Archive for the ‘Government or School Matters’ Category

Knock It Off! Best Practices and Pitfalls When Adopting Noise Ordinances

access_time Posted on: July 30th, 2021

Whether it’s a case of an incessantly barking dog or an over-enthusiastic DIY warrior running power tools at midnight, most municipalities could use a carefully constructed noise ordinance from time to time. A well-written ordinance is clear, targeted, and most importantly, enforceable. An effective noise ordinance should be clear and understandable to the average person. A municipality is well within its authority to adopt a noise ordinance. Under Pennsylvania law, municipalities have the authority  “[t]o make regulations as may be necessary for the health, safety, morals, general welfare and cleanliness and beauty, convenience, comfort and safety of the borough.” (8… read more »

Sunshine Act Amendment

access_time Posted on: July 14th, 2021

The Sunshine Act was amended by Act 65 of 2021 providing new requirements for publishing and posting public meeting agendas and new restrictions on when public bodies may vote on at meetings on matters not listed in the published agenda. These Amendments to the Sunshine Act are effective August 29, 2021.The agenda is required to contain a listing of each matter of agency business that will be or may be the subject of or deliberation of or official action at the meeting.All government agencies, including but not limited to Counties, Townships, Boroughs, and Authorities, that have a publicly accessible website are… read more »

Free Speech in Schools

access_time Posted on: June 30th, 2021

Post Mahanoy Update Considering disciplining a student for off-campus speech? Proceed with caution, the Supreme Court says. The Court held 8-1 in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. that because the interests of the school in regulating the particular speech in question were diminished given their content and off-campus setting, the student’s one-year suspension from the cheerleading squad was a violation of her First Amendment rights.  A Limited but Significant Holding Rather than a bright-line rule prohibiting regulation of off-campus speech, the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff largely based on its long-lasting precedent in Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), which limits regulation on most school speech… read more »

Fully Virtual Meetings by Government Entities No Longer Permitted

access_time Posted on: June 21st, 2021

The passing of Act 15 of 2020 in April 2020 has allowed local governments to conduct public meetings virtually during the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration. Due to the recent certification of the election results, in which the ballot questions effectively amended the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the passing of House Resolution 106, the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency disaster declaration officially ended as of June 16, 2021.  It is important to note that Act 21 of 2021, signed on June 11, 2021, which extended until September 30, 2021, many of the suspensions to regulatory statutes and orders, rules, or regulations put in… read more »

COVID-19 Update: Gov. Wolf Renews COVID-19 Disaster Declaration

access_time Posted on: September 13th, 2020

On September 1, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf signed a second renewal of the 90-day disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency was originally declared on March 6, and this action is the second 90-day extension. The declaration extends protections for individuals and businesses during the ongoing pandemic. Protections include additional unemployment compensation, restrictions on eviction, an extension of licensing, and benefits for care workers and others who provide life-sustaining services to children, senior citizens, and other vulnerable residents.Act 15 Provisions Extended. Also extended are the provisions of Act 15 of 2020, under which municipalities can continue to take steps to assure safety… read more »

York County Launches its Open Space and Land Preservation Grant Program

access_time Posted on: August 19th, 2020

The York County Planning Commission (YCPC) has announced the launch of the County’s Open Space and Land Preservation Grant Program. The program is funded with County tax dollars and is designed to support open space preservation, resource protection, and outdoor recreation, with the objective of assisting the County to achieve its goal of preserving worthy York County land. Funds for Local Preservation  The program is open to York County municipalities and non-profit organizations which support open space preservation and natural resource protection. Funds can be used for acquisition of property; but funding does NOT support the purchase or construction of improvements on properties.  The… read more »

COVID-19 Update: New Advice Summary Relating to the Right-to-Know Law

access_time Posted on: May 22nd, 2020

Pursuant to the Right-to-know law (RTKL) Advisory, the Office of Open Records (OOR) has new advice for agencies within “yellow” status counties. These agencies should continue processing RTKL requests and appeals as usual. If an appeal is negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the agency or requestor cannot meet a required deadline, the OOR may prolong the appeal deadline. In particular, agencies located within a county transitioning into “yellow” status may need to provide evidence showing why the appeal deadline needs to be extended. In regards to offices being closed, any day that falls within an office closure is… read more »

COVID-19 Municipal Update: Handling Right-To-Know Law Issues During the COVID-19 Emergency

access_time Posted on: May 12th, 2020

While the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) continues to be in effect for most municipal entities, its function has been temporarily suspended for the Commonwealth due to the current COVID-19 emergency. Pursuant to Section 901 of the law, all requests must receive a response within five business days – excluding days closed for business. If an agency faces “bona fide issues” related to this pandemic, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records’ (OOR) advisory permits temporary suspensions exceeding the scope of that law. The OOR recommends the agency seek their solicitor’s advice before taking this recourse. Under Act 15, municipalities operating under an… read more »

COVID-19 Municipal Resource Page

access_time Posted on: May 8th, 2020

Department of Education Published Final Version of Title IX Regulations

access_time Posted on: May 7th, 2020

Department of Education published the final version of the Title IX regulations On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education published the final version of the Title IX regulations. The final regulations specify how schools, colleges, and other Federally funded institutions must respond going forward to allegations of sexual harassment. These regulations require sexual harassment in education programs or activities to be addressed as a form of sex discrimination. The schools must respond supportively and promptly to anyone claiming to be sexually harassed, resolve allegations of sexual harassment promptly and accurately with due process protections to alleged sexual harrassment victims… read more »