Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 263, also known as the Data Quality Act. The law, now Act 60, was sponsored by State Senator Ted Erickson (R-Chester) and supported by various home builder and business advocates as a mechanism to improve the overall quality and transparency of proposed state regulations.
Act 60 amends Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act, P.L. 73, No. 19, to require that state agencies support their proposed regulatory packages with “acceptable data” – which the law defines as “[e]mpirical, replicable, and testable data as evidenced in supporting documentation, statistics, reports, studies or research.” Currently, most regulatory agencies in Pennsylvania must submit their proposed regulatory changes to Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) for analysis and approval. As part of this vetting process, agencies must now disclose the data upon which new regulatory requirements are based and justify why such data is valid. The acceptable data evaluation joins existing review criteria, including economic and fiscal implications; effects to public health, safety, welfare and natural resources; and the regulation’s clarity, feasibility and reasonableness.
Affected agencies include the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and all those agencies whose rule-making process occurs through IRRC. However, while most state agency regulatory proposals are subjected to IRRC review, some are not. For example, Pennsylvania’s Fish and Boat Commission maintains an internal rulemaking process and as such will not be subject to the Data Quality Act