Monday, July 23, 2012

PathWays PA E-Newsletter: July 23, 2012

Federal Policy Updates 

HOUSE RELEASES DRAFT OF LABOR-HHS APPROPRIATIONS BILL

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released a draft of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013) Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. The bill passed out of the subcommittee by a vote of 8 to 6.

Overall the bill cuts more than $6 billion in discretionary funding from current levels. The majority of programs are flat-funded at current levels, but there are some notable increases and decreases.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) is cut by $194 million 
  • The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is funded $111 million below last year’s level. 
  • Head Start and child care do receive modest funding increases of $46 million and $25 million respectively, although these increases are lower than they both receive under the Senate bill
  • The bill again de-funds many of the programs integral to the President’s health care reform law, which would make implementing the law difficult if not impossible. 
The timeline on full House consideration of the Labor-HHS bill has yet to be determined, but with three weeks left in session before the next break the House has plenty of time to pass it before leaving for the five-week long summer recess.

From our friends at CWLA

State Policy Updates

NEW VOTER ID CARDS UNVEILED

Last week, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele announced the creation of a new card that can be issued to voters who need photo identification under Pennsylvania’s voter ID law.

The Department of State voter cards, which will be issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, will be available to registered voters who are not able to provide all of the documents they would normally need to obtain a photo ID from PennDOT.

The new voter photo identification cards are scheduled to be available at PennDOT’s Drivers License Centers beginning the last week of August. Those opposed to the Voter ID Law are still concerned about the ability of people, especially those with disabilities and the elderly, to find transportation to PennDOT Centers where they may have to wait hours for an ID.

The IDs, which are free, will be issued to voters for a 10-year period and can only be used for voting purposes. When requesting these IDs, voters will need to affirm they do not possess any other approved identification for voting purposes. They will be asked to provide two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, along with their date of birth and Social Security number, if the customer has an assigned number. PennDOT will validate the voter registration status with the Department of State while the voter is in the PennDOT office. Upon confirmation of this information, the voter will be issued the voter card before leaving the PennDOT facility.

If you have any questions or problems obtaining an ID call (866) OUR-VOTE or visit www.aclupa.org/voterID.

NO GENERAL ASSISTANCE, NOW WHAT?

Community Legal Services is holding a special meeting for advocates, social workers, and constituent services staff to discuss recent changes in programs administered by the Department of Public Welfare. The panel presentation will feature several attorneys from Community Legal Services.

WHEN: Thursday, July 26 from 3:00 to 5:00
WHERE: Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street, 11th Floor Conference Center

The agenda will include the elimination of General Assistance, proposed changes to TANF cash assistance for lawfully present immigrants, changes in TANF welfare-to-work programs, changes to Medical Assistance, the SNAP asset test, and related topics.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please register by July 24 by emailing Jennifer Feden at Community Legal Services at jfeden@clsphila.org.

Information & Events

RALLY TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE

Raising the minimum wage is an important step toward an economy that works for everyone. Putting more money into the pockets of ordinary Americans will help boost our economy.

The minimum wage can't support our families. The current federal minimum wage—at $7.25 an hour—amounts to only $15,080 a year. That's almost $9,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four.

Join Fight for Philly as they Rally to Raise the Minimum Wage.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 24th at 4:00
WHERE: Meet at the Liberty Bell

For more information visit: www.fightforphilly.org. You can also sign a petition to Raise the Minimum Wage by clicking here.

VOLUNTEER TO REGISTER VOTERS WITH THE VOTE FOR HOMES COALITION!

Learn how to register voters and about voting rights for people who are homeless, living with disabilities, or ex-offenders. The trainings are designed for people working or living in social service agencies and volunteers who want to help register voters in our communities. It includes a special focus on the new Voter ID law. (Even volunteers who have been trained before are encouraged to come again because of the new information.)

Pick one of the trainings below:
  • Thursday, July 26, 3-5 pm 
  • Monday, July 30, 2:30-4:30 pm 
Trainings are held at 1515 Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia and snacks will be provided. To attend please RSVP to Jennine Miller at 215-232-7272, x3042 or jenninemiller@projecthome.org or online at http://bit.ly/VFHtraining2012.

Vote for Homes! is a nonpartisan coalition registering thousands of people who are living on low incomes, including those who are homeless, in recovery, living with disabilities, or formerly incarcerated.

For more information, please visit www.voteforhomes.org.

PROPERTY TAX, RENT REBATE PROGRAM FOR SENIORS

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are awarded to qualifying low-income seniors who live in Philadelphia, Scranton, Pittsburgh and other parts of the state with particularly high tax burdens. This program has just been extended until December 31st.

This program is available for eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

For more information about this program and how to apply, click here.

WEBINAR: HEALTHY FOOD, HEALTHY ECONOMIES

Register now for a webinar exploring why and how supporting efforts to improve food security and healthy, local foods can strengthen our communities.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 2:00
Click here to register.

Brought to you by the Food and Agriculture Policy Collaborative, this webinar will feature industry-leading speakers and data points to help you make the economic and policy case.

CONFERENCE CALL: TRANSITIONING FROM THE SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAM TO AFTERSCHOOL MEALS

As summer meal programs come to a close, it is time to gear up for the school year and plan to provide healthy meals and snacks to children afterschool, on weekends, and during school holidays through the Afterschool Meal Program. The Food Action and Research Center (FRAC) encourages program providers and sponsors of the Summer Food Service Program to consider the opportunity to participate in the Afterschool Meal Program during the school year.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 7th at 1:00 pm

Click here to register.

FRAC will discuss the programming requirements and administrative responsibilities involved in operating an Afterschool Meal Program and you will hear from program sponsors and providers who successfully transition from one meal program to the other. Learn how the children in your summer meal program can have access to nutritious meals year-round.

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