Rep Kurt Masser Weekly News Letter

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The Weekly Roundup

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The latest news from the State Capitol

Deadline Nears for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2020 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Remember, assistance through my offices is always free. You need not pay a private firm for assistance.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

For additional information and applications, click here, or contact my office for assistance.

Bill to Stop Wolf Bridge Tolling Plan Passes House

The House on Tuesday passed legislation to stop the current Wolf administration plan to toll nine bridges across Pennsylvania and reassert the Legislature’s oversight of, and community involvement in, any future tolling plans.

The Public Private Partnership (P3) law adopted in 2012 authorized the establishment of such partnerships to assist in funding road and bridge repairs across the Commonwealth. However, the initial approval last fall by the P3 Board of the Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative failed to offer any specific information about the proposal, including which bridges would be affected.

Senate Bill 382 would void this proposal and prescribe a more open and transparent process for future P3 projects. Specifically, a detailed analysis would have to be developed prior to any consideration by the P3 board, and a 30-day public comment period would be held following publication of the project in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Additionally, any P3 project that includes a user fee would require legislative approval.

The measure now returns to the Senate for further consideration.

Proposed Amendments to Better Balance Branches of Government Advance

Continuing efforts to ensure no single person, authority or interest can outweigh the voices of the people of the Commonwealth, the House State Government Committee this week advanced two proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution to further restore the balance of power to our three-branch system of governing.

Under the amendment proposed in House Bill 2070, executive orders or proclamations issued by a governor that purport to have the force of law could not be in effect for more than 21 days, unless extended by concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.

Under the amendment proposed in House Bill 2069, legislation adopted by the General Assembly to disapprove a regulation would not need to be presented to the governor for his approval.

The measures now go to the full House for consideration. Since the two bills would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution, they would need to be approved by the General Assembly this session and again in identical form next session before voters would see the questions on the ballot.

House Adopts Bill to Give Victims a Greater Voice in Bail Determinations

Continuing our commitment to protecting victims’ rights, the House has approved legislation that would require a victim of a crime of violence to be notified of any proceeding in which conditions for bail for a defendant can be modified.

House Bill 2039 would require an arresting officer to provide the contact information of the victim to the magisterial district court conducting a preliminary arraignment to ensure the victim has notice of any proceedings that might change the conditions of bail.

The bill would apply to personal injury crimes, crimes of violence, the sexual abuse of children and the sexual exploitation of children.

The measure was spurred by an incident in which a man arrested on child pornography charges was found to have photos on his computer of a young child who lives next door. He was released on bail and is back living next door to the child while he awaits trial. The parents never had the opportunity to make a statement about their concerns which could have altered the conditions of the alleged offender’s bail.

House Bill 2039 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

House Adopts Constitutional Carry Measure

The state House has approved “constitutional carry” legislation that would allow legal gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in the Commonwealth. Nearly two dozen other states already allow this in recognition of the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Pennsylvania’s Constitution is equally clear in its defense of our citizens’ rights to bear arms. Also, Pennsylvania gun owners are already permitted to open carry without a permit.

The bill would not change existing law with regard to the background check process people must undergo in order to purchase a firearm legally in the Commonwealth or do anything to limit the enforcement of current gun laws.

The measure was previously approved by the Senate and now goes to the governor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For centuries, Americans have come together in the spirit of thanksgiving. From the earliest traditions that began in Plymouth, Mass., in 1621 to the first official national observance in 1863, families have gathered in November to celebrate bountiful harvests and all that has been given to them.

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, state offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25, and my offices will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 26.

PennDOT Driver License Centers will be closed Nov. 25-26 as well, though many services are available online at

If you are traveling, be sure to check for the latest traffic and weather information.

From my family to yours, may you all have a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

Supporting Small Businesses

With many small businesses still struggling to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever consumers are being encouraged to “shop small” in observance of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27.

Launched by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to support the small businesses that help drive the economies of our communities.

Learn more about Small Business Saturday here.

Safety Tips for this Hunting Season

As you prepare to head out to our fields and forests, be sure to keep safety in mind. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers these important tips:

Basic Safety
• Positively identify the target – Be sure you are shooting at legal game and not another hunter. And never shoot at sounds or movement.
• Know your zone of fire and never shoot at game moving between you and someone else.
• Wear the mandated amount of fluorescent orange clothing and use layers of clothing that wick moisture, insulate and block wind or rain to help keep you safe and comfortable.
• Let someone know where you are hunting and when you will return. They should alert authorities if you do not return at the appointed time.
• Carry a basic survival kit and know how to use it.

Firearms Safety
• Handle all firearms as if they’re loaded. Never assume they are unloaded and double check to be sure.
• Always point the muzzle in a safe direction and don’t put your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
• Unload and place your firearm on the ground before crossing a fence, log or other obstacle, or climbing a tree.
• Shoot only when a safe and adequate backstop exists. Don’t shoot at hard, flat surfaces, water or a target on the horizon.

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission website at

Hunters Can Share Their Harvest

The state Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania Game Commission are again encouraging hunters to consider sharing their deer harvest to provide thousands of pounds of venison to people in need.

Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) is Pennsylvania’s venison donation program for hunters who share their extra venison via a statewide network of participating butchers to food pantries and community assistance centers across the Commonwealth. HSH has distributed 1.5 million pounds of donated venison since 1991. On average, a single deer donated can provide up to 200 meals.

Hunters can donate all or part of a harvested deer by taking it to a participating processor, which will then distribute the ground venison to food banks and pantries. For more information, including a list of participating processors in the area, visit

Watch for Purple Paint!

Pennsylvania has joined several other states in adopting a “purple paint law,” which went into effect last year. The law provides landowners with an alternative to marking their properties as “no trespassing.”

Under the law, landowners may paint purple stripes on trees or posts to mark their properties. The lines must be vertical and at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. They must be 3 to 5 feet off the ground, readily visible to a person approaching the property and no more than 100 feet apart. While the law does not specify a certain shade of purple, a number of paint manufacturers offer a product called “No Hunting Purple.”

The law applies everywhere, except in Philadelphia and Allegheny counties.


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