Monday, March 26, 2012

PathWay PA E-Newsletter: March 26, 2012

Federal Policy Updates

HELP SUPPORT SNAP

Every five years, Congress reauthorizes the Farm Bill, a comprehensive piece of legislation that includes, among other items, SNAP (also known as Food Stamps). This year, the Farm Bill is up for reauthorization.

As Farm Bill deliberations begin, the Food Research Action Center is asking organizations that support SNAP to show that support. FRAC is circulating a sign on letter for organizations that urges Senators to strengthen and protect SNAP, and to oppose any proposals to cap or reduce funding, restrict eligibility or reduce benefits in SNAP.

If your support SNAP, take action:
  1. Sign your organization onto this critical letter urging the Senate to strengthen and protect SNAP.
  2. Please distribute the letter and encourage other groups in your network to sign.

SIGN LETTER TO PROTECT YOUNG FARMWORKERS

Rules proposed by Secretary Solis would prevent young farmworkers under the age of 16 from performing especially hazardous work—work that has made farmwork the most lethal industry in the country for America’s working youth. The rules do not prevent children of farmers performing whatever work their parents wish them to perform. It also does not cover small farms that periodically employ just a few workers but it does protect the thousands and thousands of migrant farmworker youth from the most dangerous work activities that they are often required to do.

These changes were recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) to help protect young farmworkers. Help support these changes by signing onto a letter.

If your organization can sign on to this and is interested in doing so, simply do so by notifying Norma Flores Lopez, Director of AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign, at her email address: flores@afop.org. Deadline is Friday, April 6.

State Policy Updates

LOBBY DAY AND RALLY TO RESTORE THE HEMAP PROGRAM

On April 3, 2012, advocates and supporters of HEMAP will be in Harrisburg to urge the Legislature, Governor and Attorney General to restore funds to restart the program. Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) has saved the homes of over 46,000 Pennsylvania families with low interest loans since 1984 until it was closed due to budget cuts on July 1, 2011.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 1:00
WHERE: Capitol Steps

Foreclosures are up 35% in Pennsylvania over last year and they are expected to keep rising. The housing crisis is continuing and HEMAP must be restored.

This event is sponsored by PA Save Our Homes Coalition, which is made up of housing, religious, labor and community organizations from throughout the state. If you would like more information, please call 215-557-0822.

HELP SAVE THE HOMELESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The proposed state budget includes holes for safety net programs. One problem is that it plans to fold the Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) and six other programs into one big pot of money to be called the Human Services Development Fund block grant and cut overall funding by 20%. HAP received $20.5 million last year, meaning it will lose $4 million and then get added to the big pot.

Aside from the cuts, this plan to put multiple programs into one fund will in effect have children, parents, and individuals experiencing homelessness competing against people who have mental illness or an intellectual disability for services. In addition, the block granting plan does not require successful outcomes in order for organizations to receive funding. While more flexibility for programs can help them thrive, not requiring outcomes could mean successful projects are overlooked.

If you think these cuts will hurt families in Pennsylvania, please urge your state legislator to vote “No” to the 20% cut to homelessness and to the block grants. An updated list of legislative contacts can be found here.

From our friends at the People’s Emergency Center.

Information/Events

SUPREME COURT ARGUMENTS ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

After the Affordable Care Act was enacted in March 2010, numerous lawsuits challenging several provisions of the landmark law were filed in the federal courts. Many of those cases were dismissed, but some federal appellate courts issued decisions on the merits of the law. In November 2011, the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider the constitutionality of two major provisions of the law: the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.

The Supreme Court has scheduled three days of oral arguments, March 26-28, 2012 and a decision is expected by the end of June.

For resources and materials please visit Families USA’s Supreme Court Watch and check out ways you can Take Action.

NEW VOTER ID LAW

If a voter does not possess proof of identification for voting purposes as defined by the new Voter ID Law and requires proof of identification for voting purposes, you can receive identification without a fee by following the steps below:

Step 1: To obtain a Pennsylvania Photo Identification card, an individual needs to visit a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver License Center with a completed Application for an Initial Photo Identification Card; form DL-54A, and the following:
  • Social Security Card
AND
  • One of the following: Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, Valid U.S. Passport, OR Birth Certificate with a raised seal
PLUS
  •  Two proofs of residency such as lease agreements, current utility bills, mortgage documents, W-2 form, tax records

*Students at least 18 years of age: Accepted proofs of residency include the room assignment paperwork (considered a lease) and one bill with their dorm room address on it. Bank statements, paystubs and credit card bills are all acceptable. Other Individuals who may not have any bills, leases or mortgage documents in their name may bring the person with whom they are living along with their Driver's License or Photo ID to a driver license center as one proof of residence.

Step 2: When their application and supporting documentation have been reviewed and processed, a License Center staff member will direct the applicant to the Photo Center to have their photo taken for their Photo ID card.

Step 3: Once their photo has been taken, they will be issued a Photo ID card.

For more information please visit http://www.aclupa.org/issues/votingissues/voterid.

A CONVERSATION WITH OUR LEGISLATORS: PA BUDGET CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS

The Bucks County Women's Advocacy Coalition and the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship are hosting a Conversation With Our Legislators.

WHEN: Friday, March 30 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m
WHERE: BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2040 Street Road (Routes 611 and 132), Warrington, PA

Hear leading fiscal policy expert Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, provide an analysis of what's at stake for women and girls in Governor Tom Corbett's second budget proposal. Listen to noted labor economist Mark Price of the Keystone Research Center, who will discuss the direction of the state's economy, with a particular focus on how working and low-income women are faring. Finally, coalition partners Trisha Odoms, YWCA Bucks County, and Tam St. Claire, Bucks Voices for Health Care Reform, will discuss the impacts of our current financial realities on women and girls in Bucks County. Several of our local legislators also will speak about what they see as the opportunities and challenges in the 2012 PA State Budget.

For more information about the event, please send an email to convo2012@bcwac.org.

VIDEO SCREENING FOR NATIONAL FARMWORKERS AWARENESS

The AUNI Food Justice Movie Night will be screening the documentary "Harvest of Dignity” in honor of National Farmworkers Awareness Week. The screening will include a discussion and a dinner of Chipotle burritos.

WHEN: Monday March 26. Doors and Dinner @ 6pm, Movie at 6:30
WHERE: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

This documentary focuses on the lives of farm workers in North Carolina. With original footage from journalist Edward Murrow's 1960 documentary "Harvest of Shame", this documentary reexamines the
current situation with interviews of farm workers, advocates, educators, and faith leaders.

If you have any questions email YDassistant@urbannutrition.org.

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