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 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

On January 8, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (“DOH”) announced its COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan, Version 4.0 (the “Plan”).  The Plan follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”).  Categorized as “interim,” DOH intends to continuously make updates to the Plan to reflect the latest recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other guidance available, as well as any feedback received.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania’s Latest COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Recognizes Local Governments

McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC has launched a new public relations agency to provide strategic communications services to its clients and the regional business community.

Apollo Communications is headquartered in Harrisburg and will serve clients across Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland. McNees has selected veteran public relations professional and former journalist Brett Marcy to serve as president of Apollo Communications.

The company is just the latest initiative by McNees to provide enhanced value to clients and the community, said McNees Chair Brian Jackson. In recent years, the firm has added full-service government affairs, grassroots advocacy and nonprofit consulting to its professional services portfolio.
Continue Reading McNees Launches Apollo Communications

The author thanks the assistance of Matthew Hoke in writing this post.  Matt was a law clerk with McNees in 2020, and is expected to graduate from the University of Virginia law school in May of 2021. 

The Pennsylvania Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (Act) has been in effect since 1979 and must be

On March 30, 2020, President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the “Commonwealth”) and ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.  This declaration follows Governor Tom Wolf’s

As you have undoubtedly heard, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has made its way to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  This influenza-like virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has since spread to more than 100 countries, including the United States.

In January 2020, the World Health Organization (the “WHO”) and the Centers

A bill to amend Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act has passed the House last month and is now awaiting action in the Senate. House Bill 1069, sponsored by Representative Aaron Bernstine, would amend the Sunshine Act to require government agencies, including school boards, county commissioners and local governments, to post agendas 24 hours prior to voting meetings.

In a case that may have implications for any government entity that has an application process related to permit and license issuance, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently issued a decision in P.L.C.B. v. Beh, No. 91 C.D. 2018, No. 153 C.D. 2018 (Pa. Commw. Ct. July 17, 2019), concerning whether residential and financial information contained in liquor license applications must be disclosed to the public.
Continue Reading Commonwealth Court, Citing Right to Privacy, Shields Residency Information from Disclosure Under Right to Know Law