Local Preemption In Pennsylvania

Preemption is the use of state law to nullify a municipal ordinance or authority. Sometime preemption can strengthen a statewide policy; however, a recent trend of preemption legislation in the Commonwealth, and across the nation, has been counterproductive to local decision making by preventing municipalities from carrying out essential duties, as well as meeting the core wants and needs of their community.

On a regular basis, preemption legislation is introduced by the General Assembly intending to take local decisions out of the hands of locally elected officials. Municipal authority to respond to and find solutions for the unique problems facing their communities must be preserved in order for municipalities to thoroughly protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents. The ability for local governments to make decisions and regulations when necessary should not be interfered with overarching state laws.

For these reasons, The League strongly opposes legislation that aims to preempt local government decision making.

Local Preemption Legislation: 2021/2022 Legislative Session

Please see a list of preemption legislation introduced this legislative session below and please view the bill summaries here.

Bill NumberBill Sponsor(s)Local Preemption
HB 37Rep. Rosemary BrownA municipality would be preempted and and all municipal ordinances would be superseded regarding the use of interactive wireless communication devices by any driver of a vehicle.
HB 136Rep. Greg RothmanA municipality would be prohibited from enacting, maintaining or enforcing an ordinance, rule or resolution that would: have the effect of controlling the amount of rent charged for leasing private residential or commercial property; have the effect of establishing a maximum sales price for a privately produced unit or residential building lot; and have the effect of prohibiting or limiting the right of a landlord, owner, agent or other person operating or managing a residential rental property, or a resident party to a lease contract, from declining to enter into a new lease contract at the end of the current lease contract’s term.
HB 216Rep. Todd PolinchockA municipality would be restricted from prohibiting the use of agricultural land for any of the following: agricultural purposes or construction of structures for agricultural purposes; an agritourism activity; a limited seasonal event; an activity that requires a limited license; a retail food facility; a wedding; or a musical event accompanying any of the previously listed activities.
HB 979 / SB 448Rep. Matthew Dowling / Sen. Wayne LangerholcA municipality would be prohibited from imposing firearm regulations in a more restrictive manner than state law.
HB 1194Rep. Mary DaleyAny ordinance or resolution adopted by a municipality to the extent that the ordinance or resolution conflicts or is inconsistent with the ban of single-use plastic straws.
HB 1947 / SB 275Rep. Tim O’Neal / Sen. Gene YawA municipality would be prohibited from adopting a policy that restricts, or has the effects of restricting or prohibiting: the connection or reconnection of a utility service based on the type or source of energy; the ability of an individual or entity within the municipality to use an authorized utility services provider; and municipal policy may not discriminate against a utility service provider based on the nature or source of the utility service provided to consumers.
HB 2432Rep. David RoweThis bill is a Joint Resolution that would amend the Constitution requiring a question be placed on each primary ballot regarding the increase, expansion or new taxes or fees enacted since the previous primary election by the Commonwealth, a municipality or an authority. The Commonwealth, a municipality or an authority may not establish the new tax or fee, or increase or expand an existing tax or fee if the electorate disapproves.
SB 293Sen. Doug MastrianoA municipality may not adopt a policy that prohibits the prohibition of the permanent removal of a public monument established with state funds, unless the removal of the monument is approved by the General Assembly. If a municipality does not enforce the prohibition, the municipality would forfeit any monies from the State Treasury including state grants. State funding would be reinstated only if a municipality agrees to enforce the bill.
SB 796Sen. Daniel LaughlinA municipality would be prohibited from adopting or enforcing an ordinance or resolution authorizing the municipality to place locking devices on either a vehicle’s wheels or steering wheel within its jurisdiction.
SB 949Sen. Devlin RobinsonAny local law, ordinance, rule or regulation governing the relationship between a network and app-based worker, such as Uber or DoorDash, would be preempted.
SB 965 / HB 2398Sen. Wayne LangerholcA municipality would be preempted from adopting a policy, rule or ordinance that regulates the operation of a highly automated vehicle (HAV).