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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 3, 2020 03:59 PM
From: Representative Robert Freeman
To: All House members
Subject: Municipal powers during disaster declaration
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that some of the municipal codes made it difficult for municipalities to meet remotely and what powers they had in such instances.

Act 15 of 2020 amended Title 35 Pa.C.S. pertaining to municipal powers during a declared emergency or disaster to provide a mechanism and standards for municipalities to meet remotely only during the COVID-19 emergency. The act also included a permanent change to Title 35 which provided that during a declared disaster or emergency a governing body does not need to be physically present at any one location in order to conduct business if a quorum is otherwise established by the participating members through an authorized telecommunication device.

My proposed legislation would clarify provisions added to Title 35 Pa.C.S., Section 7501 (General authority of political subdivisions) contained in Act 15 of 2020 regarding remote meetings during a declaration of disaster or emergency by the Governor.
  • It clarifies a political subdivision can exercise its powers without regard to time consuming procedures and formalities, including those related to the location and conduct of meetings.
  • It further clarifies that a political subdivision may also exercise existing statutory executive, legislative and judicial powers. These powers include appointing staff, passing ordinances and resolutions and making determinations on permit and land-use applications.
Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff.


Introduced as HB2618