State Legislators Respond To ACLU Lawsuit Against Norristown

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Rep. Mike Vereb (R-150th Dist.) and Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151st Dist.), along with Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman urged Norristown officials to repeal or modify its controversial nuisance ordinance to protect victims of domestic abuse and discussed possible legislation to ensure that those victims would be protected statewide at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

The ordinance, which is currently being challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union, was adopted in 2008 and permitted the suspension or revocation of a rental license if the police are called to the property three times for disorderly behavior.

“For me, the most important part of today is speaking directly to the victims of domestic violence who are in the community,” said Ferman.  “I think it’s so important that they know that they can call the police.  They should call the police.  They should call for help.  We will not allow anything to stand in their way and we will be here to support them.”

“We’re here for victims, to let them know that we’re not going to allow any borough, municipal, or city ordinance get in the way of their access to help,” said Vereb.  “We should focus on the goal here.  The goal is to get the thugs off of the streets and out of the rental properties.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130430/NEWS01/130439974/state-legislators-respond-to-aclu-lawsuit-against-norristown#full_story

Norristown Municipal Administrator Responds To ACLU Lawsuit

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Norristown is standing by its rental license ordinance as it is written and declared in a statement that in no way does it “discriminate against any persons, nor does it punish victims of domestic violence.”

The Norristown ordinance penalizes landlords and encourages them to evict their tenants when the police are called to a property three times in four months for “disorderly behavior,” including responding to incidents of domestic violence, according to the federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday.

“The ordinance provision currently in effect contains all of the constitutional due process provisions required to protect the residents of Norristown,” said Norristown Municipal Adminstrator

 in the statement released Thursday, “explicitly stating that no property shall be condemned for any reason under Norristown’s property maintenance code based on occurrences of disorderly behavior, and stating that no tenant shall be evicted or forced to vacate a rental dwelling for violation of the ordinance provision.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130426/NEWS01/130429637/norristown-municipal-administrator-responds-to-aclu-lawsuit#full_story