Senate Bill 841 Update
We have been providing updates on Senate Bill 841 and are happy to report that the Bill passed the House on Tuesday, April 14 by a vote 202-0. There were no amendments in the House. The Bill will now be presented to the Governor for his signature.
As a recap, SB 841 contains the following provisions:
Permits taxing districts (Townships, Counties, etc.) by Resolution, to extend the discount date for payment of real estate tax bills up to August 31, 2020. It permits taxing districts, by Resolution, to waive penalties up to December 31, 2020.
It permits, during the disaster emergency, local government meetings to be held via an “authorized telecommunications device” without having a quorum of the members present in a physical location. “Authorized telecommunications device” includes any device that permits, at a minimum, audio communication among individuals.
Advance notice to the public and public participation are required, to the extent practicable. Public notice can be affected via posting notice of each meeting on the Township’s web-site or in an advertisement in a newspaper of general publication, or both. The notice must include the date, time, technology to be used and public participation information. Public participation can occur through an authorized telecommunication device, or written comments submitted through physical mail or to an email account.
Plats, plans and other submissions for approval or curative amendments are subject to the following:
a. If received or pending during the Governor’s disaster declaration, the number of days provided to satisfy statutory time limits are suspended and tolled as of the date of the emergency declaration (March 6, 2020) or as of the date received, and resumes 30 days after the effective date of the enactment of the Bill. As an example, for a matter pending on March 6, 2020, if the Bill is signed by the Governor on April 15, 2020, a Township would have an additional 70 days tacked on to the original date it was required to act on the Application.
b. Notice must be provided, in writing, to each applicant subject to this provision that the Township is availing itself of the time extension and the right of the applicant to request a hearing under the provision summarized below.
c. An Applicant, within 30 days of the enactment of the Bill, may request a meeting, hearing or proceeding on an application during the period of the disaster emergency. At the discretion of the political subdivision, the governing body can elect to proceed with an application covered by this provision utilizing an approved telecommunications device. If proceeding with the application is authorized, then the person requesting it is deemed to have waived any challenge under applicable law. It is unclear, but the implication is that if someone requests a hearing or other consideration of an application, and it is practicable to do so, proceeding with the application may be required.
These provisions expire when the Disaster Emergency terminates or expires.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.