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State Representative Justin Simmons Report

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The Weekly Roundup
 The latest news from the State Capitol

More on the Upcoming Property Tax Reform Vote

This fall, voters will have the chance to change the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide some possible relief from high property taxes. There will be a question on the Nov. 7 ballot that asks if the Constitution should be amended to allow local governments, including school districts, to exclude more of a home’s median assessed value in order to reduce its property taxes.

If voters say yes, the General Assembly would still have to pass enabling legislation before any changes are seen in your local property tax bill.

Currently, the Constitution only permits school districts and other local governments to exclude up to 50 percent of the value from a homeowner’s tax bill. However, with a successful vote, this homestead exclusion could be increased to 100 percent for primary residences.

The change would give school districts the option to offer more substantial property tax relief. It does not, however, require school districts to reduce property taxes or dictate how it’s to be done.

While this vote alone would not eliminate everyone’s property taxes, it is an important step as we move in that direction. In fact, we could be seeing more palatable tax bills as early as next year, if voters approve the change in November.

Upcoming Events in the District

I will be hosting a Concealed Carry Seminar on Thursday, Sept. 7, from 6-8 p.m. at the Se-Wy-Co Fire Company, 3621 Old Bethlehem Pike in Bethlehem. Gun owners and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend this free event to learn about their rights under Pennsylvania’s firearms laws. Seating is limited. Attendees are asked to please RSVP by contacting the Emmaus district office at 610-965-5830 or registering online here.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, I will be hosting an Opioid Awareness Seminar from 6-8 p.m. at the Southern Lehigh Middle School Auditorium, 3715 Preston Lane in Center Valley. A panel featuring experts from various fields will discuss how to deal with the opioid crisis in everyday situations. Parents, individuals who have loved ones dealing with this epidemic and those who would like more information about this important issue will be especially interested. Reservations are not required.

In the spirit of helping the community, anyone attending the seminar may also bring new school supplies to be donated to the Open Link and Angel Network back-to-school drives. Residents of the 131st District can also drop off school supplies donations for these organizations at my district offices now through Friday, Sept. 29.

Thank You, Verizon

Last week, it was my pleasure to join Sen. Bob Mensch (second from left) and Rep. Marcy Toepel (far right) in accepting a $10,000 check from Verizon Foundation for the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce. The money will go toward the chamber’s PerkUp project, an initiative to coordinate economic growth while retaining the area’s quality of life. Also pictured are Chamber President Luanne Stauffer and Verizon Director of State Government Relations Frank Buzydlowski.

New DUI Law to Take Effect Later this Month

A new law set to go into effect Aug. 25 will change the way first-time DUI offenders are punished in Pennsylvania. The new law will require most first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.10 percent to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

Under the new law, most first-time offenders would be eligible to drive with the ignition interlock immediately. Otherwise, they would have to have their driver’s license suspended for a year before installing the interlock device for 12 months.

According to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly 2 million drunk-driving attempts have been stopped with ignition interlock devices, including more than 78,000 instances in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2015.

New Immunization Requirements for PA Schools This Fall

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised the state’s school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year.

The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from classes. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.

If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.

For more information, contact your health care provider, visit www.health.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

Let’s Get Connected
 
Our District
Web Site

RepSimmons.com
Office Locations
21 N. Main Street, Unit 9, Coopersburg, PA 18036 | Phone: (610) 282-0160
191 Main St., Suite 104, Emmaus, PA 18049 I Phone: (610) 965-5830
 56 W. Fourth St., Second Floor, Red Hill, PA 18076 I Phone: (215) 679-3152
5 East Wing, PO Box 202131, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2131 | (717) 783-1673
Email: jsimmons@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614

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