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.
January 26, 2023
With 110 days left until the May 16 mayoral primary, Democratic candidates have been hard at work campaigning, with many of them participating in a litany of forums for the opportunity to present their platforms to voters. Recent forum topics have included advancing economic opportunity in Philadelphia’s Black and brown communities, how best to address the city’s gun violence epidemic, and LGBT+ issues.
January 12, 2023
Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) announced that it would be accepting new applications for its Housing Choice Voucher Program for the first time in more than a decade. The waiting list was closed in 2010 when the number of applications — 55,000 — surpassed the number of available vouchers. Applications will be accepted from January 23 at 6 a.m. to February 5 at 5:59 p.m., and the new waitlist will be capped at 10,000 applications.
January 05, 2023
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court concluded last Friday that none of the seven articles of impeachment filed by state House Republicans against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner constitute “misbehavior in office.” DA Krasner has held firm since the House approved the articles in November that his actions and policy decisions do not amount to impeachable offenses, and that he believes the proceedings to be partisan witch hunt, going so far as to appeal directly to the Commonwealth Court to have the articles declared “legally baseless.” It is not immediately clear whether the impeachment trial in the Senate — which is currently scheduled for January 18 — will be moving forward as planned in light of the recent court filing.
December 22, 2022
Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that Philadelphia law enforcement will be receiving an influx of $25 million to assist in current efforts to quell the city’s persistent rates of gun violence. The funding comes from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and is part of two larger statewide grant programs administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency — the Local Law Enforcement Support Program and the Gun Violence Investigation & Prosecution Program. While many have celebrated the monetary assistance to help address this dire problem, some critics would like to have seen more of the funding allocated to community-based violence reduction programs rather than just to police departments and district attorney’s offices. Philadelphia recently recorded its 500th homicide this year, surpassing the milestone for the second consecutive year.
December 15, 2022
On Monday, city workers and elected officials broke ground on a new development project that will bring more affordable housing units to Grays Ferry and Point Breeze. The development is part of City Council President Darrell Clarke’s signature Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, which aims to address the city’s affordable housing crisis by increasing the number of available affordable housing in pockets of rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia, thus helping to revive commercial corridors and improve neighborhood infrastructure. The three-bedroom homes will be listed under the Turn the Key program for $230,000 — less than half the median sale price in the neighborhood — with soft loans available up to $75,000.
December 08, 2022
Last week, West Philadelphia State Representative Amen Brown announced his intention to run for mayor at a Pennsylvania Society satellite event in New York, hosted by real estate developer — and likely super PAC supporter — Marty Burger. Rep. Brown is expected to make a formal announcement of his candidacy on Thursday, which will make him the tenth candidate to enter the race. Unlike the many former Philadelphia City Council members who have thrown their hats in the ring, Rep. Brown would not have to resign his position in order to run.
November 17, 2022
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania State House voted 107-85 to impeach Democratic Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in an ongoing effort to remove him from office, marking the first time the House has impeached an officeholder in nearly 30 years — and perhaps the first time in history the action has been taken against an officeholder whose “misbehavior in office” does not amount to actual criminal activity. The vote comes the day after the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of two articles of impeachment against DA Krasner, which collectively accuse him of directly causing the city’s increase in violent crime by shirking his duties as DA and obstructing the House Select Committee on Restoring Law and Order’s investigation of his Office by defying a subpoena issued by the House in August.
November 11, 2022
On Tuesday, Philadelphians turned out in droves to participate in the highly anticipated midterm election. The state’s highly competitive U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races drew much national attention, and while ballots are still being counted — due in large part to the last-minute reinstatement of a policy that requires counters to institute a time-consuming process that is intended to identify double votes — Philadelphia voters also made several important decisions at the city level.
November 03, 2022
Last Friday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited Philadelphia to speak at a Pennsylvania Democrats fundraiser in Center City, where they each highlighted their party’s commitment to leveling the economic playing field for working Americans. The strategic visits were intended to shore up the campaigns of Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman — the Democratic nominees for governor and U.S. Senate, respectively — the latter of whose poll numbers have continued to tighten with his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in the final days of their extremely high-profile and competitive race in the crucial battleground state. This won’t be the last visit for President Biden, as he and former President Barack Obama will be visiting Philadelphia again the Saturday before the midterm elections.
November 02, 2022
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced legislation that would institute mandatory inclusionary zoning in a portion of his district.
October 28, 2022
On Tuesday, Rebecca Rhynhart formally submitted her resignation letter to Mayor Kenney as Philadelphia’s City Controller. She launched her mayoral campaign at a news conference in West Philadelphia that afternoon. She has been very critical of the Kenney administration throughout her tenure as controller, and she plans on using the results of her audits and recommendations to improve city services.
October 13, 2022
Public safety has long been a topic of concern for Philadelphia officials and residents alike. With the recent uptick in gun-related and other violent crimes — a recent high-profile example being the tragic death of a high school football player during a scrimmage at Roxborough High School — all eyes are on the city’s current and potential future officials to solve the city’s most pressing issue.
September 29, 2022
Leaders inside and outside of City Hall have been steadfastly searching for solutions to Philadelphia’s recent dramatic uptick in violent crime. On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order banning firearms and other deadly weapons from the city’s recreation centers. The action comes weeks after the fatal shooting of Mill Creek Recreation Center employee Tiffany Fletcher and is intended to address the nearly 300 incidents of gun violence that have occurred at recreation centers across the city since 2019. The order is expected to face legal challenges at the state level.
September 23, 2022
Jim Engler, the Chief of Staff to Mayor Jim Kenney, has announced that he will be resigning at the end of the month to accept a position as Executive Director of the Office of the President and Chief of Staff at Delaware-based health care provider ChristianaCare. He will be replaced by First Deputy Chief of Staff Christina Pastrana Hernandez. Engler has worked with Mayor Kenney since 2015 and is leaving 15 months before the end of the mayor’s term.
September 15, 2022
This morning, City Council will be reconvening with 13 members following the resignation of four members over the past month. On Friday, City Council President Darrell Clarke announced that special elections would be held in November to fill the City Council seats in Districts Seven and Nine, which had been held by Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Cherelle Parker, respectively. The former councilmembers recently stepped down in order to officially launch their respective mayoral campaigns. While former At-Large Councilmembers Allan Domb and Derek Green also recently resigned — the former to explore a potential mayoral run and the latter to launch his mayoral campaign — there are currently no plans for special elections to fill these vacancies.
September 01, 2022
After several months in quarantine, some of the Philadelphia Zoo’s most famous feathered residents — including penguins, flamingos, hornbills, and emus — have finally returned to their outdoor exhibits. The Philadelphia Zoo has been keeping its birds in quarantine to protect them from, and prevent the spread of, a particularly virulent outbreak of avian flu that has impacted birds across the country.
August 25, 2022
Last week, the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) officially opened its groundbreaking Career and Advanced Technology Center at 48th and Market Streets. The new building will host several of CCP’s short-term certificate and associate’s degree programs in fields such as advanced manufacturing, health care, and transportation technology. The CCP intends for the center to serve as a resource for Philadelphia’s small business community.
August 18, 2022
On Monday, City Councilmember Allan Domb announced that he is resigning, citing his intent to evaluate a 2023 mayoral run. In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, the councilmember said that he is weighing a run because Philadelphia is a “city in crisis” in need of a “champion.” Councilmember Domb is the first of potentially many city elected officials to step down due to the resign-to-run rule in Philadelphia’s city charter. Domb made a name for himself as Philadelphia’s “condo king” before serving two terms as an at-large councilmember.
August 11, 2022
After weeks of occupying the lawn of the University City Townhomes complex, the encampment protesting the impending sale of the property was evacuated by law enforcement officials on Monday in accordance with a court order. The majority of residents and activists demonstrated peacefully, with only one protester being issued a citation.
August 04, 2022
While no one has officially thrown their hat in the ring for Philadelphia’s upcoming election for its milestone 100th mayor, teams are beginning to coalesce around suspected mayoral candidates. The race is expected to garner much attention throughout the region and attract campaign veterans and high-profile campaign operatives from Philadelphia and beyond.
July 28, 2022
Data company Placer.ai, which works frequently with organizations like the Center City District, recently released a white paper detailing trends in population movement. They found that while Philadelphia’s population decreased during the first year and a half of the pandemic, it has since begun to increase again, and at a faster rate than other comparable cities. Notably, many millennials are choosing to relocate from New York to Philadelphia, as well as from surrounding suburbs. The study was conducted using cell phone location data.
July 21, 2022
Approximately one in seven municipal jobs in Philadelphia are currently vacant — from librarians and social workers to police and corrections officers — causing severe service interruptions for people across the city. This stems largely from the relatively large turnover over the course of the pandemic. While there has been a national increase in municipal governments’ hiring rate over the past year, Philadelphia’s has not kept pace with the number of resignations and retirements.
July 14, 2022
Giraffe Encounter, the Philadelphia Zoo’s newest exhibit that opened last Thursday, allows the public to get up close and personal with its three resident giraffes. For an additional $6, or $5 for members, guests are able to feed the giraffes acacia browse, the same plant the long-necked animals eat in the wild.
July 08, 2022
On Monday evening, two police officers were shot near the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the annual Wawa Welcome America Party on the Parkway — the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — drew to a close. Both officers were treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and have since been released. The search for the shooter is ongoing, and any motive remains unknown.
July 01, 2022
In 2023, the city of Philadelphia will elect its 100th mayor. Because of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter’s resign-to-run rule — which requires that any city employee or officer who intends to run for office resign their position prior to announcing his or her candidacy — if every one of the rumored candidates decides to run for mayor, there could be as many as five vacancies on City Council, which could lead to significant changes in City Hall even sooner than the historic election.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 15, 2022
Two weeks ago, Mayor Jim Kenney released his proposed 2022-2023 budget, which totals $5.6 billion in spending.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
November 11, 2021
A City Council committee advanced legislation to make some “streeteries” a permanent part of the city’s dining and zoning landscape.
November 04, 2021
Philadelphia’s new public buildings may soon be held to a higher environmental standard than before.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 12, 2021
As the Delta variant continues to spread, governments and businesses across the country are considering changing their COVID-19 protocols.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 18, 2021
On June 17, Philadelphia City Council approved amendments to the budget that Mayor Kenney initially presented in April.
June 18, 2021
After extensive debate and negotiations, City Council approved an amended version of Mayor Kenney’s budget proposal late last night.
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.
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.
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.
May 20, 2021
On Thursday, City Council passed legislation that authorized $400 million in bonds to finance the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (NPI).
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.
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.
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.
April 22, 2021
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April 21, 2021
Joseph Hill and Brianna Westbrooks discuss Mayor Kenny's budget proposal.
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.
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.