“Unpaid leave is not the answer because most families cannot afford to go without a paycheck,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. Read more
Our Pennsylvania Rescue Plan invests in technology, including making sure the commonwealth grows our already robust biotechnology research industry into a global leader. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – Responding to the Capitol insurrection in January and the signing of new restrictions on voting rights last week in Georgia, House Democrats are taking action to protect American democracy. Today, a website was launched that summarizes policy proposals to defend democracy as well as links to more information and the ability for people to quickly email their elected officials, noting their support of the bills. The House Democratic Caucus has been working on these proposals since a House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing in January, when members were briefed by legal scholars, hate crimes experts and members of Congress on the language of false conspiracy and election fraud being used to undermine democracy. That same language has shifted from encouraging outright attack to what many perceive as insidiously undermining basic voting rights. “We cannot allow the outrage and disgust of the American people watching an armed invasion of our government to be subverted by a slick rebranding into attacks on our right to fair and free elections” Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said. Members of the House Democratic Caucus have introduced dozens of measures to expand voting rights, preserve election security, protect access to mail-in ballots and polling places, and to clarify and consolidate the often-outdated Election Code. Bizzarro said the site – www.pahouse.com/policy/defendingdemocracy -- will serve as a great Read more
Studies released this week suggest microplastics — tiny polymer fragments — are ubiquitous in local waterways, even finding their way into the guts and digestive tracts of the prized blue crabs that populate the Delaware Bay. Read more
A proposed constitutional amendment to have Pennsylvania appellate court judges elected by geographic districts rather than statewide won’t be on the May primary ballot, but nobody on either side thinks that it's a dead issue. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – State Rep. Tim Briggs has been appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “PCCD makes an impact on some of the most pressing issues in our society by working to improve our justice system, keep our schools and neighborhoods safe, provide resources to victims of crime and more,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “I am honored to receive this appointment, and I look forward to working with the commission on programs and initiatives that will make communities across the commonwealth safer, more supportive places to live.” The mission of PCCD is to enhance quality, coordination and planning within the criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to victims of crime, and to increase the safety of Pennsylvania communities. Briggs was appointed to serve on the commission by House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton. He previously served as a member of PCCD during the 2009-10 legislative session. He also serves as the minority chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a member of the Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and as vice chairman of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 13 – House Republicans rammed a proposed constitutional amendment that threatens the independence of the judiciary system through a newly formed committee today, with little notice and no public hearing, said state Rep. Tim Briggs, Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee. House Bill 38 would amend the state constitution so that appellate judges would be elected by district rather than statewide. It advanced from the Judiciary Committee by a 13-12 vote. “This bill would have a devastating effect on the balance of power in our government. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the independent role of our judiciary and further politicizes our courts. Some Republicans want to rig the system, and they want to do it quickly – without public input,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “A vote on legislation that would substantially change our courts should be given proper consideration and discussion. And yet, the Judiciary Committee was given less than 24 hours’ notice that our reorganization meeting would take place today and would include a vote on this constitutional amendment, which amounts to judicial gerrymandering.” Briggs added that the bill will disenfranchise all Pennsylvania voters. Under the current system, voters have an opportunity to vote on all 31 statewide judges and justices, but under H.B. 38, voters would only have the opportunity to vote for three judges and justices. Today, Briggs made Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Tim Briggs was sworn in today at the state Capitol to begin his seventh term representing the 149 th District in Montgomery County. “It’s an honor to continue to represent the 149 th District, and I’m eager to dig back in for another legislative session working on issues that matter to members of my community,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many problems that we needed to address even before the health crisis began – the need for affordable quality health care, equitable education funding, and an economy that works for everyone. It’s also critical that we address the impacts of the pandemic and get help to the frontline workers, small businesses, and others who have been hit the hardest.” Briggs has been reappointed to serve as Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which reviews all legislation relating to aspects of the civil and criminal court systems, law enforcement and corrections . Briggs continues to prioritize constituent service. His staff has worked remotely during the pandemic, available by phone and email, and helped many residents with unemployment compensation and other pandemic-related issues. His office remains available by phone at 610-768-3135 or email at RepBriggs@pahouse.net . “My staff and I can help navigate a number of state-related issues, and it’s my goal to remain Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 4 – A group of 10 House Democrats announced the introduction of changes to the Operating Rules of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to reduce the impact of partisan politics, make sure ideas with broad public support get a fair hearing, and restore the people’s faith in government after the damage done by extremists in Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg. The People Before Politics plan was crafted with this central idea: lawmakers work for the people, not the other way around. It focuses on openness, transparency and citizen control of the legislative process. The People Before Politics plan includes the following proposals: Amendment 1 – The Voice of the People, sponsored by Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila. This amendment would make sure each House member has an opportunity to speak at a designated time during the first full session day of the week on any topic, similar to how the U.S. House of Representatives allows members to speak. This change would end the requirement of “unanimous consent” so often abused by extremists to silence members and prevent legislative topics bottled up in committee from being heard by the people. Amendment 2 – Let the People See, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware . This amendment would restore the rule requiring a full 24 hours before final passage of any bill, including all bills amended in the House chamber or in committee, or sent over from the state Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 30 – State Reps. Tim Briggs and Mary Jo Daley, both D-Montgomery, announced that Lower Merion Conservancy was awarded a state grant to support green stormwater infrastructure projects. The $184,960 Growing Greener grant will support Lower Merion Conservancy’s Growing Greener Streets project, which aims to work with private property owners to install residential-scale green stormwater infrastructure. Twenty-five property owners have already signed on and more will be recruited. “This funding will help protect our waterways. I’m pleased to see this grant awarded to Lower Merion Conservancy to help private property owners undertake this work and ultimately inspire others to make environmentally friendly changes as well,” Briggs said. “It’s encouraging to know that many private property owners have already signed up for this project to improve stormwater management and keep pollutants out of our streams and rivers. I look forward to seeing this work take shape in Narberth and Lower Merion Township. Protecting our waterways is an investment in our community’s future, and I appreciate Lower Merion Conservancy’s efforts to help us live greener,” said Daley. Growing Greener grants are awarded through the Department of Environmental Protection to support watershed restoration and protection projects, among other work. Read more
Your vote this November will shape the future of this country, and all eyes are on Pennsylvania due to its “battle state” status. This election will not only impact us in PA but also our brothers and sisters throughout the nation. Read more
The radical right agenda has infiltrated the Pennsylvania legislature and threatens the independence of our judiciary. We rely on a fair and independent judicial system to administer equal justice under the law, free from outside pressure and influence. But, as we approach a critically important election, that independence is on the line because of a politically motivated attempt to rig our courts. The most radicalized Republican members of the legislature reign over districts simply because they picked their constituents through gerrymandering. The lack of compromise, civility and gridlock in Harrisburg can be directly linked to gerrymandering. The same radicalized Republicans in control in Harrisburg are pushing H.B. 196, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create judicial districts for our appellate courts, rather than elect them on a statewide basis. It’s a bad bill that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the judiciary and its role in our society. Appellate court decisions impact the rights of all Pennsylvanians, from Erie to King of Prussia and everywhere in between. Appellate judges are elected to interpret our laws, not to represent any particular special interests or regional biases. Judges are to be free of influence and not bring their own agenda to the courts. Electing judges from districts drawn by radicalized politicians would make those judges increasingly beholden to special interests instead of the law, Read more
WEST NORRITON, Aug. 26 – State Reps. Joe Webster and Tim Briggs announced that Norristown Area School District has been awarded two grants to improve educational services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district is among 220 local education agencies statewide awarded grants aimed at improving educational services for approximately 180,000 students at schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds. Norristown Area School District was awarded $185,789 for Norristown Area High School and $17,987 for Roosevelt Alternative School. “This funding is an investment in making sure all children are receiving the education they deserve during this public health emergency. I’m pleased to see this critical funding awarded, and I applaud Norristown Area School District for everything it is doing to support students in difficult circumstances,” said Webster, D-Montgomery. Briggs, D-Montgomery, added: “All schools need our support during this pandemic, but some already had extra challenges on their plates. This funding provides an additional boost for schools that need it the most.” Grants were calculated based on elements of the federal Title I, Part A formula, including the Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, Aug. 18 – The global pandemic and upcoming presidential election demonstrate the critical importance of teaching media literacy, starting at a young age, said state Rep. Tim Briggs, who has been advocating for the establishment of media literacy curriculum in Pennsylvania schools. “As we are all bombarded with information on a daily basis, particularly through social media, it can sometimes be difficult to discern fact from fiction – and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical to ensure we are consuming accurate information from reliable sources,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “I’ve reintroduced legislation to establish a media literacy curriculum in our schools because we need to prepare our youngest citizens with the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate information and sources. The health of our democracy – and right now, the health of our citizens – depends on it.” House Bill 992, assigned to the House Education Committee since March 2019, would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to develop an age-appropriate media literacy curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 that would be made available to school districts throughout Pennsylvania. The curriculum may include, but would not be limited to: developing critical thinking skills; understanding how media messages shape culture and society; identifying targeted marketing strategies; naming Read more
HARRISBURG, July 29 – State Rep. Tim Briggs today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the challenges and importance of contact tracing in Pennsylvania. Briggs requested the hearing to discuss contact tracing and ways the process could be improved. The hearing included testimony from state and local health officials, including Michel Masters, division director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Montgomery County Office of Public Health. “The federal government’s failure to lead with a cohesive national strategy requires us at the state and local level to work collaboratively to learn and share successful approaches and best practices to protect our communities from COVID-19,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Contact tracing is an essential tool to allow our schools and economy to reopen. This hearing brought together those on the front lines to share their experiences for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.” The hearing was attended by legislators from around the state, including Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Health Committee; and Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “I thank Representative Briggs for requesting this hearing to enable us to hear how DOH and various counties are conducting contact tracing. This tracing is critical for an effective handling of the COVID-19 Read more
HARRISBURG, July 28 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on COVID-19 contact tracing. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 29 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . The hearing was requested by State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, to investigate the challenges of contact tracing in Pennsylvania. Testifiers and committee members will participate in person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Sarah Boateng , executive deputy secretary, PA Department of Health. Lindsey Mauldin , special assistant on contact tracing for Secretary Levine, DOH. Michel Masters , division director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Montgomery County Office of Public Health. Dr. Jeff Martin , medical director, Lancaster County Contact Tracing Program. Cynthia Shields , assistant director of Office of Community Services, Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
Latest news from the House Judiciary Committee and more. Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, July 14 – State Rep. Tim Briggs announced a $464,000 state grant will help support the installation of clean energy infrastructure at Arkema Inc. headquarters in King of Prussia. The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the grant to Scale Microgrid Solutions, which will enter into an agreement with Arkema to own and operate clean energy equipment at the 13-building campus. As part of the agreement, Scale Microgrid Solutions will install a combined heat and power system that will generate electricity and thermal energy for the campus. The total project cost is more than $4 million. “Moving to cleaner energy sources is essential to preserve our environment and support our communities for the future. I’m pleased to see a local company taking steps to become greener, and I’m glad that the state is supporting these projects with funding,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. The grant comes through the state’s Alternative and Clean Energy Program, which provides financial assistance through grants and loans for the utilization, development and construction of alternative and clean energy projects in the state. The program is jointly administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Read more
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
Updates on news and legislation for the 149th Legislative District Read more
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