Jun. 13, 2022

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) announced his bill, which would repeal the City Classification Law of 1895 to update and simplify the city classification process, passed the House. 

“While the current law has been amended repeatedly to change population thresholds for different city classifications, some of its provisions appear confusing, outdated or contradictory,” said James. “My bill clarifies the language in order to eliminate confusing guidance for any qualified city willing to change classification.”

The current city classifications by population are as follows:
First Class City (Philadelphia): population 1 million or higher.
Second Class City (Pittsburgh): population 250,000 to 1 million.
Second Class A City (Scranton): population over 80,000.
Third Class City: any other city under 250,000.

According to James, his bill would authorize a city to maintain its current classification if it has adopted a home rule charter or optional charter, regardless of population; require any city choosing to become a Second Class A City in the future to adopt a home rule charter
seeking that designation explicitly; and provide a long transition period into a change of class. In most cases, the changeover would be at least two years after the decennial census is released.

House Bill 2254 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Representative R. Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives