Reading, writing, fighting fake news

(Mar 29, 2017)

"Jennifer Aniston did WHAT to her hair?" screams the headline. Below the headline is a photo of the actress with a military buzz cut, along with a quote about how she'd shorn her iconic blonde locks for a role. The online article, printed on handouts that Alexis Gerard has distributed to her class at Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Maryland, is startling. It's irresistible. It's fake. Read more


Wolf Administration Extends Pennsylvania Home Heating Assistance Program Deadline

(Mar 28, 2017)

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Pennsylvanians struggling to pay home heating bills will now have until April 7 to apply for financial help through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally funded program was slated to end March 31, 2017, but the Wolf Administration decided that given the unpredictable weather this winter, Pennsylvania would extend the program, giving people extra time to apply for funding. “Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable were able to heat their homes this winter because of LIHEAP,” said Governor Wolf. “By keeping the program open longer, we hope to provide additional assistance to those who are struggling to keep their family warm.” LIHEAP offers assistance in the form of a cash grant sent directly to the utility company or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Some households are eligible for both types of assistance. Cash grants are based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel used. “Everyone deserves a safe, warm home. I encourage Pennsylvanians to apply today to ensure they have the necessary resources to stay warm as the climate continues to be unpredictable,” said Department of Read more


Briggs introduces bill to combat fake news, improve media literacy

(Feb 27, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, introduced H.B. 661 today, which would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a media literacy curriculum for Pennsylvania’s students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, in an effort to combat the rise of fake news on social media during the 2016 General Election. “This legislation would prepare Pennsylvania’s students with the critical thinking skills and knowledge to evaluate the accuracy of news stories on social media and other sources for themselves,” Briggs said. “During this past election cycle, it’s undeniable that we saw a rise in fake news on social media that put misinformation out into the public sphere for the purpose of misleading voters.” If passed, H.B. 661 would require the Department of Education, in consultation with the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, to develop a media literacy curriculum within 6 months of the bill’s effective date. According to the bill, the curriculum may include, but is not limited to: developing critical thinking skills; understanding how media messages shape culture and society; identifying targeted marketing strategies; naming techniques of persuasion; recognizing bias and misinformation; discovering parts of a story that are not being told; evaluating media messages based on personal experiences and skills. “It is imperative the next generation of Read more


Lawmaker wants Pennsylvania students to be taught how to recognize fake news

(Feb 01, 2017)

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is seeking co-sponsors for legislation that would provide media literacy for students throughout grade and high school in an effort to fight the effects of fake news. State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, introduced a memo Monday about the potential legislation. The bill would require a media literacy course to be added to social sciences curriculums for grades 1 through 12. Read more


Briggs proposes media literacy curriculum

(Feb 01, 2017)

Citing the rise of fake news on social media during the 2016 General Election, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is working to craft legislation that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to draft a media literacy curriculum for Pennsylvanian students. Read more


Briggs introduces bill requiring presidential candidates to publically disclose tax returns

(Jan 26, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Tim Briggs on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require U.S. presidential candidates to make their tax returns public in order to be eligible to appear on the Pennsylvania ballot. House Bill 222 seeks to make transparent a presidential candidate’s financial interests before being elected to the highest office in the nation. “The need for this tradition is clear,” Briggs said. “Many Americans, not to mention the national security community, want to know whether presidential candidates have personal or business interests that could undermine their commitment to act in the best interests of the United States should they become president. “More importantly, all Americans, whether they supported the president's election or not, must know whether there are any financial interests that may affect his or her decision making while serving.” Briggs’ introduction of the bill follows President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on his pledge to release his tax returns following what he described while campaigning as a routine audit. “President Trump’s refusal to release a most basic, yet vital, piece of information could be categorized as a text-book bait and switch,” Briggs said. “One or more states’ refusal to place a candidate on the ballot, on the other hand, could easily prevent something like this from ever happening again. All public Read more


Pa. granted extension on REAL ID compliance

(Jan 20, 2017)

Pennsylvania received a limited extension through June 6 to update driver’s licenses to meet requirements under the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, but the General Assembly must still act quickly to comply. Without action, Pennsylvanians could be denied access to federal facilities and eventually even airline travel. Specifically, Pennsylvanians will need federally approved ID for air travel beginning Jan. 22, 2018, and with the limited extension we will need a federally approved ID to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and military bases beginning June 7, 2017. Rest assured, I am following this issue very closely and am doing everything possible to ensure that we pass comprehensive changes to comply with the federal government. Please visit for the most up to date information on the requirements and remember that my office can help you obtain a birth certificate or driver’s license. Read more


Americans for the Arts Presents 2016 Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the Founding Chairs of Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus

(Jan 09, 2017)

Americans for the Arts and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) today presented the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for State Arts Leadership to the four founding chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Arts & Culture Caucus—Sen. Patrick Browne (R-16, representing part of Lehigh County), Sen. Jay Costa (D-43 representing part of Allegheny County), Rep. Tim Briggs (D-149, representing part of Montgomery County), and Rep. Stan Saylor (R-94, representing part of York County). Read more


Briggs begins 5th term representing 149th District

(Jan 03, 2017)

State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, took the oath of office today to continue to represent residents of the 149th Legislative District in Montgomery County for his fifth term. Read more


License Your Dog in PA

(Dec 22, 2016)

All dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. An annual license is $8.50 and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer and other licensing agents. Reasons for dog licensing: It’s the law. All dogs three months or older must have a current license. If your dog gets lost, a license is the best way to get him back. A license helps animal control and shelters identify your dog and get him back home safely. The cost of a license is less than the penalty for being caught without one. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog. License fees support animal control. The annual fee you pay to license your dog helps keep shelters running and supports the work of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations. Read more


Holiday Safety Tips

(Dec 16, 2016)

As family and friends decorate their homes and gather to celebrate the holidays, Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay and Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller offer some tips to ensure everyone stays safe this holiday season. Read more


myCOMPASS Mobile App available now

(Dec 13, 2016)

The myCOMPASS PA online app is now available for download on the Apple and Google Play app stores for use on iPhones and Android smartphones. Among other features, myCOMPASS PA will allow individuals to take photos of necessary documents and upload them directly to their case files through a secure, safe environment. Other key features include: Users will be able to view benefits details after logging in to their myCOMPASS account; Individuals can view their processing status of their applications; and Update case-related information such as address, phone number, email address, and voter registration. In the two weeks after it launched in the Apple store, 4,669 users downloaded the app with 13,680 clients viewing the status of their benefits, 1,568 documents were uploaded, and the app received a 5-star rating. myCOMPASS PA is estimated to save an average of $3.2 million per year by reducing mail processing time, manual information entry, call center calls, postage and printing. Read more


Electronics recycling event is Dec. 17

(Dec 07, 2016)

I wanted to let you know that Montgomery County is hosting a free, one-time electronic waste collection event for Montgomery County residents from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell Campus’ Central Lot, 340 DeKalb Pike. Please enter at 595 Cathcart Road. Additional information can be found at the county’s website here . In case of bad weather, call 610-278-3618 to find out if the event has been canceled. They will collect televisions, computers, printers, cables, servers, stereos, video games and systems, cell phones, microwaves and small refrigerators. They will not accept items containing Freon or liquid, full-size fridges, batteries, medical equipment, e-cigarettes, light bulbs or cassette tapes. Any data on a computer will be destroyed. I hope you find this information useful, and if you have any questions about state environmental or recycling issues, please contact my office. Read more


Briggs announces $1.25M grant for Upper Merion Township

(Dec 06, 2016)

Calling it a critical project to expand connectivity within the community and provide safe, ADA-compliant walking and biking trails in Upper Merion Township, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced a $1.25 million grant that he had strongly supported and advocated for. The grant was approved today by the Commonwealth Financing Authority from the Multimodal Transportation Fund and will go towards the first two segments of the Crow Creek Trail project. Read more


Briggs announces $1 million state grant for Upper Merion Community Center

(Oct 14, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Oct. 14 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced today that the Upper Merion Community Center Project has received a $1 million state grant. Briggs said the funding will allow for renovations of the existing 64,000-square-foot-building, which formerly housed a Gold’s Gym, to continue its transformation into an active community center. "This center will be a vibrant space that will meet the recreation and cultural needs of Upper Merion residents," Briggs said. "The community center will also serve the growing senior population in the area as the new home of the Upper Merion Senior Services Center." The grant, which was awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, will also allow for roadway and pedestrian renovations that will link the community center with the local elementary schools, middle schools and township parks. The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a statewide economic development program that provides grants to local communities for the construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Read more


Some Pennsylvania students plot course to later school starts, more shut-eye

(Sep 13, 2016)

In June, State Rep. Tim Briggs (D., Montgomery) introduced legislation directing the state Department of Education to study the relationship between teen sleep and school start times. A year ago, New Jersey lawmakers passed a similar bill, and Gov. Christie signed it, ordering state education officials to determine the feasibility of later starts for secondary students. Public hearings were held last spring. Read more


Briggs: Delay school start times

(Sep 08, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Sept. 8 – As the new school year gets under way, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to seriously consider his legislation that would study the effects of a later start time to the school day for high school students in Pennsylvania. "Teens don’t get as much sleep as they should. While this is nothing new, and in fact science suggests their changing bodies are at least partly responsible, we should be doing everything in our power to allow them to get the 8½ - 9½ hours of sleep they need to be properly rested," Briggs said. Read more


Summer 2016 Newsletter

(Aug 11, 2016)

I am happy to report that the 2016-17 state budget passed without a protracted impasse like last year. While this budget is far from perfect, it does make necessary investments to move our state forward. This was another difficult year financially; however, with a divided government where we have a Democratic governor and large Republican majorities controlling the House and Senate, being able to come together to produce a commonsense budget that includes important new investments in education, funding for human services, and a significant public health and safety initiative to combat our heroin/opioid epidemic is encouraging. Read more


Briggs votes to complete the 2016-17 budget

(Jul 15, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, July 15 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said today that he voted to complete the 2016-17 state budget with revenue to fund important investments made in education and programs to combat the state’s opioid abuse crisis because the plan would help put Pennsylvania on the right path moving forward. The House and Senate voted to send Gov. Tom Wolf a conference committee report that raises the revenue necessary to pay for the approximate $31.6 billion spending plan passed on June 30. Lawmakers also passed a fiscal code and school code bill, pieces necessary to finalize the 2016-17 budget process. "This budget is far from perfect, but it does make critical investments in education and human services that will put our state on the right path moving forward," Briggs said. "This was another difficult year financially for the state and, with it being an example of divided government where we have a Democratic governor and large Republican majorities controlling the House and Senate, to see a budget get completed without a protracted impasse like last year is encouraging." The spending plan passed on June 30 included an extra $200 million for basic education, $30 million more for pre-K and Head Start and a $20 million increase for special education. It also included a 2.5 percent increase in higher education spending. "The increase in education funding is a great win for our students and will go a long way in restoring the devastating cuts made by the Read more


Briggs Fights For The Environment

(Jun 14, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Tim Briggs joined fellow legislators and PennFuture, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club to call on the General Assembly to stop the slew of environmentally dangerous legislation we’ve seen come before both the House and Senate recently. We must forge a sensible path forward that protects our environment for future generations and ensures Pennsylvania moves toward clean, renewable energy. Read more