Senator Brown E-Newsletter

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Brown’s Landmark Distracted Driving Legislation Passed by House

This week, my legislation prohibiting the use of cellular and other hand-held devices while driving passed in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 37 enhances driver responsibility by prohibiting the handheld use of cell phones or other communication devices while operating a motor vehicle on Pennsylvania roadways. Drivers may still utilize these devices, but it must be through Bluetooth technology, speaker, and operated “hands-free”.

This would bring Pennsylvania in line with 34 other states, including all of Pennsylvania’s bordering states, which have already implemented “hands-free” laws to deter distracted driving.

I am grateful for the support and approval of the House of Representatives this week on a bipartisan level. This passage demonstrates our collective commitment to safeguarding lives on our roads. Cellphones are the leading cause of distracted driving crashes, due to their consistent, addictive, and repetitive nature along with the length of distraction during each interaction.  

I have championed this measure for almost 12 years, working to protect all drivers and reduce distractions and prevent crashes. This measure is meant to help protect drivers on our roadways, not harm them. As drafted, there are no points associated with an offense and there is a 12-month warning period once enacted to build public awareness and change behaviors positively.

This passage marks a milestone in the bill’s long history, having passed both chambers. While my proposal has already cleared the state Senate in June, it must see another vote in the Senate on concurrence before being presented to the Governor.

Bill Requiring Prosecutors to Notify ICE of Illegal Migrants Passes Senate

The Senate approved legislation that would require prosecutors across the state to notify US Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) whenever illegal migrants are charges with violating state law. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Currently in Pennsylvania, violations of state law by illegal migrants are not required to be reported by ICE, but Senate Bill 1127 would ensure illegal migrants who violate our laws are held accountable. The change will better safeguard our communities and protect Pennsylvania’s law-abiding citizens.

Earlier this year, two NYPD officers were assaulted in broad daylight by illegal migrants. Several of the offenders had been previously arrested but not reported to ICE and were released back on the streets. The shocking crime prompted New York City Mayor Eric Adams to call for ICE to be informed when illegal migrants have been charged with violations of state law.

April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month

In April, we recognize National Financial Literacy Month, a time to celebrate work being done to improve the knowledge that helps people achieve their money-focused goals.

In 2019, I passed House Bill 49, which was enacted to be Act No. 91 of 2019. This bill allowed high school students to use financial literacy coursework towards their graduation requirements. This helped lay the groundwork for Senate Bill 647, sponsored by Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48), to require the completion of a half-credit personal finance course to graduate high school. This bill passed the Senate in May and is awaiting consideration in the House of Representatives.

This will give high school students the understanding they need about topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investment; college, home, and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education, and retirement.

Out and About Listening to You

29th Annual Monroe County Fireman’s Memorial

This past weekend, I attended the 29th Annual Monroe County Fireman’s Association, Robert & Ruth Vaughan Memorial Service, we paid respects to those brave firefighters and Auxiliary members who sadly left us this year. Their courage and service will always be remembered in our hearts.

Stroud Township’s Volunteer Fire Department’s 75th Anniversary Ceremony

Last weekend, I attended the 75th Anniversary ceremony of Stroud Township Volunteer Fire Department. It was an evening filled with pride and gratitude as we honored those who have served us selflessly over the years, including Dave Smalley for his remarkable 35-year tenure. Their courageous spirit inspires us all to be better members of society. Thank you to all our volunteer firefighters and their families.

Hannig Family Children’s Center

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting and reading to children at the Hannig Family Children’s Center at Northampton Community College Monroe! I was able to read a story and to help bring awareness to the need for affordable quality care and education for children and families in our area. Thank you so much again for having me! My children attended Hannig Center when they were younger, too!

Girl Scouts of America

Recently, I had the pleasure of welcoming Janet Donovan, President & CEO of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania to my office. Local Girl Scouts performed a “Troop PA Investiture Ceremony,” which reaffirms the commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. For more information or how to get involved, please visit their website.

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