State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, on Monday counted Act 13, which places an impact fee on natural gas drilling, among the state Legislature's notable successes this year.
Everett said he is considering proposing another piece of legislation related to the industry. Everett said he wants to see a law in place preventing the storage of frack water in open empoundments.
"I have no problem with storing clean water in open empoundments, but I'm not crazy about storing frack water (in them) and won't be until the industry convinces me differently," he said.
According to Everett, he wants companies to be required to use a "closed loop" system in which all fluids used in the drilling process are contained in storage tanks, never to see the light of day.
Many of the larger companies operating in Lycoming County already are using closed loop systems, though the practice is not being used by all companies in the state or even the county, he said.
"My question (to the large companies) is, 'If you guys can do it, why can't everybody?'" Everett said.
Everett admitted Act 13 is not perfect, but said it is a far cry better than proposed severance tax legislation because it funnels money directly to impacted municipalities.
"(Act 13) was a real coup for rural areas of Pennsylvania where the actual (natural gas) development is going on," he said. Any revenue created by the severance tax would have gone to the state's general fund and local municipalities would have seen little or none of it, he said.
There also are environmental components to the impact fee legislation, including stringent zoning requirements, Everett said, adding, "I think there is a lot of good stuff in the bill."
Everett gave a passing vote to the legislature for its most recent session, but said that session was not perfect.
"There is no way I could say we're an A (grade)," Everett said, adding that he would give a grade "in the B range."
Everett said he understands some constituents - and even some legislators themselves - might offer a failing grade.
However, there have been some notable successes this year beyond the implementation of Act 13.
Everett said lawmakers are focusing on making the state more business friendly, which is something Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom at nationally.
"I'm not saying we need to go to number two overnight, but it would be nice to be closer to the middle of the pack," he said.
Everett said he proposed legislation that repeals the requirement that new homes have sprinkler systems installed in them. According to information provided by Everett, the legislation could slash $5,000 to $20,000 from the cost of a new home.
The legislation was passed, but not before other building code-related components were added to it, he said.
Also proposed was legislation that would close loopholes in the state's unemployment compensation law by ensuring that people who quit their jobs are not eligible for compensation.
The legislature also is working to eliminate some corporate taxes that Everett said is detrimental to attracting companies to the state.
Another focus is on improving the state's education system. Although Lycoming County's school districts are top notch, that cannot be said of all school districts in the state, he said.
Legislation implementing a teacher evaluation system was passed, he said. The law requires teachers to be evaluated based half on observation in the classroom and half on student test scores, he said.
Legislation also was enacted that provides tax credits for businesses that provide scholarships to students, he said.
Everett said Gov. Tom Corbett's "pay as you go" budget philosophy is a good one. Years ago, when the state had a budget surplus, that money was quickly spent on new programs, particularly in the areas of health and human services, he said.
Now that money is tight, the spending has to be reigned in and that means cutting funding where those programs overlap, he said.
Corbett instituted a pilot block grant program for human services. The program, in which up to 20 counties may participate during any given year, funnels funding in a lump sum block grant to the counties, which then distribute the funds to human service agencies. The program provides flexibility by allowing counties to use the funding where it is needed most, he said.
Corbett initially proposed cutting 20 percent from human service funding, but settled on 10 percent in the final budget, he said.
"I'm convinced it's a good idea," Everett said of the block grant system.