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It's August Recess - Go Meet with Your Legislators!

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While the Senate chose to skip its usual August recess this year, the House is at home with its constituents - you. Why not take the time to meet with your legislators and tell them what you are thinking about?

If you're not sure how to go about setting up a meeting (or what to do once you're there), check out our information below.


Decide what you want to meet about: There's so many issues to discuss right now - healthcareDACA, domestic violence and the Violence Against Women Act, paid family leave and the FAMILY Act, payday lending.... Think about what matters to you, and do a little research to learn more until you feel comfortable talking about it.Set up the meeting: Prosperity Now put together a great tool for setting up recess meetings, including a sample email and information on how to contact the scheduler in your legislator's office. If you're uncomfortable with this format, you can make it simple - find your member of Congress here, and then ask to speak…

Support Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act!

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Our friends at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence report that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas has just introduced a new bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This bill, among other changes:

• Increases authorization for the Rape Prevention and Education Program to $150 million to address skyrocketing need and demand for community prevention programs.
• Strengthens public housing protections for survivors including those seeking housing transfers based on safety concerns.
• Acknowledges the trauma of incarceration on women and their family members, especially their children, and improves health care services and trauma informed responses to better prepare incarcerated women to return to their communities.
• Improves enforcement of current federal domestic violence-related firearms laws and closes loopholes to reduce firearm-involved abuse and intimate partner homicide.
• Expands VAWA's ability to respond to sexual harassment.

Take Action…

Make Calls to Prevent Discrimination Against LGBT Families and Youth

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On July 11, members of the House added the Aderholt Amendment to a Labor-HHS Appropriations bill. If the bill goes into law with this amendment, it could harm children in the child welfare and foster care system and turn away qualified adoptive and foster parents.

Under the Aderholt Amendment, states that refuse to give money to discriminatory providers could see their child welfare budget cut by up to 15%. This amendment would allow child welfare providers to receive taxpayer dollars even when they refuse to serve qualified potential parents based on their marital status, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.

Providers who discriminate against the children themselves would also be able to receive money under this amendment, even if they:

deny service to LGBT youth, force youth to hide their gender identity, allow youth to be subjected to medically debunked practices like conversion therapyTake Action: Senator Wyden has been circulating a letter opposing this amendment. Please ca…

Public Comment Opportunities on Overtime, Census 2020, and Title X

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Our action items often focus on calling or contacting your legislators, but that's not the only way your voice can be heard. Another way to share your opinion and make a difference is through public comment.

Public comment periods give people the chance to articulate their opinions on proposed rules or laws and to offer advice on how they could be changed. You may speak up at a local town council meeting to discuss a proposed park in your neighborhood, or you might submit an electronic comment to show how a proposed rule would affect your life.

Taking part in a public comment period is an effective way to ensure legislation is implemented in a way that helps everyone affected. Your thoughts go directly to people making the rules, and those thoughts shape the final version of the law.

We have three ways to take action through public comment this week - on Overtime, Census 2020, Title X. Take a look and see what is interesting to you!

Overtime
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and…

Delaware County Food Bank Directory from PathWays PA

Lauren Rodino, PathWays PA's SNAP Outreach and IDA coordinator, put together a great list of food banks in Delaware County. Please check it out and let us know what we are missing in the comments.

Also, if you or someone you know would like to learn more about the SNAP (food stamp) program and see if you qualify, please contact PathWays PA.

Comment on Pennsylvania's Overtime Regulations

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(7/25/18 - Updated with new deadline)

In early July, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) proposed a new regulation requiring public comment. The proposed regulation would greatly expand eligibility for overtime pay in Pennsylvania.

The regulation, available here, makes it harder for employers to classify workers as exempt managers and administrative professionals by raising the minimum salary these workers have to get from $23,660 to $47,892.

This regulation mirrors much of the overtime proposal under President Obama's Administration that was put on hold in the courts. It would do three things:
Clarify the definitions of executive, administrative, and professional workers to make it much easier to figure out what kinds of job duties qualify under the exemption. Raise the minimum salary threshold for the exemption from $23,660/year to $47,892/year within two years and then institute a formula to update the minimum threshold every three years going forward. Allo…

Take Action Today!

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With so much happening, here are some short takes on today's news:
Families Belong Together: Despite a court order for reunification by July 10, nearly half of the children under 5 remain without their parents. Over 50 children are expected to be reunited today, with others in limbo as lawyers work to clear parents to take custody or to find parents no longer in custody - some of whom have been deported without their childrenTake Action: You can continue to call legislators and support organizations helping families in need. For further information, read our blog post from a few weeks ago. Shut Down Berks is holding a vigil on Sunday to Shut Down the Berks County Family Detention Center. Check out the link to learn more.SCOTUS: Last night, the President announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh currently serves on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.Take Action: You can read more about Judge Kavanaugh from CNN, Fox News, the