|Posted:||June 8, 2021 02:51 PM|
|From:||Senator Carolyn T. Comitta|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Allow Borough Councils to meet Remotely|
|During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that some of the municipal codes made it difficult for the governing bodies of such entities to meet remotely via the internet to conduct official business.
Accordingly, in April of last year, a change was made to Title 35 (Health and Safety) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes to provide a mechanism and standards for political subdivisions of the Commonwealth to meet remotely through use of telecommunication devices during the period of the COVID-19 emergency. The act also included a permanent change to Title 35 which provided that during a declared disaster or emergency, the governing body of a political subdivision does not need to be physically present at any one location to conduct business if a quorum is otherwise established by the participating member through an authorized telecommunication device.
However, once the current emergency has ended, the provisions of Title 35 will no longer be available to the governing bodies of the Commonwealth’s 956 boroughs. Borough councils will be forced to rely on the outdated remote meeting provisions contained in The Borough Code, which require that a physical quorum of members of the borough council must be established prior to the use of any telecommunication device by those members not physically present at the meeting.
In this present day and age, and after all that we have experienced during the past year, I believe it is time to make it easier for borough council members to continue to conduct official business remotely, with proper public notice and access, should they need to. Therefore, I plan to introduce legislation that would remove the requirement in The Borough Code that only council members physically present at a meeting may count towards a quorum.
I welcome your co-sponsorship of this legislation which has the support of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.
Introduced as SB794