Monday, June 27, 2011

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!

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