McKeesport – Sept. 4, 2020 – Decisions on whether to restart interscholastic fall sports should be left to local school district officials, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today following his vote in support a bill that would leave it to school boards to decide.

“The legislation makes it clear that local school boards will make that decision — as long as health and safety protocols are in place,” Brewster said.

Brewster voted for House Bill 2787 in the Senate Education Committee on Friday for the second time following a reconsideration of Thursday’s vote.  The committee voted 10 to 1 in favor of the bill, which will now be reported to the full Senate.

“The legislation enjoys strong and wide support and should be quickly passed by the full Senate,” Brewster said.  “We need to give local officials discretion to make decisions once safety protections are established.”

Brewster serves on the statewide School Safety and Security Committee.  In June, the committee recommended a framework to distribute more than $150 million in federal pandemic relief funds to school districts across the state.   The funding was earmarked to help schools deal with COVID-19 expenses.

“We have distributed funding to local schools to help defray costs, but more needs to be done,” Brewster said.  “These funds and the approval of bills to give local school districts discretion on reopening strategies and school sports are key aspects of the recovery.”

Brewster said school directors get input each day from parents, school administrators and others on reopening school sports and are well positioned to make that decision.

The McKeesport lawmaker has been recognized as a leader on boosting the economy and safely reopening in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, Brewster offered a six-point economic stimulus plan to quickly regain jobs and spur a quick recovery from COVID-19.  In April, he detailed a health and safety strategy to ensure that a rapid, but safe reopening, featuring more testing and protections for workers.