Local Government 2017-2018

The Senate Local Government Committee met on Friday, June 22, 2018 and took the following action:

Reported as Amended:

SB 1099, PN 1642 (Martin) – This bill allows Third Class Counties and the municipalities and school districts within Third Class Counties the option to choose alternative tax collection officers for the purpose of property tax collection.  Senator Martin offered Amendment A08919, which removed fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight class counties and the municipalities and school districts within them from the bill.  In addition, the amendment exempts Third Class Counties that operate under Home Rule and provides for county reclassification.  The amendment was adopted by a vote of 9-3.  The bill as amended was defeated by a vote of 6-6.  Sen. Martin then motioned to reconsider the vote by which the bill as amended was defeated. The motion was unanimously adopted.  The bill as amended passed 7-5.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 and took the following action:

Reported as Committed by an 11-1 vote:

HB 2468, PN 3676 (Kampf) – This legislation would limit the use of eminent domain by governmental agencies, including school districts, on land that has been set aside with a conservation easement for parks and open space purposes from taking under the Eminent Domain Code. This bill would require Orphans’ Court approval before government agencies could take permanently preserved land.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 and took the following action:

Reported as Committed by unanimous vote:

SB 1168, PN 1748 (Eichelberger) – This legislation would amend the Borough Code to provide for an alternative method to decrease the number of borough council members, specifically the bill would require the court of common pleas to certify a referendum vote when at least 5% of registered voters have petitioned.

SB 1176, PN 1756 (Yaw) – This bill amends statute surrounding the creation of home rule and optional plan governments, by providing for the questions related to the creation of a government study commission and limiting their placement on the ballot if any one of the questions was defeated within the last four years.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 and took the following action:

Reported as Committed:

SB 1007, PN 1396 (Eichelberger) – This bill provides for the training and qualifications of Assessment Appeal Board and Auxiliary Appeal Board Members, auxiliary appeal board establishment, assessment procedures and makes notifications to property owners.  The bill was reported out by a vote of 11-1.

HB 480, PN 504 (Schemel) – This bill amends the Second Class Township Code to allow townships to enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement by adopting a resolution instead of only being able to pass an ordinance. The bill was reported out unanimously.

HB 481, PN 505 (Schemel) –  This bill amends the Third Class City Code to allow cities to enter into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement by adopting a instead of only being able to pass an ordinance.  The bill was reported out unanimously.

Reported as Amended:

SB 1006, PN 1395 (Eichelberger) – This bill would amend the Consolidated County Assessment Law (CCAL) to further facilitate the existing requirement that building permit information be submitted to the county assessment office. Amendment A06201 (Eichelberger) includes submission of demolition permits to county assessment offices. The amendment passed by a vote of 11-1 and the bill was also reported as amended by a vote of 11-1.

HB 479, PN 503 (Schemel) –  This bill amends Title 53 to allow municipalities to adopt a resolution for the purpose of entering into an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement. Amendment A06905 (Wagner) amends a subsection title for technical purposes, to read “Ordinance or resolution.” The amendment passed by a unanimous vote and the bill was reported as amended by a unanimous vote.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 and took the following action:

Reported as Amended by unanimous vote:

SB 1005 (Eichelberger) – This bill updates and consolidates The County Code. Amendment A05979 (Eichelberger) provides for procedural steps to be taken in the event a sheriff is unable to fulfill their duties of the office. Amendment A05824 (Martin) amends a subdivision of the County Code to grandfather Third Class Counties with a convention center that may be reclassified due to population growth. Both amendments passed by unanimous vote.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, and took the following action:

SB 114 (Eichelberger):  Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to authorize a sewer authority to obtain a court order allowing it to terminate sewer service to commercial customers who are delinquent at least 6 months in payment of sewer bills.  Before an authority can terminate service, one-week’s notice via certified mail; posting on the property 24 hours prior; and notification to local health department and DEP are required. Unanimously reported as committed.

Local Government Commission bills amending the following municipal codes to provide for concise publication of annual financial reporting information:

SB 771 (McGarrigle):  Amends the Borough Code (Title 8) and Third Class City Code (Title 11)

SB 772 (McGarrigle):  Amends the First Class Township Code (Act 331 of 1931)

SB 773 (McGarrigle):  Amends Act 253 of 1929 (relating to Incorporated Towns)

Bills unanimously reported as committed.

HB 104 (Godshall):  Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to require a municipal authority to publicly discuss all acquisitions and the sale or transfer of authority-owned water and sewer infrastructure and how the acquisition or sale will benefit the authority’s existing ratepayers; and requires annual reports within 180 days of the end of an authority’s fiscal year.

The following package of bills authorize local governments to implement storm water management ordinances and to assess a fee to fund the planning, management, implementation, construction and maintenance of storm water facilities:

HB 913 (Everett):  Amends Title 8 (Boroughs and Incorporated Towns)

  • A05642 (Hutchinson): Restricts fee revenues to only cover cost of federal compliance. Amendment failed by vote of 6-6.

HB 914 (Everett):  Amends the Borough Code (Title 8)

  • A05643 (Hutchinson): Restricts fee revenues to only cover cost of federal compliance. Amendment failed by vote of 6-6.

HB 915 (Everett):  Amends the First Class Township Code (Act 331 of 1931)

  • A05644 (Hutchinson:) Restricts fee revenues to only cover cost of federal compliance. Amendment failed by vote of 6-6.

HB 916 (Everett):  Amends Title 11 (Cities)

  • A05645 (Hutchinson): Restricts fee revenues to only cover cost of federal compliance. Amendment failed by vote of 6-6.

Bills reported as committed by a vote of 10-2.

HB 1364 (James):  Local Government Commission bill amends Act 78 of 1979 (“No Bid” Law) to provide for the award of contract for services when no bids are received. Unanimously reported as committed.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, and took the following action:

Reported as Committed:

Local Government Commission bills amending the following municipal codes to permit the purchase of used personal property from volunteer emergency service organizations without requiring bids:
• SB 801 (Hutchinson): Amends Title 8 (Boroughs) and Title 11 (Cities)
• SB 802 (Hutchinson): Amends the First Class Township Code
• SB 803 (Hutchinson): Amends the Second Class Township Code
 SB 804 (Hutchinson): Amends Act 34 of 1953 (relating to contracts of incorporated towns)
All unanimously reported as committed.

Local Government Commission bills amending the following municipal codes to increase the dollar threshold to $2,000, up from the current $1,000, above which advertisement of the sale of municipal personal property is required:
• SB 947 (Hutchinson): Amends the Borough Code and Third Class City Code
• SB 948 (Hutchinson): Amends the First Class Township Code
• SB 949 (Hutchinson): Amends Act 34 of 1953 (relating to Incorporated Towns)
All unanimously reported as committed.

SB 950 (Eichelberger): A Local Government Commission bill, creates a free-standing act to authorize county commissioners, by resolution, to implement a Voluntary Real Estate Sales Verification Form Pilot Program. Unanimously reported as committed.

HB 1034 (Mako): Amends Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) to provide additional procedures for the collection of monies by municipal authorities, specifically requiring money to be remitted in the name of the authority or designated recipient, and may not include the name of an individual. Unanimously reported as committed.

Revert to Prior Printer’s Number and Reported as Committed:

HB 99 (Zimmerman): Amends Title 8 (Boroughs and Incorporated Towns) to allow boroughs to issue contracts during an emergency without advertising, bidding or price quotations and requires council to disclose the reasons at its next public hearing. Also adds “electricity” to existing list of utility services for boroughs not subject to advertising, bidding or price quotations. Motion to revert to prior Printer’s Number adopted by a vote of 9-3. Bill was unanimously reported as committed.


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) – This legislation defines “municipality of refuge” and holds municipalities accountable for not enforcing Federal or State laws as they relate to immigration. Amendment A00015 was adopted in committee. The amendment makes municipalities of refuge ineligible for any State grant.

SB 128 (Eichelberger) – This legislation prevents municipalities from enacting employer leave and compensation mandates that are not required by Federal or State law. Amendment A00032 was adopted in committee. The amendment changes the retroactive date from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2015.

Senator John Blake

Senator John Blake

Committee Chair