Jul. 07, 2019

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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown

District of Character

The “District of Character” is an initiative I created to enhance character development and promote daily reminders for residents of the 189th District about how we can create a stronger community without policy changes. No one is perfect, but we can always work to improve our character daily.
July word of the month is “Temperance.”

“Moderation in action, thought, or feeling; showing restraint.”
2019-20 Budget Invests in Future Workers, Leaders

One of the most important responsibilities of state government is to support the education and development of our children who will become the future workers and leaders of our Commonwealth.

The 2019-20 state budget, which was signed into law last week, again makes record investments in our schools.

PreK-12 education funding is increased by $432 million, making this year’s state budget investment the highest in Pennsylvania’s history. This includes $160 million more for Basic Education Funding, $50 million more for special education and $25 million more for PreK Counts.

An additional $10 million goes to support career and technical education, to help prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The budget also provides $60 million in funding for school safety grants.

To ensure students and their families have options, the budget also includes $25 million more for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.

Finally, our community colleges, state system universities and state-related institutions (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) each received a 2% funding increase.

To learn more about this year’s state budget, click here.

Brown Achieves Further Success in Her Budgetary and Personal Finance Efforts

In the midst of budget debates last week, my budgetary and financial literacy efforts proved to be successful as my high school personal finance course legislation was unanimously passed by the House and my budget reform bill combating budget overruns was amended into the Administrative Code bill, which is now Act 15 pf 2019.

My House Bill 49 would have public schools allow students, in grades 9-12, to apply up to one credit earned for successfully completing a personal finance course to satisfy their social studies, family and consumer science, mathematics or business education credit requirement for graduation.

Personal finance is a vital skill that our children should have when graduating and beginning their careers. Highschool students need to learn and understand how to budget, write checks, meet bill deadlines, and explore student loan options as they are crucial to their future successes in their adult lives.

Additionally, my budget reform legislation, House Bill 923, would improve the Legislature’s ability to evaluate the governor’s requests for supplemental appropriations by requiring the submission of a statement about why it is needed.

We have wrapped up another budget season as we successfully passed a financially responsible budget on time. My colleagues and I have worked diligently throughout the month to ensure that this budget would be beneficial for all Pennsylvanians while not increasing or creating new taxes or fees.

Representative Brown Offers Families Private College Planning Meetings by Appointment 

Working to help prospective students financially prepare for college, I will be hosting monthly PHEAA informational meetings at my district office beginning this month. July’s meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 10.

Most times, students preparing for college lack full understanding of what financial options are available to them to afford a higher education. By offering these private PHEAA meetings for parents and students they can feel comfortable to ask any questions they may hold back on asking during public forums.”

Moving forward, Michael Burke, PHEAA representative, will come in on the second Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I have just gone through this process with my oldest daughter for the first time and it’s not easy. I encourage parents or guardians of students who are in high school to schedule a meeting and take advantage of this tremendous resource to help guide and give them the tools to make the best decisions.

To schedule an appointment, please call my office at 570-420-8301.

Pennsylvania High Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) administers several state higher education student financial aid programs and the purpose of having Burke meet with students/parents, is to be sure the families are able to take advantage of all assistance they can receive.

New PA Clean Slate Law is Now in Effect
It is important that we do our best to help all Pennsylvanians grow and prosper, which is why this Clean Slate law is so important. This law makes it possible for those with criminal backgrounds to better adapt back into society and have the ability to find work and places to live.

The new, automatic sealing of criminal records 10 years or older went into effect on Friday, June 28, in Pennsylvania.

Citizens could petition for Clean Slate back in December. As of now, the automatic process is in place and will work on processing 2.5 million records per month over the next year.

Signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf one year ago, the Clean Slate Act creates an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent convictions for a period of 10 years. Certain first-degree misdemeanors can be sealed by petition.

This law does not apply to violent offenses related to danger of a person; firearms or other dangerous articles; sexual offenses and registration; cruelty to animals; and corruption of minors.

Bills to Support Crime Victims Signed into Law

Delivering on our commitment to help support victims of crime and ensure justice is served, I’m pleased to report several new crime victim protection bills were signed into law by the governor late last week. The House focused heavily on these issues back in April.

Act 21 of 2019, criminalizes the act of female genital mutilation by making it a first-degree felony.                        

Act 23 of 2019 ensures a victim is permitted to be present in any criminal proceeding unless the court determines the victim's own testimony would be altered by hearing other witnesses.

Act 24 of 2019 helps protect victims of rape by preventing prosecutors from bringing up the victim's sexual history or prior allegations of sexual abuse while prosecuting certain crimes.

Act 29 of 2019 makes updates to the Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act, including requiring the Pennsylvania State Police to create procedures for anonymous victims and establishing timelines for submitting, testing and storing rape kits.

Acts 30 and 31 of 2019 expands the circumstances under which out-of-court statements may be used by including victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder (Act 30) and adding new crimes to the list that allows such statements made by a child under age 12.

In addition to these new laws, the General Assembly has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to include a Victim’s Bill of Rights in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Voters will have the opportunity to approve the proposed amendment in the upcoming November election.

For more about House Republican efforts to support crime victims, click here
Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families

A new initiative to help our Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families has been signed into law.

Act 32 of 2019 extends the current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program. The benefit will be offered in exchange for a Guard member’s six-year reenlistment.

Under the law, the educational benefit can be used at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institution or any institution of higher learning approved by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. If the approved institution costs less than the annual tuition rate charged by the state system schools, the student would not pay anything. If it costs more than PASSHE’s annual tuition rate, the student would only pay expenses in excess of PASSHE’s annual tuition rate.

Pennsylvania National Guard members will be eligible for the benefit beginning July 1. Their family members may begin claiming the benefit on Aug. 1, 2020.

Antlerless Licenses on Sale Starting Monday
Application for the purchase of antlerless deer licenses begins this Monday, July 8, for Pennsylvania residents who already hold a 2019-20 hunting license.

Hunters wishing to apply may do so by sending a paper application with a check or money order to their local county treasurer’s office. Cost of a license is $6.90. Please click here to view contact information for your local county treasurer.

Nonresidents may submit their first applications a week later, beginning Monday, July 15.

Hunters are limited to purchasing one license at this time. In any Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 5.
Information on how many licenses have been allotted to each WMU, as well as how many have been purchased, is available by clicking here.

All successful applicants will receive their antlerless deer licenses after the second Monday in September.
Congrats to Rotary District 7410’s New District Governor!

Congratulations to Rotary of Stroudsburgs member Karen DeMatteo on becoming Rotary District 7410’s new District Governor. I stopped in to witness the exchanging of the Rotary District 7410 banner and congratulate Karen on this wonderful achievement. She will be the District Governor for the 2019-20 year.

Also, Jeff Gilbert, another member of the Rotary of the Stroudsburgs, received a Distinguished Member Award for his 25 years of amazing service to the organization. Congratulations to two wonderful people caring for others here and across the globe.

Congrats, Noah Miller

Congratulations Noah Jeremy Miller on obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout! Recently, I attended his Court of Honor and acknowledged his hard work and dedication to his personal development, especially in the areas of patriotism, courage, leadership, teamwork, morals and values. I am very proud of you, Noah, and I wish you success and happiness always!
Just a reminder: If you are encountering an issue with state government, please feel free to contact my district office. We are here to help you with the following services:      
 - Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. 
 - Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, special registration plates, vanity plates, and temporary placards for disabled persons).                         
 - PACE and PACENET applications for seniors.                         
 - State Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Work.
 - Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications.                         
 - State tax forms.                         
 - Student aid applications.                         
 - Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides.                         
 - Copies of legislation and tours of the State Capitol.                         
 - Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters. 
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Office Locations
143 Seven Bridge Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 420-8301
210 Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614