Trumpism threatens judicial independence in Pennsylvania

(Sep 18, 2020)

The radical right agenda has infiltrated the Pennsylvania legislature and threatens the independence of our judiciary. We rely on a fair and independent judicial system to administer equal justice under the law, free from outside pressure and influence. But, as we approach a critically important election, that independence is on the line because of a politically motivated attempt to rig our courts. The most radicalized Republican members of the legislature reign over districts simply because they picked their constituents through gerrymandering. The lack of compromise, civility and gridlock in Harrisburg can be directly linked to gerrymandering. The same radicalized Republicans in control in Harrisburg are pushing H.B. 196, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create judicial districts for our appellate courts, rather than elect them on a statewide basis. It’s a bad bill that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the judiciary and its role in our society. Appellate court decisions impact the rights of all Pennsylvanians, from Erie to King of Prussia and everywhere in between. Appellate judges are elected to interpret our laws, not to represent any particular special interests or regional biases. Judges are to be free of influence and not bring their own agenda to the courts. Electing judges from districts drawn by radicalized politicians would make those judges increasingly beholden to special interests instead of the law, Read more

 

Webster, Briggs announce education grants for Norristown Area School District

(Aug 26, 2020)

WEST NORRITON, Aug. 26 – State Reps. Joe Webster and Tim Briggs announced that Norristown Area School District has been awarded two grants to improve educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district is among 220 local education agencies statewide awarded grants aimed at improving educational services for approximately 180,000 students at schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds. Norristown Area School District was awarded $185,789 for Norristown Area High School and $17,987 for Roosevelt Alternative School. “This funding is an investment in making sure all children are receiving the education they deserve during this public health emergency. I’m pleased to see this critical funding awarded, and I applaud Norristown Area School District for everything it is doing to support students in difficult circumstances,” said Webster, D-Montgomery. Briggs, D-Montgomery, added: “All schools need our support during this pandemic, but some already had extra challenges on their plates. This funding provides an additional boost for schools that need it the most.” Grants were calculated based on elements of the federal Title I, Part A formula, including the Read more

 

Briggs: Pandemic, election demonstrate need for media literacy curriculum

(Aug 18, 2020)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Aug. 18 – The global pandemic and upcoming presidential election demonstrate the critical importance of teaching media literacy, starting at a young age, said state Rep. Tim Briggs, who has been advocating for the establishment of media literacy curriculum in Pennsylvania schools. “As we are all bombarded with information on a daily basis, particularly through social media, it can sometimes be difficult to discern fact from fiction – and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical to ensure we are consuming accurate information from reliable sources,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “I’ve reintroduced legislation to establish a media literacy curriculum in our schools because we need to prepare our youngest citizens with the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate information and sources. The health of our democracy – and right now, the health of our citizens – depends on it.” House Bill 992, assigned to the House Education Committee since March 2019, would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop an age-appropriate media literacy curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 that would be made available to school districts throughout Pennsylvania. The curriculum may include, but would not be limited to: developing critical thinking skills; understanding how media messages shape culture and society; identifying targeted marketing strategies; naming Read more

 

Briggs hosts policy hearing on contact tracing in Pennsylvania

(Jul 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 29 – State Rep. Tim Briggs today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the challenges and importance of contact tracing in Pennsylvania. Briggs requested the hearing to discuss contact tracing and ways the process could be improved. The hearing included testimony from state and local health officials, including Michel Masters, division director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Montgomery County Office of Public Health. “The federal government’s failure to lead with a cohesive national strategy requires us at the state and local level to work collaboratively to learn and share successful approaches and best practices to protect our communities from COVID-19,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Contact tracing is an essential tool to allow our schools and economy to reopen. This hearing brought together those on the front lines to share their experiences for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.” The hearing was attended by legislators from around the state, including Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Health Committee; and Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “I thank Representative Briggs for requesting this hearing to enable us to hear how DOH and various counties are conducting contact tracing. This tracing is critical for an effective handling of the COVID-19 Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold hearing on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Wednesday in Capitol

(Jul 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 28 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on COVID-19 contact tracing. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 29 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . The hearing was requested by State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, to investigate the challenges of contact tracing in Pennsylvania. Testifiers and committee members will participate in person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Sarah Boateng , executive deputy secretary, PA Department of Health. Lindsey Mauldin , special assistant on contact tracing for Secretary Levine, DOH. Michel Masters , division director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Montgomery County Office of Public Health. Dr. Jeff Martin , medical director, Lancaster County Contact Tracing Program. Cynthia Shields , assistant director of Office of Community Services, Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more

 

Judiciary Commitee 2020 Update

(Jul 27, 2020)

Latest news from the House Judiciary Committee and more. Read more

 

Briggs announces grant to support clean energy project at Arkema

(Jul 14, 2020)

KING OF PRUSSIA, July 14 – State Rep. Tim Briggs announced a $464,000 state grant will help support the installation of clean energy infrastructure at Arkema Inc. headquarters in King of Prussia. The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the grant to Scale Microgrid Solutions, which will enter into an agreement with Arkema to own and operate clean energy equipment at the 13-building campus. As part of the agreement, Scale Microgrid Solutions will install a combined heat and power system that will generate electricity and thermal energy for the campus. The total project cost is more than $4 million. “Moving to cleaner energy sources is essential to preserve our environment and support our communities for the future. I’m pleased to see a local company taking steps to become greener, and I’m glad that the state is supporting these projects with funding,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. The grant comes through the state’s Alternative and Clean Energy Program, which provides financial assistance through grants and loans for the utilization, development and construction of alternative and clean energy projects in the state. The program is jointly administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Read more

 

Pushing Back on a Troubling Trump Trend That Threatens Our Courts

(Jul 01, 2020)

The separation of powers is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, a system of checks and balances that makes government accountable to all of us. But today, the system is breaking down as President Trump and his minions have called on courts to settle political questions at every level of government. More than ever, we need pushback from concerned elected officials, Democrats and Republicans alike, to counter the Trump Administration’s overtly political litigation agenda. That effort should start at targeting Republican attorneys general who are pushing the Trump agenda in courts throughout the country. The president and his team have managed to turn much of federal law enforcement into a de-facto political arm of the White House. And at the highest level, Attorney General William Barr is a prime example of this political puppetry. Under his “leadership,” the DOJ has become a legal shield for the Trump administration and a weapon against the president’s enemies , including his political opponents and industries that he views as biased against conservatives, like big tech , or the Postal Service, or the auto industry, or any of a score of other enterprises the president chooses to target. And, this subversion of the law has been passed down to the state level. AGs like Texas’s Ken Paxton have seized on issues like the COVID-19 pandemic to advance the president’s agenda. A supposed “small government” proponent, many of Read more

 

July 2020 Newsletter

(Jul 01, 2020)

Updates on news and legislation for the 149th Legislative District Read more

 

Small Business Assistance grants available

(Jun 26, 2020)

Applications are expected to be available June 30 for a new program aimed at providing critical funding to local businesses hurt by the coronavirus. Read more

 

Briggs, as Democratic House Judiciary chairman, calls for action on police reform bills

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, supported calls for a special session to take action on police reform legislation. “Since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we’ve seen communities around Pennsylvania and the rest of the country come together in peaceful protests to speak out against systemic racism resulting in the loss of innocent black lives. These calls for justice are happening around the world, as well as up the street – and even in the House chamber,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Our communities are demanding change. We must act now, and we must move legislation that will make meaningful reforms and strengthen police-community relations.” Democratic lawmakers have proposed numerous reform measures , which include outlawing the use of police chokeholds, improving access to police video footage, and improving oversight and accountability for law enforcement. The House Judiciary Committee will be at the forefront in considering many of these reform proposals. “ For too long, my Republican colleagues have allowed numerous reform bills to languish without bringing them up for action. We can’t wait any longer,” Briggs said. “I support calls from the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to vote on these bills now, and I’ll urge my Republican colleagues to bring these measures up for a vote swiftly.” Read more

 

Briggs names student winner in ‘There Ought to be a Law’ contest

(May 28, 2020)

KING OF PRUSSIA, May 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs announced the winner of his 11 th annual “There Ought to be a Law” contest, which drew 500 entries from area fifth-grade students. The annual contest challenges fifth-graders to write an essay about a law they think would make their school, community or state a better place. “I sponsor this contest each year to spark an interest in government for students, and I’m always impressed with the creativity and quality of the entries. With these compassionate and intelligent students in our community, our future looks bright,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. The winner of this year’s contest is Bella McPherson from Upper Merion Area Middle School , who proposed to have schools use all-natural cleaning products instead of harmful chemicals. The winner of this contest is typically invited to visit the Capitol and be recognized by the House of Representatives. With the Capitol currently closed to visitors because of COVID-19, the visit will take place later in the year or alternate arrangements will be made. In addition to the winner, the following students were named finalists in the contest: Cecilia Peterson - Penn Wynne Elementary School. Tuvya Gross - Caskey Torah Academy. Vivienne Kwait – Gladwyne Elementary School. Maya Gavrin - Gladwyne Elementary School. Rachel Gavrin - Gladwyne Elementary School. Chananya Halpern – Caskey Read more

 

House Democrats have a plan to make sure PA HEALS

(Apr 24, 2020)

The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest challenge many Pennsylvanians have ever faced or will ever face. For many families, it’s brought personal or financial tragedy. But it has also shown all of us that when we work together, Pennsylvania is strong enough to handle any challenge. Pennsylvanians have been staying home and saving lives. Our state’s amazing nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are redefining the word “hero” every day. And, our grocery store employees, pharmacists, warehouse workers and truckers have kept PA supplied and moving. We owe it to them, and to each other, to stay the course until the virus is defeated and our workers, families and communities are safe. If we keep making good, commonsense choices based in facts and science, this crisis will be over soon. In the meantime, House Democrats have developed a plan to put People First, reward hard work, support community based businesses and make sure PA is H elping E mployers A nd L abor S ucceed once this crisis has passed. PA HEALS is just the first steps, but they are crucial to an effective start: Local Businesses Matter – Rep. Joe Ciresi This legislation would use $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to provide 0% interest loans to smaller, local businesses that were shut out of the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Loan Program when it ran Read more

 

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses

(Apr 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 22 — State Reps. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, and Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, are introducing legislation that would restore the state’s COVID-19 Working Capital Access (CWCA) loan program and provide no-interest loans to Pennsylvania’s smallest businesses and life science organizations. The lawmakers drafted the bills due to the rapid exhaustion of Pennsylvania’s CWCA loan program. Both bills propose replenishing the program by transferring $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. A total of $61 million was originally available when the program launched in late March, but applications quickly outpaced the funds available and the program was closed in less than a week. Briggs also noted that many life science businesses were ineligible for CWCA loans due to the way life science entities are structured. In addition to reopening the program, Shusterman’s legislation contains measures that would create two new programs specifically for businesses with five employees or less. Shusterman said that microloans of up to $15,000 at a 0% interest would be available to mom and pop shops with no payments required for the first year. Additionally, a grant program to provide these small businesses with grants of up to $15,000 to cover working capital expenses would be created. “I’ve heard from countless small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 health Read more

 

COVID-19 support for PA business

(Apr 06, 2020)

COVID-19 SUPPORT FOR PA BUSINESSES FEDERAL Contacts: Visit: https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/?type=SBA%20District%20Office&pageNumber=1 to find your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office Programs: Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources Information Visit: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – Loan Program and Forgiveness to help eligible businesses cover the costs of payroll, health care benefits, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities during COVID-19. Loan has a maturity of 2 years and interest rate of 1.0%. Open to small businesses, restaurants, hotels, tribal businesses, non-profits, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. Contact your local lender to see if they participate in this program! Loan period: February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. Visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program-ppp . Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Loan – Loans up to $2 million for small businesses (3.75% interest rate) and private, nonprofit organizations (2.75% interest rate) suffering as a result of COVID-19. Loans for fix debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills. Advance of up Read more

 

Briggs urges non-essential businesses to heed guidance from state

(Mar 16, 2020)

State Rep. Tim Briggs urged area businesses to review guidance issued by state officials and thanked those non-essential businesses that have heeded Gov. Tom Wolf’s request to temporarily close. Read more

 

Coronavirus information and resources

(Mar 13, 2020)

Office information: As we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, my office remains accessible through phone and email. If you need assistance, please call 610-768-3135 and leave a message and we will get back to you. The current advice from experts for prevention and spread of the coronavirus is: Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick. Listen to the experts. Thank you for practicing healthy habits and treating each other with respect. Together, we will get through this public health emergency. Health Resources: For the latest information on COVID-19, please find resource pages below from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and from Montgomery County. Both have the latest updates as well as precautionary information, including prevention and preparation resources. Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 page Montgomery County COVID-19 page State Guide to COVID-19: Click here for the state’s guide to COVID-19 resources. The guide is updated often and contains: Information on reopening phases Universal masking guidance Information on unemployment compensation, food assistance and more individual resources Assistance and guidance for businesses Read more

 

Briggs announces state security grants for local nonprofits serving the Jewish community

(Mar 11, 2020)

KING OF PRUSSIA, March 11 – State Rep. Tim Briggs announced that state grants to support safety and security were awarded to four local nonprofits that serve the Jewish community. The grants, through the Nonprofit Security Grant program established by Act 83 of 2019, were approved today by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Organizations in the 149 th Legislative District were awarded grants as follows: Congregation Beth Hamedrosh - $24,504 Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School - $150,000 Temple Brith Achim - $24,840 Kaiserman Jewish Community Center - $25,000 “These grants will help ensure that all members of our community are able to express their religious beliefs freely – and safely,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “I was happy to support the legislation that made these grants possible, and I congratulate the recipients on their successful applications.” The grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that principally serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included within a bias motivation category for single bias hate crime incidents as identified by the FBI: race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity. Grants can be used for security enhancements such as safety and security planning, equipment, technology, training, vulnerability and threat assessments, and Read more

 

School safety grants awarded around Montgomery County

(Feb 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – Montgomery County state representatives today announced school safety and security grants awarded to school districts throughout the county. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security Committee awarded a total of $53.7 million in school safety grants. Montgomery County awards are as follows: Abington School District: $455,550 Agora Cyber Charter School: $143,226 Cheltenham Township School District: $45,000 Colonial School District: $45,000 Hatboro-Horsham School District: $45,000 Jenkintown School District: $30,000 Lower Merion School District: $45,000 Lower Moreland Township School District: $40,000 Methacton School District: $221,370 Norristown Area School District: $467,756 North Montco Technical Career Center: $150,000 North Penn School District: $45,000 Perkiomen Valley School District: $45,000 Pottsgrove School District: $40,000 Pottstown School District: $490,000 Souderton Area School District: $460,437 Springfield Township School District: $40,000 Spring-Ford Area School District: $45,000 Upper Dublin School District: $45,000 Upper Merion Area School District: $45,000 Upper Moreland School District: $40,000 Upper Perkiomen School District: $40,000 Western Montgomery Career & Technology Center: $72,994 Wissahickon School District: $45,000 Below are reactions from Democratic state Read more

 

Briggs: Governor’s budget proposal includes needed higher education investments

(Feb 04, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery and a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed state budget for fiscal year 2020-21: “As a member of the PASSHE board, I’m encouraged to see Governor Wolf propose significant investments in the state system so that more students can attend our schools and obtain a quality education, without worrying about drowning in debt later. Supporting students with financial aid and encouraging them to remain in Pennsylvania after graduation will help us build our talented workforce and grow our economy. “We know it’s time for the state system to change so that it can continue to provide a quality and affordable education to Pennsylvania students, and the governor’s proposed investments in financial aid and the redesign of the state system would help ensure we are providing what students need well into the future.” Details on the governor’s budget proposal are available here . Read more

 

Trumpism threatens judicial independence in Pennsylvania
Sep 18, 2020

Webster, Briggs announce education grants for Norristown Area School District
Aug 26, 2020

Briggs: Pandemic, election demonstrate need for media literacy curriculum
Aug 18, 2020

Briggs hosts policy hearing on contact tracing in Pennsylvania
Jul 29, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold hearing on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Wednesday in Capitol
Jul 28, 2020

Judiciary Commitee 2020 Update
Jul 27, 2020

Briggs announces grant to support clean energy project at Arkema
Jul 14, 2020

Pushing Back on a Troubling Trump Trend That Threatens Our Courts
Jul 01, 2020

July 2020 Newsletter
Jul 01, 2020

Small Business Assistance grants available
Jun 26, 2020

Briggs, as Democratic House Judiciary chairman, calls for action on police reform bills
Jun 08, 2020

Briggs names student winner in ‘There Ought to be a Law’ contest
May 28, 2020

House Democrats have a plan to make sure PA HEALS
Apr 24, 2020

Shusterman and Briggs draft legislation to revive Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 loan program for small businesses
Apr 22, 2020

COVID-19 support for PA business
Apr 06, 2020

Briggs urges non-essential businesses to heed guidance from state
Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus information and resources
Mar 13, 2020

Briggs announces state security grants for local nonprofits serving the Jewish community
Mar 11, 2020

School safety grants awarded around Montgomery County
Feb 26, 2020

Briggs: Governor’s budget proposal includes needed higher education investments
Feb 04, 2020