Monday, February 13, 2012

PathWays PA E-Alert: February 13, 2012

Federal Policy Updates

SUPPORT UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

Once again, millions of hardworking Americans face being cut off of unemployment insurance (UI) unless Congress acts to fully renew the federal UI program that's set to expire at the end of this month. One proposal to pay for the extension does so by reducing the number of working families who are able to claim the Child Tax Credit. The change would affect 5.5 million children in immigrant families earning an average of $21,000 per year, resulting in a loss of $1,800 in income.

The Coalition on Human Needs is asking you to call your Members of Congress on Tuesday, February 14! Call toll-free 888-245-3381 or use this easy Click-to-Call page to connect with your Members of Congress.

Please spread the word: Make sure your networks, friends, and co-workers know about calling on Tuesday. Make it your Valentine’s Day gift to unemployed workers across this nation.

JOIN RESTAURANT WORKERS & SUPPORTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ON THE 2.13 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 

From 1991, the minimum wage for tipped workers has stayed frozen at $2.13. Meaning many restaurant workers are struggling to make ends meet basically on earning tips alone.

Take Action: Send a letter to your representative in Congress & ask them to support WAGES, H.R. 631, legislation that will finally increase the tipped minimum wage from $2.13, overcoming 20 years so substandard pay for restaurant workers.

State Policy Updates

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL

Last week, the Governor released his proposed budget for 2012-2013. Governor Corbett described the budget as one that includes no tax increases but that does make cuts to higher education and public welfare programs.

Several pieces of the Governor's budget stand out this year:
  • Elimination of the General Assistance (GA) Program: The proposed budget ends the GA program, which serves individuals who do not qualify for TANF but have verifiable need such as those related to disabilities, domestic violence, caring for someone sick or disabled or participating in a drug or alcohol treatment program. Most counties offer GA recipients $205 per month. According to Public Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander, current GA recipients will be screened to see if they qualify for federal SSI or other programs.  Community Legal Services has posted a statement on the decision to eliminate GA that gives more information about the program as well as the impact they think it will have on families.
  • Creation of Block Grants: Under the proposed budget, new block grants will be created under the Department of Public Welfare and given to counties in the place of line item funding for programs such as Homeless Assistance and Behavioral Health Services. A block grant is also being proposed to cover basic education costs. This grant is the Student Achievement Block Grant.
For more information see our Policy Blog. To see the full budget, visit click here.

CURRENT THREATS TO VOTING RIGHTS IN PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Senate is considering legislation, HB 934, which would create obstacles for citizens trying to exercise their right to vote, making it impossible for some to make their voices heard.
In June the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 934 sending it to the Senate for action. The bill requires valid state or federal photo ID from all Pennsylvanians at all elections before they are permitted to vote. HB 934 is an expensive voter suppression bill that would make it harder for older citizens, students, people with disabilities, racial minorities, and lower-income people to vote.

Please call your state senator today and tell him or her:

“As a constituent, I urge you to oppose HB 934. Requiring photo identification to cast a ballot will make it harder for many eligible voters, especially racial minorities, the elderly and working poor, and people with disabilities, to exercise their right to vote. Pennsylvania does not have the money to spend on a new government program that makes it harder for ordinary, eligible voters to exercise one of our most fundamental rights, the right to vote."
For more information please visit: http://www.aclupa.org/issues/votingissues// 

Information/Events

A JOB SKILLS AND JOB SEEKERS WORKSHOP

Northwest EPIC Stakeholders is one of ten community driven stakeholder group organizations, including PathWays PA, who serve the Northwest Community of Philadelphia.

The workforce that is a part of the community has a vested interest in sustaining the community where they live and work. Therefore, the sponsoring community organizations want to support the efforts of these individuals by providing resources within the community to help them.

Those resources are: A Job Skills and Job Seekers Workshop to be held on March 7th 2012 from 10:00am to 2:00pm and a Job Fair to be held on March 14, 2012 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

If you are an employer in the City of Philadelphia please help Northwest EPIC provide this opportunity for persons in the Northwest community who are currently seeking employment. Your participation at the Job Fair will be a valuable asset to the Northwest Community and the individuals who are seeking employment.

To register for the Job Fair or if you need further information please contact Nan Rhone at 215-549-2686.

BUDGET COMMUNICATION RESOURCES

It is the season once again when state and local governments are preparing, deliberating over, and enacting budgets that will shape public services for the upcoming year. Every year, this presents a concrete opportunity to help our neighbors and friends better understand the important role that government – and the public systems and services it funds – plays in promoting the common good, underpinning our quality of life and, more importantly these days, creating a stronger and more equitable economy.

Public Works is able to help by putting together some new resources that can with communications about the budget. These include:
  • A Public Works Tip Sheet that summarizes our key recommendations for communicating effectively about pubic budgets;
  • A slide-show presentation that walks through the challenges presented by Americans’ “default thinking” as well as our top recommendations;
  • Public Works’ analysis of some real world examples: From North Carolina, a fact sheet on the impact of budget cuts on Public Structures and from Washington, an analysis of the state budget that reconnects it to key public values.
For more information visit: https://sites.google.com/site/demospublicworks/Communicating-About-Public-Budgets 

EQUAL PAY APP CHALLENGE

On Tuesday, January 31, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced a new software application development challenge, the Equal Pay App Challenge.

This exciting contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor in coordination with the White House and federal partners on the President's National Equal Pay Task Force. The challenge calls on developers to use publicly available data and resources to create innovative, easy-to-use apps to educate users about the pay gap and provide tools to combat it. More information, including a complete list of the contest's rules and requirements, is available at http://www.challenge.gov/labor or www.equalpay.challenge.gov.

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