Update to Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act


drawing of a yellow sunEffective August 29, 2021, the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act requires public agencies (including municipalities, school districts, and charter schools) to publish a meeting agenda at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the public meeting, detailing issues expected to be deliberated and voted upon at the meeting.

The meeting agenda must be posted at both the meeting location and the principal office of the public agency. If the public agency has a public website, the agenda must be posted there as well. The amendment also requires copies of the agenda to be distributed to any individuals attending the meeting.

This change effectively restricts what public bodies can vote upon during public meetings. If the matter is not included in the meeting agenda, the public agency cannot act upon it. Some exceptions apply:

  • Emergency business: A public agency may take official action at a meeting on an emergency matter involving “clear and present danger to life or property.”
  • Business arising within 24-hours prior to the meeting: If a matter arises within 24 hours of the meeting and is de minimis (does not include an expenditure of funds or entering into a contract/agreement), the public agency may take action.
  • Business arising during the meeting: If an issue is raised by the public during the meeting, the agency may take official action to refer the matter to staff for potential inclusion on the agenda of a future meeting. The agency can take official action upon the matter if the issue is de minimis (does not include an expenditure of funds or entering into a contract/agreement).

If you would like assistance ensuring your public agency meets all regulatory requirements, use the contact form below or do not hesitate to reach out to any one of the attorneys in our Corporate, Business and Banking Department.

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