On a virtual party-line vote of 107-83, the Pennsylvania
House was unable to override Gov. Ed Rendell's veto of a bill intended to aid
small businesses in the state, including trucking operations.
The House vote fell short of the 135 "yes" votes needed to
have the required two-thirds majority for an override. The margin was
significantly different from the vote of 193-4 when the chamber originally
approved the bill in May 2005.
Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Wysox, said the Democratic governor's
veto resulted in many House Democrats changing their votes.
The bill - HB236 - required that prior to the adoption of
any proposed regulation that could adversely affect small businesses each state
agency must notify the Independent Regulatory Review Commission of its intent
to adopt the rule.
Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Wysox, said the bill allowed small
businesses that have been adversely affected or aggrieved by any regulatory
mandate to seek judicial review. The review period would have extended for 18
months after the implementation of the specific regulation.
The protection would have applied to businesses with up to
100 full-time employees or gross annual sales of less than $6 million.
Rendell said in his veto message that the legislation would
increase the cost of operating the government unnecessarily. He said estimates
from the state suggest that the cost of processing the more than 200
regulations that are proposed or revised annually could increase by as much as
$1 million as a result of the bill.
"The bill purports to protect small businesses, but, in
fact, it will place new burdens on our agencies and commissions and, thus, will
drive up the cost of their regulatory duties as well as further drag out an
already long process unnecessarily," Rendell wrote.
The governor also said there are enough protections for
businesses in current laws. This latest effort would only create another layer
of red tape, he said.
Rendell's explanation didn't pass muster with Pickett.
"Gov. Rendell vetoed this legislation because he said it
would put a financial strain on state agencies," Pickett said in a written
statement. "But what about the financial hardships our small businesses face
every day as they try to survive and provide family-sustaining jobs for
residents of Pennsylvania?"
Pickett said she isn't giving up. She plans to reintroduce
the measure when the new legislative session begins in January.