State Rep. Tim Briggs
Briggs begins 3rd term in state House
Focus is on gun safety, Marcellus shale, education, families and senior citizen programs
HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Tim Briggs today took his oath to represent residents of the 149th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a third term.
Briggs took part in the official swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol that marked the start of the 2013-14 legislative session. The state constitution mandates the legislature convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January every year.
"It is a great honor to serve as a voice and advocate for the people of the 149th Legislative District," Briggs said. "I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my community, address the issues residents continue to contact me about and promote legislation that moves Pennsylvania forward."
Briggs said his office will continue to provide top-notch service to constituents and he will continue the creative outreach programs begun in his first term, including the "There Ought to be a Law" essay contest for fifth-grade students, the office's student art show series, as well as his “Breakfast with Briggs.”
An issue Briggs said he wants to tackle right away is gun violence and America's gun culture. He said the mass execution of 26 6- and 7-year-olds and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December prompted anger, anguish and fear among millions of Americans, all questioning whether something can be done about the prevalence and proliferation of high-powered assault weapons with high capacity clips that are only meant to kill large numbers of people.
"Some say that the differences that divide gun-control and gun-rights advocates will result in little or no action on preventing such tragic events in the future," Briggs said. "But I believe the status quo is no longer acceptable to the vast majority of Americans and, despite the NRA's blind and willful ignorance, something must be done to address guns, as well as the mental health issues that come with them. But it will take working each and every day to find common ground and sensible compromise."
Briggs said that since the tragedy he has been talking with Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as leaders of the faith-based community to address gun violence in general and to put restrictions on assault weapons and large capacity ammunition clips specifically.
In addition, he said he will reintroduce his legislation to help protect children from accidents involving firearms. The Pennsylvania Child Safety Through Personal Responsibility Act would require the owners of firearms to be responsible when children are present and safely store them securely out of minors' reach and access.
Briggs said he and his Democratic colleagues also will examine Gov. Tom Corbett's attempt to hand control of the highly successful Pennsylvania Lottery to a foreign company. He said the sale as it stands raises suspicions and threatens the important senior citizen programs the lottery funds.
"The Pennsylvania Lottery has been a national model for decades and just delivered a record $1 billion to programs that help older Pennsylvanians," Briggs said. "The governor's lottery privatization efforts have been suspicious from day one.
"He waited until the General Assembly was not in session to spring his plan on Pennsylvanians with no public hearings or scrutiny. His plan stands to benefit not only the Britain-based Camelot Global Services, but also his friends. This scheme screams for more transparency and review."
The House Democratic Appropriations Committee recently estimated that Corbett's consultant overseeing his privatization efforts stands to make between $30 million and $50 million if the deal goes through.
Briggs said a major legislative priority for him in the new session will be to monitor the outcome of Pennsylvania's new natural gas drilling law and fight to change the law where needed. He says the law, which he voted against, falls far short of protecting the environment and raising the revenues necessary to mitigate the effects of drilling and help the state function.
Briggs said he also will continue to be a leading advocate for Pennsylvania families and children, focusing on adequate funding for public education, children's safety, women's health and equality for all couples and families.
In the 2011-12 legislative session Briggs was instrumental in the enactment of a new law designed to improve concussion management in youth sports and to increase awareness of the devastating lifelong effects concussions can cause when not handled properly.
The Montgomery County lawmaker said he also is committed to fixing the state's ailing transportation infrastructure, a major issue that until recently was ignored by Corbett.
"Transportation funding is just one of the many big funding issues in front of us this session," Briggs said. "I sincerely hope that Governor Corbett will listen more to Pennsylvanians and his own hand-picked transportation commission than to the likes of Grover Norquist. Pennsylvanians deserve a leader who looks out for their interests, rather than his own."