Simmons’ County Debt Referendum Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature
HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Northampton), which would expand the use of voter approval of borrowing in home rule counties was overwhelmingly approved in a concurrence vote Wednesday by the state House of Representatives. House Bill 1857 was then sent to Gov. Tom Corbett to be signed into law.

“This important tool will allow home rule charter counties, such as Lehigh and Northampton, to seek approval for proposed debt increases from voters first,” said Simmons. “This is a significant victory for Pennsylvania taxpayers.”

Specifically, the measure would allow county home rule charters to include referendum requirements for local government borrowing in addition to any currently contained in the Local Government Unit Debt Act. The bill does not provide language for referendum ballot questions.

“The whole concept of home rule is that local citizens can govern their county as they deem appropriate,” said Simmons. “The flexibility to add voter approval to certain indebtedness seems to be consistent with that concept. However, under current state law such referenda are not permitted. House Bill 1857 would remedy that situation.”

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State Representative Justin Simmons
131st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs