We The People – PA eBlast October #1

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Welcome, We The People-PA activists, advocates, and supporters, to another edition of our biweekly eBlast! We bring you federal and state legislative news and ways to get involved!

Content Index

  1. Legislative Updates
  2. For Your Advocacy Work
  3. Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved
  4. Call to Action
  5. Sign Off

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

STATE UPDATE
Both houses are in recess. Here is their schedule and those of committees.

  • PA Senate returns on Monday, October 17, 2022.
  • PA House returns on Monday, October 24, 2022.

During their brief return from their summer recess, the General Assembly did not do much of note and, with the general election looming, we do not expect them to accomplish much when they return from recess this time.

Below, you will find a call-to-action that addresses SB-106, the bill that has passed in both houses and could add multiple proposed constitutional amendments to the ballot, as early as the 2023 May primary election. The GOP-led legislature knows that placing amendment referenda on the ballot during ‘off-year’ primaries only helps their cause. Historically, these primaries have exceptionally low voter turn-out with most participating voters being Republicans.

It is important to note that to continue branding this attempt as ‘SB-106’ is not to our advantage because in January the bill numbers will change. This will happen during the GOP-led legislature’s attempt to pass it in a second bi-annual legislative session, as required by law for it to get on the ballot. During bi-weekly constitutional amendment calls led by Susan Gobreski over the past few months, the consensus around messaging is to focus on what the GOP-led legislature is doing and how they are doing it, for example: Midnight Rights Raiders.

FEDERAL UPDATE
The House is in recess until November 18th. The Senate is in session.  

Congress schedules:

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained.
Are you wondering how and how much this historic act might help you? This is what the program could mean for you and what comes next.

From KRC (Keystone Research Center): What do the recent changes mean to you? Pennsylvanians who are riddled with student debt have been celebrating President Biden’s announcement that $10,000 or $20,000 in student debt will be forgiven for most federal loan holders. However, the US Department of Education recently revised eligibility guidelines, saying that Federal Family Education (FFEL) program loans, which are held by private institutions, and Perkins loans are no longer eligible for relief. Read more about student debt in Pennsylvania.

Taxing the ultra-rich!
On Wednesday, September 21st, PBPC’s federal advocacy campaign, The 99% Pennsylvania, officially launched the Tax the Ultra-Rich NOW! effort in our state at a People’s Hearing on the Philadelphia Wealth Tax outside Philadelphia’s City Hall. The action was organized by our allies at Tax the Rich PHL, and PBPC’s Federal Campaigns and Program Director, Jeff Garis, delivered remarks from PBPC Director Marc Stier. Several members of the PBPC team were on hand to circulate TURN petitions, staff our information table, and document the event with photos and videos. We also brought Mr. Rigs, a 12′ tall inflatable corporate fat cat, on loan to us from our friends at Unrig Our Economy, and he ended up grabbing headlines in a Billy Penn article about the action.

WE THE PEOPLE – PA UPDATES

We have kicked things into high gear this election season. We have conducted our Candidate Training Series for state-level candidates. Yesterday, we concluded our series of virtual candidate forums in select districts, and we have kicked off our candidate endorsers tour with regional, virtual events. These live-streamed events can be viewed on our We The People-PA Action (c4) Facebook Page. Afterwards, each event will be slightly edited and published as videos (Facebook, YouTube), audio podcasts, and clips for various social media platforms.

Previous endorser roundtable events:

  • Montgomery County, Berks County, Delaware and Chester Counties, Greater NEPA, Dauphin County, Philadelphia

Upcoming endorser roundtable events:

  • Tue, 10/18 at 11:30 AM: Erie and Crawford Counties
  • Tue, 10/18 at 1:30 PM: Centre and Blair Counties
  • Wed, 10/19 at 11:30 AM: Bucks County
  • Wed, 10/19 at 1:30 PM: Lancaster County
  • Thu, 10/20 at 11:30 AM: Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Check out our new video — AND — sign our petition and tell Pennsylvania’s Republican legislators that it is time to put our priorities first, not those of wealthy corporations. It is time to give Pennsylvania workers and small business owners the opportunities they need to take care of their families in this tough time and to make large, wealthy corporations finally pay what they owe. Please share with your social media networks.

Capitol Insider Calls (with new Zoom link) happen next Thursday 10/20 and every other Thursday at 4:30 PM. Sign up for updates and join our Zoom room or watch us on Facebook Live.

2023 Organizing Strategy: We recognize that most of you are busy with getting out the vote. Please remember to take some time for self-care because none of us can pour from an empty cup, and you are valued and needed! After this election season is over, stay tuned for updates from us.

We will need your input and participation as we further develop our 2023 organizing strategy. We will be building upon our current relationships with organizations, groups, advocates, and activists, as well as inviting others to join us. It is vital to all of us that we supercharge our networking, skills- and knowledge-sharing, and capacity-building efforts.

FOR YOUR ADVOCACY WORK

Voting/Elections Messaging and Creatives from our running list which includes content from several partners.

New releases by the Keystone Research Center & the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center:

  • The Cost of Banning Abortion in Pennsylvania: Drawing on a few decades of research, this paper shows that banning abortion would severely harm women in the state, especially women of color and women with low incomes. The paper summarizes research showing that the inability to secure an abortion harms women’s physical and mental health, makes it harder for them to secure an education, reduces their prospects for employment and good wages, and is likely to leave them facing hardship, and poverty. The paper concludes that the combined direct and indirect effects of a total ban on abortion in Pennsylvania would reduce wages in the state by $10 billion a year.
  • The 2022 State of Student Debt in Pennsylvania: The Keystone Research Center has released a new report, presentation, and blog post: “Why Pennsylvania Needs Student Debt Relief: A Look at our State’s Student Debt Crisis.”
  • The 2022 State of Working Pennsylvania report : The Keystone Research Center has released its annual “State of Working Pennsylvania” report. The report’s overall message: a tight labor market and new union organizing offer new possibilities for Pennsylvania workers. With smart and worker-friendly policies over the next several years, Pennsylvania could enjoy a return to shared prosperity for the first time in decades.

UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED

Opportunity for formerly incarcerated individuals, college pathways program

From Rising Scholars: Are you a formerly incarcerated individual and thinking about college? You are invited to apply to Rising Scholars: A College Pathway Program for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals.

Rising Scholars is a college readiness and preparation program for formerly incarcerated people who wish to explore the value of a degree across the Commonwealth. This 3-day college preparation event takes place at Penn State University Park from April 2 to April 5, 2023.

Last April, our pilot program of ten scholars became a strong community. Alumni across the state are working to redefine reentry and incarceration. We hope you consider joining us.

Want to learn more? Register for our virtual information session.

Tuesday, November 2, at 6 p.m.

During the event in April, Rising Scholars will

  • meet with career counselors
  • learn how to pay for college
  • find what classes and careers might be right for you
  • tour campus, sit in on classes, and meet with faculty
  • open to all PA residents ages 18+
  • hotel lodging and food all included

Interested? Sign-up here. We will contact you.

Questions? Email us: PSURisingScholars@psu.edu

CALL TO ACTION

From the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania

Late on a Friday night, a week after they were supposed to have gone into recess, with little public notice, legislators passed an extreme package of bills that would alter PA’s Constitution. They do not want you to know what they did.

It is time to hold our legislators accountable. Our Constitution should not be used to ban rights, to expressly deny the right to an abortion, to take powers away from voters, to give more power to the legislature. This is a stunning lack of transparency and a very bad policy. We must let legislators know they are not serving the people.

Write a letter to your legislator AND call them today to let them know your anger at this misuse of government power, and that you will hold them responsible for their actions. Find your legislator’s phone number here.

SIGN OFF
We hope you found this week’s eBlast valuable, and we appreciate your support and the demanding work you all do in your own areas every single day. Keep on keepin’ on!In Solidarity,Marc, Vivienne, Jay, and the rest of the WTP-PA team
Marc Stier: stier@stephenherzenberg
Vivienne Sinagra: sinagra@stephenherzenberg
Jay Grandis: grandis@stephenherzenberg

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.

Visit our website


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