Take action on changes to the Public Charge rule

On October 10, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new change to the public charge rule, which looks at how using public benefits affects a person's application to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) of the US. Essentially, this change means that using public benefits programs could make someone ineligible for legal residency in the country.

Under the proposed rule, use of programs such as Medicaid along with other health, nutrition, and housing benefits would now play a factor in residency decisions. Also, DHS could consider someone having lower income (under 125% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $25,975 for a family of three) as a negative factor.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 94% of all noncitizens who came to the US without LPR status have at least one "negative factor" under the new guidelines. Between 2.1 million and 4.9 million adults and children would probably unenroll from programs like Medicaid and CHIP if this change takes ef…

Work requirement bills are moving forward in Pennsylvania

The full PA Senate is moving quickly to pass work requirement bills that would place a serious burden on low-income Pennsylvanians. A vote could happen as early as Wednesday, October 17.

HB 1659, which we discussed back in May, would expand work requirements on SNAP and cause nearly 100,000 people to lose access to food stamps. In most cases, people on SNAP must already work or participate in a training program if they are between the ages of 8-50, non-disabled, and not considered vulnerable individuals.

HB 2138 would put new work requirements on the Medicaid program, which helps low-income Pennsylvanians access health insurance. "Able-bodied" adults (which includes people who lose their job or have reduced hours because they are in treatment or recovering from surgery) would have to work 20 hours per week, look for a job, or participate in job training to qualify for Medicaid.

Take Action!

Our friends at Project Home put together an action alert, including a sample script to …

Good News - Make Calls to Support Sibling FMLA!

The Senate Labor and Industry Committee just approved a bill that would expand FMLA in Pennsylvania to cover siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren! This bill has been introduced over at least 4 sessions now, and today is the first time it has come out of committee.

Joanne’s Law, SB 479, would allow workers who qualify for the FMLA to use that time to care for their siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren (the FMLA only covers parents, children, and spouses). While the leave would be unpaid, it would be a great step towards getting a full paid family leave program in PA.

Please read the story behind Joanne’s Law here, and then take action! Call your Senators to ask them to bring Joanne’s Law up for a vote and to vote yes! Please also call Katrina in Senator Scarnati's office with your name, phone number, and support for the bill - you can reach her at 717-787-7084.

Be a Voter - Register to Vote Today!

General elections are just around the corner, and if you live in Pennsylvania and are eligible to vote, you need to be registered by October 9. You can register through Pennsylvania's website, via our site powered by Rock the Vote, or by mailing in an application. If you live in another state, please visit our site via Rock the Vote to find your state's information.

***If you have any issues on Election Day, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. 

Issues may include (but are not limited to): being told the wrong date/time to vote; not being allowed to cast a provisional ballot; being intimidated or challenged at the polls. 

Be sure to bring this number with you when you vote!***

Who is Running for Office?

On November 6, you can vote for a candidate to become Pennsylvania's Governor and Lieutenant Governor. You can also vote for candidates for the US Senate, US House of Representatives, State House of Representatives, and some state senators. There may be local races as well. You may be …

Quick Takes on Big Topics

It's another action packed week, and we don't want to miss anything that's going on. So here are some short takes on big topics:
Families Belong Together: As of September 12, the federal government was housing 12,800 detained migrant children - according to the New York Times, this is the highest number ever recorded. Not only are more children being held, but fewer are being released, and children are now staying in detention for an average of 59 days. Meanwhile, the Administration is continuing to advocate for the long-term detention of children - in this case, with their families.Take Action: Call your members of Congress at 202-224-3121. Here's a sample script: "Hello, my name is ________ and I live in (your zip code). I'm calling to ask you to create a plan to end the detention of immigrant children. Nearly 13,000 children are currently detained."Support organizations like Project LifeLine that work on behalf of immigrant children in detention. As al…

Give Kids Sight Day is November 17, 2018

From our friends at PCCY

Free Eye Care for Kids at Jefferson Alumni Hall on Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 8:30am to 1:00pm

For children 17 years and under, from Philadelphia and surrounding counties, who have not had, or who have not passed, an eye screening and/or who are uninsured. For more information email: or call 215-563-5848 x21.

Click here to download English and Spanish Double Sided flyer

The flyer is also available in the following languages – click to download below:

Arabic / Chinese / French / Haitian Creole / Hindi / Russian / Spanish / Vietnamese

What We're Hearing About This Week

Kavanaugh Nomination:The news is filled with reporting on the Kavanaugh nomination process. You can find more in your own trusted news sources, but we wanted to share this nonpartisan guide on the nomination created by the Campus Election Engagement Project. Please take a look, check out other sources, and make a decision. Take Action: Once you've formed your opinion, call your Senator at 202-224-3121 to share it. Here's a sample script: "Hello, my name is ________ and I live in (your state). I do/do not support the Supreme Court nominee because __________. I urge you to vote _________ on his nomination."Families Belong Together: Despite a court order for reunification by July 26, nearly 500 children remain separated from their families under the family separation policy. 322 of those children are now in the United States while their parents are outside of the country - in some cases because those parents were deported without their children.Take Action: Call your me…