We The People-PA activists, advocates, and supporters—welcome to another edition of our biweekly eBlast! We bring you legislative news from the federal and state levels, including an update on the state redistricting process. And we invite you to join us for the final day of our annual Budget Summit and for one of our upcoming Community Conversations.
March 31 was the annual International Transgender Day of Visibility. Here is a resource page to learn more: https://www.hrc.org/resources/international-transgender-day-of-visibility.
Recognizing this day, we are recommitting to our stance of embracing an economy that benefits ALL Pennsylvanians regardless of race, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, income, or where we live. We will be actively engaging in fighting PA HB-972, the bill that would ban transgender students from participating in K-12 and collegiate sports programs. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, partners, and other advocates rallied in Harrisburg to oppose the bill, some sharing personal stories of how much team sports and activities have meant to them, and imploring legislators to oppose the bill. Unfortunately, HB-972 was passed out of the Republican-led House Education Committee along party lines and now will go to the House floor for a full vote.
It would be devastating to have this bill debated and passed on the House floor. Trans youth would have to witness horrible and untruthful things said about them in the media, bullies may be more emboldened to attack trans students, and school boards could feel empowered to pass their own bans. We must prevent this legislation from going any further. Stay tuned for a forthcoming action page that will allow you to contact your state legislators and tell them to vote NO on HB-972.
- As part of the larger state and national conversations surrounding a “wealth tax,” read more from one of the latest releases by PBPC: “Time to Reinstate the Philadelphia Intangible Wealth Tax.”
- On Wednesday, March 30, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that Pennsylvania is to receive $186 million to help low-income families save on energy bills through the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- Some homeowners grappling with costly home repairs could get some relief under the Whole-Home Repairs Act, a bipartisan effort led by state Sen. Nikil Saval, who represents portions of Philadelphia.
- On the federal advocacy front, President Biden released his proposed budget for 2023, which includes investments in many of the priorities in his Build Back Better plan, funded in part with a tax on America’s billionaires.
- Progress is being reported in efforts by Majority Leader Schumer and Sen. Mitt Romney to produce a COVID relief funding bill that would garner the votes of at least 10 Republicans since continued funding for pandemic aid was removed from the federal spending plan passed a few weeks ago.
- Democratic party leaders are continuing to pursue an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin on a package that could include provisions from the BBB plan.
The “Toddlers to Tassels” education rally emphasizes the importance of investing in our children from their earliest learning years through their post-secondary education. With Pennsylvania sitting on billions in budget surplus and unused ARP funds, Senator Hughes is calling on education funding allies throughout the state to rally in Harrisburg on April 13th and demand we take advantage of this historic opportunity to provide fair and adequate education funding in this year’s state budget.
- Where: On the steps of the Capitol
- When: Wednesday, April 13, 10 a.m. to noon
We’re encouraging as many supporters as possible to join us in Harrisburg on the 13th, so please share this invitation with your networks. There will be an opportunity for a limited number of attendees to speak at the rally.
Please email J.P. Kurish to identify the person from your organization who would like a time slot to speak: JP.Kurish@pasenate.com.
2022 PA Budget and Policy Summit
Join The Keystone Research Center, the PA Budget & Policy Center, the 99% PA Campaign, and We The People-PA for the last Budget & Policy Summit session happening next Thursday, April 7, at 1 p.m. There will be a choice of two workshops, one discussing PA’s upside-down” tax system and the other on leveraging federal infrastructure funds to improve Pennsylvania. At the closing plenary, a panel of PA legislative leaders will discuss innovative ways for the state to use American Rescue Funds to promote equity for low- and middle-income Pennsylvanians.
- More info and tickets available here: https://bit.ly/2022PABudgetSummit
- “We are here today to call on the General Assembly to use American Rescue Plan funds,” said Nick Pressley with We the People PA. In the halls of the Capitol [yesterday], We the People PA is requesting the legislature use over $3 billion in Rescue Plan money to fund direct aid to people and small businesses.
- Philly Wealth Tax proposal: “Marc Stier, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, estimates that the top 5% of wealthy Philadelphians would contribute 70 percent of the tax’s revenue — and that those making less than $112,000 a year were not likely to pay any tax at all.”
- Susan Gobreski of PBPC: “Pennsylvanians’ fundamental right to democracy hinges on the ability of the state’s 67 counties to efficiently and effectively run our elections. With all the recent changes to the method and manner of voting in Pennsylvania, the General Assembly should increase election funding.”
- CONGRATULATIONS, Susan Gobreski! Susan has been honored as one of this year’s 40 remarkable women serving in government, business, nonprofit organizations, medicine, and more in PA.
Pennsylvanians’ fundamental right to democracy hinges on the ability of the state’s 67 counties to run our elections efficiently and effectively. Counties currently carry the entire cost of elections outside of sporadic funding from the federal and state governments. Many legislators say they care about the security and integrity of our democracy, so contact your legislator and ask them to take action and add reliable funding for county election operations to the state budget!
As we sign off on the latest edition of the WTP-PA biweekly eBlast, know we appreciate the support and demanding work that you all do in your own areas every single day. We hope to see you online next week at our last 2022 Budget Summit day or at one of our Community Conversations!
In Solidarity, Marc, Nick, Vivienne, Jay, and the rest of the WTP-PA team
We The People – PA is a campaign working to ensure that all Pennsylvanians can thrive. We advocate for bold action from state lawmakers to keep our families safe during today’s emergency—and to build a stronger, healthier, and more just future.
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