Veteran lawmaker also appointed to seats on Banking and Insurance, Education and Transportation

Harrisburg – January 16, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) has been appointed Democratic chair of the Senate Law and Justice and Game and Fisheries committees.

“Serving as chair on both Law and Justice and Game and Fisheries is an honor and privilege,” Brewster said.  “There are significant issues to be discussed and key decisions will have to be made about modernizing our liquor system and redefining game and fishing rules and regulations.”

Brewster also served as Democratic chair of both committees in the last two-year legislative session.

The veteran lawmaker was also reappointed to seats on the Senate’s Banking and Insurance, Education and Transportation committees.

“As a member of key committees that handle issues that are important to my district, I can ensure that the needs of our region are served well,” Brewster said. 

On education, Brewster has led the effort to reform charter schools.  He has fought for additional dollars for education and plans to reintroduce his “Extraction for Education” severance tax plan that will provide dollars not only to bolster basic education, but also to fund school safety initiatives.

Brewster was appointed as an inaugural member of the statewide School Safety and Security Committee established under Act 44 in 2018.

“There are key problems in education that need to be fixed,” Brewster said.  “I’ve sponsored bills to reform charter schools, aid school safety initiatives and ensure that we have more resources for our children to learn.”

The McKeesport lawmaker said his appointment to the Transportation Committee will ensure that issues that arise relative to the construction of the Mon-Fayette Expressway and mass transit will be addressed.  Brewster has long been an advocate of the Mon-Fayette Expressway and rapid expansion of mass transit into underserved areas.  He currently serves as secretary of the Port Authority of Allegheny County Board of Directors. 

“Building and expanding the reach of transportation systems that serve eastern Allegheny and western Westmoreland counties, plus meeting the unique needs of the Mon and Allegheny Valleys continues to be a priority,” Brewster said. 

Prior to his election to the Senate, Brewster served as mayor of McKeesport, and was formerly Vice-President of Operations at Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. 

Brewster said his appointment to a seat on the Banking and Insurance Committee provides an opportunity to utilize his expertise and experience in banking to have significant impact on crafting better banking laws.

Brewster said his legislative agenda is chalk full of important initiatives.  In addition to his charter school reform package and severance tax piece, Brewster has advocated changing game laws to allow hunting on Sundays and more financial support for the Game Commission.  He has introduced a far-reaching plan to address the opioid crisis, including mandatory treatment for those addicted. 

In addition, Brewster has prime sponsored legislation to promote the use of American made steel in Marcellus Shale drilling and improve pipeline safety.  Several years ago, Brewster spearheaded a study of the country of origin for steel pipe used in drilling.  

He said he will introduce legislation to invest new dollars in environmental protection and school safety.  

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