Advocacy Overall

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget Updates

Parent Pathways Receives Funding in Budget

One program that will receive funding from the signed 2019-2020 FY budget is the Parent Pathways initiative the Dept. of Human Services and Dept. of Education is implementing. The initiative will receive $2.5 million, half of what Gov. Wolf originally proposed in his February budget.

The Parent Pathways initiative is a model to support access to post-secondary education and training for single parents. The initiative is modeled after a successfully implemented program at Misericordia University helping single mothers earn college degrees and care for their children. Specifically, the departments are proposing investments in holistic models that get to the heart and needs of parents and children together. In order to implement this initiative, the departments are working to leverage partnerships to offer sustainable solutions to the many barriers single parents face when trying to afford post-secondary and career training.

UWP and many of our United Way members have been engaged in this work over the past several months and we will continue to work with the departments throughout their implementation process. We will update members as needed and also encourage you to visit the Parent Pathways update page here for further updates from the departments.

PA General Assistance Will End August 1st

The 2019-2020 FY Budget did not include funding for PA’s General Assistance (GA) cash assistance program, which was recently reinstated through a court ruling. Last week, the Dept. of Human Services issued a notice indicating the effective date would be August 1, 2019, with no payments being issues after July 31, 2019. While those individuals who were eligible for GA will be losing their cash assistance, they are still eligible for other state or federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid or SNAP. DHS anticipates this will impact approximately 11,000 individuals. More demand will be placed on nonprofits for those individuals and DHS is actively working to secure access to resources for those impacted. The Dept. has reached out to UWP and PA 2-1-1 to discuss a potential partnership to direct affected households to contact 2-1-1 for additional resources. Please be on the lookout for more information about this partnership in the coming days. If you have any questions, please contact Maggie.

PA Signs State Health Exchange into Law

Governor Wolf signed House Bill 3 into law last week, which would create a state-based health insurance exchange. This piece of legislation is meant to increase access to health care and make health exchange coverage more affordable. The cost to the Commonwealth will be approximately $30 million to build a state health exchange, saving taxpayers approximately $70 million in the current fees charged for operating on exchange. This savings will be used to establish a reinsurance pool to cover “outlier claims” that normally cause premiums to increase. You can read Gov. Wolf’s press release here.

Policy Updates from UWW

August Resources: Site Visits and In-District Meetings

Members of Congress are back in the district during the July and August Recesses, please consider meeting with your local Congressional member. You can use these guides to help with your scheduling. The 2019 Recess Toolkit provides guidance on requesting and organizing meetings with federal elected officials, and can be used all year long. The Policy Priorities for Q3 Recesses document provides templates and sample content for the most pertinent network federal public policy priorities, now through September.

Additionally, please see this webinar recording “Stay-cation Advocacy: Strategies for Engaging Your Members of Congress from Your Own Backyard” hosted by United Way Worldwide and the Congressional Management Foundation.

Lastly, please let UWW know about your in-district engagements! It helps them inform the national strategy, and to support your efforts at home.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Early Childhood Briefs

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has recently published a series of six briefs on key early childhood issues for state policy and decision maker audiences. These briefs cover topics such as family economic stability, early care and education, maternal and child health, the importance of the first three years, healthy food and nutrition, and family and medical leave. RWJF and their partners encourage everyone to share these briefs with state leaders and other key decision makers in your state. This guide includes sample social posts and links to download social graphics for each of the issue briefs as well as template newsletter copy.

Funding for EFSP Included in Humanitarian Aid Bill

Last week Congress passed a supplemental spending package aimed at providing humanitarian aid to communities that have experienced an influx of migrants. Included in the package was $30 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP). There was strong bipartisan support for the bill and for EFSP funding specifically. The inclusion of funding for EFSP is a testament to the effectiveness of the program and the work you are doing in communities to administer the program. Please contact Sarah Yergeau with any questions.

United Way Equity Summit: August 14-16

Now is the time to start planning for United Way Equity Summit! The Summit will bring together staff from all functional areas and levels to share race equity strategies and highlight equity achievements that local United Ways have already made. Attendees will learn from and be inspired by the energy, momentum, and work of both local United Ways and United Way Worldwide. Join UWW in New Orleans to participate in this empowering dialogue and discover what proactive measures you can take to promote diversity and inclusion in your organization.

Register by July 23 to receive $100 off the standard registration fee.

Pre-K for PA Advocacy

The Pre-K for PA Campaign released a report, Ready to Succeed: Kindergarten Teachers Support Investments in High Quality Pre-K, last month highlighting broad teacher support for pre-k and the need of increased state investments into early learning.

DHS just released the updated 2019 income limits and copays for subsidized child care to reflect the increased federal poverty limit guidelines. You can view the updated list here.

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

June3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
September 23, 24, 25
October21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November18, 19, 20
December16, 17, 18

2019 – 2020 House Session Schedule

June3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
September 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25
October21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
November12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20
December9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18
January7 (non-voting), 13, 14, 15, 21, 22
February3, 4, 5
March16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
April6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16
May4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
June1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30