Shusterman authors legislation to bolster small businesses, reform state lobbying practices

HARRISBURG, Feb. 17 - State Rep. Melissa Shusterman introduced three pieces of legislation that would boost Pennsylvania’s economy and reform the commonwealth’s lobbying laws.

Shusterman’s H.B. 267 would ensure that early and mid-stage businesses using the Second Stage Loan program create more job opportunities in Pennsylvania, and businesses that receive loan guarantees are not only located in Pennsylvania, but stay in Pennsylvania.

“The Second Stage Loan Program provides vital assistance to help businesses grow and thrive, and we want to make sure we’re boosting Pennsylvania’s economy, too,” Shusterman said. “This bill would provide a stronger economy and create sustainable jobs in my district and around the state.”

The Second Stage Loan Program is a loan guarantee administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority that guaranteed loans made by commercial lending institutions to life science, advanced technology or manufacturing businesses. The program provides banks with an extra measure of security to encourage them to provide early-stage companies with working capital. Shusterman said that in order to receive a loan guarantee, her bill would require businesses to remain and conduct services within the commonwealth.

Shusterman’s lobbying reform legislation, H.Bs. 268 and 269, both currently await consideration in the House State Government Committee.

House Bill 268 would institute a lifetime lobbying ban for all public officials upon leaving office, while extending the waiting period before public employees could begin lobbying after leaving from one year to two years. Shusterman said that stopping this “revolving door” would end this corruptive influence on Pennsylvania’s democracy, which often goes unnoticed.

“Lobbyists outnumber legislators five to one in Pennsylvania. In fact, many of these lobbyists are former public officials who left office to pursue lucrative contracts working for special interest groups,” Shusterman said. “Practices like this cause people to question the motives of their elected officials and ultimately diminish their trust in state government.”

House Bill 269 would increase lobbying transparency in Pennsylvania. Shusterman said that this legislation would require lobbyists to provide an extensively detailed annual report and disclose their business relationships. Failure to adhere to these stipulations would subject lobbyists and their principals to various fines and penalties, Shusterman said.

“Lobbying is a great opportunity for people to participate in the governmental process, but we need to level the playing field,” Shusterman said. “Increasing transparency and ending the revolving door are two commonsense measures to ensure lobbying is conducted as fairly as possible.”

For more information, contact Shusterman’s office at (484) 200-8260.