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Local Government 2019-2020

The Local Government Committee met on Monday, September 21, 2020 to vote on the following bill:

SB 1296 (Argall) – Prohibits a county of the fourth class from purchasing taxable land in a city of the third class without the approval the municipality and school district. The bill was voted out 11-1 (Brooks).


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and unanimously reported out the following bills:

SB 1164 (J. Ward) – Amends the County Code requiring notification to the Coroner of a death suspected to be due to contagious diseases related to a pandemic or health disaster emergency.

HB 885 (Gaydos) – Amends the Public Works Contractors’ Bond Law of 1967 requiring certain financial securities for public contracts in excess of $10,000.

HB 908 (Radar) – Amends Act 442 of 1967 (1968) permitting open space tax funds to be used to maintain open space property not acquired under the Act.

HB 1408 (Lewis) – Repeals Act 192 of 1959, which permitted the continuation of play for football and baseball games on Sunday after 5:00 p.m.

HB 1582 (Greiner) – Amends the Second Class Township Code providing for the appointment of an independent auditor and abolishment of elected auditor.

HB 1647 (Emerick) – Amends the Local Tax Collection Law waiving penalties for failure to receive a tax notice upon the transfer of real property.

HB 2044 (Masser) – Repealing Act 120 of 1919, which required a permit from the Mayor for a public dance or public ball, and licenses for dance instruction.

HB 2536 (James) – Amends Title 53 temporarily authorizing the issuance of tax anticipation notes that expire at the end of the next fiscal year to give local governments more flexibility to deal with COVID-19 challenges.

A07078 – technical amendment to clarify that tax anticipation notes must be repaid by the end of a local government unit’s FY 2022.



The Senate Local Government committee met on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 and took the following action:

Reported unanimously as amended:

SB 1188, PN 1751 (Blake) –  Clarifies that local taxes authorized by Act 47, Act 205, or home rule powers shall not be included in the calculation of Act 511 aggregate tax limits. Senator Blake offered amendment A06120 which took out the language about the formula for calculating real market value. The amendment was unanimously approved.


The Senate Local Government committee met on Monday, June 8, 2020 and took the following action:

Reported unanimously as amended:

HB 1564, PN 3497 (Emrick) – Amends the county assessment process for valuating mobile homes and manufactured homes to incorporate depreciation; provides for governing bodies of political subdivisions to meet remotely during declared emergencies and disasters; and allows and provides for the regulation of remote notarization services. Senator Kearney offered amendment A06001 which removes the provisions related to remote municipal meetings and remote notarization, makes the new assessment method for valuating mobile and manufactured homes optional, provides a temporary extension to the assessment appeals process for a court-ordered county reassessment, and provides an extension of training requirements for appeals board members during a disaster declaration.

SB 1039, PN 1544 (Martin) – This bill consolidates the County Code into Title 16, and makes related repeals. Senator Hutchinson offered amendment A06013 which made technical clarifications in the County Code related to providing for offices or space outside the county seat, clarifying that bids for county contracts may be done electronically, and for providing financial assistance to fire companies of any municipality within the county.

Reported unanimously as committed:

HB 2073, PN 2927 (Moul) – This Local Government Commission bill provides a comprehensive revision and modernization of the First Class Township Code for the first time since 1949. The bill is a product of a Local Government Commission task force and makes numerous substantive and technical changes to the code based on updated case law and stakeholder consensus.


The Senate Local Government committee met on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported unanimously as amended:

HB 1203, PN 1738 (Ryan) – Amends Title 53 Chapter 56, the Municipal Authorities Act, to require minimum standards for annual audits, takes away a municipality’s right to audit an authority unless the authority fails to submit an annual audit, and allows municipalities to request the Auditor General conduct an audit at the authority’s expense.

Senator Martin offered amendment A03538 which is a technical amendment. Senator Martin also offered amendment A03520 which does the following:

  • Removes the option for municipalities to request an audit by the Auditor General
  • Removes language from the bill that took away a municipality’s ability to conduct a “review” if it deems one necessary.
  • Expands the scope of a municipal review to include governance and operations performance.
  • Clarifies that municipal audits of an authority will be paid for by the authority if the authority fails to file its own audit in time, and that municipal audits of an authority will otherwise be paid for by the municipality.

The Senate Local Government committee met on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported as amended by vote of 10-1:

HB 1034, PN 1206 (Everett) – This legislation would amend the Consolidated County Assessment Law to more precisely define changes to property that do or do not require reporting to county assessment offices and changes to the property assessment. It also requires the forwarding of demolition permit info to county assessment offices and provides accountability measures to ensure reporting.

Senator Martin offered Amendment A03312 which does the following:

  • Requires that any submission of the permit is restricted to the permit itself, rather than allowing a county to establish an alternative format.
  • Removes the Department of Labor and Industry from the provision expressly authorizing a mandamus action to compel submission of permit information and authorizes such an action against a third-party agency.
  • Removes provisions authorizing corrective action by the Department of Labor and Industry against the certification of a third-party agency for intentional noncompliance with building permit submission requirements.

 

Reported unanimously as committed:

HB 917, PN 1055 (Schmitt) – Repeals Act 598 of 1929, which allows municipalities other than townships to use funds to establish a hospital.

HB 1035, PN 1207 (Sappey) – This legislation would amend Act 78 of 1979 to allow political subdivisions and authorities to enter to contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to induce bids.

HB 1036, PN 1208 (Moul) – This bill amends the Borough Code to require a voter referendum before a court grants or denies a petition to reduce the size of a borough council.

HB 1174, PN 1360 (Dowling) – Repeals Act 49 of 1933, which prohibits baseball or football games on Sunday afternoons.

HB 1180, PN 1366 (Fritz) – Repeals Act 211 of 1935, the Sunday Motion Pictures Act, which prohibits the showing movies before 2PM on Sundays, and provides for municipal referendums to make exceptions for after 2PM.

HB 1379, PN 1670 (Rigby) – Repeals Act 187 of 1935, the Sunday Polo Act, which prohibits Polo on Sundays between certain hours.

HB 1405, PN 1725 (Hershey) – Repeals Act 188 of 1935, the Sunday Tennis Law, which specifically allows games of tennis to occur on Sundays between 1PM and 7PM.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported unanimously as committed:

SB 494, PN 528 (Martin) – This legislation would amend Act 78 of 1979 to allow political subdivisions and authorities to enter to contracts for services when two consecutive advertisements fail to induce bids.

SB 495, PN 529 (Kearney) – This bill amends the Borough Code to require a voter referendum before a court grants or denies a petition to reduce the size of a borough council.

SB 688, PN 827 (Martin) – This bill amends the Borough Code to standardize the maximum salaries of elected borough officials allowed.

SB 689, PN 828 (Martin) – This bill amends the Second Class Township Code to standardize the maximum salaries of elected borough officials allowed.

SB 690, PN 829 (Hutchinson) – This bill amends Act 34 of 1953 to increase the value of municipal real estate requiring competitive bidding in order to be sold by incorporated towns.

SB 691, PN 830 (Hutchinson) – This bill amends the Second Class Township Code to increase the value of municipal real estate requiring competitive bidding in order to be sold by Second Class towns.

SB 692, PN 831 (Hutchinson) – This bill amends the Borough Code and the Third Class City Code to increase the value of municipal real estate requiring competitive bidding in order to be sold by incorporated towns.

Reported as committed by a vote of 10-1:

SB 493, PN 527 (Kearney) – This legislation would amend the Consolidated County Assessment Law to more precisely define changes to property that do or do not require reporting to county assessment offices and changes to the property assessment. It also requires the forwarding of demolition permit info to county assessment offices and provides accountability measures to ensure reporting.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported as committed by a vote of 10-1:

SB 321, PN 717 (Martin) –  The bill creates a new chapter within Title 53 to provide for the option to prohibit the location of Video Gaming Terminal licenses within a municipality.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported as committed by a vote of 7-4:

SB 531, PN 566 (Langerholc) – The bill declares the General Assembly’s past and continued intent to determine firearm and ammunition regulation, clarifies current preemption statutes, provides relief for adversely affected parties, and provides definition of adversely affected parties.

Senator Santarsiero offered amendment A00834 which would create an exemption which would allow for a local ordinance or rule to prohibit firearm possession on municipal property, including buildings, libraries and parks.

Senator Kearney offered amendment A00842 which would remove membership organizations with members in PA from the definition of “adversely affected persons” with standing to sue municipalities with ordinances that violate the preemption.

Both amendments failed by a vote of 7-4.

Reported unanimously as committed:

HB 510, PN 885 (Schemel) – This bill allows municipalities to enter intergovernmental cooperation agreements through resolutions and removes the requirement that such agreements must be entered via ordinance.

HB 511, PN 497 (Schemel) – Removes a Second Class Township Code requirement that townships may only enter intergovernmental cooperative agreements through ordinance.

HB 512, PN 498 (Schemel) – Removes a requirement that Cities of the Third Class may only enter intergovernmental cooperation agreements through ordinance.

HB 547, PN 886 (Emrick) – Allows First Class Townships to set annual tax rates by resolution if they are not raised.

HB 548, PN 887 (Emrick) – Allows Boroughs and Third Class Cities to set annual tax rates by resolution if they are not raised.


The Senate Local Government Committee met on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and took the following action:

Reported unanimously as committed:

SB 110, PN 82 (Yaw) – This bill amends the process for local governments becoming home rule or optional plan governments, by limiting the frequency with which municipalities can place questions related to the creation of a governmental study commission on the ballot if any one of those questions was defeated in the last four years. The bill also restricts the placement of the government study commission ballot questions to general elections.

SB 316, PN 295 (Gordner) – This legislation would allow Second Class Township boards of supervisors to authorize newly elected supervisors to attend trainings relevant to their elected office prior to assuming office. This would also allow the boards of supervisors to pay for the expenses of these trainings.

SB 317, PN 296 (Gordner) – This legislation amends Section 3202 of the Second Class Township Code, providing for annual budget notification requirements. The legislation changes the number of days between advertising an amended annual budget (after significant errors are discovered in the initial proposed budget) and adoption of a final budget from 20 days to 10 days. Secondly, this legislation removes the requirement in Section 3202 to use a uniform budget form that is no longer in use, and made obsolete by Act 35 of 2000.

HB 264, PN 361 (Mako) – Standardizes procedure for authorities to manage funds and accounting practices, and provides for annual audits and public fiscal reports.

HB 275, PN 246 (Mehaffie) – This bill amends the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47 of 1987) to change the name of the Early Intervention Program to the Strategic Management Planning Program.

Senator Tim Kearney

Senator Tim Kearney

Committee Chair