Advocacy Overall

PA 2-1-1 Advocacy

With the 2019-20 FY budget looming, UWP would like to ramp up our strategy to ensure our budget priorities are funded. We are especially focused on 2-1-1 funding and securing the $1.5 million ask. As you know, during the past two budget cycles PA 2-1-1 received state appropriations of $750,000 and this amount was also included in the Governor’s proposed budget for this fiscal year. To receive the full funding ask of $1.5 million, we need to have a focused advocacy strategy in the House.

For this purpose, we are asking our membership to help us reach our legislators across the state. Currently, House members are back in the district until the start of June. This is a great time to schedule a meeting with or make a phone call to your local Representatives. We do have a few target House members, who hold key leadership positions. For these targets, we are asking our members to have a conversation to ask for their support for the $1.5 million in state funding. Those specific targets are:

  • Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York)
  • Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster)
  • Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)
  • Rep. Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Allegheny)
  • Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia)

For all other House members, we are asking the local United Way to meet with or have a phone conversation to ask for support of the $1.5 million funding ask and also to specifically ask for them to send a letter of support for the funding to their leadership.

We have developed talking points to assist with your conversations and advocacy. You can also find the leadership letter for legislators here. Please note, this letter can also be adapted for your community partners to use if they are willing to help in our advocacy outreach. You will note comments in the margins for areas that need to be adjusted for partner use.

HB 71 Threatening Renters

House Bill 71, introduced by Rep. Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland), was passed out of the House Urban Affairs committee this week by a party line vote. This bill would change the current landlord/tenant laws to essentially change the time frame for an eviction to occur. Currently, a tenant who does not appeal an eviction has a 21-day time frame before the landlord is granted “possession” of the property. The proposed legislation would reduce that time frame to 12 days. There was some discussion on the constitutionality of the legislation based on the fact only courts can establish court procedures. However, no amendments to the bill or motions to table the legislation until after a hearing has been conducted were voted favorably in committee. The bill has moved to the full House for consideration.

UWP has concerns with this proposed legislation and what it will mean for many Pennsylvania households who are renting and may fall on difficult financial times. Further, PA 2-1-1 has been working heavily with the Eastern CoC on housing needs throughout a 33-county region. Through this work, we are much more aware of the gaps that exist in finding housing and the impacts of losing your home. Unfortunately, we fear more dire housing situations will arise and there are not enough resources available for housing. When the legislation was first introduced, UWP sent an opposition letter to Rep. Rothman, which you can read here. There are also many other advocacy groups, including tenant and low-income housing associations, in opposition. The Wolf Administration also noted they are not supportive of the measure. UWP will be circulating an opposition letter to the full House in the coming week. We will share that communication when it is available.

Pre-K for PA Advocacy

Pre-K for PA marked the proposed new investment of $50 million in the 2019-20 PA budget as a big win for thousands of Pennsylvania’s youngest children. In a statement, the eleven principal partners leading the campaign to increase funding for high-quality pre-k, Pre-K for PA, issued the following statement regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s continued commitment to expanding access to pre-k in Pennsylvania:

“Governor Wolf demonstrated and amplified his commitment to expanding access to publicly funded pre-k by proposing funding to support thousands of additional young learners to attend high-quality programs.”

Start Strong Advocacy

The Start Strong PA campaign had an amazing launch in January and we are asking for your help to keep up that momentum! In March we want to reach out to legislators with a message of literacy. Below are some ideas to help get some great stories to share with your local legislators.

  1. Record & Share Toddler Stories – we all have heard the tall tales small children can tell. Ask a toddler to tell you a story (give them a specific topic) and write down or video what they say.
  2. Create your own reading materials using photographs of family and friends, or other print materials. Ask your child to narrate captions for each page (or give suggestions for them to choose from, if they are not verbal)
  3. Use a series of photos to tell the story of an infant/toddler reaching a developmental milestone as supported by high-quality child care, i.e. child now eats with a spoon thanks to the support of her teachers in HQ child care.
  4. Visit Libraries and bookstores to browse reading materials—then post a “CHILD’s NAME recommended reading list” with the books that catch your child’s attention/ get pulled off the shelves.
  5. Take pictures or record videos of staff and/or families engaging in literacy activities with infants and toddlers.

Infant toddler literacy includes activities such as:

  • Reading
  • Singing
  • Talking, particularly while looking at pictures, out the window, etc.
  • Using chalk, paint, or stickers to create pre-writing designs (share finished masterpieces on Instagram!)

If your United Way or any of your community partners plan to participate in any of these activities, please inform Maggie.

2019 Legislative Schedule

2019 Senate Session Schedule

January1, 15, 16, 28, 29, 30
February4, 5, 6
March18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
April8, 9, 10, 29, 30
May1, 6, 7, 8
June3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

2019 House Session Schedule

January1, 15, 16, 28, 29, 30
February4, 5, 6, 19, 20, 21
March11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27
April8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 29, 30
May1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23 (Cancelled)
June3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28