In this Newsletter:
Swearing in Day
On January 1st, I took the oath of office marking the start of my fourth full term serving the people of the 16th Senatorial District.
I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues this legislative session in order to create real and responsible solutions to the Commonwealth’s most pressing issues.
(Sen. Browne witnesses the Safe2Say program being signed into law. Pictured Left to Right: Sen. Vincent Hughes, Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Pat Browne)
Safe2Say is a school threat reporting and monitoring system for students, teachers and community residents to anonymously report any unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” before it is too late. The system has been up and running as of early January this year.
As of February, over 1,000 school entities have registered and all 64 county 911 dispatch centers are set up to be able to receive and act upon tips. Training has been provided to over 3,400 individuals from school entities and more than 240 individuals from 911 dispatch centers.
Within the first few weeks of operation alone, hundreds of tips were submitted through the reporting system, making this an already invaluable tool in preventing violence and helping to ensure the wellbeing of our students. This was made abundantly clear when the program received a tip which prevented a potential gun violence situation in the Hazelton School District, as reported by WNEP16.
Act 44 of 2018 established the Safe2Say program in Pennsylvania. Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-7), Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) and I co-authored this legislation and modeled it after the successful Safe2Tell program currently employed in Colorado.
More information on Safe2Say can be found at https://www.safe2saypa.org/
REAL ID Update
Beginning on October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID driver’s license, photo ID card or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation.
Getting a REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents and will be available beginning in March 2019.
Residents may bring their REAL ID documentation into any PennDOT driver’s license center for pre-verification. Then, when REAL IDs are available in March 2019, customers can apply for their REAL ID online with no need to come back to the driver’s license center. To learn more about preverification and what documents you’ll need to present, visit the REAL ID Document Check page.
More information on the REAL ID can be found by going to PennDOT’s website: https://www.dmv.pa.gov/REALID/Pages/default.aspx
Part 2 of “The Browne Report” Allentown
Over the course of two episodes, Senator Browne visits several locations in downtown Allentown, showing viewers the city’s revitalization efforts of historic structures, and new state–of-the-art buildings, which are making the city a more attractive place to live, work and play. Five years ago, downtown Allentown was the subject of a previous “The Browne Report” episode. The transformation that has taken place in the city’s urban core since that episode aired is evident throughout the new downtown tour.
The second episode highlights the new living accommodations, local businesses, restaurants, and amenities to be found in downtown Allentown. Senator Browne discusses the many new and exciting opportunities downtown has to offer with J.B. Reilly, President and CEO of City Center Allentown, and Steve Bamford, Executive Director of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority. The Arts Walk, Strata West Apartments, Assembly 88 and Queen City BBQ are additional stops on this part of the tour.
Part One is available HERE
Part Two is available HERE
Senate Appropriations Budget Hearing Schedule
On February 5th, Governor Wolf gave his annual budget address to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, officially beginning the process of crafting the 2019-20 state budget. The Senate Appropriations committee will hold a series of hearings over the next three weeks to thoroughly and publicly vet the Governor’s proposal, on a department-by-department basis. This is an important opportunity to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly and on programs with proven results.
You can watch these hearings live by visiting https://appropriations.pasenategop.com/
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