Enhanced Preemption Probably Lost Due to Single Subject Requirement

Harrisburg PA Capitol Dome

Pennsylvania’s enhanced preemption measure, Act 192, got off to a rough start when it had to be attached to a metal theft bill at the last minute, and then quickly signed by the outgoing Governor Corbett. This happened because of Senator Greenleaf’s obstinance in committee. The only way to get it onto the Senate floor was to amend it to another bill.

The problem is that Pennsylvania has a single subject requirement for bills, and it’s a stretch to argue that metal theft and firearm preemption are the same subject. It was more than two years ago the lawsuits started. Now the case has been argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it’s being noted that it doesn’t look good for Act 192. Act 192 has been unenforceable since a stay was issued in a lawsuit until the constitutionality of the act could be determined. Still, even if the Supreme Court refuses to  Act 192, the law still did some good during the time period when it hadn’t yet been challenged.

If we can get rid of Wolf in a few years, we might have another shot at this. I’m also at the point where I would even be willing to help out a leftist Dem challenger to Greenleaf just to get him off that committee chairmanship.

3 thoughts on “Enhanced Preemption Probably Lost Due to Single Subject Requirement”

  1. Though I’m disappointed by the loss of enhanced preemption, I think overturning the bill is the constitutionally correct decision.

    I wonder if this also shoots down the metal theft part of the bill; wouldn’t it have the same problem?

    1. I think that’s a real possibility; however, if the title of the bill and any provisions describing the purpose of the bill specifically addresses metal theft and not preemption, then I would be a little surprised if that part gets nuked.

      Particularly if the bill has a severability clause, where it specifically states that the declaration of the unConstitutionality of one part of the bill doesn’t necessarily invalidate the rest of the bill.

      (I don’t know how likely the bill has that; I remember it being a big deal for ObamaCare, for not having such a clause, although no part of ObamaCare has yet to be declared unConstitutional…)

  2. Minnesota’s first shall issue bill had the same problem. The law was overturned. Fortunately none of the issued permits were made null and void. The legislature passed the law as a single subject in the next session.

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