Mar. 22, 2021

HARRISBURG – State Reps. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill) and Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster) today announced the first three bills approved unanimously by the House Urban Affairs Committee, of which they serve as chairmen this session.

Introduced by Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), House Bill 264 would amend the Real Estate Tax Sale Law to require a pre-registration process for all potential bidders prior to a real estate tax sale. This issue is the top priority of the Statewide Blight Task Force, and the goal is to prevent negligent owners from buying up additional properties.

Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) introduced House Bill 581, which would allow local taxing authorities the option of abating property taxes to encourage the development of affordable housing.

House Bill 827, introduced by Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), would establish the microenterprise loan program for low-income individuals with the goal of offering municipalities an additional economic development and revitalization tool.

The bills now move on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

“I look forward to crafting and advancing legislation with Chairman Sturla and the committee in a bipartisan manner that will help our municipalities create and maintain safe and vibrant places to live and work,” said Knowles.

Knowles and Sturla said they have offered a resolution to the Rules Committee (House Resolution 78) that would rename the House Urban Affairs Committee’s three subcommittees to Blight Remediation and Prevention, Affordable Housing and Community Development. The current names are Cities, Counties-First Class; Cities, Counties-Second Class; and Cities, Third Class.

“I want to thank Chairman Knowles for his desire to have this committee operate in a bipartisan fashion that will enable us to have a productive session,” said Sturla. “We hope the House shares our belief that renaming the subcommittees would better reflect the work and goals of the committee to reduce blight, increase affordable housing and develop communities.”

The House Urban Affairs Committee reviews legislation regarding housing, specifically affordable housing; community redevelopment; economic development; land use planning and zoning; growth management; infrastructure financing, and issues regarding Pennsylvania's cities.

Representative Jerry Knowles
124th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Rick Leiner

Representative Mike Sturla
96th District

Media Contact: Jim Dawes