April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month — a time when PennDOT, my office and organizations around the country focus on reminding drivers to put the phone down, remove distractions, and just drive. NHTSA offers several suggestions for ways you can get involved , including sharing messages on social media , leading by example, and spreading the word at school. You can also take the pledge to not drive distracted via PennDOT and the national It Can Wait campaign. If you're interested in getting involved with PennDOT, contact your regional safety press officer or join the conversation on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram? using #JustDrivePA.??? Read more
I wanted to share with you my thoughts regarding Pennsylvania’s congressional redistricting plan as prescribed by the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s map does a much better job following concise boundaries throughout the Commonwealth than the partisan gerrymander that Republicans brought us in 2011. If you look closely, however, you can see there are still places where communities are split and Lower Merion Township is one of them. Unfortunately, the legislature failed in drawing a fair map and the Supreme Court was forced to impose this new plan. As a new census is just two years away, it will not be long before a new map is debated. It’s time we have a serious conversation about redistricting reform. I have sponsored H.B. 722, which would establish an Independent Redistricting Commission to provide the nonpartisan process for redistricting state Senate, state House and congressional districts. The court’s map still splits fewer counties than other proposed maps and eliminates the sprawl that was heavily featured in the previous gerrymander. Overall, I support the court’s map but am eager for real reform in our drawing process. That step is simply too important to democracy to rush. You have been waiting for real reform for too long, and we’ve got to get it just right. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today announced the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation awarded two Automated Red Light Enforcement grants to West Norriton Township. The township will receive $196,090 to upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of Whitehall Road and Sterigere Street by installing new ADA curb ramps, pedestrian signal modules, a battery back-up system, an emergency preemption system, and by updating the controller cabinet and vehicle detection system. It will receive another $417,246 to upgrade the traffic signal and improve layout of the intersection at Whitehall Road and Marshall Street by installing a new traffic signal and altering the angle of the intersection. "Infrastructure investment is key to growing our economy as well as providing safe travel for residents," Briggs said. "The administration has recognized that this stretch of Whitehall Road is worthy of significant investment. This is why I have continuously supported these funding initiatives, as it reflects highly on the people who make our communities great places to work and live." Under state law, fines from red light violations at 30 intersections in Philadelphia supply the grant funding. Pennsylvania’s ARLE program aims to improve safety at signalized intersections by providing automated enforcement at locations where data shows red-light running has been an issue. The law Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – Legislation to ensure a free and open internet in Pennsylvania is being drafted, said state Rep. Tim Briggs, who will sponsor the bill. Based on a California bill, the legislation would prohibit an internet service provider from blocking, degrading or impairing lawful internet traffic based on content, application or service. It also would prohibit an ISP from allowing certain websites preferential treatment for a fee or sum. In December, the Federal Communications Commission took steps to repeal net neutrality regulations. Without these consumer protections, ISPs would be able to block, slow, or speed up websites depending on content or service agreements. “The loss of fair internet delivery is a big problem for consumers, but an even bigger impediment for new business, new ideas and the voices of people online who expect their democratic rights to outweigh powerful and moneyed interests,” Briggs said. “Allowing corporations to act as internet gatekeepers would be an alarming – if not terrifying – adjustment to how we inform ourselves and advocate for social progress, democracy and transparency. “My bill would stop that from happening in Pennsylvania. All websites, large or small, should be provided to the consumer at the same speed.” The bill also will have a procurement clause requiring the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to only purchase internet services from ISPs that abide by the principals Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, released the following statement regarding recent accusations of sexual harassment and assault against members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. “Sexual harassment in the workplace is a deeply serious and disturbing problem. My thoughts are with all the victims of sexual harassment who, despite feelings of shame and helplessness, are telling their stories to improve the culture around them and help other victims. “Unfortunately, I believe that these recent revelations are just the first involving horrific behavior and taxpayer-paid settlements. It’s more than clear that these actions have crossed the line of decency, and they personally sicken me. “Taxpayers should never cover the tab for an elected official’s misconduct, and I call on Representative Caltagirone and Sheriff Williams – and any other elected official who has resorted to a taxpayer-funded settlement for any sexual harassment or assault claim – to return those funds and resign immediately. “It is unacceptable that major institutions across the country, including our General Assembly, need these events to be revealed in order to reform their internal practices. I have joined with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work to renew the public's trust of our institution. “I am confident that recent events will remind us all of a very simple rule: to treat all people, men Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, May 18 – State Rep. Tim Briggs today announced the approval of a $50,000 Keystone Communities grant to continue improving building façades in the Ardmore Business District. The project will help complete at least 10 façades. “Congratulations to Ardmore Initiative for this deserving grant award,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Small-business development is a team effort, beginning with the entrepreneurs who pour their lives’ work into their trades, but also for the benefit of the community at large. “Small businesses comprise a huge economic driver not just for our region, but across the state. Ardmore’s accomplishments reflect highly on our community.” Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Keystone Communities program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community, supporting local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities; ensure social and economic diversity; and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 11 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today announced that Upper Merion Township has been awarded a $107,968 state grant to replace traffic signals at 24 intersections with LED lighting. The grant is from the Green Light-Go Program, which provides state funds to operate and maintain traffic signals along critical and designated corridors on state and local highways. "This funding is a big help to the municipality because the program only requires a 20 percent match this year, compared to previous years in which Upper Merion would have had to put up half of the money for the project," Briggs said. "I voted last year to improve the Green Light-Go Program, and our area is benefitting from that." Upper Merion Township replaced traffic signals with LED versions at 24 intersections along Dekalb Pike, Gulph Road, Henderson Road, Valley Forge Road and Swedesford road corridors. "Converting traffic signals to LED is a win-win for communities. Not only are they more energy efficient, they are much longer lasting, lasting 50 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. So, they save the municipality money with reduced electricity and maintenance costs, and their increased reliability helps increase traffic safety." As a member of the House Transportation Committee, Briggs also supported Act 89 of 2013, which created the Green Light-Go Program. In all, 94 municipalities received $33 million to support the costs of Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – Members of the House PA SAFE Caucus today expressed opposition to firearm pre-emption legislation that would make it easier for gun groups such as the NRA to sue Pennsylvania municipalities at taxpayers’ expense. House Bill 671 would permit individuals to sue municipalities they feel have “adversely affected” their firearm rights. The bill would put municipalities on the hook for legal expenses if the individual is successful, but would not require those taking legal action to cover expenses if the municipality prevails. The bill would also extend to outside organizations those individuals are members of, meaning organizations like the NRA could file suits. “This legislation would dangerously inflate Pennsylvania’s firearm pre-emption laws, giving extraordinary power to groups that could file frivolous lawsuits for their own gain. And our taxpayers would be the ones stuck with the bill, no matter the outcome,” said state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery , who co-chairs the PA SAFE Caucus. “We shouldn’t open our municipalities up to this kind of threat, nor should we take control from municipalities to provide for the safety of their residents.” Members of the SAFE Caucus said there are better ways for the legislature to be looking at the issue of firearms. “Instead of going out of our way to make it easier for the gun lobbyists to sue local municipalities that seek to Read more
When Donald Trump ran for president he promised to “drain the swamp” and change the way things are done in Washington. He claimed that the government is “rigged.” And I agree, Washington is rigged, rigged by the corporate interests and wealthy few, and we need to make government work again for working families and the middle class. President Trump was right that we need to change the way things are done in government. Instead of secrecy and backroom deals, our elected officials should be open and transparent. But on Tax Day, when millions of Pennsylvanians are dutifully filing their income tax returns, we’re reminded that Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in 40 years to refuse to publicly disclose his. And despite repeated promises to do so once in office, President Trump still will not grant the public access to his full tax returns. So I have joined other legislators across the country in proposing legislation that would require all presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot. My legislation, House Bill 222, would require U.S. presidential candidates to make their five most recent available years of Federal income tax returns public to be eligible to appear on the primary ballot in Pennsylvania. Additionally, candidates would be required to provide written consent for the Secretary of the Commonwealth to publicly disclose their returns in order to be listed on the Read more
A tax amnesty period for Pennsylvanians will run from April 21, 2017 through June 19, 2017. During this limited 60-day period, the state Department of Revenue will waive all penalties and half of the interest on eligible tax delinquencies for anyone who participates in the 2017 Tax Amnesty Program. For more information, please click here . Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced today a proposal to protect Pennsylvanian’s online privacy by restoring part of the privacy protections recently stripped by congress and President Donald Trump. Briggs’ legislation is part of a package of commonsense privacy and consumer protection bills designed by House Democrats to mirror the recently repealed Federal Communications Commission internet privacy protection rules. “Republicans in Washington recently voted to sell your private information to the highest bidder and it’s up to Pennsylvania to restore those protections,” Briggs said. “My proposal, and others proposed by my colleagues, would prevent big companies from exploiting your personal information and online activity for private profit while requiring them to notify you should a breach occur.” Briggs’ proposal would require internet service providers and telecommunications companies to notify their customers when a data breach of customer personal data occurs and to establish, implement and maintain safeguards reasonably designed to ensure the security of personal data of its customers. “Online users have a right to know when their sensitive information has been compromised. This bill helps to fix Washington’s failure to protect consumers by holding service providers accountable for securing sensitive data and requiring them to notify you in a timely manner if Read more
Applicants now have until July 1st each year to apply for the LAI to attend Valley Forge Military College in the fall. There is no difference in process or award amounts between 1st-round nominees and 2nd-round nominees. What is the PA Legislative Appointment Initiative? The Pennsylvania Legislative Appointment Initiative (LAI) currently allows each of Pennsylvania’s 203 Representatives, and 50 Senators, to appoint a student from their district as the Commonwealth Scholar for guaranteed admission and a guaranteed partial scholarship to Valley Forge Military College — The Military College of Pennsylvania. A student awarded the Legislative Appointment Initiative Scholarship may receive the award for up to two years. Am I eligible to apply? The Legislative Scholarship is only available to Pennsylvania residents only at Valley Forge Military College, The Military College of Pennsylvania. The minimum academic requirements are a cumulative high school GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.0 scale) and a combined verbal and math SAT score of 1000 (or an ACT score of 17). You can apply directly through your local state representative’s or senator’s office or you can apply for the program by applying first to Valley Forge. You must be a Pennsylvania resident. You also must be a legal resident of the district from where you apply. When can I apply? You can apply at any time during your senior year up until July 1st of the year you wish to attend. Read more
"Jennifer Aniston did WHAT to her hair?" screams the headline.
Below the headline is a photo of the actress with a military buzz cut, along with a quote about how she'd shorn her iconic blonde locks for a role.
The online article, printed on handouts that Alexis Gerard has distributed to her class at Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Maryland, is startling. It's irresistible.
It's fake. Read more
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvanians struggling to pay home heating bills will now have until April 7 to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally funded program was slated to end March 31, 2017, but the Wolf Administration decided that given the unpredictable weather this winter, Pennsylvania would extend the program, giving people extra time to apply for funding. “Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable were able to heat their homes this winter because of LIHEAP,” said Governor Wolf. “By keeping the program open longer, we hope to provide additional assistance to those who are struggling to keep their family warm.” LIHEAP offers assistance in the form of a cash grant sent directly to the utility company or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Some households are eligible for both types of assistance. Cash grants are based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel used. “Everyone deserves a safe, warm home. I encourage Pennsylvanians to apply today to ensure they have the necessary resources to stay warm as the climate continues to be unpredictable,” said Department of Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, introduced H.B. 661 today, which would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a media literacy curriculum for Pennsylvania’s students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, in an effort to combat the rise of fake news on social media during the 2016 General Election. “This legislation would prepare Pennsylvania’s students with the critical thinking skills and knowledge to evaluate the accuracy of news stories on social media and other sources for themselves,” Briggs said. “During this past election cycle, it’s undeniable that we saw a rise in fake news on social media that put misinformation out into the public sphere for the purpose of misleading voters.” If passed, H.B. 661 would require the Department of Education, in consultation with the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, to develop a media literacy curriculum within 6 months of the bill’s effective date. According to the bill, the curriculum may include, but is not limited to: developing critical thinking skills; understanding how media messages shape culture and society; identifying targeted marketing strategies; naming techniques of persuasion; recognizing bias and misinformation; discovering parts of a story that are not being told; evaluating media messages based on personal experiences and skills. “It is imperative the next generation of Read more
A Pennsylvania lawmaker is seeking co-sponsors for legislation that would provide media literacy for students throughout grade and high school in an effort to fight the effects of fake news.
State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, introduced a memo Monday about the potential legislation. The bill would require a media literacy course to be added to social sciences curriculums for grades 1 through 12. Read more
Citing the rise of fake news on social media during the 2016 General Election, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is working to craft legislation that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to draft a media literacy curriculum for Pennsylvanian students. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Tim Briggs on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require U.S. presidential candidates to make their tax returns public in order to be eligible to appear on the Pennsylvania ballot. House Bill 222 seeks to make transparent a presidential candidate’s financial interests before being elected to the highest office in the nation. “The need for this tradition is clear,” Briggs said. “Many Americans, not to mention the national security community, want to know whether presidential candidates have personal or business interests that could undermine their commitment to act in the best interests of the United States should they become president. “More importantly, all Americans, whether they supported the president's election or not, must know whether there are any financial interests that may affect his or her decision making while serving.” Briggs’ introduction of the bill follows President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on his pledge to release his tax returns following what he described while campaigning as a routine audit. “President Trump’s refusal to release a most basic, yet vital, piece of information could be categorized as a text-book bait and switch,” Briggs said. “One or more states’ refusal to place a candidate on the ballot, on the other hand, could easily prevent something like this from ever happening again. All public Read more
Pennsylvania received a limited extension through June 6 to update driver’s licenses to meet requirements under the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, but the General Assembly must still act quickly to comply. Without action, Pennsylvanians could be denied access to federal facilities and eventually even airline travel. Specifically, Pennsylvanians will need federally approved ID for air travel beginning Jan. 22, 2018, and with the limited extension we will need a federally approved ID to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and military bases beginning June 7, 2017. Rest assured, I am following this issue very closely and am doing everything possible to ensure that we pass comprehensive changes to comply with the federal government. Please visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id/pennsylvania for the most up to date information on the requirements and remember that my office can help you obtain a birth certificate or driver’s license. Read more
Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the four founding chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus—Sen. Patrick Browne (R-16, representing part of Lehigh County), Sen. Jay Costa (D-43 representing part of Allegheny County), Rep. Tim Briggs (D-149, representing part of Montgomery County), and Rep. Stan Saylor (R-94, representing part of York County). Read more
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