Harrisburg – Aug. 29, 2019 – The statewide School Safety and Security Committee has endorsed state Sen. Jim Brewster’s (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) plan to create a subcommittee to explore the development of baseline safety and security standards applicable to all schools.
“To ensure the safety and security of our students and all who go into public schools, it is critical that schools’ baseline safety standards be in place,” Brewster said. “A detailed safety and security plan with a focus on a school’s physical plan, accessibility to mental health services and environmental protections is necessary.”
Recommendations produced by the subcommittee will be sent to the full School Safety and Security Committee for approval, Brewster said.
Earlier this year, Brewster sent a letter to the members of the School Safety and Security Committee asking that they consider his proposal. Brewster, who serves on the committee, has sponsored Senate Bill 788, which would create baseline standards by statute.
Brewster said he asked the committee to act on his idea to expedite work on developing the standards.
“All school districts should have state resources available to adhere to easily understandable and clear baseline standards regarding the physical structure of schools, access to mental health professionals for counseling, and protection from environmental problems such as lead, mold and other health threats,” Brewster said. “Our efforts are centered on protecting students, teachers, administrators and parents who are in our school buildings and on campus.”
The McKeesport lawmaker said the state budget has included $60 million installments for each of the last two years for school safety. This funding can be applied to helping school districts comply with baseline requirements developed by the subcommittee, he said.
The School Safety and Security Committee was established by statute in 2018 and is administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
Brewster said he is grateful that the committee acted on his request and pleased that it made his proposal a priority.
Harrisburg – August 28, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that Allegheny County Airport has been awarded a state grant for $900,000 to upgrade airport buildings.
“Allegheny County Airport is a regional resource that enhances development potential throughout the Mon Valley,” Brewster said. “An improved airport, in addition to the new Mon-Fayette Expressway and other local economic projects create business development opportunities for the area.”
Funding for the $900,000 grant was through PennDOT’s Aviation Transportation Assistance Program, Aviation Development Program, and the Multimodal Fund.
Allegheny County Airport (AGC) is a key cog in the transportation infrastructure of the region. The airport began serving the county in 1931. The airport has more than 60,000 commercial and scheduled flight takeoffs and landings every year.
Join Forces on Collaborate-Educate-Enroll events
Harrisburg – August 22, 2019 – Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) announced today a new outreach partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on Collaborate-Educate-Enroll events.
“My office has worked with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank over the past year to successfully share state services with those who attend the Produce To People event at the Food Bank’s facility in Duquesne,” Brewster said. “I look forward to expanding our educational partnership by traveling to numerous libraries in the region this September to offer state assistance.”
A wide variety of state services will be presented at local libraries including the Property Tax/Rent Rebate, PennDOT’s Yellow Dot Program, Unclaimed Property and the new Senior Bus Pass (ConnectCard). A representative from the Food Bank will also be on hand to discuss numerous food assistance programs.
“The Food Bank is delighted to partner with Senator Brewster and his team to reach out to our neighbors throughout September to help them access food assistance and other resources. Hunger Action Month 2019 is a great time to draw awareness not only to the problem of hunger, but also the ways we can help each other meet the basic need for food,” said Lisa Scales, President and CEO of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Collaborate-Educate-Enroll events will be taking place at the following libraries:
- Braddock Carnegie Library, 419 Library Street, Braddock
Wednesday, September 4, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- North Versailles Public Library, 1401 Greensburg Avenue, North Versailles
Tuesday, September 10, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
- Baldwin Borough Public Library, 5230 Wolfe Drive, Baldwin
Wednesday, September 18, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
- Carnegie Library of McKeesport, 1507 Library Street, McKeesport
Thursday, September 19, 1 9.m. – 2 p.m.
- Carnegie Library of McKeesport-Duquesne Branch, Duquesne Education Center 300 Kennedy Avenue
Thursday, September 19, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Monroeville Public Library, 4000 Gateway Campus Boulevard
Friday, September 20, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
“Libraries are key resources to help educate and inform,” Brewster said. “I am grateful that local libraries are excited to join us in this new collaboration.”
To learn more about this event or food assistance services in the district visit www.senatorbrewster.com/producetopeople.
Harrisburg – Aug. 16, 2019 – Seniors can sign up for Port Authority ConnectCards at Senator Jim Brewster’s offices in Monroeville, McKeesport or New Kensington.
“Senior ConnectCards enable those over the age of 65 to use public transportation for free,” Brewster said. “This is an important cost-saver for seniors.”
Brewster, who is a board member of the Port Authority of Allegheny County, said he hopes seniors take advantage of the convenience of his office locations to acquire Senior ConnectCards.
“My staff is available to help seniors with the applications and resolve any bureaucratic issues that arise,” he added.
Once the applications are completed and submitted, it takes about two to four weeks for the cards to be issued, Brewster said.
The Port Authority will continue to accept blue or yellow senior transit ID cards, however, seniors who use their Medicare cards to ride public transportation must switch over to ConnectCards by January.
To obtain a Senior ConnectCard, an applicant must be 65-years of age and provide proof of age. Driver’s licenses, birth and baptismal certificates, armed forces discharge papers, PACE or another state issued ID card or a statement from the Social Security Administration can be used to verify age.
Brewster’s district offices are located in: McKeesport at 201 Lysle Boulevard (412) 664-5200; One Monroeville Center, 3824 Northern Pike, Suite 1015 in Monroeville (412) 380-2242; and New Kensington City Hall, 301 11th Street, Suite L (724) 334-1143.
Harrisburg – August 15, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that he welcomed Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to change Pennsylvania’s charter school law and institute reforms through administrative action.
“The governor has proposed a significant effort both through executive action and changes in law to make charter schools more accountable and their activities more transparent,” Brewster said. “As someone who has, for years, sought changes in the charter law to protect taxpayers I am pleased that the governor has become fully engaged.”
Earlier this week, Wolf proposed a comprehensive approach to charter reform. The governor said that he was initiating executive action to have the state Department of Education develop regulations to increase access, transparency, funding equity and accountability.
Among many elements, the governor’s plan includes: developing greater oversight over charter school management companies; ensuring that charter board members do not have conflicts of interest; establishing a process so charters do not overcharge districts and taxpayers.
Brewster said the governor is also seeking charter school reform legislation that includes student performance standards, a cap on enrollment in low performing cyber-charters, Right-to-Know and Ethics Act coverage and fair and equitable funding.
Brewster has sponsored charter reform legislation over the last several sessions. His legislation includes provisions to enhance financial reforms, produce greater accountability and alter the charter appeal process. He reintroduced his charter reform plan this year as Senate Bill 457.
Though unsuccessful, the McKeesport lawmaker has forced votes on a series of charter reform proposals during Senate Appropriations Committee consideration of related legislation.
“There are reasonable provisions in both my legislation and the governor’s plan to align charter schools, so they complement, not compete, with traditional public schools while protecting taxpayers,” Brewster said. “I think the governor’s approach is a solid way to ensure that there is greater access, accountability and transparency.”
Brewster said he looked forward to working with the governor and senators on both sides of the aisle to develop a far-reaching and comprehensive package of reforms.
August 8, 2019 – Senator Jim Brewster announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved a request to declare a disaster in Allegheny County for damage from storms and flash flooding on July 21 and 22, 2019.
“This news is great for residents and businesses of this region who suffered losses from these storms and floods last month,” said Senator Brewster. “This decision by the SBA would not have happened without local, county, and state officials and emergency services staff working together.”
Homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by the flooding from the storms on July 21 and 22 in Allegheny County, as well as those in Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans through the SBA Disaster Loan Programs.
Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. SBA regulations permit loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses and nonprofits can borrow up to $2 million to restore damaged or destroyed buildings, inventory, equipment and assets. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial qualifications. Information about the program can be found at https://disasterloan.sba.gov.
The SBA will open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) to help with loan applications and answer questions about the disaster loan program. The DLOC will be open at the following location and times:
Renton Volunteer Department
1996 Old Mine Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15239
Opening: Friday, Aug. 9 at 11 a.m.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, August 10 & August 17, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Closes: Tuesday, August 20 at 4 p.m.
Individuals and businesses unable to visit the centers in person may obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Completed applications should be returned to the local DLOC or mailed to:
U.S. Small Business Administration
Processing and Disbursement Center
14925 Kingsport Road
Fort Worth, TX 76155
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is October 7, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury disaster loan applications is May 7, 2020.
McKeesport – August 1, 2019 – State Senator Jim Brewster today announced three state grants totaling $2.75 million for local development projects.
“These renovation and construction projects will help expedite key local projects and spur additional economic development in our region,” Brewster said. “I will continue to help obtain state resources for local projects.”
The projects include:
- $1 million to renovate and expand the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank building in Duquesne. Workers will build a new cold dock, improve refrigeration capability, and construct offices and meeting rooms;
- $1 million to build a new addition and parking lot for the Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. expansion on Jamison Lane, Monroeville. The funds will be used to purchase additional land, construct a three-story building and interior design; and
- $750,000 to reconstruct the RiverLift Industries barge dock wall in West Elizabeth Borough. Workers will replace the existing embedded barge dock structure with a new 500-foot steel sheet pile wall and tie-back system.
The funds were obtained from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), which is used for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. Qualifying projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, help create or maintain jobs and generate economic activity.
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