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House, Senate Agriculture Committees Meet

In their first week back in Session from summer recess, both the House and Senate Agriculture committees met to move bills that are on the fall legislative agenda.

The Senate Agriculture committee met to consider House Bill 2371, which would add language allowing for transport of an agricultural commodity or nutrients through the harvest season. The bill was unanimously reported as committed.

The House Agriculture committee considered several bills, including Senate Bill 341, which establishes an Automotive Fuel Testing and Disclosure Program, providing for the annual testing of automotive fuel on a random, unannounced basis.

Minority Chair Rep. Petrarca (D-Westmoreland) offered two amendments to the bill. A technical amendment was unanimously adopted, while another was failed by a vote of 10-13, with majority of Republicans voting in the negative. A13126 sought to provide for mandatory octane testing by the Department of Agriculture. Petrarca spoke on the importance of mandatory testing as a means to protect consumers, and noted a Senate fiscal note that said the cost would be less than $100,000. Pennsylvania is one of three states that do not mandate testing.

While members of both parties have support such an effort over the years, Chairman John Maher (R-Allegheny) said that the current administration does not support the bill, regardless of whether the amendment is adopted. He went on to say that “it is expectation of the majority leader that we will have this bill in order for consideration immediately.”