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!
The Senate and the House are each adjourned. The House returns on February 21st. The Senate returns on February 27th. Here are their schedules and those of committees.
Special elections for three vacant state House seats were held on Tuesday, February 7th. In all three districts, Democratic candidates outperformed Republicans by broad margins. These three elections give Democrats a clear majority, with 102 Democrats and 101 Republicans in the state house. This will temporarily become 102-100 when Republican Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver resigns after winning a state senate race. A special election for her seat, House District 108, will be held soon.
The PA House:
Rules for how the chamber will function remain to be decided. Earlier this year, Speaker Mark Rozzi organized a listening tour with six other Republican and Democratic lawmakers to hear from residents across the Commonwealth about how they want the House to govern. The overall message from these meetings has been that people want to see legislators working together to address the issues that affect everyday Pennsylvanians and that “if the partisan deadlock continues, it could further erode public confidence in state government.“
Too often in the last decade, ideas supported by a bi-partisan majority have been blocked because the majority party leadership has refused to allow committees to hold hearings or act on legislation, or they have blocked legislation from coming to the floor. We also saw repeated use of “legislating by constitutional amendment” as a way of undermining the separation of powers in our government. Rules that establish a more fair, functional, and transparent legislative process are critical to a democratic government and to passing public policies that serve all of us.
PA school funding lawsuit:
On February 7th, PA Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the education funding lawsuit, declaring Pennsylvania’s current school funding system to be unconstitutional. This is a historic victory for public school students, which now mandates that Governor Shapiro and the General Assembly devise a plan to overcome the deep inequities in our school funding system, which has harmed generation after generation of young people in our Commonwealth.
The 99% PA campaign has resumed their standing weekly Zoom meetings on Thursday afternoons. Reach out to Ali at email@example.com.
The 99% PA campaign’s Jeff Garis has a new weekly blog post on Fridays, “Five Fast Facts” with a brief overview of the major policy-related developments in Congress and in the Biden administration during the previous week. Here is last week’s column.
Statewide Issue Advocacy Series
We will be hosting a series of workshops aimed at specific issue areas key to the We The People campaign over the course of 2023! Our speakers will provide you with info from legislation to lobbying to everything in between!
Please join us on Thursday, February 16, at 6:30 PM and Friday, February 17, at 6:30 PM for workshops on Housing and Raising the Minimum Wage hosted by We The People-PA over Zoom.
- For the session on Housing, we will be joined by Sen. Nikil Saval as well as speakers from Make the Road-PA for the Housing session.
- For the session on Raising the Minimum Wage, we will be joined by Sen. Art Haywood.
Please expect Zoom signup links in your inboxes soon!
Our biweekly Capitol Insider Call happens every other Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The next call is Thursday, February 16. Sign up for updates, and join our Zoom room or watch us on Facebook Live.
Publications released by Keystone Research Center and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center:
An Unemployment Insurance Agenda for PA’s Next Governor: Fix What’s Broken and Create a New National Model
Inequity and Inadequacy in K-12 Education Funding in Pennsylvania: Fiscal Year 2022-23 Update
You can find their other research publications here.
Support Public Education — Close the Opportunity Gap for PA Students
Every child, regardless of zip code, has a right to an excellent public education, which requires access to a full curriculum, art and music classes, counselors and librarians, technical opportunities, and a safe, clean, stable school environment.
Pennsylvania is 43rd in the country when it comes to the share of revenue for local school districts that come from the state, which means the burden is passed to local taxpayers through property taxes. The state’s total spending on K-12 education is more than four billion dollars short of providing an adequate education to all students by the state’s own standard of adequacy.
Now, we have a ruling from the Commonwealth Court that emphatically agrees that our system of funding public education in the Commonwealth is broken.
We must upend the broken school funding system in Pennsylvania once and for all. The state must add AT LEAST $4 billion in Basic Education Funding to close the adequacy gap, distributed through both the Fair Funding Formula and the Level Up supplement.
CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL TO GOVERNOR SHAPIRO AND YOUR LEGISLATORS TO SAY THAT ALL KIDS DESERVE FULLY FUNDED SCHOOLS!
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!
Marc, Vivienne, Jay, and the rest of our WTP-PA team
Marc Stier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vivienne Sinagra: email@example.com
Jay Grandis: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
We The People – Pennsylvania, 412 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 | 717-255-7156
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