– A package of bills aimed at transforming local governments in the Commonwealth earned overwhelming approval in the House Local Government Committee this week, said Rep. Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin), prime sponsor of one of the bills.
“The whole reason I ran for office is to make sure our government operates with transparency, efficiency and accountability – and that applies to government at all levels,” Lewis said. “These measures focus on achieving those goals at the local government level.”
Watch Rep. Lewis’ comments outlining his bill at the House committee meeting.
Motivated by the Harrisburg incinerator situation, Lewis sponsored House Bill 883 to require any money borrowed by a municipal authority for a specific project be used for that project only. None of the funds could be diverted into a slush fund or used for other purposes.
The bill also seeks to boost accountability by adding teeth to the law when it comes to conflicts of interest. Under current law, there are few, if any, repercussions for actions resulting in a conflict of interest. Lewis’ measure would allow for an investigation and consequences if the investigation deems a conflict of interest did occur.
“These are important steps toward protecting the best interests of taxpayers in communities across the state,” Lewis said. “I’m grateful to Rep. Frank Ryan of Lebanon County for his expertise and leadership on these reforms and to my colleagues who have worked alongside me on this package of bills.”
Other bills in the package include:
• House Bill 320
, which would restrict the use by local governments of complex financial interest rate transactions known as “swaps.”
• House Bill 884
, which also aims to limit swaps.
• House Bill 882
, which would tighten the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED)oversight of municipal borrowing.
• House Bill 885
, which would prohibit local governments from using alternative securities.
The bills go to the full House for consideration.
Representative Andrew Lewis
105th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler