Action Alerts- and correction of Find your Senator or Legislator link
In addition to our monthly lobby days, UUJusticePA is encouraging postcarding to lift up UU values. Our senators and representatives need to know that UUs support or oppose legislation they are considering. Go to https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/ to find your PA senator or legislator and their contact information.
UUJusticePA POSTCARDS are available! If you are able to participate in this effort, call or text me at 412-225-9946 or email email@example.com and I will mail or bring to you postcards and stamps to facilitate your efforts. Letters and phone calls about these issues through the end of February are encouraged. If you have the time and energy, contact other Senators in SW PA as well.
As you know, at 1st UU we are considering centering our Justice work on Environmental and Racial Justice. Most of the action items will address, directly or indirectly, these concerns.
The 1st February item is an attempt to divert funds from public education to private and parochial schools. Maintaining strong Public Schools is critical to equality of opportunity for POC and economically challenged families.
The 2nd is a bill that incorporates some 4 constitutional amendments that will disrupt the current balance of power between the office of governor and legislative branch. These constitutional amendments are being used to quietly slip policies into our constitution that usually go against our progressive principles. Become aware and educate your friends!
Talking points for both Bills are given below. To learn more about this legislation, go to the link above, click on Legislation, enter the Bill Number, and search to see the text, record of votes, etc.
PA SB 527 has moved out of the Education Committee and is headed to the full Senate.
Education should be our state’s top priority, but some politicians are pushing this anti-public education agenda as part of a campaign to undermine the health of our public schools and curry favor with voucher proponents.
Contact your Pennsylvania Senators and tell them to VOTE NO on SB 527.
Why our Senators should VOTE NO:
1. SB527 gives businesses tax breaks if they give money to private or parochial schools.
2. SB527 is an automatic escalator that would increase this funding by 25% each year available for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC).
3. Combined those two funds (EITC & OSTC) totaled $285 million of our public tax dollars diverted for private school scholarships in 2021 benefitting 10% of PA K-12 students.
4. SB 527 would have a devastating effect on public education where most Pennsylvania students attend school. Currently, Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million students attend public schools which at most, receive a
2-3% increase per year in the state budget. A 25% increase per year for private schools is outrageous!
VOTE NO ON SB106
This is an attempt to have 4 constitutional amendments passed with one vote. This bill has already passed the House and is awaiting consideration in the Senate. The bill would:
· Expand the General Assembly’s power to reject executive orders & regulations;
· Require government-issued ID to vote;
· Require the auditor general to audit elections;
· Change the way the lieutenant governor is selected.
The Pennsylvania GOP has presented 70 bills since the beginning of this session (Jan 2021) that propose changes to our constitution-an unprecedented attempt to change the governing principles of PA.
Other messages your Senator needs to hear:
· We believe it’s time to change the rules of the Senate and House to prohibit legislation from languishing in committees. The PA General Assembly is gridlocked. You make your own rules. Only you can get us unstuck and focused on improving the lives of all our citizens.
Ours is a government by the people for the people. We encourage Unitarian Universalists from across the state, your constituents included, to get involved and to vote for leaders with a commitment to passing legislation that improves the lives of PA citizens.
SAMPLE POSTCARD TEXT:
1. We see what’s going on. We are making your constituents aware. Vote NO on SB106
2. The Pennsylvania GOP has presented 70 bills since the beginning of this session (Jan 2021) proposing changes to our constitution. This is an unprecedented attempt to change the governing principles of our state. VOTE NO ON SB106
3. We believe the current practice used by leaders in both chambers of the General Assembly, of trying to pass legislation that alters our Pennsylvania constitution is not good government and is a strategy to avoid the Governor’s veto. Our system of checks and balances works. Don’t mess with our constitution.
4. Let Legislators know if you are their constituent!!
Contact your Senator and make your opinions known!
Becky Studer, UUJusticePA liaison, 412-225-9946, firstname.lastname@example.org