

  5. Report of the Regulatory Working Group, Chaired by Maureen Guttman: The group has not met and has taken no action.

  6. Report of the Procedures Committee, Chaired by Walt Schneider: A scheduled meeting was held this past summer, although only 3 members were able to attend due to some confusion with notification of meeting time and place.  A conference call will be held mid-Fall to move forward with putting procedural pieces in place. 

Old Business:

    1. HB 1575 :  This bill would change Act 1, making two-by-tens exempt. The sponsor of the bill asked the Legislative Working Group for input on how to make it work.  HB 1575 was referred to the Legislative Working Group.

New Business:

Chair McCosby advised that the Committee has been asked by the State Legislature to review HB 568, and Bruce Hanson, Director of Republican Research Department, attended to discuss the bill and what the Legislature hopes to accomplish with this bill when it comes out of the House.

Mr. Hanson thanked the membership for the opportunity to speak to the RAC, and to explain that the Legislature recognizes that there are problems that need to be fixed.  Mr. Hanson highlighted some of the provisions of HB 568 and explained some of the further anticipated changes.  He explained that Representative Evankovich introduced the bill with his vision of how the RAC should be reformed, which proposed a six-year cycle with a midterm review, but that will likely be shortened.  The bill would add technical advisory positions but Mr. Hanson clarified that only the committee members could vote. It would also allow for unopposed sections to be passed without a 2/3 vote, but if a provision is “controversial,” then it would require the 2/3 majority.  As written, there would be a lengthy delay in the implementation of new accessibility standards, which is problematic.  There is language in the bill requiring a state specific code book, and there is discussion in the legislature about increasing fees for building permits to provide more funding for the RAC, or in the alternative, making changes to how the existing funding stream is spent. The legislature is trying to completely vet this bill before passing it into law.

Members voiced concerns about the bill, including concerns about accessibility, the 2/3 voting requirement.  Discussion ensued regarding suggested changes and the pros and cons of the bill.

Dominick Kasmauskas, National Fire Sprinkler Association, spoke in favor of updating the Codes, and issuing a supplement rather than rewriting codes.  Mr. Kasmauskas also spoke in favor of sprinklers.

Sarah Miller, Pennsylvania Builders Association, spoke in favor of HB 568.  The benefits of the bill include, an increased review period for the RAC, the ability to modify provisions, and the ability to re-review un-adopted provisions.  Ms. Miller explained HB 568 is the best possible compromise. 

Doug Meshaw explained he is speaking for himself but on retainer with Pennsylvania Builders Association.  Mr. Meshaw spoke in favor of HB 568 and encouraged members to support it.

Future Meeting: Chair McCosby noted that if HB 568 does pass, a Fall meeting will be necessary.  Steve Black moved to hold such meeting on October 26th, and a vote yielded unanimous consent.  If the bill does not pass, the next meeting must be held within 6 months.  Mr. Schubert moved to hold a meeting on March 16, 2017 at 10 am at the Labor and Industry Building, Room E-100.  Mr. Lavalle seconded the motion, and a unanimous vote was taken approving that meeting date, time and venue.

Adjournment: Mr. Schneider moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Swann seconded the motion, after which the meeting was concluded at 11: 55 a.m.