HARRISBURG—Another battle is brewing for the state takeover of the City of Harrisburg. This time, a group of city residents are filing a civil lawsuit in federal court. The suit claims the state should not be able to move forward with the takeover because it violates the citizens 14th Amendment rights.
The lawsuit claims the state takeover and the legislation surrounding Act 47 is illegal. The group of citizens filing the suit are hoping for a federal judge to suspend the process because they say it violates their 14th amendment rights.
The lawsuit was filed on Thursday and asks a federal court to consider the state takeover of Harrisburg's finances unconstitutional. The civil rights action says Senate Bill 1151, which amends the Act 47 process, takes away citizens federal rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th amendment.
There are two main sticking points the lawsuit calls into question. First, the suit claims the state takeover law suspends representative democracy in Harrisburg by having the state run the city's finances.
Second, tthe lawsuit claims the state takeover bill is written specifically to target Harrisburg, which violates the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.
The three men responsible for the lawsuit are former mayoral candidate Nevin Mindlin, Harrisburg firefighters Eric Jenkins and Reverend Earl Harris from Saint Paul Baptist Church. The group says they are looking for a "fair financial recovery plan for the Harrisburg community."
In the best case scenario for the filing group, the lawsuit would suspend the state takeover of the city. The group will hold a news conference later this morning to layout the civil action suit and talk about their intentions with the move. That news conference is scheduled for 9 am at the Que House at 2020 State Street.
As for the takeover process, a Commonwealth Court judge approved the appointment of David Unkovic as receiver on Friday. He now has 30 days from Friday to develop and implement fiscal recovery plan