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 will be closed but remain 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

 

Briggs: Testing homes for radon is an easy way to reduce risk

(Jan 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – January is National Radon Action Month, and state Rep. Tim Briggs reminded residents that testing their home for radon is an easy and inexpensive way to reduce their risk of exposure. Briggs introduced H.R. 665, which designates January 2020 as Radon Action Month in Pennsylvania. “You can’t smell, see or taste radon. But the naturally occurring gas is found around Pennsylvania, and when it gets trapped inside a building structure, it becomes a health risk,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Testing your home for radon is easy and affordable, and it can help prevent serious health problems for you and your family.” Radon is a leading cause of lung cancer. An estimated 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes have radon levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s action guideline of 4 picocuries per liter, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Last year, Briggs introduced H.B. 1057, which would require school districts to complete a radon test in every school building at least once every five years and notify parents of the level of contamination found, if any. It would also require any newly constructed school buildings to be tested within 19 months of the date of occupancy, and any remodeled school buildings to be tested within 19 months of remodeling completion. “When it comes to keeping our children safe, we Read more

 

Briggs congratulates local colleges on grants to combat campus sexual assault

(Jan 16, 2020)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Tim Briggs congratulated two colleges in the 149 th Legislative District on being awarded grants to combat sexual assault on campus. Gov. Tom Wolf announced $1 million in “It’s On Us” grants today for 36 colleges and universities statewide. Bryn Mawr College was awarded $30,000 and Rosemont College was awarded $24,957. “I’m pleased to see these two colleges working to address sexual assault on campus so that students can feel comfortable and protected while pursuing their studies,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “I support the state’s efforts to highlight the role we all play in ending sexual assault, and I congratulate these local campuses for earning financial support.” More information on the grants is available here . Read more

 

Winter 2020 Newsletter

(Jan 15, 2020)

Read news from Harrisburg and around the 149th Legislative District! Read more

 

Briggs: Amended cell phone bill would weaken current law on texting while driving

(Jan 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – A House bill aimed at increasing safety on the roads was amended in a way that would actually weaken current state law and send Pennsylvania backward in efforts to stop texting while driving, state Rep. Tim Briggs said today. House Bill 37, passed by the House today, would prohibit the use of handheld communications devices while driving. But an amendment added to the bill Tuesday made it a secondary offense for adult drivers to text or use a hand-held device, meaning police officers would have to have another reason to pull a driver over in the first place. Texting while driving is currently a primary offense in Pennsylvania. “I support a ban on using phones and other devices while driving, but I voted against this bill. Years ago, we fought hard to make texting while driving a primary offense, and reducing it to a secondary offense through this bill is a step backward,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Proponents of the changes say this will mirror seat belt law, which is a secondary offense for adults. But if we’re really concerned about safety, failing to buckle up should be a primary offense as well.” Currently, 48 states and Washington D.C. ban text messaging while driving, and it is a primary offense in all but three of those states. The overall goal is safety, Briggs said, and H.B. 37 as amended would make it more difficult for police to enforce a ban. “We’ve worked on this Read more

 

Daley, Briggs co-sponsoring documentary screening of film that explores privatization of public schools

(Dec 18, 2019)

“All of our children deserve a quality education,” Briggs said. “I hope anyone interested in learning more about what’s happening in public schools can attend this film screening.” Read more

 

Judiciary Committee newsletter December 2019

(Dec 06, 2019)

Updates from the Judiciary Committee Read more

 

Briggs introduces legislation to establish Paid Family Leave Act

(Nov 20, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Tim Briggs joined fellow legislators and labor leaders Tuesday to announce a package of legislation aimed at strengthening worker rights, including Briggs’ bill to establish a Paid Family Leave Act in Pennsylvania. House Bill 625 , introduced by Briggs, would allow eligible employees up to 12 weeks leave at full pay, counted against the federal Family and Medical Leave Act leave for which they are entitled. “The birth or adoption of a child is a joyous time, and we know that it’s beneficial for the child and the parents to have time together. Federal law provides for unpaid leave, but going 12 weeks without pay is unrealistic for many families,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Working parents should be able to start families without worrying about their next paycheck. My legislation would support workers by relieving some burden as they focus on their families.” Briggs’ legislation is included in the Workers’ Bill of Rights package of bills, announced Tuesday, that would strengthen workers’ rights. Bills in the package include measures to raise the minimum wage, strengthen collective bargaining, modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay law and more. More information about the package is available here . Read more

 

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

Briggs: Testing homes for radon is an easy way to reduce risk
Jan 28, 2020

Briggs congratulates local colleges on grants to combat campus sexual assault
Jan 16, 2020

Winter 2020 Newsletter
Jan 15, 2020

Briggs: Amended cell phone bill would weaken current law on texting while driving
Jan 15, 2020

Daley, Briggs co-sponsoring documentary screening of film that explores privatization of public schools
Dec 18, 2019

Judiciary Committee newsletter December 2019
Dec 06, 2019

Briggs introduces legislation to establish Paid Family Leave Act
Nov 20, 2019