News and Action Summary for April 1, 2016

Download a pdf version of the April 1, 2016 News and Action Summary!

News Summary 4-1-16

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News Posts, April 1, 2016

Here are news articles posted since the previous News and Action Summary:

Gov. Wolf Should Veto Hidden Tax Increase That Could Hike Water Rates by Hundreds of Millions

An Explanation of Our Infographic, “Especially for Poor Districts, Drastic Corbett Education Cuts Remain”

Movin’ on Up to $15 Minimum Wage

The Pink Tax

How the Felony Drug Ban Keeps Thousands of Americans Hungry

Drug Prices Climbing, But Help is Available

March Madness? Media Equates Violent Extremism with Islam

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Newly Posted Resources—April 1, 2016

Here are the most recently posted resources available for individuals and congregations:

Clean Slate Legislation Would Benefit Pennsylvania, Returning Citizens—Resources for Talking to Your Legislators and Others

Earth Day Resource—and a Little More

2015-16 State Budget Talking Points—Need for Fair Education Funding

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2015-16 State Budget Talking Points—Need for Fair Education Funding

From the Campaign for Fair Education Funding (

Looking to engage family, friends, colleagues and stakeholders about the need for fair funding for Pennsylvania’s public school students? Here are talking points to help start the conversation: 

— Pennsylvania is a case study in unpredictable and inequitable public school funding.

— While the recently enacted 2015-16 state budget allowed schools to remain open and their students to complete this academic year, it does not solve the state’s school funding crisis.

— The state needs to do more than provide enough money for schools to keep the school doors open and the lights on. It must fairly direct sufficient resources so that all students – no matter where they live – can succeed in school and meet the state’s academic standards.

— The Governor and legislature must immediately turn their attention to the 2016-17 budget. They must work together to enact the fair school funding formula recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) and pass an on-time budget for 2016-17 that makes a significant investment in our public schools next year of at least $400 million, providing adequate revenues to support that investment.

— While there is broad bipartisan support for the BEFC fair funding formula, the formula is only as good as the education funding that is put behind it. For students to succeed, there must be a sufficient investment in the classroom every year, and that must start in the upcoming budget.

— An equitable basic education funding system is good for students and the economy, but if the state continues to limit funding increases to the level approved in this year’s budget, infants in their cribs today will be out of high school by the time we achieve a fully-funded and fair public school funding system in Pennsylvania.

— Every school year counts for a student. There is no more pressing issue facing lawmakers than fixing Pennsylvania’s broken public school funding system. It is long past time for lawmakers to make children a top priority so that they do not have to endure another year of inaction on the school funding crisis.

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Save the Date: Rally for Fair Education Funding—May 2, Harrisburg

From the Campaign for Fair Education Funding (

On Monday, May 2 the Campaign for Fair Education Funding along with parents, students, teachers, and school and community leaders from across the state will rally for fair education funding at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

WHO:  The Campaign for Fair Education Funding
WHAT:  Rally for Fair Education Funding
WHERE:  The state Capitol, Harrisburg
WHEN:  Monday, May 2 (12:30 p.m. press conference in the Main Rotunda)
WHY:  There is no more pressing issue facing lawmakers than fixing Pennsylvania’s broken public school funding system

Want to join us? Fill out this form and someone from the Campaign will be in touch with you!

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Earth Day Resource—and a Little More

From Creation Justice Ministries (

Every year, Creation Justice Ministries releases a free Christian education resource before Earth Day (April 22). Download it at

Today marks the beginning of Earth Month, and the Creation Justice community is focusing on the needs of God’s creatures. Species are vanishing at a rate faster than any time since the dinosaurs’ demise. Now is the time for Christian communities to better understand, and respond to, our Genesis call to dominion.

In addition to our Christian education resource, we offer many invitations to take action, including:

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Movin’ on Up to $15 Minimum Wage

From the National Employment Law Project (

California and New York made history this week, approving landmark plans to gradually raise their minimum wages to $15 an hour.

The details differ and the California increase is stronger than New York’s. But these first-ever state $15 wage rates are a huge victory for workers and the Fight for $15 movement, and a major milestone on the road to reversing decades of wage inequality. And they cement $15 as the national benchmark for meaningful wage reform.

The impact will be far-reaching: close to 10 million workers in the world’s 7th and 13th largest economies (California and New York, respectively) will see the largest wage increases in state history. Nearly 1 in 5 workers in the U.S. will now be covered by a $15 minimum wage.

“This is a very big deal,” NELP’s Paul Sonn told The New York Times. “The scale of having [$15 minimums in] both New York and California would reverse years of falling wages and result in very substantial wage growth for workers at the bottom.”

We’ve been honored to partner with this national movement, nurtured by SEIU, which, in the three years since fast-food workers first walked off their jobs in New York City, is already changing the landscape of wage advocacy and the nation’s economic trajectory.

The Fight for $15 is winning momentous change many thought impossible just a few years ago. But with the wind at our backs and the courage and tenacity of fast-food workers reminding us all that sí se puede—yes we can—we look forward to helping bring the next round of victories home in this unstoppable movement.

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Healing Communities Training—April 14, Lancaster

If you’ve been wanting to attend the nationally acclaimed Healing Communities training, but haven’t taken the plunge yet, please register ASAP for the April 14th HC training being offered in Lancaster.

Thursday, April 14, 2016, 8:30am – 4:00pm

LOCATION:  Grandview United Methodist Church, 888 Pleasure Rd, Lancaster, PA  17601 

Here is a link to complete information and registration:

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Urge the Senate to Pass the Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act

From the Coalition on Human Needs (

Lana, a single mother with three children, discovered that her one-year old twins tested positive for lead poisoning, and left her contaminated Holyoke, MA apartment, becoming homeless for three months. She got help from a local program, and eventually got a job and some economic stability. But for one of her twins, the damage was done: As he grew older, he needed special education, and had problems with speech and memory from the brain damage caused by the lead poisoning.

To read the rest:

We hope you’ll read every line, but here’s a preview – Lana’s son was diagnosed with lead poisoning more than 30 years ago.
While we have made important progress in reducing the incidence of lead poisoning, it is painfully clear today that we have not done enough.  The Huffington Post piece talks about lead contamination in the water supply – in Flint and many more communities.  It also talks about the source of lead that hurt Lana’s son – paint in dwellings.  The latter is in fact the biggest cause of child lead poisoning.

Congress went home for its Easter recess without acting.  But there is legislation just waiting for their approval.  

Please tell the Senate to act: Tell the Senate to pass the Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act at (see details below)

And if you represent an organization, endorse the Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act, introduced by Senators Durbin and Menendez (S.2631) and by Representatives Ellison, Quigley, Lawrence, Kildee and others (H.R. 4694).  It would require the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent or correct lead contamination in federally assisted housing and to relocate families with lead-poisoned children to uncontaminated housing on an emergency basis.  For more information and/or to endorse, email

Thanks so much if you’ve already emailed your Senators!

But it’s time to do it again:  Senators Stabenow and Peters of Michigan have been working hard to get the Senate to take up legislation to pay for some desperately needed fixes for Flint’s poisoned water.  It will take 60 votes to pass such provisions, either through a vote on their bill, S. 2579, the Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act, or perhaps through an amendment to another bill (such as the energy bill they’re working on). The Senate will return from its recess on April 4.  Please contact them NOW – don’t let them think everyone has forgotten about this crisis.

Tell your Senators to vote for S. 2579, the Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act – and to insist that Senate leadership put its provisions up for a vote as soon as they return. Click here to contact them.

If you won’t speak out, who will?

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Climate and Clean Energy Lobby Day—June 14, Harrisburg

From PennEnvironment (

Every day, polluters walk the halls of Pennsylvania’s Capitol, pushing our elected officials to continue our dependence on destructive fossil fuels. In just the last year, they’ve used sneaky tactics to undermine renewable energy initiatives and a historic effort to slash power plant pollution.

On June 14th, we’re going to change that as Pennsylvania’s Climate Majority takes over the capitol. On that day, hundreds of citizens from every corner of the state will descend on the General Assembly to take it back for the people with one simple message: we are the climate majority and we want clean power in Pennsylvania now.

We’re organizing transportation, including busses and carpools, with our coalition partners. Learn more about the Climate & Clean Energy Lobby Day on June 14th and RSVP today at

Legislators in Harrisburg have two paths before them: they can side with polluters by ensuring we continue to rely on dirty fossil fuels and delay historic attempts to cut carbon pollution. Or, they can stand with the Climate Majority, moving us towards a bright future of solar energy and wind power.

You are the key to making sure they make the right decision. In the months leading up to the Climate Majority descending on Harrisburg, we’re going to wage a massive grassroots campaign. We’ll organize citizen advocacy trainings in your community; ensure tens of thousands of citizens voices are heard through phone calls, letters and emails; and use the media to make it clear that the Climate Majority will not be silenced.

And it all leads up to a day where you will help us take back the Capitol for Pennsylvanians who are ready to move off of fossil fuels. Can you join us?

Register here to participate in this critical lobby day and help us take Harrisburg back from polluters.

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