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PathWays PA E-Alert - July 27, 2009

PA Budget

We are currently in the fifth week of the fiscal year and the Commonwealth is still unfortunately without a budget. While budget proposals now head to a House-Senate Conference Committee, important programs are especially at risk of being cut. It is incredibly important to keep reminding your legislators of what programs Pennsylvania cannot afford to cut.

Today at 12:30, PathWays PA's President/CEO, Carol Goertzel, will be joining other state leaders at a rally in Harrisburg to discuss some of these cuts.

The two proposals that made their way through both chambers are:

* House Bill 1416, which moved the higher education line items out of the General Fund budget and into a new Higher Education Fund. It also made cuts to the Governor's proposal by cutting funds from such programs as Pre-K Counts, Early Intervention, Maternal and Child Health, and Teen Pregnancy and Parenting.

* Senate approved Amended House Bill 1416. The amendment reincorporates the higher-education funding that was set aside in the House Bill and calls for $1.7 billion in one-time revenues to be taken from the Rainy Day Fund, the Health Care Provider Retention Account, and the tobacco endowment fund, to name a few. The amendment then makes additional cuts, similar to those in the Senate's original budget proposal, Senate Bill 850. These cuts include the elimination of the Industry Partnership program, severe cuts to Adult and Family Literacy programs, CHIP, Child Care Assistance, and other critical programs.

* A comparison of the bills has been compiled by the House Appropriations Committee.

If you are upset about these budget proposals, which include cuts ranging from education to hospitals to the elimination of the Industry Partnership program, please tell your legislators how you would finish this sentence: "If the choice is between reducing/eliminating spending on hospitals, burn units, Industry Partnerships, and childcare, or increasing revenues, I would support..."

During this recession, some budget cuts are inevitable. But too many cuts will lead to long-term impacts on our families, our health, and our economy at a time when we can't afford to do without.


Federal Issues

New Federal Early Childhood Education Funding

A bill currently in the House, H.R. 3221, creates the Early Learning Challenge Fund. Under the legislation, a total of $1 billion in competitive matching grants would be made available to states to help improve and expand early learning systems.

Pennsylvania has made great strides in recent years to improve access to and quality of early learning programs. The programs are working to make the Commonwealth's youngest learners ready for school and ready for success. Pennsylvania would be a strong candidate for such funds and they would go a long way to expand our current efforts.

Please urge your Representatives to support this bill.


Transitional Jobs Program Passes House Committee

On July 17, 2009, funding for Transitional Jobs programs passed in the House Appropriations Committee mark-up. This is a major step forward in securing dedicated funding for Transitional Jobs programs.

The Senate Subcommittee mark-up is quickly approaching. Please reach out to your Senators and urge them to support Transitional Jobs in the FY2010 budget. You can use this template letter and 1 page fact sheet to guide your efforts.

If you have any question please contact Melissa Young.


National Call-In Day for Health Reform - July 28

On July 28, 2009, please commit to calling your U.S. Representative and be part of the thousands of health care advocates from around the country calling Representatives to tell them to support the House's health care reform bill (H.R. 3200). Remind your representative that real health care reform needs to include:

  • Affordable coverage;
  • Comprehensive benefits, including reproductive health coverage for women;
  • Choice of a private or public health insurance plan; and
  • Fair insurance practices.

State Issues

Extend Unemployment Compensation

Last weekend, more than 20,000 individuals in Pennsylvania receiving unemployment benefits exhausted those benefits, the first large wave of individuals to do so. State lawmakers are working on legislation to extend federal unemployment benefits another seven weeks, but until then those 20,000 individuals will have to go without.

On July 7th, the House passed legislation, H.B. 1770, that would temporarily change the way Pennsylvania pays its extended unemployment benefits. By doing so, the state could draw down $145 million in federal stimulus money to offer seven weeks of additional emergency unemployment benefits.

Please contact your Senator today to urge them to extend these benefits.


News and Information

Budget Impasse Puts Women and Children at Risk!

Join Leaders, including Carol Goertzel, President/CEO of PathWays PA, at

A Rally for Women
Monday, July 27 at 12:30
Main Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg

The Proposed Budget Severely Cuts These Critical Services:

* Childcare Services
* Childcare Assistance
* Medical Assistance- Obstetric and Neonatal Services
* Accessible Housing
* Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
* Maternal and Child Health
* Public Library Subsidy
* Adult and Family Literacy
* Teen Pregnancy and Parenthood Education, cut 100%
* PA Commission for Women, cut 100%
* Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, cut 100%
* Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, Cut 100%
* Governor's Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs, cut 100%

For more information about this event, please contact the Pennsylvania Commission for Women or call Barb Warner at 1-888-615-7477.


July 30: Health Care Panel

Democracy Unplugged will be hosting a panel discussion on health care reform.

WHEN: Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:00 PM

WHERE: Providence Friends Meeting, 105 N. Providence Road (Rt 252), in Media, Pa.

As the summer heats up, so does the fight for quality, affordable health care. We know that we are going to get health care reform this year; the question is what is it going to look like?

The panel will include three perspectives:

* John Karr of the Libertarian Party will be advocating against health care reform,
* Jerry Polikoff of Health Care for All PA is in favor of a single-payer system and the
* Marc Stier, State Director for Health Care For America Now, will be speaking in favor of the Public Option Plan, which will allow people to choose whether they want to keep their private insurance or subscribe to a public plan if they are uninsured or underinsured.

Please contact Athena at aford@philaup.org with any questions.


Working Families Resource Summit

WHEN: Saturday, August 1 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

WHERE: Interboro High School, 16th and Amosland Road, Prospect Park PA

The summit will feature a panel discussion and a question and answer session that will be followed by a service fair meant to connect community members with government agencies, non-government organizations, and local resources.

To RSVP and for more information please click here. If you have any question please contact Eve Massa at 610-892-8623 or eve.massa@mail.house.gov.


Support Earned Sick Days in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia!

Support the paid sick days campaign in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia!

Become our friend! Show your support for earned sick time by visiting Facebook. Visit this link to support earned sick time in Pennsylvania, and visit this link to support earned sick time in Philadelphia. Support both!

Tell us your story! Are you a parent who lost their job to stay home with a sick child? Are you a business owner who provides/supports paid sick days? Email your story to us at policy@pathwayspa.org.

Call your Representatives! If you live in Philadelphia, call your City Councilperson and urge them to support "Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces," which guarantees earned sick time for all working Philadelphians. Not sure who your City Councilperson is? Click on this link and type in your home address to find out which district you live in: http://www.phila.gov/citycouncil/districtform/districtform.html.

If you live in Pennsylvania (but outside of Philadelphia), call your state Representative. Tell him/her you support earned sick time for workers. Not sure who your Representative is? Simply type your address here:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

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