Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring 2011 Pennsylvania NOW Times

The Pennsylvania NOW Times Spring 2011 issue is now available online. The newsletter includes:

  • Our Voters' Guide
  • Legislative Updates of the 2011-2012 legislative session in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
  • What Are They Thinking!? - article about the legislative attacks on women, children and people of color.
  • United We Rise - article on the upcoming October 1, 2011 PA NOW Convention in Bucks County.
  • Proposed By-Laws Amendment
  • What Can We Do? - tidbits on what you can do for women's equality
  • Chapter Exchange

Rally for a Responsible Budget

On Tuesday, May 3rd at 1PM, Pennsylvania NOW along with the Better Choices Coalition of Pennsylvania and the CLEAR Coalition will hold a budget rally on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg. We expect over 3,000 people from across the state to push back against a cuts-only budget that puts us all at risk.

Call on the legislature to close corporate tax loopholes before they close literacy and job training classes, domestic abuse shelters, and other cost-effective local programs that serve people with disabilities, children, seniors, and our neighbors in communities around the state still recovering from the recession.

Rally for a Responsible Budget
Tuesday, May 3rd
Capitol Steps, Harrisburg

Wear white to show your support, and bring signs and banners from your organization.

If you would like to participate in legislative visits before and after the rally, register at Click that you are driving yourself (all 70 buses are full). Report between 10:30 and 11 to the registration table behind the State Museum to receive your ticket for a free box lunch (for those who registered), and talking points for the visits.

Harrisburg will be crowded on May 3rd, so please leave ample time to find parking and get through Capitol security.

Please contact Kate Atkins with questions at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PA NOW PAC Primary Election Endorsements

Pennsylvania NOW PAC Endorsements

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The following recommendations by the state NOW Political Action Committee  (PA NOW PAC) are presented here for your information. These endorsements are current as of April 26.
The Pennsylvania NOW PAC makes endorsements for statewide and local races. At the state level, there is one opening for Justice on the PA Superior Court and one openings for  Justice on the PA Commonwealth Court. At the County level, all County Commissioners or County Executive (Allegheny County) plus all  Row Offices are up for election. In addition, some counties have openings for the county-level Court of Common Pleas. At the local and district level, people are running for District Court Justice, Borough and City Councils, Township Supervisors, and Mayors.
The PA NOW PAC has two levels of approval for candidates. "Endorsement" is the highest level of endorsement and is given only to those candidates who support all of our issues and will take a leadership position on those issues if elected. "Support" is given to those candidates who are good on most of our issues but have a problem with one or two and we believe that these candidates are significantly better than their opposition. As of April 26, all listed candidates have received full endorsement.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court  (note: you can only vote for one person in this race)
   Kathryn Boockvar (D)
        Barbara Behrend Ernsberger (D)
Allegheny County
Valerie McDonald Roberts (D)
County Executive
Pittsburgh City Council, District 9
       Phyllis Copeland-Mitchell (D)
Wilkinsburg Borough Council, 1st Ward
Paige Trice (D)
Wilkinsburg Borough Council, 2nd Ward
       Beverly McCoy (D)

Bucks County
Commissioners (vote for two)
Diane Marseglia (D)

Dauphin County
Clerk of Courts
 Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans’ Court
Rogette Harris (D)

Lancaster County
Manheim Township Commissioner

Montgomery County
Clerk of Courts
Ann Thornburg Weiss (D)
       Diane B. Morgan (D)
    Recorder of Deeds
Linda M. Hee (D)
The PA NOW PAC needs your help.
In order to put out a voter’s guide and to assist NOW endorsed candidates for statewide and local office, we need funds donated directly to the PA NOW PAC.  If you are interested in electing public officials who support full equality of women, then please consider donating to the PA NOW PAC. Mail your donation to the PA NOW PAC, P.O. Box 8614, Wilkinsburg, PA 15221.  You can also donate online to the PAC via credit card at Thank you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Update on SB 1 - the School Voucher Bill

I just received an email from PSEA (the PA State Education Association) - one of the lead organizations of the Pennsylvanians Opposed to School Vouchers coalition - regarding what happened with the school voucher bill today in the Pennsylvania Senate.  Here's the text of that email from Beth Zampogna, Assistant Director of Government Relations:

Update on SB 1 -

Thanks to all of you for your EXCELLENT work and outreach to Senators opposing Senate Bill 1. Collectively we have made significant progress [emphasis added]. As of this morning the Senate was scheduled to vote on SB 1 and we did not have the votes to defeat it. Throughout the day, based on all of your hard work, we got a LOT closer on the vote count and raised significant concerns about the bill, particularly among the Senate Republican caucus. Even after Governor Corbett himself appeared in the Senate Republican caucus pushing for support for vouchers, the decision by the caucus was to postpone the vote tonight and possibly tomorrow on SB 1. In fact, we have heard that they may not vote the bill at the earliest until the week of April 25 [emphasis added].

This is real progress but there’s a lot more work to be done. We must take advantage of this momentum - PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS AND ADVOCATES and urge them to keep up the pressure. As of today, the following are the Senators we believe need to receive the most contact urging opposition to Senate Bill 1:

• Rich Alloway (R-Franklin, Adams)
• Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster)
• Jane Earll (R-Erie)
• Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery)
• Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia)
• LeAnna Washington (D-Montgomery)
• Mary Jo White (R-Venango)
• Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming)

More updates and information to follow tomorrow as we continue to collect intelligence from across the street but for now just want to say thanks and congratulations on this accomplishment. Let’s keep up the hard work!
So please continue to call / email your Senator and tell him/her to vote NO on SB 1.  My earlier blog today gives more details including links to talking points and information on how to find out who you Senator is and how to contact him/her. 

Thanks for all you do!

Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. Today, Tuesday April 12, 2011 is the day on which women’s wages catch up with men’s wages from the previous year.

The Wage Gap

The commonly used measure to determine the wage gap is the ratio of women’s to men’s median annual earnings for full-time, full-year workers. Based on these earnings, women earned just 77 percent of what men earned in 2009 (data not yet available for 2010, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, April 2011).

Nationally, Asian American women have the smallest wage gap, earning 91 percent of what the average white man earned in 2010. White women are next, earning approximately 81 percent of white men’s average income. African-American women (70 percent) and Hispanic women (60 percent) have the largest wage gaps as compared to white men (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, April 2011).

A typical woman earns $431,000 less in pay over 40 years due to this wage gap. This gap rises to $723,000 for women who have earned college degrees (Center for American Progress, 2010).

How About PA?

The wage gap is just as bad, if not worse, in our state. When ranked among the other 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania’s wage gap placed it 35th (American Community Survey Briefs, September 2010).

The median annual income for a woman working full-time, year round in Pennsylvania in 2009 was $35,301, compared to men’s $46,747. This is a wage gap of 76 percent (American Community Survey Briefs, September 2010).

This earnings ratio decreased to 69 percent when the median earnings of women with a graduate or professional degree ($57,945) were compared to the median earnings of similarly educated men ($84,389) (M Price et al., 2008).

Centre County ranks 47 out of 67 counties in terms of the wage gap. Women in Centre County earn 70% of men’s hourly wages (M Price et al., 2008).

Pennsylvania women earn $459,000 less in pay over a 40-year career. That gap rises to $722,000 if you have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. (Center for American Progress, 2010).

What Can YOU Do?
  • Tell your employer if you are being paid less then your male co-workers. If there’s a union, ask for their help.
  • If discrimination persists,
    • File a complaint with the PA Human Relations Commission in Harrisburg. Contact information is available by region.  Just go to their website and look for your county's name.  The phone number and address for your regional office is listed directly above the names of the counties served by each office..
    • Check to see if your local borough or county has a local anti-discrimination ordinance.  There are about 15 jurisdictions throughout the state with local ordinance.  Your regional office of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission can give you this information.
  • If you are an employer, you can get help in examining pay practices by conducting an equal pay self-audit using the guidelines from the US Department of Labor (available at
  • Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLaruro (CT) re-introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act this morning. 
    • Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) is one of the 24 co-sponsors of the Senate bill; you can thank him at either (202) 224-6324 or at
    • Senator Pat Toomey is not a co-sponsor; ask him why not?  He can be contacted at (202) 224-4254 or at
    • And ask your Congressional representatives to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act. You can find your local Congressional Representative's contact information on the US House's website by entering your zip code in the box on the top left of the home page.
  • Become involved in your local NOW chapter. Go to for more information. Or contact Pennsylvania NOW at either or at 814-280-8571.
Join the Cause: Join NOW! 
Join the National Organization for Women

Annual dues are $45.00 per year. Sliding scale dues are also available. You can join NOW at or by filling out our Membership Form and mailing it along with your check or credit card number to Pennsylvania NOW, P.O. Box 68, Bellefonte, PA 16823.

School Voucher Bill Vote Expected as Early as Today

SB 1 came out of Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, April 11, as amended, by a vote of 15-11. The full Senate could take a vote on the bill as early as TODAY!-- with virtually no time to analyze and understand the amendment that went into the bill on Monday. And certainly no time to get input from the public. You can see what the amended bill looks like here.  The changes made in the amendment on Monday, April 11 are in capital letters. This amendment basically broadens the group of students who would be eligible to obtain vouchers to include "middle class" students instead of low-income students only.  This amenment would create an even greater burden on school districts and property taxes as monies for the school district are funnelled out of the public schools into the private and parochial schools.

THE BEST THING NOW IS TO CALL YOUR STATE AND ASKING THEM TO VOTE AGAINST SB 1 WHEN IT COMES UP FOR A VOTE. I know many of you have sent letters  or made calls to the full Senate.  You can find your Senator by zip code.  Once you find your Senator, link to his/her web page to find the phone number and email or web form.

And here's information to help you make that call:
Additional information is also available at the Pennsylvanians Opposed to School Vouchers website.  Pennsylvania NOW is part of this coalition.

In case you don't have time to review this material before you call your Senator, here are some quick talking points:
  1. School vouchers are clearly unconstitutional under the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  2. Schools accepting the vouchers can discriminate in whom they accept, which could possibly violate the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act.
  3. Voucher programs provide little to no accountability to Pennsylvania taxpayers.
  4. Vouchers do not improve academic achievement.
  5. Children who remain in the public schools have less funding available for their education.
Thank you for taking action today!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stop Ambulatory Surgical Center Regulations from Closing Freestanding Abortion Clinics

We just heard that Rep. Matt Baker's bill, House Bill 574 -- which requires freestanding abortion providers to comply with ambulatory surgical facilities regulations -- will be considered at a meeting of the Pennsylvania House Health Committee this coming Monday, April 11.
House Bill 574 would regulate Pennsylvania’s freestanding abortion providers as ambulatory surgical facilities, subject to both the ambulatory surgical facility regulations (“ASF regulations”) and the ambulatory gynecological surgery in hospitals and clinics regulations (“abortion regulations”).

Instead of preventing another Gosnell “house of horrors,” this bill will hurt women.

• It will not improve patient safety.
• It will force safe providers to close.
• It will increase the cost of an abortion by as much as $1,000.
• It will force women to seek care in other states or from marginal or illegal practitioners.
• It will create two overlapping sets of regulations that are in conflict with each other and in violation of the Abortion Control Act.
• It will have the harshest impact on the poor and rural women of Pennsylvania.

Tell the Pennsylvania House Health Committee to vote NO on House Bill 574 and STOP these proposed Ambulatory Surgical Center Regulations from closing freestanding abortion clinics.

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