MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR
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Senator Bob Casey Speaks Out for Voting Rights with PBPC
On January 7, Senator Bob Casey gave a statement at a press conference to emphasize the importance of the Senate voting as soon as possible on voting rights. Here’s an excerpt from his online statement: “To live up to our national ideals and fortify our elections against partisan subversion, the Senate has an obligation to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, two commonsense bills which would improve access to the ballot, protect our democracy and restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Watch the press conference here: https://fb.watch/asjXFoSJNz/.
Pennsylvania’s Republicans are taking one step after another to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution in ways that will ensure they will never be forced from power, no matter what the voters decide.
You can help stop them by taking action on two critical issues.
- Judicial Gerrymandering: House Bill 38 is a constitutional amendment to elect Pennsylvania’s appellate court judges and justices by districts instead of at-large, which would allow legislators to gerrymander district lines to ensure that Republicans hold a majority of seats on our courts—even if a majority of Pennsylvanians vote for Democrats. Take action to protect our courts—tell your legislators to oppose HB 38.
- Legislative Gerrymandering: House Bill 2207 is a constitutional amendment that creates a fake “independent redistricting commission” that will be under the control of the majority party in the PA House and Senate and whose decisions will require approval by that party in each house. Given that Republicans currently control both the House and the Senate, the likely result is that they will hold power in perpetuity no matter what the voters decide. Take action to ensure that voters choose legislators, legislators don’t choose voters. Tell your legislators to oppose HB 2207.
IN THE NEWS
A West Virginia newsletter on fracking provided an update on the small number of jobs the industry has created in our region. It highlights a 2013 report by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative—which KRC helped create—which showed that drilling firms and industry and other business groups systematically exaggerated the industry’s impact on employment. Drawing on our work, the newsletter notes that ‘The US Chamber of Commerce declared in 2012 that shale gas production in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia had created more than 300,000 new jobs. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry counted only about 18,000. Similarly, former Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett’s 2014 State Energy Plan claimed that ‘over 240,000 Pennsylvanians work in core and ancillary jobs associated with the oil and gas industry.’ However, the Keystone Research Center pointed out that “the ancillary jobs counted every single truck driver in Pennsylvania—and every UPS driver—as being associated with fracking, which, well, doesn’t make any sense.” Here’s the link to the full story which draws on our efforts to hold a powerful industry and its government backers accountable to the facts.