The Update: What’s Important in Harrisburg and DC – Sept. 27, 2021



As the legislators return to Harrisburg, we are disappointed to see that the majority continues to focus on the election of 2020 as opposed to the issues we face today in 2021. While they sit on $7 billion in American Rescue Plan funds, they could be allocating those dollars to help small businesses and workers around the state who are still reeling from the economic and health effects of the pandemic. Read below to see what is going on in the state and on the national level and how we can implement solutions that will address the lagging economy and climate change. 

In Solidarity, 

Stephen Herzenberg
Executive Director   

HB 1800: A Partisan Attack on the Voters of PA

Today, the House State Government Committee, chaired by Representative Seth Grove, will hold a hearing on HB 1800, a bill that is a partisan attack on the right to vote in Pennsylvania. It is not actually designed to—nor will it become—law. It exists so that Representative Grove and other right-wing Republicans can continue to support Donald Trump’s Big Lie about fraud in the 2020 election while calling for changes in elections laws that would make voting more difficult. This hearing takes place at a time when Pennsylvania Republicans can’t seem to make up their minds about whether they want to engage in a bipartisan process to solve genuine problems with the administration of our elections or whether they want to placate Donald Trump and his supporters.   
Read more.

We The People – PA Statement on Senate Bill 878
We The People – PA is encouraged by the bipartisan Senate effort to find improvements in our electoral process. We welcome the senators’ attention to real problems instead of reinforcing myths about the 2020 election.  

The bill has some good elements but some that concern us as well. So, we also welcome the opportunity that Senators Argall and Street have provided to suggest improvements in the bill.

In considering each part of the bill, we suggest that senators keep in mind the following principles.  
Read more.

The 99% PA Joins National Campaign to Hold PA Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick Accountable for Siding with the Rich Instead of Building Back Better
“Congress has a clear choice: side with American families, or side with big corporations and the rich. Representative Fitzpatrick is taking the side of billionaires and big corporations instead of listening to their constituents and supporting President Biden’s economic agenda. President Biden wants to cut costs for families by lowering prescription drug prices, expanding Medicare coverage, making child care more affordable, providing paid family and medical leave, and investing in good-paying jobs that benefit working Pennsylvanians. Lawmakers have a clear choice: stand with everyday Americans or stand with the ultra-rich who don’t pay their fair share,” said Jeff Garis, Director of the 99% PA Campaign. 
Read more.

Advocacy groups rally for workers rights  
CBS 21 Harrisburg  

“We the People[-PA] held a rally this afternoon to welcome lawmakers as they walk up the state capitol steps for the first day of the legislative session.

MomsRising, CASA, SEIU Local 668, and the owners of Queen’s BBQ teamed up to encourage lawmakers to help workers and business owners.

They say the pandemic has been rough, and it’s not over yet.

They’re encouraging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage, support small businesses left out of federal and state pandemic funding and help working families with paid leave and better, more affordable child care options.”  

Don Walko: We can create jobs without sacrificing environment  
TribLive | Opinion  

“I suppose that when people were earning family-sustaining incomes, they accepted degradation of the environment as inevitable. But now those jobs are gone, and many Appalachians have little hope for the future. Many believe their government and all of society have forgotten them.

Well, if Congress acts now, it doesn’t have to be like that anymore, and both the degradation of the environment and the job losses can be addressed.”    

The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.