The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records issued an alert concerning anonymous Right to Know Law requests generated by an online service called FOIA Buddy after receiving reports from “numerous” agencies. 

On its website, FOIA Buddy describes itself as a “comprehensive resource” that simplifies the process of requesting public information from the agencies by which

The Inflation Reduction Act, Public Law 117-168 (the “Act”), was signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16, 2022, but the impact of some of its provisions is just beginning to be felt. Among those are the substantial federal subsidies the Act provides for state and local government investments in clean energy projects.

Updates in the Inflation Reduction Act could provide tax credits as an avenue for funding opportunities for municipalities to make seemingly impossible project possible. McNees invites you to join our panel of industry experts led by attorney Ryan Gonder for a roundtable discussion on:

  • An overview of the recent changes in the Inflation Reduction Act

All attorneys representing municipal and other public sector clients should be aware of the potential for a United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of their clients’ public bond deals.  Issuers generally will hire a team of professionals with specialized experience in public finance to assist them in completing a financing; such professionals commonly include bond counsel, disclosure counsel, and a municipal advisor.  But even the general practice solicitor that handles all day-to-day legal issues for the client will play an important role in the financing process.
Continue Reading Solicitors: Help Avoid Targeting by the SEC in Municipal Bond Offerings

Since September 2021, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) has brought five enforcement actions regarding municipal bond financings.  The issuers of these bonds are Sweetwater Union High School District (Texas); Crosby Independent School District (California); Town of Sterlington (Louisiana); City of Rochester (and its school district) (New York); and Johnson City (Texas).  In each case, the issuers and other involved parties were charged with providing false and misleading information to municipal bond investors.  Enforcement was not limited to entities; individuals representing the issuers were also targeted. Additional information about these cases (and earlier cases) is available on the SEC website, at https://www.sec.gov/municipal/oms-enforcement-actions.html.

Here are seven lessons to be learned from these cases:
Continue Reading Seven Lessons to be Learned from Recent SEC Enforcement Actions Involving Municipal Bond Financings

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently charged two chief financial officers of school districts with misleading investors in municipal bond offerings.  This should be a warning to municipal CFOs to be very careful to make appropriate disclosures when involved in their public entities’ bond issues.  An SEC official recently stated that “the SEC is committed to holding bad actors in municipal securities offerings accountable for their misconduct.”  Don’t be the CFO bad actor that the SEC targets!
Continue Reading Municipal CFOs: Be Careful of your Bond Disclosures; the SEC is Gunning for You

The American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) was enacted in March 2021 providing an unprecedented $1.9 trillion in direct relief to combat the effects Covid-19, whether it be negative economic impacts, public health implications, revenue loss, or identified needs in infrastructure.  Pennsylvania and its municipalities received approximately $14 billon in those federal ARPA funds!

ARPA funds come with certain new reporting requirements.  For municipalities, the first round of that new reporting (the “Project and Expenditure Report”) is due to the U.S. Treasury by April 30, 2022.  Every municipality that received ARPA funds must file this report (even if you haven’t spent anything yet).

Furthermore, and this is especially important,
Continue Reading ARPA Reporting due April 30, 2022!

Recognizing the importance of The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), our  colleague, Attorney Tim Horstmann, wrote the first article in this series titled “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Here’s What to Expect” in April 2021 and in July 2021 Tim penned an article titled “ARPA Windfall: What May Pa. and Its Municipalities Do With This Money?” Adding to this series, we will now discuss what to expect in an ARPA audit.  This article will focus on Pennsylvania’s $13,450,275,500.40 portion of the $350B Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Program (CSLFRF), which is the specific program under ARPA that provides new funding to tribal governments, states, territories, and local governments across the United States to aid in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading ARPA Audits– What to Expect and What You Can Advise Your Clients to Do Now

On July 16, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (“PDE”) submitted its American Rescue Plan Act (“ARP”) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (“ESSER”) Plan to the United States Department of Education (“USDE”).  ARP ESSER is sometimes referred to as “ESSER III.”  Pennsylvania’s 78-page plan can be found here:  Pennsylvania ARP ESSER State Plan.  Less than a month later, on August 5, 2021, USDE approved Pennsylvania’s ARP ESSER Plan.

That plan approved nearly $5 billion in federal funding to flow to public school districts, including charters (referred to as a Local Education Agency (“LEA”)) across the Commonwealth.[1]  If you are curious as to what was allocated for your school district, that can be found at PDE’s website.  Although there is not a specific deadline to apply for ARP ESSER funds, PDE strongly encouraged LEAs to apply by September 1, 2021.
Continue Reading The Pennsylvania School Board Director’s Quick-Guide to ARP ESSER/ESSER III Funding