Thursday, June 30, 2011

Industry Partnership Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate

From our friends at The Pennsylvania Fund for Workforce Solutions

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously passed SB 552, the Industry Partnerships bill, today. Since the bill was amended in the House, it now returns to the Senate.

The bill will be referred to the Senate Rules Committee and then reported to the full Senate for an up or down vote. Senator Brubaker will continue his leadership in moving his bill through the Senate, but you can help by contacting members of the Rules Committee and advising them that they should support SB 552 as amended in the House. We are almost there!

Please help get SB 552 passed in the Senate so that we can get it to the Governor's desk. Send an e-mail to members of the Senate Rules Committee to let them know that a YES vote on SB 552 is essential.

What a Week: Community Budget Veto, Voter ID, and DPW Action and Updates

Lunette Rotunda Pennsylvania State Capitol 2What a week in Harrisburg! The state's fiscal year ends today, but we are not done yet! We need your voice on a couple of key issues over the next two days.

1- Are you frustrated with what happened with the State Budget? Come to a Community Budget Veto on Friday!
2- Respond to Voter Suppression Vote by Sending Your Rep an Email today
3- Help Us Stop a Bill Giving DPW Authority to Cut Benefits With No Public Input

Are You Mad About the State Budget? Join us for a Community Veto of the PA budget on Friday.

This week, the PA legislature passed a budget that cuts funding for services, education & health care, without raising a dime of new revenue from the drilling of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, or from the closing of corporate tax loopholes. Join community allies in a symbolic community veto of a budget that rewards a few while it harms our children and our communities. Governor Corbett isn't gonna veto that budget--but we are!


WHEN: Friday, July 1 · 12:00pm - 1:00pm
WHERE: 200 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA

Voter ID Update: Respond to Your PA State Representative's Vote on the Voter Suppression Bill

After State House leaders used a procedural tactic to shut down debate on June 23, the House voted 108-88 in favor of House Bill 934, legislation that would force citizens to show valid state-issued photo ID every time they attempt to vote. The bill will make it harder for many eligible voters, especially senior citizens, students, racial minorities, and the working poor, to exercise their right to vote.

Additionally, it is estimated that this bill will cost nearly $10 million to implement. The bill will now head to the state Senate, where it is expected to be considered this fall.

Please send an e-mail to your state representative responding to his/her vote on the bill— either thanking them for their opposition or expressing your disappointment with their yes vote. Click here to send an email now.

Take Action Today to Stop DPW Bill that Gives DPW Unprecedented Authority to Cut Benefits

The Pennsylvania Senate is expected to vote today on an amended bill that would give the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) unprecedented authority over the next year to make changes in benefits, eligibility and provider payments without legislative oversight or public comment. If approved, the bill would then head to the House. An amendment to the bill approved in the Senate Wednesday gives DPW unchecked authority to cut welfare to work programs, child care assistance, Medical Assistance benefits, and health care provider payments. Random drug-testing would be administered to enrollees in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, General Assistance and state supplemental assistance.

Please call the Harrisburg offices of your Senator and House Representative today. Tell them to vote no on the Welfare Code bill, HB 960, as amended in the Senate.

Want to learn more? Community Legal Services of Philadelphia has an easy-to-read one-page summary here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Please Support PathWays PA as We Support Families and Children

As we close the books on this fiscal year, we are finishing one of most successful years from a services and advocacy standpoint.

While our programs have gained local, statewide, and national recognition, the recession continues to affect our bottom line.

During these economic times, we are asking you to make a small contribution: $33, or $1 for every year of service we have provided to women, children, and families in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Your support will help PathWays PA to provide the high quality services that continued to be recognized nationally for their excellence.
  • In the past year, PathWays PA has again received accreditation from the National Council on Accreditation for our work with children and in child welfare.
  • Our child welfare programs have gained high marks with the Department of Human Services, while our EARN Center has very successfully assisted TANF clients in taking the next step to self-sufficiency.
  • Our Transitional Living Program (TLP) has been recognized by state and national monitors, and our focus on financial literacy helped us earn one of five national grants for similar programs.
  • Our advocacy work continues to grow, with over 250 new people joining our enewsletter list, 300 new followers on Twitter, and, most importantly, a strong focus on earned paid sick days legislation in Philadelphia that will ensure that over 200,000 workers in the city have the ability to earn a minimum amount of sick days to care for themselves and their loved ones.

With your help, we can work together so that all families have the opportunity to reach self-sufficiency. Please make a contribution to PathWays PA today.

Very truly yours,

Carol Goertzel
President/CEO
PathWays PA

*URGENT* PA House to Vote on Horrific Safety Net Bill

Capitol. (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), by A. G. KeetPlease make calls today or tomorrow to your state representative and to Rep. Turzai, the House Majority Leader, and Rep. Dermody, the House Minority Leader. Ask them to vote NO on HB 960. It is expected to be voted on quickly after its passage in the PA Senate today.

HB 960 would give the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) unbridled power.

DPW would have the authority to make drastic cuts affecting Medical Assistance, SNAP (food stamps), child care, welfare-to-work, and cash assistance programs, without proper legislative oversight, or public comment. The cuts would hurt Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable seniors, women, children, victims of domestic violence and people with disabilities. In sum, the amendment would slash Pennsylvania’s safety net – without proper consideration by the General Assembly.

Representative Turzai can be reached at 717-772-9943 or mturzai@pahousegop.com.

Representative Dermody can be reached at 717-787-3566 or fdermody@pahouse.net.

Contact information for your state representative is available here.

Here are some points to make in contacting your elected officials:
  • Representatives Should Vote “No” on H.B. 960
  • H.B. 960 would give the Department of Public Welfare virtually unchecked authority to cut cash assistance, Medicaid, and welfare-to-work supports. 
  • The bill abdicates the General Assembly’s responsibility to make carefully-reasoned choices affecting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens by allowing DPW to dramatically increase child care co-payments, cut Medicaid benefits, and reduce eligibility for benefits – with no provision for legislative oversight nor any opportunity for public comment.
  • The key language in this bill was sprung on the public in the waning days of the budget debate. This is not how decisions about critical safety net programs should be made.

Specifically, the amendment gives DPW the following authority to make cuts:

Section 403.1

Suspends laws setting up rule-making processes that give the General Assembly and the public opportunity to comment on proposed rules. Instead, DPW would have unilateral authority to:
  • Reduce cash assistance grant amounts (which are already at around 25% of the federal poverty level and have not been increased since 1990);
  • Increase co-pays for visits to medical providers without limit;
  • Reduce covered medical services under the Medicaid program without limit; and
  • Eliminate whole categories of eligibility for Medicaid, adding tens of thousands to the rolls of the uninsured.

Section 405.1A

Allows DPW to eliminate supportive services that help low-income families move from welfare to work, such as vendor payments for books and supplies, transportation to welfare-to-work programs, and more. The amendment thus sweeps away last year’s regulatory reforms developed with input from the General Assembly and public.

Section 408.3

Allows DPW to increase co-payments for child care subsidies to unaffordable levels without public input and formal regulatory review.

Section 432.24

Imposes costly and unnecessary new drug testing requirements for food stamp and cash assistance recipients who have had a felony drug conviction within the past five years.


Please, contact your state representative and House leadership RIGHT NOW. Pennsylvania's most vulnerable residents need your voice today.


Thank you to Community Legal Services for putting this information together.

PathWays PA Special Budget Alert: June 29, 2011

State Budget Update

Pa. Senate Approves $27.2 Billion State Budget

State legislative leaders and Governor Tom Corbett agreed on a 2011-12 state budget deal this week, and yesterday, the state Senate approved. The bill heads to the House of Representatives next.

It would spend just $27.2 billion, down $962 million, or 3.4%, from the 2010-11 budget.

Below is a highlight of funding levels as put together by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. For full funding details see the chart put together by the Budget and Policy Center.

Workforce Development
 Despite the tough economy, many programs that help people prepare for and find good jobs are being cut.
  • Industry Partnership funding, which at one point was completely cut out of the budget, will receive $1,613,000, a decrease of $32,000. Keeping Industry Partnerships funded is a victory for workforce development, but full funding for this important program is clearly preferable.
  • Adult and Family Literacy funding was decreased by over $2.5 million down to $12,289,00. This cut follows a 50% decrease in funding over the past few years.
  • New Directions, a program that provides employment placement services to individuals recieveing welfare, will receive $17,183,000 (a decrease of $15,618,000)
Education
The biggest cuts, in both dollars and percentages, are in education programs, including PreK-12 and higher education. While the budget makes some funding restorations from the Governor’s original budget proposal, the cuts are still significant:
  • Basic education funding, at $5.35 billion, is cut $421.5 million, or 7.3%, from the current year.
  • Funding for Accountability Block Grants, at $100 million, is cut by $159 million, or 61%.
  • Special education is flat-funded for the third year at just over $1 billion.
  • Charter School reimbursements are fully eliminated (a loss of $224 million).
  • Funding was also eliminated for Educational Assistance (a tutoring program) and school improvement grants.
  • Both Head Start and PreK Counts were cut by about 3%.
  • Higher education fared much better under the final budget but still sustained cuts of about 18%, or $160 million.
  • Community Colleges in the Philadelphia area will see an average 10% decrease.

Health Care and Public Welfare
Total spending in the Department of Public Welfare fell by just 0.4% from current expenditure levels, but that number masks reductions in health care and other services for vulnerable Pennsylvanians.
  • County child welfare fundung was cut by 4%, or $45 million.
  • Child care funding is cut by 10%, or $35 million.
  • Cash grants were cut by 16%, or $44 million.
  • Funding for the TANF job training and support program — New Directions — was just about cut in half to $17.2 million.
  • Health care clinics funding was cut from $2.5 million down to $1 million.
Housing and Other Services
The Governor’s budget had zeroed out more than $23.5 million provided through the Human Services Development Fund to give counties flexible funds for human services such as housing assistance, adult day care, home delivered meals and transportation services. The final budget restores the fund to $14.9 million, still a cut of $8.5 million.

The Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is cut from $10.5 million down to $2 million. Housing and Redevelopment Assistance is also losing $17.8 million in funding.

Local Impact from Budget Cuts
Much of the funding reductions for education will impact Philadelphia, which loses over $395 million, including over $121 million in stimulus funds and over $273 million in state funding. But big cuts are also in store for the suburban Philadelphia counties - $30.2 million in Bucks County, $33.7 million in Chester County, $46.6 million in Delaware County, and $29 million in Montgomery County.

With these cuts, districts are planning increases in property taxes to reduce the impact. In Philadelphia, the City Council has already passed a property tax increase to provide an additional $53 million for the schools to keep open full-day kindergarten and accelerated school programs, as well as other services.


FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE

MEDICAID THREATENED - YOU CAN HELP
Despite recent polls showing widespread support for Medicaid, there are several proposals in Congress to create budget caps and/or block grants, which would fundamentally undermine the program and slash its funding.

To address the threats to Medicaid and discuss how to effectively talk about the program, Wider Opportunities for Women is hosting a webinar, Budget Battles: Threats to Medicaid, on Thursday, June 30 at 3:00pm Eastern / 2:00pm Central / 1:00pm Mountain / 12:00 noon Pacific.
Register Today To Reserve Your Spot!
Participants will hear from national and state communications and policy experts:

* Jennifer Beeson and Angela Shubert, Families USA
* Renate Pore, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy
* Andy McDonald, BerlinRosen Public Affairs

This is the third in a series of Building Bridges to Economic Security webinar trainings. Space is limited, so register now!

Urge the White House to protect SNAP and other safety net programs during debt-ceiling negotiations!
Members of the Administration and a group of Congressional leaders have been negotiating a debt-ceiling/deficit reduction plan and hope to reach an agreement by July 1. News reports indicate those talks may be moving to a more select group with the President.

At the top of the agenda is securing $4 trillion in savings from program cuts over the next 10 or 12 years. Whether or not revenues will be part of the final plan is also in play. We must urge negotiators follow a key principle included in the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s plan (Bowles-Simpson): protect programs for low-income families and individuals, like SNAP, and make sure that the deficit reduction is achieved in a way that does not increase poverty.

Any plan that does not include a commitment to protect low-income people, and new revenues, will result in a massive loss of services for our nation’s most vulnerable.

Call the White House at 1-888-245-0215. Please act NOW to protect low-income families and individuals from harmful deficit reduction cuts!

ACTION ALERTS

Take Action for a Better State Budget

It is critical that Pennsylvania's State Representatives hear from their constituents within the next day, as they prepare to vote on a $27.149 billion state budget plan.

The budget makes deep cuts to education and health and human services, even though the state has a $550 million revenue surplus.

View line-by-line funding levels here.
Call your Representative today and say:

Before you make deep cuts to education, health care and cost-effective local services, you should use the state's half-billion dollar surplus and enact a drilling tax on natural gas.

Find your Representative’s phone number here.

Earned Sick Days Bill Vetoed by Mayor Nutter

At around 2 PM yesterday, the Mayor announced he would be holding a press conference later in the afternoon to discuss the paid sick days bill at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.  So it was no great shock when, at 4:45 (after unsuccessful attempts in the Chamber offices to have Coalition members leave the premises), the mayor vetoed the bill behind closed doors.

Despite this veto, PathWays PA and the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces will continue working with City Council to do everything possible to support the 71 percent of Philadelphians who want paid sick days and the 210,000 workers (and their families) who need them.  Please continue to visit the Coalition's website, post on the Facebook page, and let us know what you are thinking via Twitter.  We will certainly be doing the same!

Below are some articles from the media on the veto.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Emergency Phone Bank on the Budget

USW Phone Bank August 2008 OhioFrom our friends at the SEPA Budget Coalition.

There is still time to push for alternatives to these devastating cuts.

Tonight, Tuesday, June 28th, 5pm - 8pm,
and
Tomorrow night, Wednesday, June 29th, 5pm-8pm

Location: High-tech phone bank trailer, 455 North Fifth Street, btwn Spring Garden and Callowhill. (Look for a large purple trailer in the parking lot of the SEIU Local 1201 building. This facility is air-conditioned. It is not wheelchair accessible.)

Please RSVP to sepabudget@gmail.com.

For more information, contact Kate Atkins at (215) 563-5848 x16 or (201) 344-3909 (cell).

PathWays PA Job Postings - June 2011

Director, Individual Donor and Corporate Relations and Special Events
Individual and corporate fundraiser sought to manage special events, individual, community group and corporate fundraising. Ideal for a mature professional who is seeking a position with a well-regarded non-profit. Public speaking experience and excellent writing skills are mandatory, as well as marketing and individual fundraising experience. This is an office-based position based in Delaware County, with visits to potential corporations and donors throughout the region. There are occasional speaking engagements/events on weekends and evenings. Please respond in confidence with resume and cover letter. Also please provide salary requirements that reflect the reality of working in a non-profit environment during a protracted economic downturn. Please fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, Attn: LD/Dev or e-mail through our website.

Learning Center Group Supervisor
  • EDUCATION /QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Minimum Associates Degree from an Accredited College or University, including 30 credit hours in early childhood education, child development, special education, elementary education, or the Human Services field and three years of experience with children.
  • EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: Experience in Preschool setting and have knowledge of early childhood development. Willing to adapt to the goals and philosophies of our program and provide an environment that is non-punitive and strength based.
Coordinate the planning, preparation, and implementation of the Learning Center direction of Managers in Preparation for PA Licensing. Write Curriculum for each age level as well as plan and implement daily lessons/activities. Coordinate the activities of the Assistant Group Supervisors and Aids in the Learning Center. Supervise all classrooms. Ensure health and safety standards are met within the learning center.
Enforce all learning center policies and procedures consistently. Create and supply Learning Center staff with appropriate forms for program function.

Help out in the Learning Center as required to:
Supervise and provide physical care for children in the daycare.
Encourage children to actively participate in educational and structured activities.
Complete developmental screenings on children. Develop and implement individualized educational goals for children. Fax resumes to: LD/CFF/LC at 610-328-2807.

SIL Case Manager
The SIL Case Manager/Counselor will have at least two years experience providing direct services to individuals and/or families. She/he shall possess the ability to identify with and adapt to the goals and philosophies of the agency and the program and shall be familiar with the concepts of strength-based practice. The Case Manager/Counselor shall be a mature individual with the knowledge of the skills necessary to live independently. She/he shall demonstrate empathy, flexibility, perseverance, and team orientation. BSW or Related Bachelors Degree required. Please e-mail or fax resumes to: LD/BD at 610-328-2807.

On-Site Monitor
PathWays PA is in need of a Site Monitor to provide supervision and monitoring of our clients at our Transitional Living Program. Evening hours, typically 8pm – 2am, but can be random. The Site Monitor MUST be able to monitor and have the ability to de-escalate situations and interact appropriately with our clients. The candidate shall be a team player and have some knowledge of teen parenting issues. Must be of sound character and have the flexibility, perseverance, and integrity necessary to engage and provide role modeling for young mothers. Prefer High School Diploma or GED. Please fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, attention: LD/TLP.

Part-Time Mentoring Coordinator
The Mentoring Coordinator will have experience with issues related to older adolescents and will have some knowledge and understanding of volunteer recruitment and retention. They shall possess the ability to identify with and adapt to the goals and philosophies of the program. They shall be a mature individual with knowledge of parenting issues, community resources, and the skills necessary to live independently. They shall demonstrate insight, empathy, flexibility, perseverance, and team orientation. A BSW or bachelor’s degree in related field of study is required. Please e-mail or fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, attention: LD/KM.

Live In Advisor
Full-time and Part-Time positions available. To provide guidance, direction and supervision to older adolescent teen mothers and teen girls residing in our Supervised Independent Living Program including conducting some life and parenting skill groups. Live in a house with 3 to 4 girls and their children. Must be available during critical hours-8:00 PM to 2:00 AM- can work part-time during off hours. Must be mature and have an understanding of teen parent and teen girl issues and must have knowledge of basic life skills. Rent and utilities paid by agency plus small stipend and scheduled time off. Location: Philadelphia; E-mail or fax resumes to LD/SIL at 610-328-2807.

Residential Worker
Part-time and Full-time - need caring and motivated individual to provide support and supervision for Delco group home serving women and children; HS/GED, Associates Degree and experience preferred; driver’s license required. Includes nights and weekends. E-mail or fax resumes to: LD/CFF 610-328-2807.

Math Teacher
PathWays PA in Delaware County is looking for a math instructor to work with adult healthcare workers preparing for college-level entrance exams. The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in math or education, and would be responsible for teaching class several days per week for the month of June. Lesson-planning and attendance record-keeping required. The classroom is easily accessible to SEPTA public transportation (113 bus).
Please fax resumes to: 610-328-2807, attention: LD/LK

PathWays PA is an Equal Opportunity Employer

More Updates on the State Budget

Lunette Rotunda Pennsylvania State CapitolHere is what we are learning from the news media regarding the state budget:
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer
    • Temple, Lincoln, Pennsylvania State, and Pittsburgh are now facing a 19 percent cut as opposed to a 50% cut - "although that, too, was in jeopardy Monday night after some of the relevant bills failed to muster enough votes in either the House or Senate.According to Bill Adolph, funding bills for the universities will likely get pushed to the fall.  In other words, according to The Patriot-News, these universities will go into the fiscal year with no state funding, although there will be time to revisit this choice before summer recess begins.
    • K-12 education would regain about $269 million of the $1.1 billion cut in the Governor's Budget, including $100 million in the Accountability Block Grant program, which funds all-day kindergarten and other early childhood education programs and $130 million in basic education aid.  Philadelphia schools will receive $22 million back out of the $292 million cut through the Governor's budget.  
    • According to The Inquirer, "The cuts affect districts in different ways, in part because of funding formulas. Poorer districts, for instance, have more students going to charter schools. So they would be hard-hit by the budget writers' decision to stick with Corbett's plan to stop reimbursing districts for charter-school payments. Districts must pay for the education of their students in charters."
    • The budget cuts 50% of job training funding and to day care programs that allow children to be in childcare while their parents work. 
  • Capitol Ideas
    • Democrats spent part of the budget debate last night advocating for programs "ranging from tourism and economic development to resurrecting the defunct adultBasic health insurance program." 
    • A full Senate vote is expected today, with a House vote coming as likely as Wednesday, assuming that a Marcellus Shale tax is not added into the mix.
  • Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    • Spending under the new budget will fall by 4.1% from last year.
    • "The overall 4 percent budget cut appears to be unprecedented in recent history, said G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster County." Susan Hooper, spokeswoman for the Governor's Budget office, said there was no record of a 4 percent cut since at least 1970.
  • Forbes.com/Associated Press
    • "The budget also would lower business taxes and keep hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve..."
    • The budget cuts aid for services such as food pantries, adult shelters, and child welfare, but eases initial cuts slated for hospitals that care for the poor and community health programs.
    • A fiscal code bill must pass as part of the budget, and some bi-partisan calls are being made to include Marcellus Shale taxes in the code.  "As a result, House Republicans on Monday said they will hold a floor vote on a separate bill to impose a Marcellus Shale gas fee later this week, although House Majority Whip Stan Saylor, R-York, said he did not know what the bill would look like."  Corbett would like to wait on making any decision on the Shale until after receiving task force recommendations next month.
The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition is asking constituents to take action for a better state budget.  If you do not agree with the choices being made (you can read these choices for yourself in the state budget, which can be found at http://media.pennlive.com/midstate_impact/other/Final_2011_12Budget_Printout.pdf),  please let your Senators know.  You can find your Senator's phone number through the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center,  and follow up your call by sending them an email.

      Industry Partnerships Passes the House

      Pennsylvania State Capitol House ChamberFrom our friends at PA Partners.

      Thanks to your calls, letters and e-mails in support of Industry Partnerships, the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee unanimously approved SB 552, Senator Mike Brubaker's bill to establish the Industry Partnership program by statute! SB 552 must now be considered on three separate days by the full House of Representatives, and then the PA Senate must concur.

      Before the bill was voted on, the Committee unanimously adopted one amendment to the proposal. This amendment was sought by the state's Career and Technical Administrators to clarify language regarding high priority occupations.

      The PA Partners website will be updated with any additional information as the process unfolds. You may view those updates at www.papartners.org/take-action.

      Monday, June 27, 2011

      Details Released of the Proposed State Budget

      Flag of PennsylvaniaA proposed state budget was just released. Here you can find the complete list of funding levels. While a full analysis of the budget is being worked on some of the highlights or in some cases lowlights include:
      • Industry Partnership – which at one point was completely cut out of the budget – will receive $1,613,000 (a decrease of $32,000)
      • Adult and Family Literacy will receive $12,289,000 (a decrease of $2,598,000)
      • County Child Welfare will receive $1,000,475,000 (a decrease of $45,132,000)
      • Child Care Services will receive $154,265,000 (a decrease of $17,455,000)
      • Child Care Assistance will receive $171,989,000 (a decrease of $17,593,000)
      • New Directions will receive $17,183,000 (a decrease of $15,618,000)
      • Maternal and Child Health will receive $887,000 (a decrease of $1,541,000)
      • Homeless Assistance will receive $20,551,000 (a decrease of $2,283,000)
      • Domestic Violence will receive $12,261,000 (a decrease of $124,000)
      More information will be posted once a complete analysis can be done. If you are unhappy with any of the numbers above be sure to contact your members of the General Assembly.

      PathWays PA E-Alert: June 27, 2011

      URGENT! Mayor Nutter Needs to Hear From You on Paid Sick Days

      We are so close! After years of coalition building, months of campaigning, weeks and weeks of in-person visits and phone calls, the Philadelphia City Council passed an Earned Sick Days policy on June 16th.

      But we're not done yet! Mayor Nutter still hasn't come out in support of this policy, and we've got to ask him to sign the bill into law.

      Take one minute, right now, to call the Mayor's office and let him know you support the Earned Sick Days bill and want to see it become law by calling 888-892-2110!

      Here's a sample script you can use when you call: "I am calling today to let Mayor Nutter know that I strongly support the Earned Sick Days bill and I want to see it become law in Philadelphia. Do you know where the Mayor stands on the bill?"

      Coalition partner Moms Rising has set up this toll-free number to the Mayor's office, complete with some short talking points, so it's super-easy to make your voice heard.

      Once you've made the call, let us know how it went! Share how your call went and read about others here: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/your-phone-has-super-powers-in-philadelphia/

      Together we'll make sure that Mayor Nutter knows Philadelphians are counting on him to do the right thing by allowing the earned sick days bill to become law!

      State Policy Updates

      Potential Budget Deal Reached


      News reports indicate that Governor Tom Corbett and Republican leaders of the General Assembly have agreed on a framework for the FY 2011-12 state budget, totaling $27.5 billion. While the full details on the plan are expected to be unveiled today below are some of the details:
      • School Districts - The budget still includes about $900 million in reduction for the state’s 501 public school districts. But it reduces some of the cutbacks proposed by the Governor in his original budget proposal released in March. The state will spend $300 million less for schools in the coming fiscal year, and will not make up for the loss of over $600 million in federal stimulus funds that supported school funding last year.
      • Education Block Grants - While details remain few, $240 million for education block grants restored by the House of Representatives in its budget bill apparently remains. Attempts by the Senate to increase the funding by an additional $100 million have failed, according to House Appropriations Committee.
      • Medical Assistance and Child Welfare Programs - The Assembly and the Governor are still discussing how to fund the block grants, and what else to cut to afford them within the increasingly tight budget framework, according to Capitolwire. It remains likely that the funding of $470 million will be found by making cuts to Medical Assistance and child welfare programs in DPW.
      • State Universities - The tentative budget deal also includes a 19 percent cut in funding for state universities, down from the 50 percent cut originally proposed by the governor. For example, Temple University was cut from $172.7 million to $140 million and Lincoln University was cut from $13.7 million to $11.11 million.
      • Human Service Development Fund - The plan restores most funding for the Human Services Development Fund, which supports social service programs in the counties, including much of Philadelphia’s homeless system. The funding had originally been eliminated by the Governor in his proposal.

      The General Assembly plans to send the final spending plan to the Governor for his signature by next Thursday, meeting the June 30th deadline.

      Information provided by UWSEPA

      TAKE ACTION: STATE BUDGET

      Pennsylvania’s proposed budget would slash funding for health care, human services and education. One way to prevent these deep cuts is to enact a strong tax on natural gas drilling.

      Unfortunately, the Senate is poised to vote soon on a weak drilling tax that would not provide any additional funds for these services. Contact your state Senator today. Urge him or her to support a drilling tax that will support Pennsylvania’s families.

      THE FIGHT CONTINUES TO PROTECT WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

      Two weeks ago, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed Senate Bill 3, legislation that would ban private health insurance plans sold in the Pennsylvania health exchange, created under health care reform, from covering event medically necessary abortion services.

      Last week Senate Bill 3 passed out of the Pennsylvania Health Insurance Committee and will soon be voted on by the full House of Representatives.

      This bill will
      • Prohibit any insurance company that contracted with the health care exchange from providing coverage for abortion services – even though that coverage must be paid for with private funds under the health reform law.
      • Prohibit coverage except in cases of rape or incest where the person has personally reported the attack or death. No exception exists to the protect the health of the women
      • Prohibits a woman from using her own private money to purchase abortion coverage.

      Take a moment to call your State Representative and urge him or her to vote NO on Senate Bill 3. Here is a sample script: “I live in _____ and am a constituent of Representative ______. I am call to urge the Representative to vote NO on Senate Bill 3.”

      We must make our voices heard to end these extremely dangerous attacks on women’s right to choose!

      Information/Events

      State has 90 Days to spend $100m in Emergency Home Loans

      The Philadelphia Unemployment Project is encouraging homeowners to apply for the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program, a fund of $100 million that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency must spend September 30th. Unallocated funds on that date will have to be returned to the federal government. The short deadline results from long delays on the state level in implementing the program.

      EHLP is for people who are at least 3 months behind on their mortgage due to unemployment, underemployment or illness.

      FREE SUMMER MEALS FOR KIDS

      School's out, but kids can still get free meals at more than 1,000 sites throughout Philadelphia. Yesterday, Mayor Michael Nutter kicked off Philadelphia's summer meals program. Families can call the City's 311 Call Center for their nearest summer meals site. Or visit the Coalition's website for a directory. Read more. This information provided by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.

      ADVOCATE FOR THE HOMELESS TASK FORCE BILL

      On March 7, 2011 the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 157, which establishes a task force on homelessness in the Commonwealth.

      The bill stems from concerns over the accuracy of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) estimate of 20,000 homeless children and young people in the Commonwealth last year. Several advocates and service providers suggest that the actual number is higher and that service delivery could improve.

      To address these concerns the proposed task force would conduct a demographic study of Pennsylvania’s homeless families and measure duration of homelessness, number of episodes, and highest educational level attained. The study would also assess homeless students’ living situations, age and grade levels, school attendance rates, gaps in enrollment, average number of school changes, access to remedial services, access to and use of Title I funds, drop-out rates, and causes and signs of homelessness.

      The bill is now before the Appropriations Committee where it will need a fiscal review. Please contact your State Senator and urge them to support this important bill.

      This information provided by the People’s Emergency Center.

      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. Join them for a call to discuss what the new budget means for Pennsylvania and health care programs.

      WHEN: July 12, 6:00 PM

      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.

      Special PathWays PA Information/Events

      PROJECT PEACE FOR TEENAGERS

      Do you need help with education, childcare, welfare benefits, parenting or support? We can help! The Project Peace Teen Parent Program provides one-on-one support for pregnant adolescents and teen parents. Project Peace services are available at the MacDade Goodwill Store, 2137 MacDade Boulevard, Holmes PA, from Tuesdays from 9 AM to 5 PM.

      Services provided will help you:
      • Complete high school and plan for higher education
      • Become a better parent
      • Obtain appropriate community resources, such as childcare, supportive services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Parents (TANF), life skills training and employment
      • Get in home support

      For more information call 610-543-5022 or visit www.pathwayspa.org.

      PATH$ TO BENEFITS

      The PathWays PA Path$ 2 Benefits program provides access to counseling and workshops on banking and budgeting assistance, credit and debt management counseling, identity theft repair, financial goal planning, financial crisis management, college planning, housing assistance, and free tax preparation. Clients can also be screened for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and many other services. Even unemployed and dislocated workers can take part in programs that improve their credit without costing money.

      For more information, please call 610-543-5022 or email financialpaths@pathwayspa.org.

      FINANCIAL PATH$

      Financial Path$, a new program from PathWays PA, helps individuals and families build paths toward economic self-sufficiency through financial education, asset building and economic empowerment. This program provides one-on-one financial counseling and financial education workshops. Financial Path$ is committed to assisting everyone carve their path to self-sufficiency.

      If you or your clients would be interested in learning more about this program please contact wrahemtulla@pathwayspa.org.

      For more information become Financial Path$ friend on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Stay turned as we will also be launching a blog very soon!

      Pennsylvania Budget as of Monday Morning

      Philadelphia Reading Railroad Bridge 01As we get into what should be the last week of negotiating over the Pennsylvania state budget, here are some of the highlights of what we've read today:
      • The Senate will unveil details of their spending plan today, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
        • $100 million in accountability block grants for K-12 education that the House added to the governor's budget is expected to remain in the Senate budget.
        • An assessment on hospitals will be raised, giving the state more access to federal funds for medical care of the uninsured.
        • The University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Temple University, and Lincoln University will see funding cuts of 19%.
      • According to The Times-Tribune, state revenue surpluses will be at $700 million by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.  Currently, that surplus is not part of budget spending.
        • The budget will contain no new taxes and will spend $900 million less than the current state budget. 
        • It will restore $25 million in aid to public schools above what the House budget includes, with that money being spread among 8 poorer school districts.
        • Proposals are still being made regarding Marcellus Shale impact fees, but no final compromise has been agreed to.
      • Other PA Budget News includes the following:
        • School Districts - The budget still includes about $900 million in reduction for the state’s 501 public school districts. But it reduces some of the cutbacks proposed by the Governor in his original budget proposal released in March. The state will spend $300 million less for schools in the coming fiscal year, and will not make up for the loss of over $600 million in federal stimulus funds that supported school funding last year.
        • Medical Assistance and Child Welfare Programs - The Assembly and the Governor are still discussing how to fund the block grants, and what else to cut to afford them within the increasingly tight budget framework, according to Capitolwire. It remains likely that the funding of $470 million will be found by making cuts to Medical Assistance and child welfare programs in DPW.
        • Human Service Development Fund - The plan restores most funding for the Human Services Development Fund, which supports social service programs in the counties, including much of Philadelphia’s homeless system. The funding had originally been eliminated by the Governor in his proposal. 
      The Senate Appropriations Committee is meeting now, so we will hopefully have more updates for you soon.

      Tuesday, June 21, 2011

      Audio Conference: Scheduling Challenges and Solutions for Low-Wage Workers

      CLASP invites you to join them on June 28, 2011 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET for a national audio conference to discuss a new report, Flexible Workplace Solutions for Low-wage Hourly Workers: A Framework for a National Conversation. The report explores the scheduling challenges facing low-wage hourly workers - namely rigidity, unpredictability, and instability - and explores solutions to these problems, ranging from shift-swapping, the ability to alter start and end times, and predictable scheduling.

      Speakers include:
      • Dr. Jennifer E. Swanberg, Associate Professor and Executive Director, iwin at the University of Kentucky
      • Liz Watson, Executive Director, Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy and Former Legislative Counsel, Workplace Flexibility 2010

      If you have any questions before the scheduled call, please submit them to audioconference@clasp.org and we will make sure to answer questions during or after the call.

      Register now!

      Monday, June 20, 2011

      URGENT! Mayor Nutter Needs to Hear From You on Paid Sick Days

      Telephone model PTT24-IMG 9919We are so close! After years of coalition building, months of campaigning, weeks and weeks of in-person visits and phone calls, the Philadelphia City Council passed an Earned Sick Days policy last Thursday on a very close 9-8 vote. This could not have happened without your hard work to let our elected representatives know that over 70% of us support this common sense approach to investing in and strengthening Philadelphia's workers and their families.

      But we're not done yet! Mayor Nutter still hasn't come out in support of this policy, and we've got to ask him to sign the bill into law.

      Take one minute, right now, to call the Mayor's office and let him know you support the Earned Sick Days bill and want to see it become law by calling 888-892-2110!

      Here's a sample script you can use when you call: "I am calling today to let Mayor Nutter know that I strongly support the Earned Sick Days bill and I want to see it become law in Philadelphia. Do you know where the Mayor stands on the bill?"

      Coalition partner Moms Rising has set up this toll-free number to the Mayor's office, complete with some short talking points, so it's super-easy to make your voice heard.

      Once you've made the call, let us know how it went! Share how your call went and read about others here: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/your-phone-has-super-powers-in-philadelphia/

      Your call is needed! We know Mayor Nutter has heard plenty from the opponents of earned sick days, but he also needs to hear from people like you across Philadelphia that need an earned sick days policy so that they are not forced to chose between a day's pay, and possibly their jobs, when they need to take a day off of work to care for themselves or for a sick family member.

      Your calls can make the difference! Take sixty seconds now to tell Mayor Nutter you support the bill and want to see it become law(888-892-2110) and then share how the call went here: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/your-phone-has-super-powers-in-philadelphia/

      And be sure to forward this email to your friends and family who live and/or work in Philadelphia so they can call Mayor Nutter too!

      Together we'll make sure that Mayor Nutter knows moms and families are counting on him to do the right thing by allowing the earned sick days bill to become law!

      PathWays PA E-Alert: June 20, 2011

      WE WIN!!

      On June 16, 2011 Philadelphia's City Council passed the earned sick days legislation (Bill No. 080474) by a vote of 9 to 8 under the leadership of PathWays PA and the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces. Thanks to this bill, the lives of over 200,000 workers, including working mothers, will be improved. Workers in our great city will be able to take care of themselves and loved ones without having to lose a day's pay or their job all together. This bill will ensure that workers are treated with the dignity they deserve.

      The fight is not over though!

      Now, we must encourage Mayor Nutter to sign this bill into law. Please call the Mayor at (215) 686-2181 and urge him to do the right thing by signing the Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill 080474). Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who made this victory through their calls, postcards, visits, and lobbying City Council. Also, we would like to give a special thanks to the 107 organizations who make up the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces.

      Federal Policy Updates

      SIGN UP TODAY! WEBINAR ON BUDGET BATTLES: THREATS TO MEDICAID

      Medicaid is the largest health care program in the country – both in the amount of people it covers (53 million) and spending ($300 billion in federal and state spending). Despite recent polls showing widespread support for the program, there are several proposals in Congress to create budget caps and/or block grants for Medicaid, which would fundamentally undermine and slash funding for the program.

      To address the threats to Medicaid and discuss how to effectively talk about the program, Wider Opportunities for Women is hosting a webinar, Budget Battles: Threats to Medicaid, on Thursday, June 30 at 3:00pm Eastern / 2:00pm Central / 1:00pm Mountain / 12:00 noon Pacific.

      Register Today To Reserve Your Spot!
      Participants will hear from national and state communications and policy experts:


      This is the third in a series of Building Bridges to Economic Security webinar trainings. Space is limited, so register now!

      State Policy Updates

      SUPPORT THE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM TODAY!

      Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) is the prime sponsor of the Industry Partnership legislation (SB 552) and has asked his Leadership in the Senate to restore last year's allocation in the General Fund Budget to fund the IP and IP Training Activities. Sen. Brubaker needs your help to convince his colleagues of the importance of funding IPs and their related Training Activities.

      Please click this link to sign on to a letter asking Gov. Corbett and General Assembly lawmakers to continue their support for IP Funding

      Please click this link to enter your zip code and address to send a customizable email to your Senator.

      Please follow this link to find talking points and background information on Industry partnerships. Then find phone numbers for Pennsylvania Senators and give them a call.

      From our friends at PA Partners.

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      WE WIN! Philadelphia City Council Passes Earned Sick Day Bill

      For Immediate Release:
      June 16, 2011

      Contact:
      Lauren Townsend, Philadelphia Earned Sick Day Campaign
      215-939-7621

      Philadelphia City Council Passes Earned Sick Day Bill

      All across the country, working families have been taking a beating.
      We say to those workers: Come to Philadelphia! We are open for business

      Philadelphia. Today is a great day for Philadelphia working people. Philadelphia City Council passed the earned sick day bill – sponsored by Councilman Darrell Clarke and Councilman Bill Greenlee.

      Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (Bill 080474) will, after Mayor Nutter’s signature, allow Philadelphia workers the opportunity to earn up to 7 days of sick time per year for a large business and up to 4 days per year for a small business. The bill could affect up to 200,000 workers in Philadelphia who do not have access to paid sick days.

      Earned, paid, sick days are supported by a majority of Philadelphia citizens (71%). Paid sick days are also supported by the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, that boasts over 100 organizations representing tens of thousands of Philadelphians. The Coalition has been pressing for passage of the bill for two years.

      Today’s overwhelming vote underscores what we already know – supporting workers is good for our public health and good for our economy.

      The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces looks forward to Mayor Nutter signing this bill – which will be a model for the rest of the nation in terms of creating common sense policies that provide real security for our workforce and supporting a growing economy. This bill strikes the right balance.

      Members of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces expressed their elation about Council’s passage of the earned sick day bill:

      This is a great day for working families in Philadelphia. We applaud Councilman Clarke and Philadelphia City Council for taking this historic vote and making Philadelphia one step closer to being the largest city in the country with earned sick time.

      Marvin Robinson, Leader, Action United

      We are thrilled that City Council is following the will of the people of Philadelphia and the health of the workforce and our communities and strongly encourage Mayor Nutter to sign the Healthy Families bill and support our citizens! Thank you to everyone who believes in the well-being of our workers, their children and their families.

      Carol Goertzel, President/CEO, PathWays PA

      Passing this legislation will ensure that all workers are treated with the dignity they deserve. Particularly our city’s mothers and daughters – who are disproportionately impacted – they can take care of themselves and loved ones without having to lose a day’s pay or their job. We look forward to Mayor Nutter’s signature on this important bill.

      Amanda S. Aronoff, Executive Director, WOMEN’S WAY

      City Council took a major step forward today, both in protecting the right of workers and in protecting the health of all Philadelphians. We expect Mayor Nutter to take the next step and sign this legislation. Doing so at a time when conservatives are trying to roll back protections for working people in Harrisburg and Washington will send an important message to progressives throughout the country: we are ready to fight.

      Marc Stier, Executive Director, Penn Action

      This is a great day for LGBT parents in Philadelphia. We look forward to Mayor Nutter’s signature on this bill to make earned sick days a reality.

      Stephanie Haynes, Community Coordinator, Philadelphia Family Pride

      Background

      With over 40 percent of Philadelphians lacking earned sick days, a large portion of the population cannot take the time off work to go see a doctor or obtain medical treatment - regardless of the medical coverage they have.

      Employees with earned sick days are more likely to stay home when they are sick, limiting the spread of the illness and protecting co-workers, customers, or anyone else they meet during the work day. During the height of the H1N1 pandemic, people were urged to stay home if they had any signs of the flu, however, those without earned sick days were less likely to stay home because they could not afford to. As a result, nearly 8 million H1N1 cases were traced back to employees going to work while sick.

      Wednesday, June 15, 2011

      PathWays PA Special Budget Alert: June 15, 2011


      FEDERAL BUDGET UPDATE

      MEDICAID THREATENED- YOU CAN HELP
      Spending cuts dominate the budget discussions in Washington and across the states. Most recently, the focus of this discussion has been Medicaid. There are several proposals on the table to create budget caps and/or block grants for Medicaid, which would fundamentally undermine and slash funding for the program. However, the majority (60% vs. 35%) of the American people oppose cuts to Medicaid, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      It is critical to protect this intergenerational program by telling your senators to oppose cuts to Medicaid, both in the form of spending caps or vouchers. Join concerned citizens across the country on Thursday, June 16 and contact your senators, by e-mail or phone. 
      • Call your Senators on Thursday by using the toll-free switchboard: 1-866-922-4970.
      • E-mail your member of Congress.
      Thanks to our friends at LeadingAge, Families USA and NCOA for coordinating this day of action.

      If you want to learn more about Medicaid, sign up for WOW’s webinar: Budget Battles: Threats to Medicaid on Thursday, June 30 at 3:00pm Eastern.



      State Budget Update
      Over the next few days, it is critical that Pennsylvania's state senators hear from their constituents, as they prepare to vote on a state budget plan.
      The budget approved by the Pennsylvania House cuts almost $1 billion from public schools and slashes $471 million in funding proposed by Governor Corbett for health care, services for people with disabilities, and vulnerable children. The House budget makes deep cuts, even though the state has a revenue surplus of half a billion dollars.
      Call your senator today and say:
      Before you make deep cuts to education, health care and cost-effective local services, you should use the state's half-billion dollar surplus and enact a drilling tax on natural gas.
      Get call-in information for your senator here and then follow up with an email at our Action Page
      Please forward this email widely. Ask your networks to make calls today, tomorrow, and Wednesday to secure a state budget that reflects Pennsylvania's priorities.
      You can learn more about the state budget at the web sites of Better Choices for Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

      PA domestic abuse shelters in danger
      Just 37 days from the deadline, the deal-making continues as the proposal moved on to the Senate.
      The House plan takes $470 million away from public welfare to ease massive education cuts proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett.
      Domestic abuse shelters across the state are pleading with lawmakers not to cut their funding, saying it could cost lives.
      Domestic violence service officials in the Susquehanna Valley have said they are already handling an increase in cases this year with less money and staff and that further cuts could leave thousands of women and children in danger. http://www.wgal.com/news/28013438/detail.html


      ACTION ALERTS

      OPPOSE BILL TO CUT FUNDING FOR HUMAN SERVICES DEVELOPMENT FUND
      If you are concerned about issues related to evidence-based home visiting/prevention programs, family centers, child welfare, the Human Services Development Fund, rape crisis and domestic violence, among others, please take a moment to review this letter from the Protect Our Children Committee.

      While the House Republican Budget restores some funding for education and human services.  Such restorations, however, forced significant reductions to other programs essential to strengthening families, keeping children safe from child abuse and other forms of violence and foundational to a child’s permanency. 

      URGENT! TAKE ACTION TO SAVE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS!
      The next few days will be critical to the future of Pennsylvania’s Industry Partnership program. The state budget is expected to pass within the next three weeks and whether it contains funding for Industry Partnerships depends on action that you and other Industry Partnership supporters take NOW.
      Background: Governor Corbett's proposed 2011-2012 General Fund Budget funds Industry Partnerships at $1.6 million but zeroed out funding for Industry Partnership Training. The state budget plan approved by the House of Representatives on May 24, 2011 (HB 1485) removed the Governor's IP funding entirely. HB 1485 is now before the Senate Appropriations Committee, awaiting action.
      Senator Mike Brubaker, prime sponsor of the Industry Partnership legislation (SB 552), has asked his Leadership in the Senate to restore $6.6 million in the General Fund Budget to fund the IP and Training Activities line item at their previous levels. Senator Brubaker needs your help to convince his Senate colleagues of the importance of funding IPs and their related Training Activities.
      Take Action: Below are links that make it easy for you to send an e-mail to your Senator, to Senate Leaders on both sides of the aisle, and to the Chairman and members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to show your support for Senator Brubaker and for restoring $6.6 million to the General Fund Budget for Industry Partnerships.
      Please click this link and enter your zip code and address to send a customizable email to your Senator.
      Please click this link to send a customizable email to Senate leaders.
      Please click this link to send a customizable email to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
      If you have a relationship with legislative leaders, your Senator, or Appropriations Committee members, please call them to say: “Support Senator Brubaker and the restoration of $6.6 million in the General Fund for Industry Partnerships." Find phone numbers for Pennsylvania Senators.
      The PFWS website has talking points and other background information on Industry Partnerships.
      Adult Education and Family Literacy

      Adult education and family literacy program are especially important during this recession to ensure that families have the opportunity to gain the education they need to be or become self-sufficient.

      Despite the importance of adult education programs they continue to be cut in the budget year after year – this year being cut by $2,474,000. 

      Please contact your state legislator today and let then know how important these programs are to you and to Pennsylvania.

      Use Your Superpowers to Support Paid Sick Days

      Dialog gr 1972As a kid, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I watched the old TV show reruns, wore the Wonder Woman underroos, and pretended that every bracelet could repel bullets.

      Even though I am a "grown-up," there is still part of me that wants to be Wonder Woman, which is why I am so excited that MomsRising is partnering with PathWays PA and the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to help harness the superpowers that we have in support of paid sick days.

      Using these powers is a lot easier than finding a magic lasso (believe me, I tried!). All you have to do is pick up your phone and call your City Councilperson. MomsRising has also set up a phone number to use to call the Mayor and tell him of your support - 888-892-2110.

      Here is a sample script you can use:

      "I am calling today to let Councilperson _____ (or Mayor Nutter) know that I strongly support Bill 080474, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces, and I expect the Councilperson to support it as well. This bill will ensure that families can earn sick days when they work so they don't have to choose between the jobs they need and the families they love. Do you know if the Councilperson plans to vote for the bill?"

      Need to find the name of your councilperson? Visit the City Council website.
      Need to learn more about the bill? Download our FAQ.

      Please use your powers to make the call today. Together, we can be superheroes to the 200,000 Philadelphians without paid sick days.

      (Please let us know what you learned on the MomsRising website!)

      Tuesday, June 14, 2011

      Marcellus Shale Update!

      Pennsylvania Capitol RotundaThe legislature returned last week to begin the final stages of budget negotiations. The Senate has yet to officially consider HB1485, the House’s budget proposal, but informal discussions and negotiations have proceeded. In addition, according to an article in the Scranton Times, a top Senate Republican leader said he’s moving forward with the goal of having a Senate floor vote this month on his legislation to establish Marcellus Shale impact fees to help local towns affected by gas drilling operations. Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said Wednesday he will consider proposals from other senators that address what zoning powers would be allowed to municipalities receiving impact fees. The legislature has a short window to consider this measure due to the session likely ending June 30th.

      PathWays PA E-Alert: June 13, 2011


      SPECIAL EVENTS

      Make Calls Now in Support of Paid Sick Days!

      PathWays PA, a founding member of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces, is working with the Coalition to pass a bill in Philadelphia that would ensure all workers have the right to earn sick days.  This bill could come up for a vote as soon as this week, but to get there, it needs your support!

      Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces would create a minimum standard of sick days for the 210,000 workers in Philadelphia who must “choose” during an illness between the jobs they need and the families they love.  Workers could earn 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours they work, up to 56 hours per year in a business of 11 or more employees and up to 32 hours per year in a business of 10 or less employees.

      If you live in Philadelphia, please call your City Councilperson today to show your support for the bill.  Here’s a script that you can use:

      “I am calling today to let Councilperson _____ know that I strongly support Bill 080474, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces, and I hope the Councilperson will support it as well.  This bill will ensure that families like mine can earn sick days when they work so they don’t have to choose between the jobs they need and the families they love.  Do you know if the Councilperson plans to vote for the bill?”

      Please let us know the response you get by emailing us at policy@Pathwayspa.org.

      Need to find the name of your councilperson? Visit the City Council website. Need to learn more about the bill? Download our FAQ.

      You can also help us greet City Council members as they enter Session and then pack the Hearing Room to show the importance of this bill. Bring any signs or posters to represent why you support earned sick days. You can enter City Hall at the north-east corner and remember to bring a picture ID.

      WHEN: June 16, 2011 9:00 AM
      WHERE: 4th Floor, Philadelphia City Hall
      To register to attend visit: http://earnedsickdayscouncilsession.eventbrite.com/

      And remember, even if you don’t live in Philadelphia, you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and read the Earned Sick Days blog.


      State Policy Updates

      STATE LEGISLATORS CONSIDER CUTTING EMERGENCY HOUSING FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

      Even though the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and many counties have plans to end homelessness, state legislators and the Governor propose to continue the state’s trend of cutting funding from two key programs that serve homeless children, families, and individuals.  If successful, hundreds of families and individuals would continue to be turned away from emergency and transitional housing as they have been this past year.   

      Pennsylvania’s Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) and the Human Services Development Fund (HSDF) are two small but successful programs targeting homeless populations.  But state legislators have reduced their funding the past few years.  They funded HAP in 2008 at $26.6 million and have gradually reduced it over time.  This year, the House voted to cut it to $20.5 million for fiscal year 2011-2012.  State legislators funded HSDF, which supports a variety of human services and not just homelessness, at $33.9 million in 2008, but has whittled HSDF down over the years.  Governor Corbett proposes to completely eliminate HSDF, while the House proposes a $2 million reduction.  

      The reductions in state funding caused local administrators to cut emergency and transitional housing units.  Since 2008, the number of transitional housing units (which are temporary housing plus services for at-risk families and individuals) has declined by 216 units, although Philadelphia and Allegheny counties make up the lion’s share of this reduction.  In addition, Philadelphia was unable to meet 10 percent[i] of the overall demand for emergency shelter in 2010, turning away an unknown number of families and individuals.  Women Against Abuse, a local domestic violence agency, reports that 6,000 victims were turned away during the same time. 

      These cuts were instrumental in reducing the number of homeless people served in Pennsylvania from 16,220 in 2007 to 14,415 (cite) in 2010.   These total numbers include the number of homeless family members, which declined from 7,991 in 2007 to 7,325 in 2010, or 8.3%.[ii]   With fewer beds, fewer homeless families were served. 


      ACTION ALERT: State legislators are voting soon so please act now.  Contact your state senator and representative HERE and urge them to:
      • Fund Homeless Assistance Program at $22.6 million for FY 2011-2012
      • Fund Human Services Development Fund at $23.2 million for FY 2011-2012. From our friends at People’s Emergency Center.

      PROTECT LAID-OFF WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
      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 vote 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:
      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.
      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.


      Information/Events

      ADVOCATE FOR THE HOMELESS TASK FORCE BILL 
      On March 7, 2011 the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 157, which establishes a task force on homelessness in the Commonwealth.  All Philadelphia-area members of the committee supported the bill -- Anthony Williams (Phila), Daylin Leach (Montco), Robert Tomlinson (Bucks), and Andrew Dinniman (Chester).  The Senate leadership then referred the bill to the Appropriations committee for a fiscal review.  Advocates around the state are working to get the bill voted on and approved by the entire Senate. 

      BACKGROUND: The bill stems from concerns over the accuracy of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) estimate of 20,000 homeless children and young people in the Commonwealth last year. Several advocates and service providers suggest that the actual number is higher and that service delivery could improve. 

      To address these concerns the proposed task force would conduct a demographic study of Pennsylvania’s homeless families and measure duration of homelessness, number of episodes, and highest educational level attained.  The study would also assess homeless students’ living situations, age and grade levels, school attendance rates, gaps in enrollment, average number of school changes, access to remedial services, access to and use of Title I funds, drop-out rates, and causes and signs of homelessness.

      Many senators support SB 157.  Senator Wayne Fontana (Allegheny) introduced the bill on January 18, 2011, and 23 of his colleagues co-sponsored the proposal.  Local co-sponsors include Philadelphia senators Lawrence Farnese, Vincent Hughes, Shirley Kitchen, Christine Tartaglione, Michael Stack, Leanna Washington, and Anthony Williams, and suburban senators Stewart Greenleaf (Montgomery), Ted Erickson (Delaware), and Andrew Dinniman (Chester).   

      NEXT STEPS: Contact Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (Delaware) via email at dpileggi@pasen.gov and ask him to schedule SB 157 for a vote by the entire Senate. 
      This information provided by the People’s Emergency Center.


      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.

      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.
      RAC 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.


      CARIE LAUNCHES NEW PROJECT FOR CAREGIVERS OF THE ELDERLY
         The Coalition of Advocates for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly has launched CaregiverGPS – The Elder’s Advocate, a web-based resource to help caregivers make decisions about elder care.
         The website offers several interactive tools to help provide a customized experience for individuals facing a critical transition point in the care of a loved one. The purpose of site is to offer unbiased guidance based on a caregiver’s unique situation.  It does so by gathering information through an on-site review of the individual’s situation.  Users respond to statements about such things as the level of safety in the loved one’s home, opportunities for social contacts, health and personal care needs, financial resources and existing support system.
         The website then offers an analysis that considers users’ responses to help them think about options that may be a good fit for their loved one.   Caregivers in need of further assistance can also utilize CARIE OnLINE, or contact a CARIE LINE counselor at 215-545-5728 or 1-800-356-3506.
          For more information, go here. From our Friends at UWSEPA.

      SEPTA, PHILABUNDANCE JOIN FOR ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE
         SEPTA and Philabundance have joined together for their annual food drive at SEPTA stations and other locations from June 6th through June 20th.
         Last year, the drive collected the equivalent of 19.6 tons of food. Now in its third year, the food drive is particularly focused on donations of canned or shelf stabilized tuna, canned pasta, canned beef ravioli, creamy peanut butter (plastic containers only), and jelly (plastic containers only).
         Online donations to Philabundance are also being solicited by going here.  Any monetary contribution will count toward the total collected through the SEPTA 2011 campaign
         For more details, go here. This information from UWSEPA.

      CHESTER COUNTY OFFERS NEW WORKSHOP SERIES FOR UNEMPLOYED
         A new series of free 12 Steps Toward Employment workshops for the unemployed and underemployed, part of the Chester County Workforce Investment Board's Road to Employment initiative announced last fall, have been scheduled for June 2011 in Exton, Phoenixville, Coatesville and Kennett Square.
         Further information on the workshops, together with required registration and other employment assistance information for individuals and agencies, is available here.

      ADDICTION RECOVERY GROUP ANNOUNCES LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TRAINING
         PRO-ACT, a grassroots group advocating for better understanding of addiction recovery, has announced a new regional training on How to Talk to Your Legislators and Get Them to Hear You.
         The two-hour workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29th, beginning at 6om at the PRO-ACT Recovery Training Center, 444 N. Third St., Suite 307, in Philadelphia.
         The program will be offered again on Saturday, August 13th at 10am at the same location.
         The workshop will address the legislative process and how to navigate the offices of elected officials, how to build relationships, and how to develop talking points and “leave-behinds” for meetings with legislators.
         The workshop is free. To register, call William Webb at 215-923-1661. From our friends at UWSEPA.

      STATE SENATOR PUBLISHES COMPREHENSIVE TEEN RESOURCE GUIDE
         Pennsylvania Sen. Anthony Williams has created a Youth and Teen Resource Guide as a one-stop shop for young men and women.
         The 16-page booklet provides a comprehensive list of youth organizations, after school programs and mentoring programs in Philadelphia and Delaware County that provide both summer and year round opportunities to engage our children.
         Download the guide here. This information provided by UWSEPA.

      Special PathWays PA Information/Events

      PROJECT PEACE FOR TEENAGERS
      Do you need help with education, childcare, welfare benefits, parenting or support? We can help! The Project Peace Teen Parent Program provides one-on-one support for pregnant adolescents and teen parents. Project Peace services are available at the MacDade Goodwill Store, 2137 MacDade Boulevard, Holmes PA, from Tuesdays from 9 AM to 5 PM.
      Services provided will help you:
      Complete high school and plan for higher education
      Become a better parent
      Obtain appropriate community resources, such as childcare, supportive services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Parents (TANF), life skills training and employment
      Get in home support
      For more information call 610-543-5022 or visit www.pathwayspa.org.

      PATH$ TO BENEFITS
      The PathWays PA Path$ 2 Benefits program provides access to counseling and workshops on banking and budgeting assistance, credit and debt management counseling, identity theft repair, financial goal planning, financial crisis management, college planning, housing assistance, and free tax preparation. Clients can also be screened for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and many other services. Even unemployed and dislocated workers can take part in programs that improve their credit without costing money.
      For more information, please call 610-543-5022 or email financialpaths@pathwayspa.org.

      FINANCIAL PATH$
      Financial Path$, a new program from PathWays PA, helps individuals and families build paths toward economic self-sufficiency through financial education, asset building and economic empowerment.  This program provides one-on-one financial counseling and financial education workshops. Financial Path$ is committed to assisting everyone carve their path to self-sufficiency.
      If you or your clients would be interested in learning more about this program please contact wrahemtulla@pathwayspa.org
      For more information become Financial Path$ friend on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  Stay turned as we will also be launching a blog very soon!