Local Government Committee 2017-2018

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, and took the following action:

Reported Out as Committed:
SB 597 (Stefano): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to allow the Auditor General (rather than the Attorney General) to audit county and municipal authorities. Passed by a vote of 10-2.

SB 979 (Regan): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to authorize a municipality or regional police force to provide full-time police officers the option to purchase up to five years of pension service credit for prior part-time or full-time police service provided in a police department. Passed by a vote of 11-1.

Reported Out as Amended:
HB 99 (Zimmerman): Amends Title 8 (Boroughs and Incorporated Towns) to exempt boroughs from advertising and bidding requirements for certain contracts or purchases in the case of emergencies. Passed by a vote of 7-5.
A05235 (Blake): Brings language in sync with 2nd Class Township Code. Adopted by a vote of 7-5.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Monday, June 19, 2017, and took the following action:

Reported Out as Amended:

SB 656 (Fontana): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) authorizing municipalities and municipal authorities to use public funds to repair or replace contaminated, private water and sewer lateral lines when they pose a threat to the public health or safety. The bill was reported out unanimously.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, and took the following action:

Reported Out as Committed:

HB 422 (Gabler): Amends the First Class Township Code (Act 331 of 1931) to clarify that only registered electors of a township are eligible for election or appointment to a township office. Prior to being sworn into a position, a signed affidavit must be presented to the township secretary stating that the individual resides in the township (or ward) they will represent, and that they have resided there for at least one year immediately prior to the election or appointment. A vacancy is not created by a resignation until it is accepted by a majority of the commissioners or the effective date of the resignation, whichever is later. If the commissioners fail to come to an agreement on the resignation, the resignation will automatically be accepted after 45 days, unless it is withdrawn. The Code currently states that a person shall not be eligible for an elected office of the township unless they are a registered elector. The bill was reported out unanimously.

HB 423 (Gabler): Amends the Second Class Township Code (Act 69 of 1933) to provide that the board of supervisors in a Second Class Township shall have a maximum of 45 days to accept the resignation of any elected official by a majority vote of the board at a public meeting. If the resignation is not withdrawn, it is deemed accepted at the end of the 45 day period. Once the resignation is accepted, the board of supervisors shall follow the established vacancy procedures. The Code does not currently address filling vacancies in Second Class Townships resulting from resignations, other than giving the Board of Supervisors 30 days to fill a vacancy. If the Board does not fill the vacancy, the vacancy board has 15 days to fill it. If the vacancy board fails to fill the vacancy, its chairman shall petition the court of common pleas to fill the vacancy. The bill was reported out unanimously.

SB 252 (Vulakovich): Amends Pittsburgh’s Parking Authority law within Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to grant the Authority powers to engage in transactions that encourage private development:
• Grant interest in the form of leases, licenses or easements for dedicated parking to support commercial or residential use provided the term of interest does not exceed the authority’s existence nor has the average occupancy rate for parking spaces for the prior 6 months exceeded 90% for that facility.
• Develop, operate or participate in development/operation of mixed-use projects.
• Finance mixed-use projects by incurring debt.
The bill was reported out unanimously.

SB 736 (Martin/Blake): Amends Title 75 (Vehicles) to authorize third class cities and Scranton (2A city) to authorize parking authorities to enforce and administer parking ordinances and resolutions. The bill was reported out unanimously.

HB 1269 (Quigley): Extends from 15 to 20 years the timeframe for a municipal sewer authority serving five or more municipalities to complete infrastructure and facility projects funded by a sewer tapping fee. The bill was reported out unanimously.

Reported Out as Amended:

SB 653 (Browne): Amends Local Tax Enabling Act (Act 511 of 1965) to extend Act 32’s existing consolidation of Earned Income Tax collection to all other local, non-real estate taxes provided under Act 511. The bill was reported out by a vote of 10-2.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, and took the following action:

Reported Out as Committed:

SB 690 (Eichelberger): Amends the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law within Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to provide a statutory mechanism for the initial apportionment of any home rule or optional charter municipality without a mayor that will be dividing into wards either partially or totally, or changing the number of members of the governing body. This mechanism provides that municipalities without a mayor will have the members of the governing body do the initial apportionment into districts to be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable consistent with 53 Pa.C.S. § 903. Any home rule or optional charter municipality with a mayor may, at its option, may also have the members of the governing body make the initial apportionment without setting up an apportionment commission consisting of mayoral and governing body appointees. The bill was reported out unanimously.

SB 691 (Hutchinson): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to clarify that a person returning to his or her municipality of permanent residence following active military service is qualified for election to, or appointment to fill a vacancy in, a locally elected office without restarting a one year residency period. The bill was reported out unanimously.

SB 693 (Schwank): Amends the law that authorized political subdivisions and authorities to enter into purchase contracts for goods and sale of property where no bids are received (Act 78 of 1979) to enter into contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to induce bids. The bill was reported out unanimously.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 and took the following action:

Reported as Committed:

HB 16 (Mackenzie): Amends the Local Tax Collection Law to require tax collectors to open a public account for the deposit of tax collected. Tax revenue may not longer to deposited into personal accounts. The bill was reported out unanimously.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 and took the following action:

Reported as Committed:

SB 5 (Langerholc): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to prevent municipalities from enacting local ordinances pertaining to firearms and ammunitions that are more restrictive than state law. The bill was reported out by a vote of 9-3.

SB 365 (Gordner): Amends the Second Class Township Code to increase the threshold from $1,000 to $2,000 the value of personal property that can be sold without going to bid. The bill was reported out unanimously.

SB 399 (Gordner): Amends the Second Class Township Code to allow supervisors hold both an elected and appointed position within the township, provided that is not prohibited elsewhere in statute. The bill was reported out unanimously.

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 and took the following action:

Reported as Amended:

SB 10 (Reschenthaler): Amends Titles 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) and 53 (Municipalities) to define “municipality of refuge” and hold municipalities accountable for not enforcing Federal or State laws as they relate to immigration, making them ineligible for any State grant. The bill was reported out by a vote of 8-4.

SB 128 (Eichelberger): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to prevent municipalities from enacting employer leave and compensation mandates that are not required by Federal or State law—retroactive from January 1, 2015. The bill was reported out by a vote of 8-4.