May. 05, 2021

HARRISBURG – Municipalities in Pennsylvania would gain freedom from an onerous PennDOT regulation affecting communities holding special events like parades and races under a bill passed in the state House by unanimous vote on Wednesday. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield).

The bill, House Bill 765, would allow municipalities greater freedom to hold community events such as parades, festivals, races when the event would involve any use of a state road maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). PennDOT instituted a regulation in 2006 to require that it be indemnified (secured against legal liability) against the actions of those using the state roadways – and also that it be indemnified by the municipality where the event is held. However, PennDOT has not enforced this double indemnification requirement since it was enacted – until recently.

Municipalities, on the advice of their solicitors and insurance providers, are generally not approving these community events so as not to assume the risk to taxpayers that PennDOT is imposing. Community events all over Pennsylvania have been canceled or are under consideration for cancellation due to this onerous provision.

“Communities across Pennsylvania are finally seeing glimmers of normalcy return as the pandemic’s effects begin to shrink,” Miller said. “After so many community events have been canceled over the last year, our citizens are anticipating the return of these enjoyable events that provide special memories for families and serve as a significant source of community pride and economic activity. To have Pennsylvania municipalities now have to cancel events just to avoid burdensome liability issues caused by unnecessary and duplicative PennDOT regulation is an especially frustrating development for municipal leaders.”

Watch Miller’s comments on the bill during House session.

Specifically, Miller’s bill would prevent PennDOT from imposing this unnecessary regulation on municipalities, thus allowing them more liberty in approving events throughout Pennsylvania that use state roads.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Representative Brett R. Miller
41st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives