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
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
HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 – Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday evening, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and its membership expressed support for many of the ideas proposed by the president. "The president's plan for 2015 reflects many of the goals of the PLBC," Brown said. "The needs he addressed Tuesday mirror the needs that we have been fighting for in Pennsylvania. "It is imperative that we afford our children and young adults a solid educational base to develop careers that can provide living wages for a family. That need for quality education starts at the pre-K level and extends to an affordable college education. Two paid years at a local community college would provide a significant start toward the end of successfully pursuing and obtaining a higher education. Equally as important, it would assist in reducing the cost of our young people’s student loans, while also providing them with the job skills necessary to compete in the 21 st century." State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, House Democratic Caucus secretary and D-Phila., said, “President Obama and Gov. Tom Wolf both laid out an agenda that focuses on putting people first. We need to have policies that raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick and maternity leave for all workers, and fund our schools so that students can get a valued education. We need to help Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that the PLBC hosted its 2015 Civil Rights Achievement Awards ceremony last weekend in Philadelphia. The second annual awards ceremony was held Saturday evening during a gala at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The 2015 honorees were: Dr. Charles Blockson, historian and author; Michael Coard, attorney and community leader; Christine Brown, social servant and community leader; the Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, faith leader and community activist; and Dr. Joi Spraggins, diversity expert and community leader. More than 200 people attended the gala. Special guests included Kim Crabbe, the first African-American member of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team; Starr Robbins, Miss Black Pennsylvania USA; and Judge Arthur Louis Burnett Sr., the first African-American to hold the position of United States magistrate judge and a longstanding champion for equality and social justice. "This weekend celebration is an important reminder that many of the ideas and principles that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed 50 years ago remain strong today," Brown said. "These honorees continue to make a difference in their own communities and the larger community as well." In addition to the Saturday evening events, the PLBC hosted a Friday evening social gathering, as well as movie Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 12 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced the PLBC will host its 2015 Civil Rights Achievement Awards ceremony this weekend in Philadelphia.The movie, "The Bombing of Osage Avenue," the story of the bombing on the MOVE compound by Philadelphia police 30 years ago, will be shown at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Pearl Theatre, Broad and Oxford streets, and will conclude Saturday evening with the awards ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by a reception at 8 p.m. at the African American Museum, 701 Arch St.The 2015 honorees include:Dr. Charles Blockson: historian and author;Michael Coard: attorney and community leader;Christine Brown: social servant and community leader;the Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine: faith leader and community activist; andDr. Joi Spraggins: diversity expert and community leader."These honorees are truly deserving of recognition and commendation," Brown said. "Each has found a way to use his or her skills and interests in fostering Dr. King’s legacy through advocacy for social equality and civil rights." All events are free, but tickets may be required. Those interested in attending are asked to register at www.civilrightsawards.eventbrite.com.For more information, or if unable to register online, please contact Brown’s office at (215) 879-6615.The PLBC was organized during the 1973-74 legislative session by former Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more
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