Monday, January 31, 2011

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: January 31, 2011

State Policy Update

Pennsylvania State CapitolUPCOMING BUDGET EVENTS

Pennsylvania's state budget fight is shaping up in Harrisburg. The state Senate has introduced a TABOR spending caps bill as one of its top priorities (Senate Bill 7), and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has indicated the House will pass a budget at $26 million, which is $2 billion less than the budget this year.

The Better Choices for Pennsylvania coalition is already at work, making plans for a coordinated, proactive campaign to highlight the impact of proposed cuts and to push for a balanced approach to the budget.

Mark your calendar for these two upcoming events
  • STATEWIDE BUDGET CALL - Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 10 a.m. Call-in Number: (760) 569-7676 Access Code: 453547
  • PBPC'S ANNUAL BUDGET SUMMIT - Monday, March 14, 2011, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Hilton Harrisburg, 1 North Second Street, Harrisburg. Registration is free and lunch is included. Register today!

SUPPORT WOMEN’S ACCESS TO COMPREHENSIVE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE

Last week the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee passed SB3, a bill which will ban abortion coverage in the exchanges set up as part of healthcare reform, out of Committee. Please contact your members of the General Assembly and urge them to support the full range of reproductive health care. Without abortion coverage, more women will lose access to safe, legal abortions.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have the ability to decide whether to offer abortion coverage through their state health insurance exchanges, a marketplace for people to buy individual and small business insurance coverage at competitive rates. SB 3 would ban abortion coverage in the exchanges except in cases of rape or incest (in which case the woman must report the crime to the police and identify the assailant, if known) or when the life of a woman is in danger. There is no exception for situations such as paralysis, organ failure or infertility.

If a state chooses to allow abortion coverage, women must purchase the coverage separately and pay for it out of their own pocket - there is no federal funding for this insurance. SB 3 goes beyond the federal regulation by preventing women from purchasing insurance through the exchanges to cover an abortion with their own money. By banning coverage for abortion in the exchanges, women are denied access to a safe and legal service which they might need. For low-income women, banning access essentially denies them the ability to receive a safe, legal abortion.

Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the number of abortions - but it does create additional barriers to abortion and moves the procedure into a marginalized system away from medical and insurance oversight. Many women need abortion services when a wanted pregnancy goes horribly wrong - banning access to coverage in the exchanges would prevent them from receiving medically needed services.

Please contact your members of the General Assembly and urge them to support the full range of reproductive health care.

Thank you to Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Raising Women's Voices of Southeastern Pennsylvania for providing important information used in this alert.

Federal Policy Update

HELP PROTECT HOMELESS FUNDING

Over the next couple of weeks, the new Congress will be preparing FY 2011 funding bills. The current stopgap funding measure expires March 4. Although a concrete, official proposal has not yet been created, many programs are likely to be cut back to 2008 levels. This would result in cuts to both the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) and Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) programs.

In order to prevent these cuts and preserve the increases proposed by the Senate last month, we must act now. Please contact your Representative and let them know how important the above programs are for communities working to end homelessness. For more information about these important issues please visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ website.

Information/Events

JOIN HALF IN TEN FOR A WEBINAR ON ANTIPOVERTY ADVOCACY IN THE 112TH CONGRESS


The 112th Congress presents a challenging political landscape for advocates concerned about reducing poverty. With deficit reduction dominating the conversation, several proposals have already been set forth to slash critical services helping those struggling the most in this recession.

While these developments pose new challenges, advocates can take action to reduce poverty and fight for economic security through effective grassroots advocacy. In this webinar, members of Congress and policy experts will offer an overview of the most important policy battles this year, what's at stake for low-income families, and provide concrete action steps we can take together.

WHEN: February 2, 2011, 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST

Half in Ten is honored to have Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Al Franken (D-MN) speaking at the webinar. Both senators have been passionate advocates for low-income families during their time in Congress and will highlight the important role of grassroots advocacy in winning policy victories that promote economic security and opportunity for all.

Join us to ensure the voices of low-income Americans are heard during the upcoming budget debates. Register for Road to Shared Prosperity today!

PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH ACCESS NETWORK’S CALL SERIES

PHAN's Policy Call Series is back on Tuesday, February 1st from 6:00-7:00 PM.

Special guest speakers from Community Legal Services will talk about potential cuts to Medicaid that could impact tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

For those of you new to the PHAN Policy Call Series, the expert speakers start from the very beginning and then dive into the 'nitty-gritty' of the issue. It's a great way to learn more about health care issues from the comfort of your own home.

Dangerous cuts to Medicaid are being proposed that could leave thousands without health insurance. At the same time, there is a potential solution that could save peoples' health insurance and save the state money! Learn about this and how it relates to the Affordable Care Act's provisions on Medicaid expansions.

Email Athena at aford@pahealthacces.org for dial-in number.

Special PathWays PA Information/Events

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!

FREE TAX PREPARATION

PathWays PA offers FREE certified tax preparation at our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites throughout Philadelphia and Delaware counties. Free tax preparation is for taxpayers with an annual gross household income less than $50,000.

Keep your full refund and save your money:
  • No tax preparation fees
  • No E-filing Fees
  • No check cashing fees
  • Open a no-fee savings or prepaid debit card account
  • Purchase a risk free US Saving Bond
  • Find out it you’re eligible for SNAP (food stamps)
Taxpayers must being all necessary identification and required tax statement for taxpayer, spouse, and dependents.

Locations:
  • Philadelphia County – 3617 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia PA
  • Delaware County – 310 Amosland Road Holmes PA

Call 610-543-5022 or 1-800-209-2914 to schedule your FREE tax appointment today!


PATHWAYS PA OFFERS LANGUAGE/CIVICS COURSES

PathWays PA is offering a course meant for those interested in learning and improving their English while also covering:
  • United States History
  • Work Skills
  • Citizenship Process
  • Employment
  • Math
  • Reading

WHEN: Mondays & Wednesdays - 9:30 - 12:00 OR Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00 - 7:30
WHERE: Darby Borough Hall, 821 Summit Street, Darby PA

For more information about the class, please contact Kelly Binder at 610-543-5022 X 227 or kbinder@pathwayspa.org.

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