McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC is pleased to announce the addition of accomplished public finance attorney Frannie Reilly to its Devon office.  Reilly, who most recently led her own practice in Swarthmore, adds extensive experience to the firm’s Public Finance & Government Services, Corporate & Tax, and Charitable and Non-Profit Groups.

Reilly has served as bond, borrower, institution and underwriter’s counsel to issuers, colleges, universities, schools, health care institutions, state agencies and investment banking firms.  She advises clients on issuance, offering, structuring, remarketing, and restructuring of tax-exempt and taxable municipal securities and other debt instruments.  In addition, she counsels clients on corporate policies, best practices and corporate governance.  For various nonprofit organizations, Reilly advises on fiduciary duties, contract issues, compliance concerns and general corporate reviews.

Reilly is an adjunct professor at La Salle University (Masters of Science in the Nonprofit Leadership program), teaching the Law and Ethics course and Capstone course.

For more information, and to contact Reilly, visit her McNees website, at https://www.mcneeslaw.com/people/frannie-reilly/.

In a previous article, I discussed the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), which provides for almost two trillion dollars of new federal spending to combat the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. ARPA provided approximately $350 Billion of new funding to tribal governments, states, territories, and local governments, $14 Billion of which was estimated to be received by Pennsylvania and its municipalities. Initial federal ARPA funding to the states and their political subdivisions was estimated to begin as early as May.

By now, Pennsylvania and its municipalities have received at least a portion of their ARPA funds. But what can they do with it? On May 17, 2021, the United States Department of the Treasury (the “Department”) published an interim final rule providing guidance to recipients on the use of ARPA funds. Consistent with ARPA, the Department in the interim final rule established four broad categories of authorized spending, (i) Public Health and Economic Impacts; (ii) Premium Pay; (iii) Revenue Loss; and (iv) Investments in Infrastructure. Each of these categories is discussed below. Continue Reading ARPA Windfall: What May Pennsylvania and its Municipalities Do with this Money?

This post was authored by Adam Santucci and Daniel Serrano.  Adam is the Chair of the Public Finance and Government Services Group at McNees.  Danny is a CAMP 1L Intern with McNees.  Danny is currently a student at the Pennsylvania State University and expects to earn his J.D. in May of 2023.

On June 23, 2021, in an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its opinion in Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L., holding that a high school’s interest in preventing students from using vulgar language to criticize school sports teams or staff does not override students’ rights to free expression under the First Amendment. The Court made clear that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression” even “at the school house gate.”

Here is the background.  After being denied a position on the school’s varsity cheerleading team, B.L., a ninth-grader at Mahanoy Area School District, messaged a group of 250 “friends” on the social media platform Snapchat, where she expressed frustration with the school and cheerleading team. Her messages used “vulgar language and gestures” while criticizing the school and cheerleading team. Although the images and messages were set to expire within 24 hours, the images spread throughout the school and were brought to the attention of the cheerleading coaches. As a result, the school suspended B.L. from cheerleading for a year.  In response to the school’s disciplinary actions, B.L.’s parents appealed the suspension to the school board with no success. When that failed, they sought relief in federal court. Continue Reading Cheerleader’s Vulgar Snapchat Trashing Cheer Team is Protected Speech

This post was authored by Timothy Horstmann and Frank Lavery, III.  Tim is a member of the Public Finance and Government Services Group at McNees.  Frank is a Law Clerk with McNees.  Frank is currently a student at the University of Notre Dame Law School and expects to earn his J.D. in May of 2022.

A bill recently introduced in the General Assembly would impose new requirements on Pennsylvania municipalities for holding governmental meetings. Senate Bill 554, which was recently passed on a unanimous 49-0 vote in the Pennsylvania Senate, would amend the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law to require political subdivisions to make available in advance to the public the proposed agenda for any governmental meeting. Senate Bill 554 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, and its strong bipartisan support indicates passage may be likely. Continue Reading Proposed Legislation Would Impose New Requirements on Meetings Held by Pennsylvania Local Governments

This post was authored by Devin Chwastyk and Frank Lavery, II.  Devin is the Chair of the Privacy & Data Security group at McNees.  Frank is a Law Clerk with McNees.  Frank is currently a student at the University of Notre Dame Law School and expects to earn his J.D. in May of 2022.

On June 3, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important opinion in Van Buren v. United States, which provided important clarification of the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).  The CFAA bars unauthorized access, or access that exceeds authorization, to any computer “used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication.”  As the Supreme Court aptly explains, this extends protection—at a minimum—to all information from computers that connect to the internet.  Thus, the implications of the CFAA are far reaching. The decision in Van Buren explored what constitutes “unauthorized access” and “access that exceeds authorization.” Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Emphasizes Need to Couple IT Safeguards with Written Policies to Safeguard Confidential Data

McNees is hosting a Municipal Roundtable to discuss the issues of disclosure in the secondary market. This discussion will include an overview of SEC Rule 15c2-12 and cover everything from the simple things issuers do wrong to ESG disclosure and disclosure by distressed issuers. Participants will also have the ability to ask questions in this open forum roundtable setting hosted by McNees.

Be sure to sign up to attend!

Download full agenda here

Date:  June 24, 2021

Time:  12:00 – 1:00 pm

Presenters:

David Unkovic (moderator), Of Counsel – McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

Richard DreherChief Financial Officer – Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Stephen Flaherty, Director – RBC Capital Markets, LLC

Timothy J. Horstmann, Member – McNees Wallace & Nurick LL

Leonidas Pandeladis, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Counsel – Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency

Terry Snyder, Paralegal – McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC

Michael D. Vind, Managing Director – Financial S&Lutions LLC

Is your county, municipality, or municipal authority using a .com, .org, .info, or other domain name other than .gov for email and websites? If so, now is as good a time as any to switch to using the .gov domain.

Recently, the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that it had successfully taken over administration of the .gov top-level domain, in accordance with the DOTGOV Act, which was signed into law by former President Donald Trump on December 27, 2020. Notably, as part of its takeover of the administration of the .gov domain, CISA announced that, effective immediately, it was eliminating the $400 annual fee previously assessed for use of a .gov domain name – a fee  far higher than the average annual fee of $20 or less for use of other domain names.

Thus, access to a .gov domain will now be free for states, counties, municipalities, and authorities. For more information, please visit A new day for .gov | DotGov, or contact me for assistance.

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”), which provides for almost two trillion dollars of new federal spending to combat the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Of particular interest for Pennsylvania is the approximate $350 Billion of new funding appropriated to tribal governments, states, territories, and local governments, $14 Billion of which is estimated to be received by Pennsylvania and its municipalities. With the United States Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) mandated to pay out a substantial portion of the funds within 60 days of the enactment of ARPA, Pennsylvania and its municipalities might see initial funding from ARPA as early as May. Continue Reading Billions of Dollars Will Soon Start Flowing to State and Local Governments under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Here’s What to Expect.

Pennsylvania counties and municipalities could see a windfall from the nearly $14 billion in aid that will be delivered to the commonwealth through the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act.

While it will be welcome financial relief, counties and local governments should be aware of the rules and regulations regarding how those funds should be spent. Continue Reading With Great Funding Comes Great Responsibility: Assisting Municipalities with American Rescue Plan Compliance

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the regulatory body that oversees the municipal securities market in the United States, recently released its annual report on the status of the market. The report, which can be reviewed here, offers some fascinating insights into what was a tumultuous year for the market. Our highlights follow:

  • Spring Market Dislocation:  For about two weeks in March, the market simply stopped functioning. During this period, benchmark yields in 3-, 10- and 30-year bonds increased by 213, 193 and 182 basis points, respectively. However, the recovery was similarly swift, with yields substantially returning to their pre-pandemic levels by the end of March.

Continue Reading MSRB Releases 2020 Review of Municipal Bond Market