Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PathWays PA E-Alert: May 31, 2011

SPECIAL EVENTS

Federal Policy Updates

A WEBINAR FOR THE BUDGET-PERPLEXED
Stop the Slashing:
The human needs advocates' simple guide to understanding - and defeating - unprecedented attacks on the federal budget
Tuesday, June 7, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern time
Register today! https://chn.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=8116

Massive cuts in essential services like Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP/food stamps, education and children's services, help to low-income communities such as housing and the Community Services Block Grant, and virtually every other human needs program. A large number of proposals being floated in Washington would devastate these services and would make it far harder for the federal government to respond to economic downturns and solve looming national problems.
These proposals don't have straightforward names like "The Act to Slash Health Care for Older Americans" or "The Act to Cut Services for Low- and Moderate-Income Americans in order to Provide Enormous Tax Breaks for the Rich." Instead, Congress is talking about global caps, balanced budget amendments, debt ceiling increases, deficit reduction... It's hard to fight back if you don't understand how you're being attacked.

This webinar will help. The presentations will be clear and simple. You'll get explanations and graphics you can use to help you and people you know understand what's at stake. You'll learn about constructive alternatives. You won't be bored. But you might get mad.
Presenters: Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security, National Women's Law Center, Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs, and surprise guests

Don't forget to register! https://chn.peachnewmedia.com/store/seminar/seminar.php?seminar=8116
Co-sponsored by the Coalition on Human Needs and the Community Action Partnership

ASK CONGRESS TO PASS MATERNAL HEALTH ACCOUNTABILITY ACT
Surprisingly, the U.S. is one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Forty-nine countries around the world do a better job of preventing women from dying from pregnancy-related complications than the U.S.

Approximately 90% of these deaths are preventable. Despite these terrible maternal outcomes, there are no requirements that states track how many women are dying related to pregnancy and childbirth and why this is happening.

Please use this one-click tool to contact your members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the Maternal Health Accountability Act, which would give states resources to report and investigate all pregnancy related deaths and to create a panel of medical experts to review the data and recommend new strategies. There are 41 sponsors and none are from PA.

This bill takes a critical first step to preventing so many women from dying from pregnancy-related complications in our nation. After all, without information about why women are dying, we cannot adequately respond.

While maternal mortality has decreased by 30% worldwide, the rate of death from pregnancy or childbirth has nearly doubled in the U.S. since 1990. Furthermore, data show that African American women in the U.S. are approximately four times as likely to die during childbirth as Caucasian women even when their health status is similar.

So please take one minute to contact your Members of Congress now - and urge them to sign on to support this common sense legislation on behalf of women and their families. Together, let's use our power to ensure that no woman needlessly dies in childbirth. To find out more, please watch a short trailer of the documentary, "No Woman, No Cry."
Information from Maternity Care Coalition.
From our friends at Wider Opportunities for Women

PROTECT VITA FUNDING
Action requested no later than June 3rd!
NCTC is asking its partners to weigh in with Members of Congress immediately to ask that federal funding continue to support the VITA Grant in Fiscal Year 2012 (FY2012). Additionally, we also ask that you to reach out to your Senators to ask them to cosponsor the VITA Act of 2011 (S. 816), which was reintroduced on April 14th.
View the full action alert and take action today by visiting the action alert page at http://action.tax-coalition.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6976.

State Policy Updates

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CUTS DEFEATED
Thanks to all of you who called your legislators, HB 916, which contained large scale, permanent cuts in Unemployment Compensation, was defeated today by a vote of 122-79. This will not be the last attack on laid off workers in this legislature, but this is encouraging and shows that if we work we can preserve our unemployment benefits.

The Philadelphia Unemployment Project has created an online petition to show opposition to cuts in Unemployment Compensation and to continue the Extended Benefits program beyond June 11.

Please click on the link and sign onto the petition to your legislators and Governor Corbett:
http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6560/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6914
Let's keep up the fight to protect laid off workers and their families in Pennsylvania!
From John Dodds, of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project.

PA HOUSE APPROVES DEEP CUTS TO SCHOOLS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE PEOPLE
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 109-92 to approve a state budget that sets spending at $27.3 billion for the 2011-12 fiscal year — the same amount proposed in Governor Tom Corbett's March budget plan. It cuts $1 billion from public schools and reduces Governor Corbett's budget by $471 million for health and human services for women, children and people with disabilities. It fails to enact a drilling tax on natural gas and leaves untouched a $500 million state revenue surplus.

The budget bill now heads to the Senate where it will likely be debated in early June.
Conference Call

Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for a conference call at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1 to learn more about the House budget plan and what we can expect as we head into the final weeks of the budget process. Email here to RSVP for that call and to get call-in instructions.

Additional Resources
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has a detailed analysis of the House budget (House Bill 1485).

Better Choices for Pennsylvania has talking points on the House budget.

Take Action
Through Better Choices for Pennsylvania, you can take action in support of a more responsible budget. Call and email your lawmakers to urge them to use the revenue surplus and enact a drilling tax on natural gas before making deep cuts to education and health care.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a non-partisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.


SUPPORT PASSAGE OF INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP LEGISLATION (SB 552) IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Senate Bill 552 passed the Senate unanimously on Monday, May 9, 2011, and has been referred to the House Labor & Industry Committee. Identical legislation passed through that committee last session and was subsequently passed unanimously by the full House.

IP legislation can become statute after it is passed by the House of Representatives if it is not amended.

Here's how you can help:
Send a letter/e-mail to the members of the House Labor & Industry Committee and ask them to support SB 552 without amendment. (click here for a draft letter)
Send a letter/e-mail to your representatives and ask for an affirmative vote on SB 552 without amendment. (click here for a draft letter)
(click here for a list of the members of the House of Representatives)


Information/Events

LEARN HOW TO USE PERSONAL STORIES IN YOUR BUDGET ADVOCACY!
On June 2, from 3:30-4:15 p.m. EST, Half in Ten and the Coalition on Human Needs will host a call for grassroots advocates to release “Road to Shared Prosperity,” an interactive state-by-state map displaying the personal stories of low-income Americans, service providers, and community leaders with key data points for every state. At a time when human-needs programs like Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, and numerous others are facing the threat of extreme budget cuts, it has never been more important to show how these programs make a difference in the lives of real families, communities, and the economy. Click here to register.

Join Half in Ten, the Coalition on Human Needs and distinguished speakers on the call:
Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden (invited)
Liany Ebla Arroyo, Associate Director of the Education and Children’s Policy Project at the National Council of La Raza

You’ll get the tips and tricks you’ll need to effectively deploy stories for advocacy and access the data you need to make the case to your elected officials. Register today and help us pave the road to shared prosperity.

There are only two weeks left until the release of this valuable advocacy resource. Make sure everyone in your network will be equipped to leverage the stories from their states—help us spread the word about the release call on social media!


MARCELLUS SHALE GAS DRILLING LOBBY DAYS
WHEN: Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 8 am - 4 pm
WHERE: State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
Deep-well horizontal hydraulic fracturing, the process used to extract gas from the Marcellus Shale, has be shown to pose significant risks to public health and the environment at every stage of the process, from surface and groundwater contamination to air pollution and wellhead explosions. Since 2004, companies have drilled more than 4,300 hydraulic fracturing wells in Pennsylvania and the state has issued permits for thousands more. Incidents and accidents that damage the environment and put public health at risk have already occurred.

Physicians for Social Responsbility is joining with PennEnvironment and other environmental groups to bring physicians, nurses, medical students, and public health experts to Harrisburg to meet with legislators to make sure they know to put the environment and public health first.

You must pre-register by Tuesday, May 31 to secure a meeting with your legislator. Transportation will be arranged if you need it, just check the box when you register.
REGISTER here

Can't attend in person? Click here to sign a petition that we'll hand deliver on June 7.
Questions? Email or call Kate Etherington at 215-765-8703.

Information from Physicians for Social Responsibility Philadelphia

JOIN PHAN’S CALL SERIES ON TUESDAY NIGHTS FROM 6:00-7:00 PM
The Pennsylvania Health Access Network is constantly tracking what's happening in Harrisburg and DC and can give you the latest information.

Two experts from Small Business Majority will join PHAN on Tuesday, June 7th from 6:00-7:00 PM to discuss what the new health care law means for small businesses. RSVP HERE.

Is there a topic you'd like to see featured on a call? Or do you have someone from your organization you'd like to suggest as a guest speaker? Click here to learn more about PHAN’s policy call series or to access resources from previous calls. Contact Athena with questions at aford@pahealthaccess.org.

SIGN THE PHILADELPHIA EARNED SICK DAYS PETITION
Over 40 percent of Philadelphia's workers don't have the ability to earn paid sick days. So whether it is the need to care for an ailing elder, or a sick child, or for oneself, there are thousands of people facing the choice of caring for themselves or their family and losing their job. Going to work or caring for an ailing family member is a choice no one should have to make. Visit the PathWays PA blog to read one Philadelphia woman’s story about her family’s need for paid sick time.

Click here to sign the petition to Philadelphia City Council if you support Earned Sick Days.

ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT SNAP BENEFITS
Please sign and share the National, State and Community-based Organizational Letter Opposing Structural Changes and Budget Cuts to SNAP.

FRAC and others in NAHO (National Anti-Hunger Organizations) have written a sign-on letter strongly opposing structural changes (e.g., a block grant) and budget cuts to SNAP. With your help, we hope to get thousands of national, state and local groups to sign on to this letter.

Please sign your organization onto this letter and send it to other organizations on your e-mail list.

Congressional leaders need to hear a strong message from groups around the country that Congress should protect SNAP from budget cuts and structural changes that would weaken its proven ability to help the poorest and hungriest people in the country.

Click here to read and sign the letter.

From our friends at the Food Research and Action Center. This information provided by PHENND.

CAREER FAIR FOR VETERANS IN COATESVILLE:
WHEN: Friday June 10th, 10am-2pm
WHERE: Coatesville VA Medical Center
Building 5, Great Hall
1400 Blackhorse Hill Road
Coatesville, PA 19320

20+ employers will be on hand to meet potential employees - like you. Also, plan to attend one of our free employment workshops: Federal Hiring, Networking and Interviewing Skills.

Presented by Work Restoration, a Veterans Affairs program that connects Veterans with employers.
Click here for the flyer!

From our friends at Work Restoration

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