Last week House and Senate leaders announced that a deal has been reached to pass a 6-month continuing resolution to fund the federal government through next spring.
Details of the agreement have not yet been made public, but the continuing resolution will reportedly fund federal agencies at current spending levels. With both chambers of Congress on summer recess, a vote on the agreement will likely be held in September, before the end of the fiscal year.
If this agreement is enacted it will ensure that the government will not be shutdown at the end of September when the current spending plan ends.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) needs to be reauthorized to ensure the continuation of vital, life-saving programs and laws. It was the first piece of American legislation that recognized the pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The reauthorization is also an opportunity to expand VAWA by improving services available to LGBTQ survivors of violence, breaking down barriers to services for undocumented survivors, and continuing prevention efforts to counter the high levels of violence against Native American and Native Alaskan women. Despite the need for this law some continue to stall its passage.
Please call your members of Congress and ask them to move the Rauthorization of VAWA forward. Below is a sample script you can use:
"Please support the prevention of sexual and domestic violence by making sure Congress considers the Violence Against Women Act's reauthorization THIS year. To do this, both the House and Senate bills must be considered as part of any future negotiations. I urge you to get a final VAWA that protects all victims passed this year."
From our friends at Women in Transition.
State Policy Updates
With three months to go until the General Election, a survey of the Commonwealth's procedures for implementing the new voter ID law indicates there are barriers for Pennsylvanians seeking photo ID required to vote, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC).
PBPC volunteers made 47 visits to PennDOT offices in 28 counties to assess how the voter ID law was being implemented. They found inadequate signage and a lack of information about the law at most locations. Volunteers were provided little information about the availability of free ID and, in almost three out of 10 cases, were told they must pay for ID that should have been made available for free. A new process to obtain an ID card at PennDOT centers will be rolled out at the end of August. If that process is not implemented quickly it could mean that many Pennsylvanians will be unable to vote.
Click here to read PBPC's full report and recommendations.
For updates on the current legal battle over the Voter ID Law check out Pennsylvania ACLU’s Blog.
Information & Events
Americans will receive $1.1 billion in rebates from insurance companies that overcharged them for health plan premiums last year under new rules created by the Affordable Care Act.
The medical loss ratio provision, also known as the 80/20 rule, requires health insurers to spend no more than 20% of customer premiums on administration instead of actual health care.
If insurance companies were spending more than 20% on administration then they were to issue their costumers a refund by the end of last week. If you received a refund, Health Care for American Now is trying to capture some of that information. Please fill out their form here. If you did not receive a refund that just means your insurance company was already following the new rules.
Join National Skills Coalition and the more than 40 other national organizations that make up the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce for “Workforce Wednesdays,” each Wednesday in August.
Workforce development programs are an important part of the nation’s economic recovery and job creation effort, yet our nation’s investments in the skills of its people are at risk. Participate in Workforce Wednesdays by taking action—it can be as simple as calling your Senators or Representative or, even better, arranging a site visit with program participants (jobseekers or employers)— but just take action on one or more Wednesdays during the month of August. Stand united with National Skills Coalition and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce in support of adequate funding for adult education and workforce training programs!
Visit SOS! Save Our Skills to learn more ways to get involved. Or for additional information contact Angela Hanks.
There are just two weeks left to submit videos to the 2012 WHYY Youth Media Awards!
WHYY is looking for the best youth-created videos of the 2011-2012 school year for their 2012 Youth Media Awards film festival. The Awards will honor the best youth media created in the Philadelphia region between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.
WHYY invites young filmmakers to submit their films to the WHYY Youth Media Awards. The deadline for submissions is August 15. Finalists will be screened at WHYY during an evening film festival and awards presentation on Oct. 13. A selection of the winners will be aired on WHYY's YArts Channel.
This year, they are accepting videos produced by students in grades 6-12. Videos must be submitted in one of the following categories: News Report, Documentary, Narrative, and Open.
For eligibility information or to see last year's videos visit www.whyy.org/awards.
COMMIT2ACT MOBILE APP
A new mobile app, Commit2Act, offers connections to worldwide campaigns.
Through Commit2Act, users can engage with leading campaigns around the world and promote issues they care about. Sign on to make commitments that matter to you, and compete with other like minded people in a community of inspiring youth changemakers. Users can post and promote their most important actions to their friends, while informing and inspiring all of their followers and contacts on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn.
Commit2Act can be downloaded for free at: http://www.commit2act.org/.