Original Jurisdiction in the case of Pennsylvania Association of Rental Dealers v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Robert Casey.
J. Samuel Choate, Jr., Reichler, Applebaum & Wippman, with him, Arthur L. Pressman, Abraham, Pressman & Bauer, P.C., and James P. Nehf, Filler & Nehf, P.C., for petitioner.
Gregory R. Neuhauser, Senior Deputy Attorney General, with him, John G. Knorr, III, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondents.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, Barry, Colins, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge Barry.
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The Pennsylvania Association of Rental Dealers (PARD) has filed an equitable action in our original jurisdiction seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment that Act No. 1988-15 (Act 15), Act of February 26, 1988, P.L. 78, Act No. 1988-15, amending Act of October 28, 1966, P.L. 55, Special Sess. No. 1, as amended, 69 P.S. §§ 1101-2303 (Supp. 1988) (Installment Sales Act), was passed by the Legislature in a manner which violated various sections of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Named as respondents are the Commonwealth and its Governor, the Honorable Robert Casey. As there is no dispute concerning the facts, both sides have moved for
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summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, we believe PARD's motion for summary judgment must be granted.
PARD is an unincorporated association of companies which lease consumer goods and appliances to customers. Included in a great number of the leases are provisions which give the customer the option to purchase the items at the expiration of the lease. Prior to the passage of Act 15, these transactions whereby a customer could purchase the goods following the expiration of the lease were not covered by the Installment Sales Act. Act 15 amended various sections of the Installment Sales Act so that these transactions would come within its purview.
Act 15's path through the Legislature is the subject of PARD's challenge. Again, these facts are undisputed. The Act originated as Senate Bill No. 167 and dealt with the payment by farmers of estimated taxes; it was referred to the Senate Finance Committee on January 23, 1987. The committee reported the bill to the full Senate which considered the bill on February 4, 1987, March 11, 1987 and finally passed it without amendment five days later.
Senate Bill 167 was then referred to the House Finance Committee two days later; that body reported the bill to the full House which gave the bill its first consideration on June 15, 1987. Two days later, the bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee which reported an amended bill to the full House on June 22, 1987; the amended bill, which received consideration that day by the House, deleted all of the language dealing with farmers' estimated tax payments and in its place the new language provided for financial assistance to local taxing authorities. On July 2, 1987, the amended Senate Bill 167 was then referred to the House Rules Committee. That body reported yet a different bill to the full
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House on February 22, 1988. These amendments deleted all language concerning assistance to local taxing authorities and now contained the language which eventually became Act 15. The following day the House gave Senate Bill 167 final consideration. The next day, Senate Bill 167 was returned to the Senate which without referring ...