Archive for the ‘Municipal Law’ Category

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

COVID-19 Update: Guidance Regarding Memo on House Bill 1564

access_time Posted on: March 27th, 2020

As some of you may be aware, a memo has been circulating regarding Pennsylvania House Bill 1564, which proposes to allow municipalities to conduct fully electronic meetings, as well as suspending some permit application deadlines, among other things. The memo that indicates that the Pennsylvania municipal codes have been amended by House Bill 1564. This, unfortunately, is simply not true. The Bill has passed the House of Representatives unanimously, but no action has been taken by the Pennsylvania Senate. As we all know, a bill does not become a law unless passed by the both the House of Representatives and the Senate,… read more »

COVID-19 Update: Emergency Order Regarding Utilities

access_time Posted on: March 17th, 2020

On Friday, March 13th, 2020, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (the “PUC”) issued an Emergency Order establishing a moratorium on the termination of utility services, including electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunications, and steam, for all entities which are under the jurisdiction of the PUC.  Tom Wolf’s Proclamation This Emergency Order was in direct response to Governor Tom Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency on March 6th, 2020, which authorized and directed the suspension of “the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of Commonwealth business, or the orders, rules or regulations of any Commonwealth agency, if strict… read more »

Legal Update: Reflectivity of Signs

access_time Posted on: May 7th, 2014

Article by: Devon Myers The deadline to establish a sign assessment or management plan to maintain minimum levels of sign retro-reflectivity for regulatory & warning traffic signs in each municipality is quickly approaching. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), issued by the Federal Highway Administration, introduced new requirements regarding the retro-reflectivity of signs, originally requiring each municipality to establish the sign assessment or management plan by January 2012.  That deadline has been extended to June 13, 2014.  Municipalities were originally required to replace all signs that did not meet the minimum standards for retro-reflectivity by June 13, 2014;… read more »

Legal Notices Under HB 633

access_time Posted on: August 16th, 2011

Article by: Sharon E. Myers The tides of legal notices in municipalities are changing.  The waning effectiveness of newspaper and bulletin notices is giving way to a tsunami of pressure to change to internet-based notices.  Most recently, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) testified before the House Local Government Committee considering House Bill 633 – a piece of legislation that would provide for legal notices on government internet websites – addressing the need to move toward the internet for municipal notices. If HB 633 is passed in the Senate and signed into law by Governor Corbett, municipalities would be… read more »

Pennsylvania Local Government

access_time Posted on: August 11th, 2010

Article by: Craig Sharnetzka It is a common misconception that municipalities are permitted to place referenda on the ballot for any area of law; however, in Pennsylvania municipal referenda are restricted to only specific areas of law. The Pennsylvania legislature has never enacted general initiative and referendum provisions that would allow local governments to place referenda on the ballots for any area of law sought to be changed, created, or repealed; with the exception of counties and municipalities that adopt home rule charters and third class cities. Using nonbinding referenda is neither permitted nor prohibited by statute of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The… read more »

Zoning Hearing Board Membership

access_time Posted on: May 22nd, 2008

Article by: Sharon E. Myers The Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires that each municipality that adopts a zoning ordinance must establish a board that is made up of three to five members. These members are appointed by a resolution adopted by the local municipality. One to three alternate board members may also be appointed to serve in the event that the zoning hearing board does not have a quorum due to absences or disqualifications. The zoning hearing board is represented by a solicitor. The Municipalities Planning Code requires that the zoning hearing board solicitor be an attorney other than the… read more »