PHILADELPHIA, May 2 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host the 190 th Legislative District's 2017 Spring Fling from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, 3500 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park. The event will focus on healthy living for all ages. There will be healthy food choices available and exercise opportunities for young and old. "This is a great event for kids and people of all ages to start participating more in outdoor activities. Being active we can create a path to a healthier life and a healthier city,” Brown said. Children also will be able to participate in arts and crafts, a silly hat parade and face painting. "I want to use this event as a way to encourage people to get outside and be active," Brown added. Brown’s staff will be available to answer any state-related concerns constituents may have on a variety of state programs, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Local and state agencies also will be available onsite. The event is free and open to the public; RSVPs are suggested. For more information regarding the event, contact Brown’s constituent service office at (215) 879-6615. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is calling for state House hearings on the Wordsworth youth treatment center scandal . "As the state representative whose district includes two Wordsworth sites and a member of the House Children and Youth Committee, I am extremely disturbed by what has been reported, above all because of the harm to children, and also because these centers are regulated by state agencies," Brown said. "We need to get to the bottom of this." Brown will ask two committee chairs to hold hearings: Children and Youth Committee Chair Katharine Watson, R-Bucks; and Human Services Committee Chairman Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks. Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, Democratic chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, said, "The welfare of children should be our utmost priority. When incidents of neglect or abuse occur, it is our responsibility as legislators to make sure a comprehensive investigation is conducted to ensure our children are protected in the future." Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee, said, "Jointly we will work together to provide the best service for the troubled youth of Wordsworth and children in the commonwealth and look into any and all allegations." ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Vanessa Brown, D-Phila., today said she introduced legislation that would require internet service providers to take reasonable steps to protect customers’ personal information. The bill would order each ISP to identify foreseeable internal and external control risks for the security of personal data that would result in unauthorized disclosure, misuse, alteration, destruction and access to or use of such information. “Without this legislation, companies can use a person’s browsing history, geolocation, financial, medical and many more bits of information to manipulate the market. This clearly promotes unfair and disloyal competition and increases the risk whereby an unauthorized person can gain access to customers’ accounts and steal valuable assets,” Brown said. Brown said that ISPs should have the flexibility they need to innovate and improve their services, but not at the expense of sharing consumer’s sensitive data. “The government is supposed to work for and protect our families, not the big companies that want to exploit our personal information and online activity for private profit,” she said. House Bill 1323 is part of an Internet Privacy Legislation Package House Democrats introduced to restore online privacy protections for Pennsylvania residents after Republicans in Congress voted to allow telecom companies and other internet service providers to sell and share Read more
HARRISBURG, April 3 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., expressed her opposition to legislation that would bring back mandatory minimum sentences for a number of drug-related offenses. The bill (H.B. 741) was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to be voted on by the House this week. The bill seeks to revive mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes that were ruled unconstitutional in cases before both the Pennsylvania and U.S. supreme courts. It would also increase sentences for certain offenses. “The state would be taking a step back in criminal justice if this bill becomes law. Mandatory minimum sentences drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders,” Brown said. Brown also pointed out that these types of punishments often do not have the desired effect of deterring crime. “Mandatory minimum sentences have swollen Pennsylvania’s prison population and they provide little enhancement to public safety,” she said. Brown said the legislation would take away a judge's ability to do justice by preventing him or her from considering the individual facts and circumstances of each case. As a result, it would intensify the state’s problem of prison overcrowding and increase the costs of keeping the prison system running. “Instead of increasing and imposing new sentences, we should be evaluating the current ones Read more
The deadline to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended until April 7. The deadline was scheduled for March 31, however the program was extended due to the unpredictable warmer temperatures this winter, especially in February. You can still get help with your electric bills, so please don’t hesitate to apply if you think you might qualify. The program provides cash grants based on family size and income to help pay the regular bill, as well as a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of losing heat. Use the chart below to determine if your household is eligible: Household size Maximum Income 1 $17,820 2 $24,030 3 $30,240 4 $36,450 5 $42,660 6 $48,870 7 $55,095 8 $61,335 9 $67,575 10 $73,815 Individuals can apply for a LIHEAP grant online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by visiting my office located at 1435 N. 52 nd St. The phone number is 215-879-6615 . There also is a statewide toll-free hotline for questions about the program at 1-866-857-7095 . For more information about LIHEAP, visit www.dhs.pa.gov . As always, if you have a question about this or any state-related matter, please contact me . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 6 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack will host a "Pathways to Pardon" town hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 in Stein Auditorium, Room 111 of Drexel University's Nesbitt Hall, 3215 Market St. "Is your criminal record preventing you from getting a job? Do you need a second chance? Or do you want to help change the pardon process? Then this meeting is for you," Brown said. "This is a special opportunity because Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, who chairs the state Board of Pardons, will be at this event," Brown emphasized. To reserve a seat or for more information, please call Brown's office at 215-879-6615. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, March 6– State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., invites her constituents to come and celebrate minority women in business during the Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Businesses Enterprise Lobby Day in Harrisburg. The “Entrepreneurial Inclusion Summit and Business Mixer” will take place 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, March 20 at the State Capitol. The agenda is as follows: 11:15 a.m. – Gather in Capitol Media Center. 11:30 a.m. -11:50 a.m. – Press conference. Noon -1 p.m. – Networking session (include lunch) for attendees to talk with purchasing directors from various state departments. 1 p.m. – Guests can proceed to House Chamber to be recognized by the Speaker as being present for the business summit. 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. – Guests will break into groups to meet with House/Senate leadership and State Government Committee chairmen. Brown said the event will focus on creating a fair and open environment for businesses owned by minority women across the commonwealth. “These strong, powerful women are equally a part of the very fabric of our business community and they should have a seat at the table when it comes to every aspect of entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania,” Brown said. “This event also will look at opportunities to improve practices for businesses owned by women, minorities and people of color, the disadvantaged and veterans throughout the commonwealth. “I encourage Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown today announced the West Philadelphia Senior Community Center has been awarded a $19,053 state grant. The funds are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging through part of its multimillion dollar grant program intended to enhance Pennsylvania's senior centers. Throughout the state, the awards are used to modernize facilities, enhance innovative programming, attract new members, build on successful practices and better meet the needs of their participants. "The West Philadelphia Senior Community Center is a very empowering place where local seniors go for educational and recreational opportunities," Brown said. "Any way a senior center can enhance its services will translate into real-life benefits for those it serves." More information about the state’s senior community centers can be found online at the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s website at www.aging.pa.gov . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown was sworn in for a fifth term to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during a ceremony at the state Capitol today. The ceremony marked the beginning of the 2017-18 legislative session. The state constitution mandates that the legislature convene at noon the first Tuesday in January. “I am so honored to be surrounded by my family, friends and constituents for my swearing-in day,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them and I will continue to work hard and be their voice in the 190 th Legislative District and in Harrisburg.” Brown said some of her legislative interests include improving education, curbing gun violence, job creation and increasing job-training opportunities. Brown encouraged residents to sign up for periodic e-mail updates by registering through her website, www.pahouse.com/Brown . Constituents can also stay up to date with news from Harrisburg and Philadelphia by adding her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepLoweryBrown and following her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RepVanessaBrown . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host a senior health fair and holiday concert from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at Greater Bible Way Temple, 1462 N. 52 nd St. Local health care agencies and government and community groups will provide valuable information to seniors during the pre-concert lunch reception at 1 p.m. Entertainment begins at 2 p.m. Guests are asked also to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the event as part of a holiday toy drive. Brown and her staff also will offer details on state programs and benefits that local seniors may be eligible for, as well as information on LIHEAP, the state's heating assistance program, and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, which has a Dec. 31 deadline for 2015 claims. "I am proud to offer this holiday event for the local senior," Brown said. "Local, talented musicians and comedians will entertain and we will have light refreshments for those attending. I am also glad that we are holding this event in a handicapped- and wheelchair-accessible location so there are no barriers to sharing the holiday spirit." To RSVP for the event, please contact Brown's constituent service office at (215) 879-6615 . ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 1 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., officially handed over the chairmanship of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today to state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. Brown's second two-year term as chairwoman ended when the 2015-16 legislative session expired at midnight, Nov. 30. The new leadership team, including Chairman Harris and Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman; Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila./Montgomery, secretary; and Rep.-elect Chris Rabb, D-Phila., treasurer, was voted into office during a reorganizational meeting in mid-November. "I look forward to working with this new leadership team," Brown said. "I know I can count on them to continue the successes we made the last four years. "We made a lot of advances during my term. Some of my proudest accomplishments as chairwoman include the establishment of an Equal Opportunity Officer and Advisory Committee for the state House of Representatives, which will ensure that all House of Representatives employees will work in a safe and equitable work place; the formation of a partnership with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, to raise awareness of employment discrimination for those with a criminal conviction in their past, coinciding with the PLBC's efforts to 'ban the box' which requires job applicants to report previous convictions, even if the conviction is long ago and has no bearing on the Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 31 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is encouraging all veterans to record their military discharge on Nov. 7 as part of "Veterans Record Your Discharge Day" in Pennsylvania. "All veterans or their families should register their discharge with their county's Recorder of Deeds or similar office," Brown said. "Having your discharge on file can make it easier to apply for state and federal veterans programs and can protect you from loss or damage to the original paperwork, and also provide some protection against identity theft. If your paperwork is on file, it will be easier to reproduce if necessary." Brown was a co-sponsor of H.R. 1083 , which the House unanimously adopted earlier this month, designating Nov. 7 as "Veterans Record Your Discharge Day" in Pennsylvania. Discharge records are required when applying for most military benefits and can be helpful for specific job opportunities. Discharge records can also be helpful in processing wills and estates of veterans and their families. In Philadelphia, the Office of Deed Recording is part of the Department of Records, Room 111 City Hall, Broad and Market streets, Philadelphia, and can be reached via phone at (215) 686-2290 . Recording the discharge records is always free and can be done anytime, but Brown encourages veterans to do it as part of the special day. For more information, contact Brown's constituent service office Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 20 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., invites local residents to the annual fall harvest festival in Clara Muhammad Square Park, 47th Street and Lancaster Avenue, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. The festival will celebrate the fall season, with food, games, community fellowship, horseback rides and a petting zoo. Brown and her staff will be on hand to provide a variety of constituent services as well. They will be able to answer questions on the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; applying for CHIP, the state's children's health insurance program; PACE/PACENET senior prescription-drug coverage and other issues involving state government. Information on preventing youth drug abuse will also be available. In anticipation of the colder fall months head, Brown's district staff also will have information on LIHEAP, the low-income home heating assistance program administered by the state. Festival participants can speak directly with staff to schedule an appointment if help is needed in applying for the energy grants. "This is a chance to get out and celebrate autumn and meet others in the community," Brown said. "I am always proud to sponsor these events, and look for ways to get my staff out into the community to assist constituents with a variety of issues." For more information, contact Brown’s constituent services office at 215-879-6615 . ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 11 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and the PLBC membership support the official response to a number of discriminatory remarks and slurs made by local business owners that were captured on video by South Philadelphia area residents. In response to a series of videos posted to YouTube showing the owner of a popular city gay bar repeatedly using the N-word, as well as a video of a man yelling homophobic slurs at his neighbors, Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations will be hosting a public forum about racism and discrimination at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Liberty Resources, 112 N. 8 th St, Suite 600, Philadelphia. "Hate speech seems to be getting more common," Brown said. "It is especially discouraging and unfathomable when those in a group that has historically been the subject of discrimination perpetuate hate and discrimination against other minorities and marginalized populations. We need to find a way to restore tolerance and civility in our daily lives, and to remember that we are all humans and we are all equals." "Racism and bigotry anywhere should not be tolerated under any circumstances," said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. "All people must rise above and disaffirm scripted apologies by racists and bigots who are simply sorry that they got caught. We live in an age when everyone knows that it is universally immoral to Read more
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PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will honor Native Americans and others indigenous to the Western Hemisphere at the fifth annual Indigenous Peoples Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 1 in Clara Muhammad Square Park, 47th Street and Lancaster Avenue. Brown has previously introduced resolutions recognizing the first Saturday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day in Pennsylvania. "Native cultures existed in Pennsylvania and most of the Western Hemisphere long before Christopher Columbus and other explorers landed here," Brown said. "We need to recognize and acknowledge their culture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and beyond." U.S. Census records from 2010 show more than 9,000 Philadelphia residents claim Native American ancestry. The Oct. 1 celebration will feature speakers from different indigenous nations of America, indigenous performers and highlight native artists and speakers at noon. Brown's staff will be available to assist constituents with state issues. Eligible constituents will be able to get help signing up for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or PACE or PACENET prescription-drug plans or other state programs. For more information, contact Brown's constituent service office at 215-879-6615 . ###l Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1 – State Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Joanna McClinton and Lynwood Savage will co-host two events for older residents of West Philadelphia to obtain their SEPTA Key photo ID cards. SEPTA Key is the modern fare payment and collection system being unveiled by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. It offers seniors an alternative to using their Pennsylvania driver’s license or state-issued ID card. The events will be Thursday, Sept 8 and Monday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon at West Philadelphia Senior Community Center, 1016-26 N. 41 st St., Philadelphia. The new SEPTA Key card will have a contactless chip, so riders only will need to scan it to pay for their ride. While an appointment is not required to attend the events, interested attendees can call their local legislator's office for more information. Brown can be reached at 215-879-6615 ; McClinton at 215-748-6712 and Savage at 215-879-6625 . ### Read more
I am cosponsoring two events for seniors to get their free SEPTA Key photo ID. Yhe new Key card provides proof that a rider qualifies for either a free or reduced senior fare. The events will be held from 9 - noon on Thursday Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 26 at the West Philadelphia Community center, 1016-26 North 41st St., Philadelphia. Read more
State Rep. Vanessa L. Brown, D-Phila., will host an informational breakfast for local residents who currently own or are looking to start a small business.
The breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 8 at The Enterprise Center, 4548 Market St.
The breakfast is designed to help local residents navigate state regulations as they expand, start or relocate small business in Pennsylvania. Local business and financial institutions will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice as well.
HARRISBURG, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and the PLBC membership today urged everyone voting in the November election to report any possible intimidation tactics to the authorities. The PLBC issued this statement in response to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments Friday when he told his supporters to go and “watch the polls.” Brown said that calling for people to stand at the polls raises concerns about possible voter intimidation. “It is dangerous when a presidential candidate pre-emptively accuses voters of fraud and urges his supporters to go to the polls to watch voters,” Brown said. “Everyone who is eligible should be able to vote without having to worry about people watching over them. This type of rhetoric has no place in our political elections.” Brown said that all voters, regardless of party, should contact their county board of elections, district attorney’s office or the PLBC at 717-772-6955 or online at www.pahouse.com/plbc/ if they encounter any acts of harassment, intimidation or voter suppression at the polls. Complaints can also be filed on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website at https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/pages/ReportElectionComplaints.aspx . The PLBC encourages voters to read the Department of State’s 2016 Voter Guide before heading to the polls Nov. Read more
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