Jul. 09, 2021

HARRISBURG – Municipalities all over Pennsylvania facing burdensome liability issues caused by PennDOT bureaucracy are now getting relief due to legislation sponsored by Rep. Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) that has now been signed into law.

Townships, boroughs, and cities have recently been canceling community events due to the burden of liability issues caused by an unnecessary and duplicative PennDOT regulation. If the bill had not been passed, many boroughs and townships would have been forced to cancel popular community events if they involved the use of state roadways.

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.

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

“After so many community events were canceled over the last year due to the pandemic, Pennsylvanians have long been 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,” Miller said. “Had this new law not been in place, municipalities would have had to cancel events due to bureaucracy. I’m pleased that communities all over the Commonwealth are free to approve community events such as parades, festivals, and races that use a state road maintained by PennDOT.”

Miller noted that West Hempfield Township officials first brought the issue to his attention, but has since been contacted by municipal officials from across Pennsylvania. His bill, House Bill 765, earned unanimous support in both the House and the Senate, and the governor recently signed the bill into law. The measure is now in effect.

Rep. Brett Miller
41st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives