Monday, December 19, 2011

PathWays PA E-Alert: December 19, 2011

We at PathWays PA wish you a happy holiday season! This will be out last E-Newsletter for 2011 but we look forward to bringing you updates in the new year! In the meantime, please check our Policy Blog for any updates.

Federal Updates

HOUSE ESTABLISHES NEW CAUCUS ON FOSTER YOUTH


Recently, the House of Representatives established the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, a 36 member caucus which aims to give a voice to children in the child welfare system.

In 2012, many members will embark on a listening tour for those directly involved in the system. The Child Welfare League of America is encouraging people to share with Representatives in the Caucus their own stories of firsthand experience and knowledge to help shape debate on the issues.

For more information please click here.

PLANS WOULD RESTRICT TAX CREDIT ELIGIBILITY


As part of ongoing negotiations to extend unemployment benefits, a recent proposal in the House of Representatives calls for cutting the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) by narrowing eligibility to United States citizens.

Immigrants – regardless of status – pay into the federal income tax and payroll taxes with each paycheck. Many are not yet eligible for a social security number, and instead use an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN.)

To alleviate some of the tax burden for services they can’t always fully access, the ACTC has been available to those filing with ITIN numbers. The ACTC frees up money in many households to pay for the care of young children, and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities stated that as many as 1.3 million children were prevented from falling into poverty by the tax credit.

Please share your thoughts on this plan by contacting your representative.


PLAN WOULD TAKE THOSE WITHOUT GEDS OR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS OFF UNEMPLOYMENT

A recent plan put forth in the House would bar those without a high school diploma or GED from accessing federal unemployment insurance unless they are enrolled in classes to receive one. This is regardless of the number of years worked, and places a burden on working families falling on hard times. Furthermore, since many states (including Pennsylvania) has cut the budget allocations for adult literacy and GED programs in recent years, these classes may not even be available to those in need.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives and next goes to the Senate. If you want to comment on this bill, please contact Senator Casey and / or Senator Toomey

Pennsylvania Updates

PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIA!


Recently, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill 934 – a bill that requires a valid state or federal photo ID from those Pennsylvanians wishing to vote. But thousands of eligible voters – including many seniors, students, people with disabilities and lower-income individuals – do not have a government issued ID. The lack of ID places a burden on those individuals and may amount to a poll tax for many. In addition, it will create longer lines at the polls and create a costlier electoral system.

The Senate version of the bill will be going up for a vote soon, and Project HOME has created online resources for contacting your Senator: by email and phone . In addition, they’re providing updates on their Facebook page, as well on Twitter through the #voterID hashtag.

Actions Against Women’s Health in PA – Help Stand Up for Women!

Last Monday the PA House of Representatives passed HB 1977 by a vote of 146-45. This bill would ban private health insurance plans sold in the yet-to-be established Pennsylvania health exchange from covering abortion services - even if the woman's health is at risk! This bill is now awaiting action by the PA Senate.

Actions concerning women’s health continued into Tuesday and Wednesday when the House and then Senate passed SB 732, the incredibly burdensome regulations bill that threatens to shut down safe abortion providers in Pennsylvania - leaving women without access to this important medical procedure! The bill, which isn't supported by a single medical group, is now sitting on the Governor Corbett's desk awaiting his signature.

This is where YOU come in!

You can tell the Governor what you think about the bill by calling him at 717-787-2500. Below is a sample message you are welcome to use or you can send a message in your own words:

My name is _________ from ____(city/town)____ and I'm calling to urge Governor Corbett to VETO Senate Bill 732. There is not a single medical group in support of the bill. On behalf of the women and families in Pennsylvania, PLEASE stop this attack on access to safe, legal medical care.

Thank you to our friends at WOMEN’S WAY for putting this alert together.

Information / Events

NEW HOME FOR HIV+ BUCKS COUNTY RESIDENTS
For HIV-Positive individuals, finding a safe community can be a challenge, and many can face housing discrimination.

Bucks Villa is a new home in New Hope for HIV-positive individuals 18-and-older who qualify for HUD benefits, are currently drug-free, are free of communicable diseases and meet housing-needs standards. It provides eight private rooms, private bath and shared community space.

For more information, visit http://www.bucksvilla.org/.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE HUNGER CONFERENCE

On March 9th at Widener University, a coalition of area non-profits will hold the 4th Annual Conference on Hunger. This year’s theme is “Connecting Communities, Applying Resources and Advocating to Decrease Hunger in Delaware County.”

It will provide opportunities to join those concerned about hunger related issues in our community; learn from elected officials what is happening federally, statewide and locally; attend sessions about healthy eating with limited food, starting a food cupboard, how to find local food resources, advocacy and growing food at home; and network with others concerned with hunger to find solutions to your client’s needs.

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