Monday, February 15, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 15 February 2010

As the Pennsylvania State Budget process continues, be sure to keep an eye out for PathWays PA's weekly Budget Alerts and budget updates on our blog.

Budget

Complete the United Way of PA Survey on Impact of Budget Cuts and Impasse

United Way of Pennsylvania has released a new survey to measure the long-term impact of Pennsylvania’s 2009 Budget Impasse and continued funding cuts on nonprofit organizations.

They need everyone’s help to document the impact to make the case that funding health and human services is vital. The 2010 state budget negotiations ahead are expected to be extremely difficult. State revenues are well below what was projected only a few months ago, and the legislature is showing little interest for expanding current revenue sources or increasing taxes to maintain funding levels for nonprofit services.

Please complete this important yet brief survey and share it with the organizations in your network.

Federal

Ask Congress to Extend Benefits for the Unemployed

On February 28, 2010, the extension of jobless benefits and subsidized COBRA coverage to the unemployed will expire without action by Congress. If you believe these programs are important, please sign on to a letter from the National Employment Law Project which will be sent to Congress.

The President’s Budget (Finally) Explained

The Coalition on Human Needs will be holding a conference call in the coming week to detail items in the President’s budget related to human needs spending. This call has been postponed several times due to record breaking snow, but should take place this week. If you have not already registered, you can do so at CHN’s website.


State

March Towards the Finish Line on Healthcare Reform

In Pennsylvania alone, 1.3 million people do not have health care. With limitations on coverage due to pre-existing conditions and/or high costs, families are unable to obtain or afford coverage. Reform is necessary to ensure a physically and financially healthy future for America.

To show the need for healthcare, from February 17th through February 24th, individuals will be marching from Philadelphia to Washington, DC.

While a group will march the entire 133 miles, organizers are inviting everyone to join for as long as they are able to. Many will begin the march with the core group leaving Philadelphia on the 17th and rejoin them in Washington on the 24th. If you want to spend just a day or two marching in Delaware or Maryland, there will be arranged vans and car pools.

To RSVP and for more information, please contact Marc Stier.

To kick off the march on February 17th there will be a rally at noon in Philadelphia (the exact location is yet to be determined).

House Bill 745 (Hate Crimes Bill) Expected to Come to Vote Soon

(from our friends at JSPAN)

In late 2009, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 745 with bipartisan support. In the next few weeks, a floor vote is expected on the bill.

HB 745 would amend the Title 18 Ethnic Intimidations Act to define crimes against individuals based on "actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity" as ethnic intimidation, or hate crimes. Passing H.B. 745 would add the above listed groups as protected classes of Pennsylvanians, classes that are not now protected on the state level from hate crimes and violence. The legislation could impact tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

From 2002 to 2008 Pennsylvania protected all of its citizens from hate crimes, including those based on perceived gender identity. However, even though the State Legislature supported hate crimes legislation, it was struck down by the State Supreme Court in 2008 because of a technicality.

As we move closer to a vote on this important legislation to provide protection for all Pennsylvanians, please let your representative know your thoughts on the bill.


Information

What Can Your Organization Do To Support the Census?

The Pennsylvania Office of Financial Education and the Department of Banking are working to support statewide efforts to have every Pennsylvanian counted in the 2010 Census.

Organizations can play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful by encouraging clients and others in the community to take part in the count. You or your organization can:

• Ensure accurate census data, which guide funding decisions for your community and affect your representation in Congress.
• Spread the word about temporary census jobs in your community.
• Reassure your community it is safe to answer the census.

Further information and materials on the Census can be found at www.2010census.gov. Information on Census activities in Philadelphia, including a forum this coming Thursday on why the Census is important to those under 30, can be found at http://www.phillycounts.org.


Connect 2-1-1

CONNECT211.org is a new web site that has information on health and human service agencies in southeast Pennsylvania where individuals can retrieve the information on services around health, jobs, school, and family. The website contains a large database of health and human services in the five county Philadelphia region - Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Additionally users of connect can conduct proximity searches and see their results on a graphical map and obtain accurate driving, transit and walking directions. Services that can be searched for on the website include:

  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Disaster Services
  • Employment Services
  • Food Services
  • Housing Services
  • Substance Abuse Services
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Disability Services
  • Education Services
  • Financial Services
  • Health Services
  • Legal Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Other General Services

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