Senator Brown E-Newsletter

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Budget Hearings Scheduled to Begin Next Week

State spending would increase by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1%, under the Governor’s budget proposal. This level of increase will make it virtually impossible to balance future budgets without spending cuts and tax increases within the five-year planning period.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I plan to work alongside my colleagues bring spending more align with revenues. This process begins with three weeks of budget hearings held by the Committee. Hearings begin Tuesday with appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Labor and Industry and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Livestreams of the hearings and daily recaps will be available here, and I will share updates on this important process each week.

The hearings will be used to review Gov. Josh Shapiro’s spending plan and ask administration officials about the need for any proposed expenses. From there, a budget that more appropriately reflects the needs of taxpayers can be developed before the constitutional deadline of June 30.

Shielding Pennsylvanians from Cybersecurity Attacks

The Senate approved legislation to improve cybersecurity defenses by setting cybersecurity standards for IT procurement within state government.

Cyberattacks and data breaches – experienced by multiple state agencies – highlight the need for increased cybersecurity measures to protect the valuable data of every Pennsylvanian.

The bill would require any acquisition of computer hardware by the state to adhere to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines for computer security. NIST’s comprehensive approach includes standards, guidelines, and best practices to effectively manage cybersecurity-related risks.

Student Art Contest Raises Lyme Disease Awareness

Pennsylvania has one of the highest counts of Lyme disease cases in the nation. Symptoms often initially include fever, headache, and extreme tiredness. If the disease is untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

As you may know, I have worked extremely hard to build education and prevention in the state with Lyme disease and other Tick Borne Illnesses, I helped established Pennsylvania’s FREE Tick Testing for Pennsylvania residents. If you find a tick on yourself or a loved one, you may send in the tick for testing of the most common diseases. This is a tool meant to be used in conjunction with your primary care physician.

First- through sixth-graders can help spread the word about preventing this tick-borne illness by entering the Pennsylvania Department of Health Lyme Art Contest. They are encouraged to submit a poster or video showing how to avoid exposure to ticks, check for ticks and/or remove ticks safely by March 15 at 5 p.m.

Find more information, including how to apply, here.

Protect Your Money by Investing Wisely

Trying to research financial services, products or companies can be confusing, but investing without first investigating can be a costly mistake.

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) offers free information about how to research people, companies and investments. If you’re not sure where to start, call the department at 1-800-600-0007.

Learn more about the free and confidential help DoBS provides.

Out and About Listening to You

TOP LEFT: Had an absolutely delicious lunch at City Line Shop Cafe in Carbondale between meetings in the area. Outstanding food, atmosphere, and customer service. Pictured with me is Bridget (center) and Tori (right). Thank you for a fantastic meal and chai latte.

TOP RIGHT: Last week, I attended the Blakely Borough Crime Watch Mardi Gras at Fiorellis. Thank you, Mayor Mariani, who organizes this every year and pulls in over 500 people to support the community!

BOTTOM LEFT: Last weekend, I attended the Moscow Fire & Hose Company’s Installation Dinner to acknowledge and thank our volunteers and their families. Thank you all for your dedication to community and public safety!

BOTTOM RIGHT: This week, I sat with the incredible, dedicated, and hard-working social workers of Monroe County Children and Youth. These social workers navigate extremely challenging and emotionally difficult situations daily. Thank you for taking time with me this morning, and for taking on these challenges with kindness and strength.


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