Chad Nicholson
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Fewer than 100 of Pennsylvania’s 2,700+ municipalities have established Home Rule

Clara Township, Potter County, PA: On May 18, 2021, Clara Township residents voted overwhelmingly (75-25%) to create a Home Rule Government Study Commission. The Commission will be made up of seven Township residents, who were also elected on May 18. The Commissioners held their first meeting last night, June 8.

Nicole Green of the Concerned Citizens of Clara Township (CCCT) stated: “The election shows that our community is eager to learn more about how we can have more local control. This was a great community effort, and we’re looking forward to getting to work.”

Home Rule has been around in Pennsylvania since 1972, and it’s a process that any municipality can undertake. It allows communities to study their existing form of government, and then write a new municipal charter if they so choose. Since that time, about 80 Pennsylvania municipalities have become Home Rule.

A charter functions as a local constitution, and it’s about maximizing local democratic control over important issues. One main advantage of a Home Rule community is that residents are allowed to vote on laws and policies directly, through the participatory ballot initiative process, whereas in most Pennsylvania municipalities only the elected officials are allowed to make law.

CELDF has been proud to support Clara Township in their efforts thus far, and we are available to support the Government Study Commission if they so choose.


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is helping build a decolonial movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international levels.

Photo: Triple_Divide_Oil_Gas_Pipeline3 by Public Herald, Flickr CC

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