PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
On April 21, the House State Government Committee, on which I serve, met to vote on H.B. 153, which would reduce the size of the House from 203 members down to 151. The committee voted to report the bill as amended to the full House for further consideration. The bill passed the committee with NO Democratic votes, and for good reason. This bill and a related bill the committee also reported out as amended, H.B. 384, which would reduce the Senate from 50 to 37 members, sound like great ideas. Reduce legislators; reduce staff; reduce expenses. However, in the name of saving money, we would be undermining the key tenet of our democracy – local representation. Current population estimates count more than 12,700,000 Pennsylvanians. Under our current legislative system, one representative serves a district with an average population of about 62,500 people. Reducing the number of representatives to the targeted number of 151 would mean each representative would instead stand in for 85,000 Pennsylvanians. Each representative would be responsible for 33 percent more residents. On the Senate side, with the current 50 senators, each represents more than 250,000 residents. Yes, a quarter of a million residents per senator. Reducing the number of senators to 37 would increase a Senate district by about 90,000 residents. In other words, the legislation is asking us to give up local representation in an effort to save some money. I don't think the trade-off is a good Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 17 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, was thrilled with the turnout at the PLBC's second regional Know Your Rights Symposium held Thursday, April 16. More than 100 people attended the Philadelphia event, an occasion that provided the local community with an interactive opportunity to constructively discuss the subjects of basic legal rights and community/police relations. In addition to Brown, those who attended included PLBC members and state Reps. Louise Williams Bishop, D-Phila., and Ronald Waters, D-Phila. The centerpiece of the event was the evening’s panel discussion, which was comprised of local representatives from the law enforcement community, community-based organizations and legal/criminal defense fields. They included: • Lt. Beverly Pembrook, 16th Police District; • Nena Carter, Philadelphia Public Defenders Office; • Michael Coard, attorney and activist; • The Rev. Rodney Muhammad, president, Philadelphia NAACP; • Leon Goodman, attorney; • Debra Watson Stokes, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; • Ronald G. Waters, state representative, 191st Legislative District; and • Joy Soto, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the PLBC will sponsor a Know Your Rights Symposium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16 at the Global Leadership Academy Charter School, 4701 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia. Another PLBC member, state Rep. Ronald Waters, D-Phila./Delaware, is expected to join Brown at the event. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Brown said. "The goal of this event, and others planned around the state, is to inform citizens what their rights are and how to interact with police officers so that we don't have those incidents in Pennsylvania." The symposium will bring together representatives from the law enforcement community, including Philadelphia Police Capt. Altovise Love-Craighead and members of the legal/criminal defense field including Public Defender Charlie Cunningham, as well as members of the local religious community. "The symposium participants will discuss what rights citizens have, how law enforcement interprets those rights and how both sides can work toward a positive interaction," Brown said. "I expect both the law enforcement community and the general public will see the discussion as a way to develop a framework for better communication and understanding on both sides." ### Read more
The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, under direction of Chairwoman Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., met with leadership of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association last week to discuss legislative priorities for the next few years.
"This meeting was a great way to open dialogue between state prosecutors and the PLBC," Brown said. "Members of the PLBC have expressed concerns over a number of items that we brought forward in the meeting, including the state's grand jury process, use of a special prosecutor when law enforcement is involved in shooting incidents, gun owner rights and responsibilities, use of civil forfeiture for profit, and simplifying the process for criminal record expungement.""
Representing the PLBC, in addition to Brown, were Vice Chair Ed Gainey, PLBC and Democratic Caucus Secretary Rosita Youngblood, and state Reps. Michelle Brownlee, Jason Dawkins, Jordan Harris, Patty Kim and W. Curtis Thomas. Also attending were representatives from the offices of state Sens. Art Haywood and Shirley Kitchen.
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is hosting her annual prom safety event and gown giveaway from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11; and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 12; at Greater Bibleway Temple, 1461 N. 52nd St.
Boys who attend will have a selection of suits to choose from as well.
Friday's event will include students modeling some of the available formalwear at 6 p.m. Students will model some of the donated suits, dresses, beauty products and accessories. Following the fashion display, students will be asked to sign a safety pledge for their prom.
HARRISBURG, April 1 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the PLBC will host additional Know Your Rights Symposiums around the state following the success of the initial event held March 31 in Harrisburg. More than 100 people attended the standing-room-only event, which featured representatives from the law enforcement community, including officials from the Dauphin County District Attorney's office and members of the legal/criminal defense field, including staff from the Dauphin County Public Defender's office. In addition to Brown, PLBC members and state Reps. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, and Ronald Waters, D-Phila. –along with state Rep. Harold English, R-Allegheny – attended. Local members of the law enforcement, prosecutorial and legal/criminal defense fields who participated in a panel discussion included: Ed Marsico, Dauphin County district attorney; Jessica Bush, Dauphin County public defender; Chief Tom Carter, Harrisburg Police Dept.’ Chief Robert Martin, Susquehanna Township Police Dept.; Sgt. Clarence Stoke, Capitol Police; Sgt. Dan Minor, Capitol Police; and Royce Morris, criminal defense attorney. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Brown said. "Many incidents have arisen from the lack of understanding between the Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., has announced her support for today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring accommodations for pregnant workers in the workforce.
The Supreme Court ruled on behalf of Peggy Young, a United Parcel Service worker who was placed on unpaid leave after she became pregnant. Young had argued that she was entitled to the same "light duty" assignments as were available to those injured on the job. UPS had argued that she was being treated as all other workers who suffered "off-the-job" illnesses or conditions.
PHILADELPHIA, March 24 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host her annual Spring Fling from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 4 at the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse, 3500 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park, near 33rd and Oxford streets. The event will focus on healthy living for all ages. There will be healthy food choices available and information on exercise opportunities for young and old. Brown’s staff will also have information on the state’s Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Children ages 3 to 12 can participate in an egg hunt as well. Smith Playhouse also offers a safe, indoor play location for younger children. The Philadelphia Fire Department is expected to attend as well as the State Police motorcycle unit, local health agencies and medical providers. "I want to use this event as a way to encourage children to get outside and be active," Brown said. "It is a good way to start participating in more outdoor activities, something most of us should be doing. We all need to look for more ways to take care of our bodies and our health." Brown’s staff will be available to answer any state-related concerns constituents may have. To register for the egg hunt, or for more information regarding the event, contact Brown’s constituent service office at (215) 879-6615 . ### Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., has announced a series of upcoming events she will be hosting over the next three weeks. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus announced the PLBC will sponsor a Know Your Rights Symposium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 at the Hamilton Health Center, 110 S. 17th St., Harrisburg. State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, a PLBC member who represents Harrisburg, is expected to join Brown at the event. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Brown said. "The goal of this event is to inform citizens what their rights are and how to interact with police officers so that we don't have those incidents in Pennsylvania." The symposium will bring together representatives from the law enforcement community, including representatives from the Dauphin County District Attorney's office, and members of the legal/criminal defense field, including staff from the Dauphin County Public Defender's office. "The symposium participants will discuss what rights citizens have, how law enforcement interprets those rights and how both sides can work toward a positive interaction," Brown said. "The discussion will be highlighted with some role-playing activities to help those in attendance understand both their rights and their responsibilities when dealing with police officers." Light refreshments will be provided during the symposium. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – Following last week’s death of Philadelphia police officer Robert Wilson III in the line of duty, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and the PLBC membership expressed condolences and personal sentiments to his family and friends. Wilson died Thursday evening after being shot in the head attempting to stop a robbery that began while he was inside a north Philadelphia video game store. "Police officer Robert Wilson III died while protecting his fellow Philadelphians," Brown said. "While the death of any public servant in the line of duty is a tragedy, his death is heartbreaking as he was already in the store when the robbery began. Video surveillance tapes show he protected others in the building by moving himself away from customers and clerks before confronting the two robbers, so they wouldn’t be in any line of fire. "The PLBC would like to recognize the life of this brave man and salute his eight years of service as a Philadelphia police officer. We also offer condolences to his family, including 10-year-old and 1-year-old sons who have lost their father, and the entire Philadelphia police community that grieves as well." Wilson was the first Philadelphia police officer to die from a gunshot in the line of duty since August 2012, when Officer Moses Walker was shot after finishing his shift. ### Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is encouraging her constituents to nominate local women for the 190th Legislative District Image Awards of 2015.
The theme of the awards is, "Women working together for change."
This afternoon, the House unanimously adopted two resolutions introduced by state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., recognizing two separate days, both to be celebrated on Tuesday, March 10.
House Resolution 130 recognizes the day as World Tennis Day in Pennsylvania while H.R. 131 recognizes the day as Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Pennsylvania.
HARRISBURG, Feb. 17 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has announced the PLBC’s annual scholarship competition is open for the 2015-16 school year. "I am pleased to announce that the PLBC will again play a role in helping minority students in their pursuit of higher education," Brown said. The scholarships are available for high school seniors and first-year college students who will be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year Pennsylvania college or university. Brown said the students applying for the scholarship must be a minority student, have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, reside in the legislative district of and be sponsored by a PLBC member, and demonstrate leadership qualities. A 500-word essay on the student’s academic plans and career goals also must be submitted. "Interested and qualified students should move quickly to apply," Brown said. Only the first 250 applications submitted will be considered. The PLBC plans to award at least 10 scholarships this year. Each scholarship will be $1,000. To obtain an application and more details about the program, students can visit www.pahouse.com/plbc and click on the Scholarships tab . If they have any additional questions about the PLBC Scholarship Program, applicants can contact Brown's office at (717) 772-6955. The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, April 23. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 12 – Following Gov. Tom Wolf's introduction of his Education Reinvestment Act proposal, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, expressed support on behalf of the PLBC members for the prospect of increased state investment in public education. Wolf outlined his Education Reinvestment Act this week which, if enacted, would establish a reasonable severance tax on natural gas produced in the state. That could provide the state with a revenue source which could be used to assist public school budgets, as well as a means to start to attack the structural budget deficit already apparent in the state's budget. "The PLBC would like to thank Governor Wolf for taking the leadership on this issue," Brown said. "He made establishing a fair and reasonable severance tax a key issue in his campaign, and he said during that campaign that revenue could be directed toward our seriously under-funded public schools. "Wolf's proposal demonstrates a change in the philosophy of educational funding for Pennsylvania. Directing money from a severance tax toward education would benefit the drillers, as well as the schools and communities. A highly educated and well-trained work force can only benefit one of the state's newest and fastest-growing industries." "The natural gas extraction process and its related industries can also provide unique business opportunities Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, under the direction of Chairwoman Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., met with the leadership of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association this week to discuss legislative priorities for the next few years. According to PCPA officials, this was the first time they have met with a collective body of legislators to discuss policies and potential legislation. "This meeting was a great way to open dialogue between law enforcement officials and the PLBC," Brown said. "Recent issues of potential excessive police force in the news have caused concern for the PLBC, as those affected have been predominantly black." Representing the PLBC, in addition to Chairwoman Brown, were Vice Chair Ed Gainey, PLBC and Democratic Caucus Secretary Rosita Youngblood and Reps. Margo Davidson, Jason Dawkins and Steven Kinsey. The PCPA was represented by Executive Director Dane Merryman, Chairman Tom King and President Bill Kelly. Among the most critical proposals discussed was the potential for police officers to wear body cameras while on the job as a way to protect both the public from excessive force as well as the police officers from unjust or unfair claims of violence. The PCPA and PLBC also discussed ways to increase the number of accredited police departments in the commonwealth. Currently, only 100 of the approximately 1,100 departments are fully accredited under current state standards. Read more
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