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Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

July 17, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, STORMS RESTAURANT AND CATERING, LLC D/B/A STORMS RESTAURANT, LAWRENCEVILLE BREWERY, INC., D/B/A THE CHURCH BREW WORKS, 1215 INCORPORATED, D/B/A RITA'S ITALIAN ICE, DIRT DOCTORS CLEANING SERVICE LLC, AND MODERN CAFE INC.
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH
v.
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ PENNSYLVANIA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, STORMS RESTAURANT AND CATERING, LLC, D/B/A STORMS RESTAURANT, LAWRENCEVILLE BREWERY, INC., D/B/A THE CHURCH BREW WORKS, 1215 INCORPORATED, D/B/A RITA'S ITALIAN ICE, DIRT DOCTORS CLEANING SERVICE LLC, AND MODERN CAFE INC.
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32 BJ APPEAL OF: SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF PITTSBURGH
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32 BJ APPEAL OF: SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF PITTSBURGH
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF PITTSBURGH
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF PITTSBURGH
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO PENNSYLVANIA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, STORMS RESTAURANT AND CATERING, LLC, D/B/A STORMS RESTAURANT, LAWRENCEVILLE BREWERY, INC., D/B/A THE CHURCH BREW WORKS, 1215 INCORPORATED, D/B/A RITA'S ITALIAN ICE, DIRT DOCTORS CLEANING SERVICE LLC, AND MODERN CAFE INC.
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH
v.
SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO PENNSYLVANIA RESTAURANT AND LODGING ASSOCIATION, STORMS RESTAURANT AND CATERING, LLC, D/B/A STORMS RESTAURANT, LAWRENCEVILLE BREWERY, INC., D/B/A THE CHURCH BREW WORKS, 1215 INCORPORATED, D/B/A RITA'S ITALIAN ICE, DIRT DOCTORS CLEANING SERVICE LLC, AND MODERN CAFE INC.
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO, AND SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 32BJ APPEAL OF: CITY OF PITTSBURGH, COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, AND WILLIAM PEDUTO

          Argued: October 23, 2018

          Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court entered May 17, 2017 at Nos. 79 CD 2016, 101 CD 2016, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered December 21, 2015 at No. GD 15-16442.

          Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court entered May 17, 2017 at Nos. 100 CD 2016, 102 CD 2016, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered December 17, 2015 at No. GD 15-13329.

          SAYLOR, C.J., BAER, TODD, DONOHUE, DOUGHERTY, WECHT, MUNDY, JJ.

          OPINION

          WECHT JUSTICE.

         Pennsylvania long has sought to balance carefully the time-honored prerogatives of local governance with the countervailing state interest in providing a hospitable environment for commercial activity. In its recent enactment of two ordinances that impose certain obligations upon local businesses, the City of Pittsburgh approached the fulcrum between these competing priorities. The Paid Sick Days Act ("PSDA"), [1] as its name suggests, entitles employees to accrue paid sick leave. The Safe and Secure Buildings Act ("SSBA")[2] imposes education and training obligations upon building owners and their employees in furtherance of disaster preparedness, counterterrorism, and related concerns. We are asked to consider whether these ordinances run afoul of the qualified statutory preclusion of local regulations that burden business. We hold that the PSDA does not exceed those limitations, and that the SSBA does exceed them.

         I. HISTORICAL AND LEGAL CONTEXT

         Historically, "municipal corporations are creatures of the State and . . . the authority of the Legislature over their powers is supreme. . . . Municipal corporations have no inherent powers and may do only those things which the Legislature has expressly or by necessary implication placed within their power to do." Denbow v. Borough of Leetsdale, 729 A.2d 1113, 1118 (Pa. 1999) (quoting Knauer v. Commonwealth, 332 A.2d 589, 590 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1975)).[3] The Constitution of 1968 turned this principle on its head. Article IX of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1968 provides:

Municipalities shall have the right and power to frame and adopt home rule charters. Adoption, amendment or repeal of a home rule charter shall be by referendum. The General Assembly shall provide the procedure by which a home rule charter may be framed and its adoption, amendment or repeal presented to the electors. If the General Assembly does not so provide, a home rule charter or a procedure for framing and presenting a home rule charter may be presented to the electors by initiative or by the governing body of the municipality. A municipality which has a home rule charter may exercise any power or perform any function not denied by this Constitution, by its home rule charter or by the General Assembly at any time.

Pa. Const. art. IX, § 2. By virtue of this revision, any power that the General Assembly did not forbid was now extended to any municipality that-like the City of Pittsburgh- adopted home rule. See City of Phila. v. Schweiker, 858 A.2d 75, 84 (Pa. 2004) (holding that, "[u]nder the concept of home rule, . . . the locality in question may legislate concerning municipal governance without express statutory warrant for each new ordinance," provided it does so in a fashion allowed by its home rule charter and without running afoul of the Pennsylvania Constitution or state statutory law).

         In 1996, the General Assembly enacted the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, 53 Pa.C.S. §§ 2901-3171 (hereinafter, "the HRC"). Echoing Article IX, Section 2, of our Constitution, the HRC extends home-rule authority only to "function[s] not denied by the Constitution of Pennsylvania, by statute or by [the municipality's] home rule charter." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2961; see City of Pittsburgh v. Fraternal Order of Police, Ft. Pitt Lodge No. 1, 161 A.3d 160, 170 (Pa. 2017) (quoting Spahn v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment, 977 A.2d 1132, 1144 (Pa. 2009)). Thus, no home rule charter may confer upon a home-rule municipality "power or authority" that is "contrary to or in limitation or enlargement of powers granted by statutes which are applicable to a class or classes of municipalities." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(a). Notwithstanding these limitations, "a home-rule municipality's exercise of legislative power is presumed valid, absent a specific constitutional or statutory limitation." SEPTA v. City of Phila., 101 A.3d 79, 88 (Pa. 2014). The HRC instructs that "[a]ll grants of municipal power to municipalities governed by a home rule charter under this subchapter, whether in the form of specific enumeration or general terms, shall be liberally construed in favor of the municipality." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2961. Accordingly, when we find ambiguity in the scope of municipal authority or the limitations imposed thereon, we must resolve that ambiguity in the municipality's favor. Nutter v. Dougherty, 938 A.2d 401, 411 (Pa. 2007) (citing Cty. of Delaware v. Twp. of Middletown, 511 A.2d 811, 813 (Pa. 1986)).

         Home rule incorporates and reinforces local municipalities' traditional police powers. In Balent v. City of Wilkes-Barre, 669 A.2d 309 (Pa. 1995), we described "the police power" as that which "promote[s] the health, safety and general welfare of the people." Id. at 314. In Adams v. City of New Kensington, 55 A.2d 392 (Pa. 1947), interpreting the Third Class City Law's "general welfare clause," we explained that courts regard such provisions "as ample authority for the reasonable exercise, bona fide, of broad and varied municipal activity to protect the health, morals, peace and good order of the community." Id. at 395.[4]

         In explicating the police powers enjoyed by the State, which are broader than, and necessarily superior to, the police powers possessed by counties and municipalities, we have explained:

The "police power" is one of the "most essential powers of government . . . ." Hadacheck v. Sebastian, 239 U.S. 394 (1915). It has been variously defined as the power "to promote the public health, morals or safety and the general well-being of the community," Commonwealth v. Harmar Coal Co., 306 A.2d 308, 316 (Pa. 1973); see DePaul v. Kauffman, 272 A.2d 500, 504 (Pa. 1971), or as "the inherent power of a body politic to enact and enforce laws for the promotion of the general welfare," Commonwealth v. Barnes & Tucker, 371 A.2d 461, 465 (Pa. 1977), or as a power extending to "all the great public needs," Day-Brite Lighting, Inc. v. Missouri, 342 U.S. 421, 424 (1952). The police power is fundamental because it enables "civil society" to respond in an appropriate and effective fashion to changing political, economic, and social circumstances, and thus to maintain its vitality and order. See, e.g., Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 668 (1887).

Nat'l Wood Preserves, Inc. v. Commonwealth, Dep't of Env't Res., 414 A.2d 37, 42 (Pa. 1980) (citations modified; footnote omitted).

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In 2015 the Pittsburgh City Council passed and Mayor William Peduto (collectively, "the City") signed the PSDA and the SSBA. In each Ordinance, the City provided prefatory recitations of the purported sources of its authority to enact the legislation. See PSDA § 626.01(c); SSBA § 410.02.

         On the City's account, the PSDA seeks "to enhance the public health by ensuring that employees across the City of Pittsburgh are able to earn paid sick time." PSDA § 626.01(b). As statutory authority for that enactment, the City cites: the HRC itself; the Second Class Cities Code, 53 P.S. §§ 22101-28707 (hereinafter, "SCCC")[5]; and the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955, 35 P.S. §§ 521.1-521.21 (hereinafter, "DPCL").[6] See PSDA § 626.01(c).

         Subject to various qualifications and exclusions that do not affect our analysis, the PSDA provides that employees of employers with fifteen or more employees are entitled to accrue up to forty hours of paid sick leave per year at a rate of one hour of leave for every thirty-five hours worked. Employers with fewer than fifteen employees also must provide paid sick leave at the rate of one hour of leave per thirty-five hours worked. However, these employers may limit accrued leave to twenty-four hours per year. See PSDA § 626.03.

         For its part, the SSBA seeks "to enhance the safety requirements and standards currently in the Emergency Management and Preparedness Chapter of the Fire Prevention Code for the benefit of the public by ensuring that buildings are staffed with workers who receive the training necessary to protect its occupants and property." SSBA § 410.02. As statutory authority for this enactment, the City cites: HRC §§ 2961 and 2962(c)(4); the Emergency Management Services Code, 35 Pa.C.S. §§ 7501-7931 & 79a01-79a31 (hereinafter, "Emergency Code")[7]; and the SCCC, 53 P.S. § 25092. See SSBA § 410.02.

         The SSBA's provisions apply to "covered properties," a term that encompasses commercial office buildings or complexes, retail buildings or complexes, health care facilities, museums, and "similar cultural institutions" occupying 100, 000 or more square feet, as well as all colleges and universities, and all properties owned, managed, or occupied, wholly or in part, by the City. The SSBA's requirements apply variously to "[s]ecurity officers"[8] and "[b]uilding service employees."[9] While we consider the specific requirements of the SSBA in greater detail below, our review of the lower courts' rulings requires us to note only that the SSBA imposes an array of time-consuming education requirements that putatively ensure that employees of certain businesses and building facilities are capable of serving certain protective and investigative functions in the event of a plethora of events that imperil the health and safety of such facilities' occupants.

         The above-captioned plaintiff-appellees (collectively, "Challengers")[10] filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging the PSDA's and SSBA's validity on the basis that the HRC precludes the City from imposing the burdens those ordinances entail upon local employers. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas considered the challenges to both laws, and found, in separate decisions issued within four days of each other, that both ordinances were ultra vires as impermissible business regulations pursuant to Section 2962(f) of the HRC. That provision states:

Regulation of business and employment.-A municipality which adopts a home rule charter shall not determine duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers, including the duty to withhold, remit or report taxes or penalties levied or imposed upon them or upon persons in their employment, except as expressly provided by statutes which are applicable in every part of this Commonwealth or which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities. . . .

53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(f) (emphasis added) (hereinafter, the "Business Exclusion"). We review these trial court decisions in turn, focusing first upon the later-issued ruling concerning the PSDA, which the court analyzed at greater length.

         The Pittsburgh Restaurant and Lodging Association, among others (collectively, "PRLA"[11]), challenged the PSDA. As noted above, the Business Exclusion precludes home-rule municipalities from determining "duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon" businesses and employers unless authority to do so is "expressly provided" by statute. Thus, the trial court reviewed each of the putative statutory sources of authority proffered by the City.

         First, the court rejected the City's invocation of the DPCL, which provides, in relevant part: "Municipalities which have boards or departments of health or county departments of health may enact ordinances or issue rules and regulations relating to disease prevention and control, which are not less strict than the provisions of this act or the rules and regulations issued thereunder by the board." 35 P.S. § 521.16(c). The court concluded that this grant of authority did not apply because the City does not have a municipal board or department of health.

         The court next rejected the City's resort to the SCCC, 53 P.S. §§ 23103 and 23145 (collectively empowering second-class cities to "make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, and to remove and prevent nuisances"). The Business Exclusion envisages reliance upon the express provision of authority by statutes "which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities." Evidently, the court construed that exception to refer only to such grants of authority when they govern the particular city asserting a challenged law-making authority. Thus, the trial court determined that SCCC § 23145 could not confer the authority asserted because the City lost its status as a second-class city governed by the SCCC when it elected to enact its home rule charter. Tr. Ct. Op. PSDA at 3 (citing Danzilli v. Lomeo, 944 A.2d 813, 815 n.6 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008)).

         The trial court concluded as well that its disposition was controlled by this Court's decision in Building Owners & Managers Association of Pittsburgh v. City of Pittsburgh, 985 A.2d 711 (Pa. 2009) (hereinafter, "BOMA-2009"). In that case, this Court confronted a challenge to a Pittsburgh ordinance requiring employers who obtained new service contracts to retain the employees of the prior contractor for no fewer than 180 days after the new contract took effect. By precluding the termination of the prior contractor's employees for 180 days, we held, the City had imposed an unauthorized "requirement" on City businesses as that term is used in the Business Exclusion.[12] For all of these reasons, the trial court ruled that the PSDA could not stand, and it granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of Challengers.

         The trial court's analysis of the SSBA was more concise. Therein, the court did not expressly consider any of the City's cited sources of authority for the legislation. Instead, it repeated its brief discussion of BOMA-2009, and it ruled accordingly.

         The City and the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ (hereinafter, "SEIU") both appealed the trial court's decisions to the Commonwealth Court, which considered the cases en banc and affirmed both rulings in separate non-precedential decisions. See Pa. Restaurant & Lodging Ass'n v. City of Pittsburgh, 79 C.D. 2016, 101 C.D. 2016, 2017 WL 2153813 (Pa. Cmwlth. May 17, 2017) (en banc memorandum; hereinafter, "PRLA"); Bldg. Owners & Managers Ass'n of Pittsburgh v. City of Pittsburgh, 100 C.D. 2016, 102 C.D. 2016, 2017 WL 2153216 (Pa. Cmwlth. May 17, 2017) (en banc memorandum).

         With regard to the PSDA, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the provisions the City cited as express statutory authorizations for the PSDA were insufficient to except that enactment from the Business Exclusion. The court rejected the City's reliance upon HRC § 2962(c)(4), which broadly bars a municipality from enacting ordinances and regulations "with respect to definitions, sanitation, safety, health, standards of identity or labeling pertaining to the manufacture, processing, storage, distribution and sale of any foods, goods or services subject to any Commonwealth statutes and regulations" unless they are uniform with Commonwealth statutes and regulations on the same subject, but makes an exception for "ordinances relating to building codes or any other safety, sanitation or health regulations pertaining thereto." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(c)(4). In relying upon "ordinances relating to safety, sanitation or health regulations" as a source of express authority, the court observed, the City effectively wrote out of the statute the language limiting these allowances to ordinances "relating to building codes" and regulations "pertaining thereto." The City's argument failed because the PSDA had nothing to do with building codes.

         The intermediate court also rejected the City's reliance upon the SCCC. The court did not endorse the trial court's conclusion that the SCCC could not grant the authority in question because the City had forfeited its second-class city status by electing home rule. However, the court concluded that the City's reliance upon SCCC §§ 23145 (authorizing cities to "make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants") and 23146 (permitting cities to "make all necessary orders and regulations to prevent the introduction of contagious or pestilential diseases into the city" and "to enact quarantine laws for that purpose") was unavailing because neither provision "expressly grant[s] the City authority to impose the affirmative duties" embodied in the PSDA. PRLA, 2017 WL 2153813 at *3.

         With regard to the City's resort to the DPCL, the Commonwealth Court agreed with the trial court that the City's lack of a health board or health department precluded the DPCL's application. In this regard, the court summarily rejected the City's argument that the DPCL's authorization applies where a home-rule municipality is served by a county health department. Rather, on the Commonwealth Court's account, only if the City was served by a municipal board or department of health might it find the requisite authority to provide paid sick leave. As a consequence of this reasoning, the Court did not address whether, assuming the City had the legislative authority conferred by the DPCL, the DPCL's terms would qualify as express authority for purposes of the Business Exclusion.

         Judge Cosgrove was the lone dissenter. Citing the "essential principle underlying home rule [to] transfer [] authority to control certain municipal affairs from the state to the local level," id. at *4 (Cosgrove, J., dissenting) (quoting Hartman v. City of Allentown, 880 A.2d 737, 742 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005)), Judge Cosgrove noted that this Court's decision in BOMA-2009, upon which the Commonwealth Court majority relied, concerned an ordinance that was designed "in the first place to regulate business," while the PSDA reflects an effort to protect health and safety that lies at the heart of home rule. Id. at *5 (citing BOMA-2009, 985 A.2d at 715 n.12, in which the Majority of this Court criticized the dissent for "confus[ing] regulating business with health or safety ordinances that may affect a business"). Thus, Judge Cosgrove maintained, the exercise of home-rule authority in this case should be allowed because the PSDA acts in furtherance of health and safety and the resulting burdens upon businesses are merely incidental to that objective.

         In its separate decision affirming the trial court's ruling that the SSBA violated the HRC, the Commonwealth Court rejected the City's resort to the SCCC and the Emergency Code as sources of express statutory authority for purposes of the Business Exclusion. The City contended that the SSBA was authorized by: SCCC § 23145, which empowers second-class cities "[t]o make regulations to secure the general health of the inhabitants, and to remove and prevent nuisances"; Section 25081, which authorizes second-class cities to provide for the inspection of all buildings and premises "to decrease and prevent fire, the spread of fire, and fire waste, loss of life from fire, and loss of life or damage to property from unsafe or improper construction or design"; and Section 25092, pursuant to which second-class cities may "provide for the preparation and distribution by the Department of Public Safety of rules and regulations to minimize the danger of fire and lessen fire waste." The court found that these provisions did not grant the City "specific authority" to impose upon employers the affirmative duties that the SSBA created.

         The court also found that the Emergency Code did not confer express authority to enact the SSBA. The Emergency Code authorizes and directs political subdivisions "to establish a local emergency management organization in accordance with the plan and program of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency" with "responsibility for emergency management, response and recovery within the . . . political subdivision." 35 Pa.C.S. § 7501(a). Section 7503 directs political subdivisions to "adopt an Intergovernmental Cooperation agreement with other political subdivisions" in furtherance of maintaining a "disaster emergency management plan," and explains in great detail the various functions for which the plan must provide. The court found that these grants of authority do not "expressly empower" the City to direct the regulation and training of "Security Officers" or "Building Service Employees" of private employers. Acknowledging Section 7503(7)'s authorization of municipalities to "[c]ooperate and coordinate" with private employers in furtherance of the "Intergovernmental Cooperation agreement" among cooperating municipalities, the court found that it nonetheless did not support compelled regulation and training of covered security and service employees.[13]

         The City and SEIU sought our review of these decisions, which we granted in order to resolve the following question:

Did the Commonwealth Court err in holding that the State Emergency Management Services Code, the State Disease Prevention and Control Act Law [sic], the Second Class City Code, and the Home Rule Charter and [Optional Plans] Law failed to satisfy the "expressly provided by statute" exception, and that the City of Pittsburgh therefore lacked the authority to pass the Paid Sick Days Act and the Safe and Secure Buildings Act?

Pa. Rest. & Lodging Ass'n v. City of Pittsburgh, 175 A.3d 219 (Pa. 2017) (per curiam).

         III. THE GOVERNING LEGAL STANDARDS

         The scope of the issue we granted for review is narrow. We consider only whether any "statute[] which [is] applicable in every part of this Commonwealth or which [is] applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities," 53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(f), expressly empowered the City to enact either or both of the PSDA and SSBA.

         Before taking up these two ordinances in detail, we note that resolving the question presented requires us to seek express statutory authority as conceived by the Business Exclusion. This principally constitutes an exercise in statutory construction involving a question of law, which we address de novo, subject to a plenary scope of review. Thomas Jefferson Univ. Hosp., Inc. v. Pa. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 162 A.3d 384, 389 (Pa. 2017). "'In all matters involving statutory interpretation, we apply the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S. §§ 1501, et seq., which directs us to ascertain and effectuate the intent of the General Assembly. 1 Pa.C.S. § 1921(a).'" Id. at 389 (quoting Commonwealth v. Kingston, 143 A.3d 917, 922 (Pa. 2016)). In seeking the General Assembly's intent, our inquiry begins and ends with the plain language of the statute if that statute is unambiguous. Mohamed v. Commonwealth, Dep't of Transp., Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 40 A.3d 1186, 1193 (Pa. 2012). However, when the language is susceptible of two or more reasonable interpretations, we may rely upon various extrinsic considerations. These construction devices include, but are not limited to:

(1) The occasion and necessity for the statute.
(2) The circumstances under which it was enacted.
(3) The mischief to be remedied.
(4) The object to be attained.
(5) The former law, if any, including other statutes upon the same or similar subjects.
(6) The consequences of a particular interpretation.
(7) The contemporaneous legislative history.
(8) Legislative and administrative interpretations of such statute.

1 Pa.C.S. § 1921(c). We also may presume that "the General Assembly does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution or unreasonable," and that the legislature "intends to favor the public interest as against any private interest." 1 Pa.C.S. §§ 1922(1), (5).

         It bears repeating that "[a]ll grants of municipal power to municipalities governed by a home rule charter under this subchapter, whether in the form of specific enumeration or general terms, shall be liberally construed in favor of the municipality." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2961. Accordingly, when we find ambiguity in the scope of municipal authority and limitations imposed thereupon, we must resolve that ambiguity in the home-rule municipality's favor. Nutter, 938 A.2d at 411 (quoting Cty. of Delaware, 511 A.2d at 813).

         IV. DISCUSSION[14]

         Disposition of these appeals turns upon the Business Exclusion and the limited exception which that provision contains. The Business Exclusion provides as follows:

Regulation of business and employment.-A municipality which adopts a home rule charter shall not determine duties, responsibilities or requirements placed upon businesses, occupations and employers, including the duty to withhold, remit or report taxes or penalties levied or imposed upon them or upon persons in their employment, except as expressly provided by statutes which are applicable in every part of this Commonwealth or which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities. . . .

53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(f) (emphasis added). Accepting as we must the proposition that both the PSDA and the SSBA in some sense determine duties, responsibilities, and requirements placed upon businesses and employers, we must decide whether the impositions in question are "expressly provided by statutes which are applicable in every part of this Commonwealth or which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities." Id. Before taking each ordinance up individually, we must address one recurrent argument that bears upon both the PSDA and the SSBA.

         A. Resort to Municipal Codes Under the Business Exclusion

         The trial court, Challengers, and certain amici curiae maintain that the City cannot rely in any way upon the SCCC as authority for its enactment of either the PSDA or the SSBA. They contend that the City surrendered its status as a second-class city, and thus any resort to the SCCC, upon the enactment of its home-rule charter. Those venturing this interpretation cite our decision in County of Delaware, 511 A.2d 811, and the Commonwealth Court's decision in Danzilli, 944 A.2d 813. Taken at face value, the proposition is correct. Thus, in County of Delaware, we held that "the adoption of a home rule charter acts to remove a municipality from the operation of the code provisions enumerating the powers of that particular class of municipality." Cty. of Delaware, 511 A.2d at 813. However, that principle has no bearing on our interpretation of the Business Exclusion.

         It bears repeating that our Constitution grants a home-rule municipality all powers "not denied by this Constitution, by its home rule charter or by the General Assembly at any time." Pa. Const. art. IX, § 2. Furthermore, "a home-rule municipality's exercise of legislative power is presumed valid, absent a specific constitutional or statutory limitation." SEPTA, 101 A.3d at 88. Thus, "[a]ll grants of municipal power to municipalities governed by a home rule charter under this subchapter, whether in the form of specific enumeration or general terms, shall be liberally construed in favor of the municipality." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2961. From this, it necessarily follows that a home-rule municipality power cannot, except where specified clearly by statute or the municipality's own charter, find itself vested with less power than a non-home-rule counterpart.

         By its terms, the Business Exclusion allows municipal regulation of business when expressly provided "by statutes which are applicable in every part of this Commonwealth or which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities." 53 Pa.C.S. § 2962(f). It does not suggest that whatever statutory provision is relied upon must correspond (or cannot correspond) to the particular statutory status that the municipality invoking the exception wore before it adopted home rule. Rather, in unambiguous terms, the Business Exclusion provides that a home-rule municipality seeking to invoke this exception is entitled to the benefit of affirmative grants of authority applicable to any class of municipality as a whole, or reflected in codes that apply to all municipalities together. While it is true that, in other contexts, the City may not seek authority in the SCCC or any other municipal code on the basis that the authority in question is specifically conferred by that code standing alone, here it is the Business Exclusion itself that furnishes the authority in question: It merely incorporates municipal codes and state-wide regulations by reference to define the scope of the authority.

         The flaw in the Challengers' reasoning appears on the face of the HRC itself. The Business Exclusion-its prohibition as well as the exception thereto-applies only to home-rule municipalities. However, the scope of the exception to the Business Exclusion is defined, in part, by reference to "statutes . . . which are applicable to all municipalities or to a class or classes of municipalities." Id. Challengers thus are wedded to one of two untenable positions: either (1) that the putative grant of authority is mere surplusage, because as home-rule municipalities, no municipalities seeking to establish authority to act under the exception to the Business Exclusion may invoke any municipal code; or (2) that a given home-rule municipality seeking the exception may cite authority in any municipal code except the particular one that would apply to that municipality had it not elected home-rule in the first instance. We presume that "the General Assembly does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution or unreasonable," and that "the General Assembly intends the entire statute to be effective and certain." 1 Pa.C.S. § 1922; see Allegheny Cty. Sportsmen's League v. Rendell, 860 ...


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