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

 

Briggs welcomes action to improve wine purchases, consumer convenience

(Jun 07, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today applauded the passage of a bill that would modernize and expand retail sales of wine and liquor in Pennsylvania and take other steps to increase consumer convenience. The legislation would allow wine to be sold in more places, including grocery stores that already sell beer; it would give more flexibility to the Liquor Control Board to set prices and store hours across the state in ways that are better for consumers; and it would permit direct shipment of wine by licensed producers to consumers at their homes. "Consumers throughout Pennsylvania expect modern conveniences from retailers including our state stores," Briggs said. "This legislation will give the LCB flexibility in terms of pricing and store hours to provide that convenience consumers are looking for while preserving nearly 5,000 family-sustaining jobs." Briggs said the legislation is expected to generate up to $150 million a year in new revenue for the commonwealth while protecting the overwhelming number of well-paying jobs in the community. "While this bill is far from perfect, I think it is a strong step in the right direction," Briggs said. "Consumer convenience is a good thing but only if we can continue to ensure responsible oversight of alcohol sales. I believe this bill does just that and I look forward to continue working with my colleagues on this issue." House Bill 1690 must be signed by the governor before becoming law. Read more

 

Montgomery County lawmaker to push bill to delay start time in high schools

(May 25, 2016)

A Montgomery County lawmaker hopes to authorize a study that would examine the effects of a later start time for high schools in Pennsylvania. The Office of State Representative Tim Briggs announced on Tuesday that the bill would be introduced shortly. The study would examine whether a later start time would allow teenagers to get the required sleep to function better in the classroom. "My legislation would study the issue of delaying the start time of the school day for high schools in Pennsylvania, not because it is what teenagers want but because it is most likely what is good for them," Briggs said. "Emerging science has proven what many of us have known for years, teenagers need more sleep than they are getting. The consequences of failing to do so are serious, so this idea is worthy of consideration and study." Read more

 

Briggs introduces bill to study a later start time for high schools

(May 24, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, May 24 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced today that he intends to introduce legislation shortly that would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct a study on the effects of implementing a later start time for secondary schools in the state. Briggs legislation would require the Department of Education to consider the recent recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics as it studies the issues, benefits and options related to instituting a later start time to the school day for high schools throughout the state. "My legislation would study the issue of delaying the start time of the school day for high schools in Pennsylvania, not because it is what teenagers want but because it is most likely what is good for them," Briggs said. "Emerging science has proven what many of us have known for years, teenagers need more sleep than they are getting. The consequences of failing to do so are serious, so this idea is worthy of consideration and study." According to the AAP, adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems, are at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident, and are more likely to decline in academic performance. Briggs said he was grateful to a concerned group of parents of Lower Merion School District students, who have been encouraging the Lower Merion Board of School Directors to consider moving high school start times to Read more

 

Briggs announces over $500k in grants for traffic signal upgrades

(May 17, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, May 17 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today said that Lower Merion Township will receive more than $500,000 in state transportation funding to install and upgrade traffic signals. “The Green Light-Go program is a terrific partnership between the state and municipalities,” Briggs said. "It was made possible by the Act 89 transportation plan, and these funds will go a long way toward improving traffic flow as well as public safety.” Enacted in 2013, Act 89 created a comprehensive transportation funding plan to invest billions of dollars into improving the state’s transportation network. Briggs was a vocal supporter of the plan. Lower Merion Township will receive $503,947 to install three adaptive traffic signals at the intersections of Lancaster Avenue and Old Wynnewood Road, Penn Road and Wynnewood Road, and Wynnewood Road and Williams Road. Funds will also be used to upgrade existing loop detectors with video detection systems at 45 intersections throughout the township. “These three intersections are some of the busiest areas of the township, and my office is continuously working with the township on how to ensure safety of both drivers and pedestrians,” Briggs said. “I’m glad that the state was able to step in and help alleviate some of the costs for these important projects.” The program requires matching funds from municipalities. Briggs also said that this year’s application period is now closed but should reopen later this year and be Read more

 

Briggs Supports Apraxia Awareness Day

(May 17, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Tim Briggs thanks his House colleagues for voting in favor of H.R. 889, a resolution designating May 14, 2016, as Apraxia Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a neurological disorder where children have problems making speech sounds because the brain has difficulty planning the motor and muscle movements needed for speech. Read more

 

Briggs introduces legislation to update public pool safety regulations

(May 10, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, May 10 – In recognition of May as National Water Safety Month, State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, has introduced legislation that would strengthen regulations for public swimming pools and bathing places in Pennsylvania. House Bill 2056 would require the Department of Health to update regulations periodically to be consistent with the Model Aquatic Health Code prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I was shocked to learn that regulations affecting public pools in Pennsylvania haven’t been updated since the 1970s. It is hard to think of anything that hasn’t been updated in that long, let alone crucial public health standards," Briggs said. "Once enacted into law, my legislation will allow Pennsylvanians to once again enjoy a day at the pool without worry about what microbes or pollutants are lurking in the water." The model code, which is updated about every two years, is intended to implement best practices and replace the patchwork of regulations that exists throughout the country. The code covers safety, preventive maintenance, health hazards and employee training for pools and public bathing places. "Swimming pools may seem innocuous, but if they are improperly cared for they can be tainted with a variety of contaminants ranging from fecal matter to the bacteria that can lead to Legionnaires’ Disease," Briggs said. "The public has the right to expect safety and sanitary Read more

 

Winter 2016 Newsletter

(Feb 25, 2016)

In February, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation that will delay the graduation requirement associated with the Keystone Exams until the 2018-19 school year. While I believe it is important to hold our students to a high standard of achievement, I was proud to support this legislation in the House and I am glad Gov. Wolf signed it into law. Read more

 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms available at my office

(Feb 15, 2016)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more

 

PACE prescription programs benefit seniors

(Feb 10, 2016)

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

 

CHIP offers kids protection and parents peace of mind

(Jan 29, 2016)

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

 

Pa. Treasury could be holding your unclaimed property

(Jan 01, 2016)

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

 

PA Power Switch: Ask the right questions

(Dec 30, 2015)

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

 

Briggs spreads holiday cheer by arranging Toys for Tots donation

(Dec 17, 2015)

State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, accepts a large donation for Toys for Tots at his King of Prussia district office. The donation was made by the waste management company Republic Services. Standing with Briggs (from left) are retired U.S. Marine John Wilson and Republic Services employees Jen Ray, Kevin Leib and Aaron Tolbert. Read more

 

Briggs announces new Premium Wine & Spirits location

(Oct 22, 2015)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Oct. 22 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today announced that after a lengthy review process by multiple departments as required by state law, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has finally signed a new lease to relocate and expand the Liquor Control Board's King of Prussia retail operation. Construction is underway on the new Premium Fine Wine & Good Spirits store on West Dekalb Pike near Henderson Road, in the former Sports Authority. The new, larger space will feature many more customer friendly enhancements such as wine tastings, a full-time sommelier and an updated store design to enhance the shopping experience. “I am happy to announce that what has been speculated in the community for over a year is finally confirmed and moving forward," Briggs said. "I applaud the PLCB for listening to its customers and expanding its operation to include many more choices for those in King of Prussia and surrounding communities. I have no doubt that this new location will become a flagship for the PLCB." The existing store on South Gulph Road will close and relocate to the new location when it is complete. The new Premium Fine Wines & Good Spirits is expected to open in the first half of 2016. Read more

 

Fall 2015 Newsletter

(Sep 11, 2015)

During the previous four years of total Republican control of Harrisburg, former Governor Tom Corbett signed budgets that drastically cut funding, especially for education. At the same time, Corbett and the Republican leadership of the legislature continued to give a free ride to the oil and gas industry by resisting a severance tax on gas drilling – something all other major natural-gas states already have and a measure that has wide, bipartisan support across the commonwealth. Read more

 

Briggs: Republican sham budget deserves Wolf's veto

(Jun 27, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said today he voted against the Republican-crafted budget bill because it fails to restore deep cuts made to public education by the former Gov. Tom Corbett, doesn't offer any form of property tax relief and relies heavily on gimmicks and one-time funding sources. "Today I watched the Republican majority in the state House pass a budget that completely fails to prioritize education, ignores the property tax issue plaguing homeowners across the state, and uses accounting tricks to close a structural deficit despite the dire and plainly foreseeable consequences," Briggs said. "I understand that Republicans are using whatever scheme they can think up to get the budget passed before the deadline, but honestly I am worried about getting this budget done right." Briggs said House Democrats were not included in the formulation of the spending plan that he voted against, and that the plan barely provides one-quarter of the funding needed to begin restoring public education cuts made by the previous administration. "When Pennsylvanian voters sent Governor Tom Wolf to Harrisburg, they made their view on budget priorities clear," Briggs said. "Pennsylvanians want real property tax relief. They want a serious investment in education. And they want natural gas drillers to pay their fair share through a modest and reasonable severance tax. This budget fails on all counts." Briggs said the plan, which now heads to the state S Read more

 

Briggs announces winner, finalists in his 2015 student essay contest

(Jun 09, 2015)

KING OF PRUSSIA, June 9 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, attended the Lower Merion Board of School Directors meeting yesterday, and the Upper Merion Area School Board meeting on June 4, to announce and congratulate students selected as the winner and finalists of his sixth annual “There Ought to be a Law” essay contest for fifth-graders. Every year, Briggs encourages those students to write an essay about a law that would improve their school, community or state. Briggs said over 400 essays were submitted this year, on topics ranging from a ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags to the establishment of learning gardens in state schools. Read more