Brianna A. Westbrooks

Policy Adviser, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

Philadelphia

(215) 665-4757

(215) 665-2013

Recent Publication:

Broad Street Brief: City Council Expected to Pass Budget and Tax Changes This Afternoon

Today is City Council’s last voting session before summer recess begins. The legislative body is expected to pass a budget that will invest additional money into public safety and quality-of-life programs. City Council will also vote to lower the net profits portion of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) and the Wage Tax. For more information, read the Public Strategies team’s policy alert.

Brianna collaborates with local, state, and federal legislators and regulators to advance her clients’ positions. She has experience researching, analyzing, and drafting policy; coordinating with diverse stakeholders; and developing policy and advocacy campaigns.

Before joining Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies, Brianna was the government affairs manager for the Pennsylvania Apartment Association, where she developed and implemented government affairs strategies and special projects. In that role, she collaborated with stakeholders to secure $210 million in state and local funding toward COVID-19 rental assistance.

Brianna also gained valuable experience in the Office of Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke and in the Office of Philadelphia City Councilman-at-Large Ed Neilson, where she served for a combined year as a research and policy development intern.

 

News

Brianna Westbrooks Named Among City & State’s 2022 Philadelphia 40 Under 40

June 14, 2022

Brianna Westbrooks, a policy adviser for Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, has been named to the 2022 Philadelphia Forty Under 40 by City & State Pennsylvania.

Big Law Firm Adds Full-Time Lobbyist in Philadelphia City Hall [Philadelphia Business Journal]

January 27, 2021

Brianna Westbrooks joining Cozen O'Connor Public Strategies is the focus of a Philadelphia Business Journal article titled, "Big Law Firm Adds Full-Time Lobbyist in Philadelphia City Hall."

Cozen O’Connor Expands Public Strategies Practice with the Addition of Government Affairs Professional Brianna A. Westbrooks

January 25, 2021

Westbrooks is experienced in regulatory and legislative policy and procedure, with extensive relationships with the Philadelphia City Council.

Publications

Broad Street Brief: City Council Expected to Pass Budget and Tax Changes This Afternoon

June 23, 2022

Today is City Council’s last voting session before summer recess begins. The legislative body is expected to pass a budget that will invest additional money into public safety and quality-of-life programs. City Council will also vote to lower the net profits portion of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) and the Wage Tax. For more information, read the Public Strategies team’s policy alert.

Broad Street Brief: City Council and Kenney Administration Reach Deal on Spending and Taxes

June 16, 2022

te last night, Philadelphia City Council passed a budget deal out of committee that invested additional money into public safety and quality-of-life programs. They also voted to lower the net profits portion of the Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) and the Wage Tax. For more information, read the comprehensive analysis below.

Broad Street Brief: Tax Debate Splits City Democrats

June 13, 2022

With budget negotiations ongoing, there is still significant disagreement on how the city should handle generating revenue moving forward, with some criticizing the city’s historic reliance on the wage tax as stymying economic growth while others asking if taxpayers should get a reprieve after properties were reassessed for the first time in three years. Others are pushing for a wealth tax and increased real estate tax allocations to the School District. However, with strong divisions between members of City Council and activists, a significant change for the upcoming fiscal year would be challenging.

Broad Street Brief: United Way and Local Legal Associations Host Free “Clean Slate” Clinics

June 02, 2022

The United Way is hosting free legal clinics that will help eligible Philadelphians expunge their records of certain offenses; this could help open up employment and educational opportunities. Pennsylvania’s clean slate law allows for convictions to be cleared after 10 years and non-convictions after 60 days. However, the process requires legal assistance that can be costly. The clinics will be hosted in different locations across Philadelphia.

Broad Street Brief: “Prison Gerrymandering” Addressed in New Council Bill

May 26, 2022

Council President Darrell Clarke and Mayor Jim Kenney presented a new bill to address “prison gerrymandering” — when incarcerated people are counted in their prison’s district for the purposes of legislative districting. The Clarke and Kenney proposal would reapportion the inmates into their last address, with each district netting between 500 and 1,000 residents. In this plan, district lines do not need to be redrawn. If the proposal passes council, it will go to voters for final approval in 2023.

Broad Street Brief: Philadelphia’s State Legislative Races Were Contentious But Had Few Surprises

May 19, 2022

Despite infighting between progressive and establishment Democrats, incumbents were largely victorious in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for State House and Senate seats. Progressive incumbents secured commanding victories, despite not receiving the Philadelphia Democratic Party endorsement. To review a detailed analysis of election results across the Commonwealth, read Pennsylvania's Public Strategies Team’s alert.

Broad Street Brief: Property Reassessments Cause Residential Values to Skyrocket and Commercial Values to Increase Less Dramatically

May 05, 2022

On Tuesday, the Kenney administration announced the value of the average residential property increased 31 percent. Non-residential real estate increased 9 percent. It is clear that the administration and City Council have some disagreements over how to offset this drastic tax increase on residents and how to spend the additional revenue.

Broad Street Brief: Gym Introduces Bill Mandating Employers Provide Transit Commuter Benefit Program

April 28, 2022

Councilmember Helen Gym introduced a bill last week that would require businesses with 50 or more employees to establish a commuter benefit program for employees’ public transit and bike commuter costs. Payment would come from pretax income and could save participants an average of $200 a year in federal income tax.

Broad Street Brief: City Moves to Extend PICA Oversight Until 2047

April 21, 2022

Philadelphia elected officials are pushing to extend oversight of the city’s budget by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) to at least 2047, a bipartisan effort joining politicians in the state capitol and city hall. After poor finances nearly led to a municipal bankruptcy in the 1990s, state officials created PICA — which has members appointed by the governor — to approve the city’s long-term financial plans. Current PICA oversight will expire next year, and some local unions oppose an extension, arguing it prevents them from getting more favorable contracts.

Broad Street Brief: Mayor Kenney’s Proposed Budget, In Brief

April 15, 2022

Two weeks ago, Mayor Jim Kenney released his proposed 2022-2023 budget, which totals $5.6 billion in spending.

Broad Street Brief: To Boost Recruitment, Philly to Consider Thousands in Police Bonuses

April 07, 2022

Facing low recruitment numbers, the city is in talks with budget officials and the police to offer bonuses of up to $10,000 for people who serve at least one year after completing training. The program would be triggered when the Police Department has 5 percent fewer officers than included in the city’s budget.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Introduces Bill To Impose Wealth Tax on Stocks and Bonds [Alert]

April 05, 2022

Joe Hill, Joe Bright, and Brianna Westbrooks discuss Councilmember Brooks' proposed tax on certain intangible property, including direct holdings in stocks and bonds, at 0.4 percent.

Broad Street Brief: Mayor Kenney Gives Budget Address

March 31, 2022

Today, Mayor Kenney will outline his vision for the upcoming fiscal year’s budget, which will officially kick off budget season. His proposal does not include tax increases, but it assumes real estate tax revenue will increase 4.5 percent due to new property assessments. If the reassessments increase by more than the projected 4.5 percent, the administration has committed to working with City Council to provide relief to property owners. The mayor’s budget would only spend $335 million of the $1.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan this year. City Council will host hearings over the next few months and must approve a budget before their summer recess. Mayor Kenney must sign the approved budget before July 1.

Philadelphia City Council Extending COVID-19 Leave Until December 2023 [Alert]

March 28, 2022

On March 3, 2022, Council amended Philadelphia’s Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance and created a specific COVID-19 sick leave protection.

Broad Street Brief: Philadelphia Names New Commerce Director

March 24, 2022

On Tuesday, Mayor Kenney appointed Anne K. Nadol to lead the Commerce Department. She has been an executive at Temple University for more than 20 years.

Broad Street Brief: New Bill Targets Removing Lead from School Water

March 17, 2022

Councilmember Helen Gym is proposing a bill that would require all Philadelphia public schools to install modern water filters wherever school water can be tapped by 2025. The push comes after reports emerged that some schools have water with levels of lead far higher than the legal limit.

Broad Street Brief: Paid COVID Sick Leave Passes Council, Will Last Until 2023

March 10, 2022

Philadelphia City Council voted last week to pass a paid COVID-19 sick leave requirement for companies with more than 25 employees. Although the bill passed 12-4, there was extensive debate amongst councilmembers about the impact this legislation could have on small businesses. Once signed, this ordinance will be in effect until the end of 2023.

Broad Street Brief: Indoor Mask Mandate Ends in Philadelphia

March 03, 2022

Yesterday, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced that the indoor mask mandate ended. Two weeks ago, the city established benchmarks that would determine COVID-19 safety restrictions, and conditions have been met that allow mandated masking indoors to cease. However, if the spread of COVID-19 rises, restrictions can be mandated again.

Broad Street Brief: City’s Third Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bill Moves Out of Committee

February 17, 2022

For the third time in two years, a proposal for emergency paid sick leave for those affected by COVID-19 is moving out of a City Council committee. The latest proposal, authored by Councilmember Kendra Brooks, is similar to laws passed in 2020 and 2021. Brooks said that the recent spike in local COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant shows the continued importance of encouraging people to stay home and recover from infection.

Broad Street Brief: City’s Environmental Justice Commission Starts As New Environmental Justice Bill Is Introduced

February 10, 2022

At a press conference, Mayor Kenney and Councilmember Gilmore-Richardson announced the appointment of 17 Philadelphians to the Environmental Justice Advisory Commission, which was created in 2019 by then-Councilmember Reynolds Brown. The commission will be responsible for examining and proposing changes to city policy that impact environmental justice. At the same time, Councilmember Gym introduced a bill, which would “protect communities against the adverse health effects caused by pollution.”

Broad Street Brief: Democratic Party Selects State Representative Mike Driscoll to Be Nominee in 6th Council District Special Election

February 03, 2022

Ward leaders in the 6th Council district selected State Representative Mike Driscoll to run in the special election to replace former Councilmember Henon. Council President Clarke has not yet selected a date for the special election.

Broad Street Brief: Council President Clarke Introduces New Legislative Map

January 27, 2022

A new district map for City Council was introduced by President Darrell Clarke, which makes some small adjustments to districts based on population changes.

Broad Street Brief: Negative COVID-19 Test No Longer Good Enough for Indoor Dining

January 20, 2022

Due to city vaccine requirements, one will no longer be able to enter a restaurant for indoor dining with only a negative COVID-19 test.

Broad Street Brief: Thousands Unvaccinated Before City Employee Vaccine Mandate Starts

January 13, 2022

Twenty-two percent of city employees are not in compliance with the vaccine mandate going into effect on Friday, according to local officials.

Broad Street Brief: Public Health Regulations

January 06, 2022

As Philadelphia continued to grapple with the pandemic, both City Council and the Kenney administration implemented policies and ordinances that will impact several industries.

Broad Street Brief: Kenney Administration Announces Vaccine Mandate for Indoor Dining

December 16, 2021

Monday morning, Mayor Kenney and other top-ranking officials announced that beginning January 3, 2022, establishments that sell foods and/or drinks for consumption on-site will have to enforce a phased vaccine mandate.

Broad Street Brief: Major Changes to the Zoning Board of Adjustment Approved by Council Committee

December 09, 2021

On Tuesday, the Committee on Law and Government unanimously approved a measure that would allow Philadelphia voters to decide if the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s composition and procedures should change

Proposed Changes to the Zoning Board of Adjustment Approved by Council Committee [Alert]

December 08, 2021

Joe Hill and Brianna Westbrooks discuss Council President Clarke’s proposal to alter the composition and processes of the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Broad Street Brief: Al Schmidt, Republican City Commissioner, to Resign

December 02, 2021

Al Schmidt, the lone Republican City Commissioner and the target of direct attacks from former President Trump during the 2020 election, said that he will resign from his position in January to become president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, a good-government group based in Philadelphia.

Broad Street Brief: “Mixed Income Neighborhoods Overlay” Bill Passes Out of Committee

November 18, 2021

A plan intended to protect the ability of low and moderate-income Philadelphians to live in their neighborhoods despite increases in property values took one step forward this week.

Broad Street Brief: City Council Advances Streetery Bill

November 11, 2021

A City Council committee advanced legislation to make some “streeteries” a permanent part of the city’s dining and zoning landscape.

Broad Street Brief: Councilmember Gilmore-Richardson Pushes for Greener City Buildings

November 04, 2021

Philadelphia’s new public buildings may soon be held to a higher environmental standard than before.

Broad Street Brief: Solar Lab Unveiled at Frankford High School, Aiming to Train Students in Green Careers

October 28, 2021

Sponsored by the Philadelphia Energy Association, U.S. Department of Energy, and PECO, city leaders unveiled a new solar lab at Frankford High School. The lab is designed to train students on the skills required for jobs in solar and clean energy.

Broad Street Brief: Driving Equality Bill Championed by Councilmember Thomas Passes

October 21, 2021

City Council passed Councilmember Isaiah Thomas’s driving equality bill with a 14-2 vote, which will prohibit Philadelphia police from stopping vehicles for certain low-level driving code infractions.

Broad Street Brief: As Gun Violence Surge Continues, City Council Considers Proactive Measures to Reduce Harm

October 14, 2021

With a historic surge in gun violence continuing through the start of the fall, City Council is now aiming to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of gun violence.

Broad Street Brief: Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Bill Hite Says He Will Step Down Next August

September 30, 2021

After nearly 10 years on the job, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite said he will step down from his position when his contract expires in August 2022.

Broad Street Brief: Clarke Introduces $400 Million “Neighborhood Preservation Initiative,” Council President Looks to Revamp City Zoning Board

September 23, 2021

On Friday, Council President Darrell Clarke introduced legislation that would borrow nearly half a billion dollars in an effort to increase affordable housing and improve the quality of life for low-income Philadelphians.

Broad Street Brief: City Council Returns This Fall Virtually, Ida’s Floods Weren’t Outliers: City Faces Increasing Flood Risk

September 09, 2021

Although City Council was planning on returning to in-person meetings later in September, Council President Clarke announced that City Council will continue to meet virtually due to the spread of the Delta variant. Its first fall legislative session is on Friday, September 17.

Broad Street Brief: Philadelphia Institutes Indoor Mask Mandate and Vaccine Policy for Employees

August 12, 2021

As the Delta variant continues to spread, governments and businesses across the country are considering changing their COVID-19 protocols.

Broad Street Brief: Gun Violence Debate Continues in City Hall As Victim Numbers Grow

July 29, 2021

Philadelphia’s elected officials continue to spar over the city’s gun violence epidemic, resulting in dueling press conferences and high tensions.

Broad Street Brief: Anti-Eviction Programs Extended as City Distributes Millions in Relief and Eyes Permanent Changes to Housing Policy, Philadelphia’s Pandemic Paid Leave Law Expires, But Other Labor Changes on the Horizon

July 15, 2021

Philadelphia’s eviction diversion and rental assistance programs will stay in effect until at least August 31, thanks to a favorable ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The city reports that over 35,000 have applied for rent relief, and that the city is on track to distribute $37 million in aid by September 1.

Broad Street Brief: $5.2 Billion City Budget Goes into Effect, Councilmembers Gauthier and Quiñones Sánchez Target Gentrification with Mixed Housing Bill

July 01, 2021

Philadelphia’s latest budget goes into effect today, containing $5.2 billion in spending and a host of programs designed to curb Philadelphia’s increasing gun violence rates.

Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning Introduced in Philadelphia City Council [Alert]

June 25, 2021

Joseph Hill & Brianna Westbrooks discuss Councilmembers Quiñones Sánchez and Gauthier's legislation that would institute mandatory inclusionary zoning in select areas of the city.

Broad Street Brief: City Council Set To Vote on Final Budget, Councilmember Johnson Looks to Increase Compensation for PHL Workers

June 24, 2021

Philadelphia City Council is slated to give final approval to the city’s $5.2 billion budget today, capping a marathon of negotiations on a variety of different issues and funding streams.

Broad Street Brief: Council and Kenney Reach Budget Compromise, Council Passes Two Tenant-Support Bills Out of Committee

June 18, 2021

After extensive debate and negotiations, City Council approved an amended version of Mayor Kenney’s budget proposal late last night.

Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Kenney Reach Budget Compromise [Alert]

June 18, 2021

On June 17, Philadelphia City Council approved amendments to the budget that Mayor Kenney initially presented in April.

Broad Street Brief: Budget Negotiations Between Mayor Kenney and City Council Continue, Federal Update: American Jobs Plan Negotiations Between White House and GOP Move to New Phase

June 10, 2021

City Council and Mayor Kenney are still working towards reaching a consensus around tax policy and key city investments. Changes to the wage tax, business and receipts tax, and the parking tax are still being debated.

Broad Street Brief: Council Looks to Incentivize Vaccines, New Police Oversight Board Passes Council

June 03, 2021

Members of City Council will review two proposals to incentivize vaccines citywide. The first proposal would give residents a $50 credit to use on Philadelphia Gas Works and Water Department bills, and the other would create $50 vouchers that can be used “in a manner to be determined by the City.” Both proposals would be capped at 100,000 vouchers.

Broad Street Brief: Councilmembers Quiñones-Sánchez and Gauthier Look to Reform Affordable Housing Requirements. Councilmember Johnson Seeks Demolition Moratorium for ‘Doctors’ Row’

May 27, 2021

New legislation proposed by Councilmembers Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Jamie Gauthier is taking aim at how the city requires developers to support affordable housing.

Broad Street Brief: Council Approves Bonds to Finance Neighborhood Preservation Initiative; Majority Leader Parker Proposes Parking Tax Reduction

May 20, 2021

On Thursday, City Council passed legislation that authorized $400 million in bonds to finance the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI).

Broad Street Brief: City Announces Reopening Plan; Airport Worker Legislation Introduced; Budget Hearings Continue

May 13, 2021

On Tuesday, the Kenney administration announced that it would be lifting pandemic related restrictions on businesses. Restaurants, offices, casinos, museums, and other indoor venues will have increased capacity limits beginning May 21.

Broad Street Brief: Racial Equality; Tax Reductions; Gun Violence

May 06, 2021

On Monday, budget season officially began as City Council asked questions of the Kenney administration. Gun violence, racial equity, proposed tax reductions, and economic recovery were the main topics councilmembers raised during their questioning.

Broad Street Brief: Council Passes Legislation Prohibiting Marijuana Testing for Employment; Housing Transitions to Solar

April 29, 2021

On Thursday, City Council introduced a resolution to form a special committee that would create and recommend strategies to ensure equity and inclusion in city infrastructure projects.

Broad Street Brief: Details on the Mayor’s budget proposal, Proposal to protect renters; Funding for the School District; Land-value taxation

April 22, 2021

News and intelligence for professionals on the front lines of policy in the city and suburbs of Philadelphia.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Mayor Kenney Proposes Budget for Fiscal Year 2022

April 21, 2021

Joseph Hill and Brianna Westbrooks discuss Mayor Kenny's budget proposal.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Proposal to Reduce Taxes Introduced in Philadelphia City Council

April 13, 2021

Joseph Hill & Brianna Westbrooks discuss three bills introduced to City Council that lower certain business taxes in an effort to spur economic recovery.

Progressive Paid Leave Policy Introduced in Philadelphia City Council [Alert]

February 17, 2021

Joseph Hill, Michael Henlon, and Brianna Westbrooks discuss legislation introduced in Philadelphia City Council that would significantly expand required paid sick leave for individuals at companies with more than 50 employees.

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., cum laude, 2016