Proposed Legislation in Pennsylvania

August 2010Newsletters In the Zone

In the June issue of In the Zone , I wrote about House Bill No. 2431, which proposes to amend Section 1 of Article IX of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to reorganize local government with a county basis. The proposed legislation, which would establish the county "as the basic unit of local government," has not been well received.

By way of background, there currently are more than 2,500 municipalities in Pennsylvania; there are 67 counties. Representative Thomas Caltagirone of Berks County introduced the proposed legislation, which would provide the county as the basic unit of local government with jurisdiction over: (1) personnel, (2) law enforcement, (3) land use, (4) sanitation and (5) health and safety.

According to an article that appeared July 18, 2010 in The Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, Pa.), Caltagirone said it would be "difficult to imagine a system less efficient and more costly" than the current system. So, Caltagirone said, he proposed the bill to "prompt a serious discussion." According to the article, few municipalities want to discuss his proposed bill, although several have passed resolutions opposing it.

A public hearing on the bill has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on August 18 in Harrisburg.

Caltagirone told The Intelligencer Journal he expects his critics will come to the public hearing "loaded for bear." "It's like I'm the devil incarnate," he told the newspaper. "But all I'm saying is: Wouldn't this make sense?"

Caltagirone also told The Intelligencer Journal he does not expect the bill to pass. However, it will be interesting to see whether the proposed bill leads to the "serious discussion" Caltagirone hoped it would when he introduced it.

For more information, please contact David H. Comer at 610.397.7963 or [email protected].