Two Legislative Victories

On May 23rd, the Chapter achieved two hard-fought legislative wins. The Pennsylvania General Assembly approved the NECA-supported House Bill 566 for Timely Payment to Contractors and Subcontractors with a vote of 175-16 in the House and 43-5 in the Senate. The same day, it approved Senate Bill 234, NECA-supported legislation to authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy programs in Pennsylvania, with a vote of 163-28. Both Bills now head to Governor Wolf’s desk where he is expected to sign them into law.

For more information on both Bills, please see below.

HB 566: Timely Payment to Contractors and Subcontractors

HB 566 amends the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (CASPA) Act 7 of 1994 to include suspension of performance or “stop work” provisions in the event of nonpayment of a contractor by an owner or higher tiered contractor. This is an essential tool for small construction-related businesses when payment is not received for work that has been satisfactorily completed. Under the changes proposed in HB 566, if a contractor, in accordance with the owner’s payment obligations, does not receive a payment, then the contractor may stop work, without penalty, until payment is received. Currently, suspension of performance provisions already protect contractors in a number of states from New Jersey and New York to Texas and California.

The bill also provides that provisions of CASPA cannot be waived in a contract. In addition, it requires that when payment or retainage is withheld for a deficiency item, a written explanation of the good-faith reason be provided. Finally, it would allow a contractor or subcontractor to post a maintenance bond to facilitate the release of retainage.

The full text of the bill may be found here.

This bipartisan legislation was cosponsored by PA Reps. Jamie Santora (R-Delaware County) and Mike Driscoll (D-Philadelphia County.)

The Chapter thanks all of its members who supported our advocacy efforts for HB 566 to help contractors get paid for their work in a timely manner.

SB 234: Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Financing

SB 234, co-sponsored by Senator John Blake, a Democrat from Northeastern PA, and Senator Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican from Western PA, was a bipartisan effort to accelerate the implementation of clean energy and energy efficiency projects on commercial and industrial properties across the state.

Senate Bill 234 authorizes counties and municipal governments to establish Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (C-PACE) programs. C-PACE is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties. The upfront capital is then paid back in the form of a property tax assessment. C-PACE can finance new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps, insulation, CHP systems, and other qualifying projects.

This financing tool allows businesses to invest in cost-saving energy efficiency projects, which create jobs, lower operating costs, and improve property values. For local government, C-PACE programs are voluntary and do not require any public funds.

C-PACE has a proven record of success. Thirty-three states have enacted C-PACE-enabling legislation since 2009, and C-PACE programs are currently operating in nineteen states. From 2010-2017, C-PACE programs leveraged $540 million for energy efficiency and clean energy projects and created 8,100 jobs.

The full text of the bill may be found here.

The Chapter led the effort to pass this Bill, working to assemble a coalition of over thirty-five stakeholder groups to help get the Bill through the Pennsylvania General Assembly. We thank all of our members that supported our advocacy efforts for SB 234. We look forward to C-PACE unlocking new opportunities for our industry in the energy efficiency and clean energy space here in Pennsylvania.