Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law on Wednesday HB 1177, which clarifies the process of creating study commissions to discuss the possibility of merging and consolidating local government entities.
The measure, introduced by state Rep. Greg Lucas, creates a study commission if a majority of votes are in favor -- regardless of municipality -- as opposed to obtaining a majority in both municipalities. The bill was introduced as a result of a failed push to consider joining Edinboro and Washington Township.
The law also protects smaller municipalities by making sure that if a municipality does not approve an initiative with a majority vote the cost burden of the study commission would not fall on them.
If the study commission decides, however to put a ballot measure combining municipalities, the proposal would require a majority vote in each participating municipality to be approved.
“When the people of the 5th Legislative District chose me as their state representative, I promised I would make their voice heard in Harrisburg and bring local issues to the attention of state leaders,” Lucas said. “I’m pleased to play my part in ensuring state government has responded to the needs of northwestern Pennsylvania residents. If the citizens in our area are asked to vote on the creation of a study commission in the future, at least they will know the ground rules for the process in advance.”
The law will take effect in 60 days.