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City Council Session Ends with a Few Significant Wins for the BIA

BIA’s Board of Directors and Government Affairs Committee were more active at City Hall than usual for the past two months. We were tracking more than 20 bills of interest to members at the start of this City Council session. We supported a few and opposed others. In the end, not all moved forward through the process, but we had several significant wins.

The BIA strongly pushed for Bill No. 220384, which was passed unanimously by City Council on June 16. Introduced by Councilmember Squilla, the bill allows a building permit to be extended for an extra six months. We also advocated for Councilmember Green’s Bill No. 220293, which will allow the state’s C-PACE funding program to be used for multifamily and mixed-use projects. And we supported two bills that increased the number of TOD zones at SEPTA stops from four to ten.

Wins with several bills came in the form of revisions and process. The BIA was successful in keeping Bill No. 220299 from moving out of Committee to the full Council for a vote. The bill would require most existing high-rise apartment buildings to install sprinkler systems. In addition, the BIA worked closely with Councilmember Bass to convince her not to have a hearing on Bill No. 220081, which would impose a temporary demolition moratorium in her district. We were also able to advocate successfully for most City Council Districts to be removed from Bill No. 220322, Councilmember Gauthier’s legislation that gives community land trusts priority in Land Bank dispositions. And we were able to improve several bills with favorable amendments, specifically Bill No. 220414, which increases landscaping requirements, and Bill No. 220008, which changes notifications to adjacent properties during demolition and construction activity.

The BIA worked tirelessly to push back on recent efforts to change apprenticeship training requirements and enforcement by L&I. The licensing requirements applicable to Sheet Metal Systems Technicians proposed in Bill No. 210740 were substantially pared back because of our efforts, and L+I’s Audits and Investigations Unit rolled back their mass licensure revocation, as well as their unfair and selective enforcement initiatives of an uncodified policy. Bill No. 220115, which would have modified licensing requirements for fire suppression apprentices resulted in a legal settlement with the city.

Although the BIA lobbied against Bill No. 220417, Councilmember Jones’ proposal to create city-funded legal representation for RCOs at zoning hearings, the legislation passed on June 23. We will work with the Councilmember and the city to look to limit the scope of this ill-considered legislation.

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