Nondelegation Doctrine - Unlawful Delegation Challenge
Pursuant to the non-delegation doctrine reflected in Article II, Section 1 and Article III, Section 1 (no law shall be passed except by bill), the Legislature may not delegate its lawmaking power to any other branch of government, body or authority. Ins. Fed. of Pa., Inc. v. Dep't of Ins., 585 Pa. 630, 889 A.2d 550 (2005).
The Legislature, however, may delegate policy making authority to an administrative agency as long as the Legislature makes the basic policy choices and enacts adequate standards guiding and restraining the exercise of the delegated administrative functions. Id.
In determining whether the Legislature established adequate standards, we are not bound by the letter of the Act. Wm. Penn Parking Garage, Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 464 Pa. 168, 346 A.2d 269 (1975).
Rather, we must examine the underlying purpose of the statute and its reasonable effect. Id.
In Tosto v. Pennsylvania Nursing Home Loan Agency, 460 Pa. 1, 331 A.2d 198 (1975), the Supreme Court addressed an unlawful delegation challenge to the Nursing Home Loan Agency Law.
The Court rejected the unlawful delegation challenge. In doing so, the Court reviewed the entire law and ascertained its basic policy: financially assisting nursing homes that failed to meet state and federal safety regulations.
The Court also determined the statute included adequate standards and guidelines to guard against administrative caprice.