GOODE’S BILL WOULD TIGHTEN CAMPAIGN GIFTS
City Councilman at Large W. Wilson Goode, Jr., primary sponsor of Pennsylvania’s first municipal campaign-finance law, will introduce new legislation that would further limit campaign contributions from City contractors and lobbyists at City Council’s Sep. 12 meeting.
The new law would be simple. If a business makes a contribution during a calendar year to a candidate for City office or to an incumbent, then, during the term of office to which any such candidate is elected or during the incumbent’s term of office, the business shall not be eligible to apply for or to enter into any non-competitively bid contract in excess of $25,000, nor shall the business be eligible to be a sub-contractor. Also, no individual who is a City lobbyist may make any contribution in any amount, including contributions made to or through one or more political committees.
The Councilman said, “Ten years ago, I introduced Pennsylvania’s first law limiting campaign contributions in municipal elections. Ten years later, we now need to take it to the next level. City lobbyists and contractors should be prohibited from ‘pushing the envelope’ to influence local public policy and procurement decisions.”
WASHINGTON LAUNCHES STATEWIDE DRIVE AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
State Sen. LeAnna M. Washington (D-Northwest) helped to launch the “PA Says ‘No More’” campaign to end sexual assault and domestic violence, a video series produced by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The video series launched today and features survivors of violence and abuse, as well as community advocates, sharing their stories and offering hope to victims and survivors. The focus of the campaign centers on the message that sexual assault and domestic violence are never appropriate and that Pennsylvania must do all it can to break the cycle of abuse.
Speaking at the launch, Washington looked back on her own personal experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse. She said that her journey led her down the path of public service so she could help others escape violent situations and go on to be successful in life.
Washington offered her praise for the “PA Says ‘No More’” campaign, saying, “And while I wish that this campaign and these organizations were around 40 years ago when I was trying to escape my situation, I am glad to see that they are available to work to break the cycle of violence in Pennsylvania.”
THOMAS URGES CONGRESS TO SAVE FOOD STAMPS
State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-N. Phila.) has introduced a resolution calling on Congress to take action to prevent the defunding of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger.
The American Recovery & Investment Act of 2009 provided an increase in benefits for those citizens who qualify for SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps. Congress is now poised to allow the increased benefits to expire on Nov. 1.
“Washington, D.C. is willing to let millions of people all across this country, many of who are children, go hungry,” Thomas said. “Politicians in D.C. are having trouble getting anything done because of disagreements and unwillingness to compromise. But I know we all can agree that we shouldn’t have children starving in our country, so it is past time to figure this out.”
If the increased funding is not renewed, SNAP would lose about $5 billion in funding. Nationally, it is estimated that 22 million children and 9 million elderly or disabled people are SNAP recipients. Pennsylvania currently has 1,779,000 SNAP recipients, which is about 14% of the state’s population.
Thomas’ resolution will be considered by the House once it reconvenes later this month.
BRENDAN BOYLE TACKLES FOOD, HEALTH NEEDS
State Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Northeast) issued the following statement in regard to his legislation known as the Health & Food Security Plan.
Boyle said his proposal would bring “Pennsylvania’s public-welfare code into line with the standards of our neighboring states. The current system and policies that are followed have made our Commonwealth an outlier in regard to ensuring that those in need receive assistance and care. While other states are making sure applicants receive care and assistance, Pennsylvania’s enrollment has shrunk.
“My legislation will move Pennsylvania in a new direction. It would streamline the application and renewal process for Medicaid and CHIP, and ensure qualified beneficiaries do not lose their healthcare or see other interruptions in services due to unnecessary administrative errors and roadblocks. Under the current system, families have to contend with onerous and often-unnecessary paperwork requirements in order to access critical health-care services.
“In addition to this, the Health & Food Safety Plan will look to address the rise in need for food assistance. It will increase investment in the State Food Purchase Program, thereby assisting private organizations such as charities and food pantries to meet the rise in demand for help.
“This issue is personal for me. I meet frequently with people who don’t have access to affordable health care and food. This problem exists in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties; it is not a rural, suburban or urban issue. It is my hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in putting through this plan.”