Op-ed

OP-ED: It’s Time for Nonpartisan Municipal Elections

OP-ED: It’s Time for Nonpartisan Municipal Elections

Op-ed by Anthony H. Williams and David Thornburgh In Philadelphia, 23% or nearly a quarter-million voters effectively don’t get a say in who becomes mayor, represents them on city council or runs the District Attorney’s office. Despite standing in line to cast ballots and informing themselves on candidate positions, these citizens are locked out of the process simply because they’ve not registered to vote as a Democrat. But what if when you went into a voting booth, there were no party labels – no Democrat, no Republican, no Green – but only names? For voters in 85% of America’s cities and towns, that’s the reality - and Philadelphia should join them.
read more
New Student Loan Program Aimed at Helping Students Afford Post-Secondary Education

New Student Loan Program Aimed at Helping Students Afford Post-Secondary Education

Op-ed by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Pittsburgh). Most college students look forward to summer break and a reprieve from the classroom, but few have the resources to take the “summer off” from one of their most difficult challenges: paying for their education.  A postsecondary education can be expensive, but it is an investment worth making.  Whether a student attends the Community College of Allegheny County, learns a trade, or receives a four-year degree from the University of Pittsburgh, education is the key to a better future.
read more
Antiquated Basic Education Funding Formula is Hurting Lehigh Valley Homeowners and Students

Antiquated Basic Education Funding Formula is Hurting Lehigh Valley Homeowners and Students

The following Op-Ed is from Sen. Lisa Boscola (D - Lehigh/Northampton): The Basic Education Funding Formula is the single largest education funding stream in the commonwealth’s budget.  Until 2014, each year when the General Assembly passed a budget it distributed basic education funding dollars to our school districts based on what they received the year before -- regardless of whether the student population grew or shrank.  This led to large disparities throughout the state when it came to where money went versus where it was needed.  Some school districts received over 70 percent of their funding for their school programs from the state while other school districts received as low as 30 percent.  As you can imagine this led to significant inequality in property tax burdens for homeowners.  
read more
Hatred and Gun Violence Have No Place in Pennsylvania. We Must Act.

Hatred and Gun Violence Have No Place in Pennsylvania. We Must Act.

Op-Ed by Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery County) Depression. Anxiety. Mood disorders. Dementia. We hear about these and other mental health afflictions in our regular conversations, on television shows and even in our music, but it remains a consistent public health crisis in the black community because of the stigma surrounding topic. Phrases like ‘You know how she gets sometimes,’ or ‘he’s always been a little crazy’ belie the awareness that something isn’t quite right with the members of our community, as well as our unwillingness to truly address the root causes that plague people’s dispositions.
read more
It’s Time to Stand Up for the Sex Abuse Victims

It’s Time to Stand Up for the Sex Abuse Victims

Op-ed by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Pittsburgh). I write today with a heavy heart. Far too many times, we have all watched in horror as mass shootings play out across our nation. That nightmare has now come to pass in our own Pennsylvania backyard. To our friends and neighbors in Squirrel Hill, we admire your spirit, strength and unity. To members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, we offer our heartfelt sympathy and support as you recover from this harrowing tragedy. To members of the Jewish faith everywhere, we stand with you in solidarity. To our law enforcement and emergency responders, we salute you and thank you for your heroism.
read more
A Democrat and a Republican agree: Let seniors get quality care at home

A Democrat and a Republican agree: Let seniors get quality care at home

Op-ed by Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh). I was raised Catholic and spent all 12 years of schooling in Catholic schools. As an adult, I was married in the Catholic Church, raised my children in the faith and sent them to Catholic school. I still firmly believe in God, but my trust and respect for the Catholic institution has been shattered. Now that the church hierarchy has finally admitted that hundreds of priests sexually abused so many children for so many years and that church leaders took part in an elaborate coverup scheme, the church’s continued resistance to changing the law to protect victims is clearly all about the money.
read more
Workers need a Pa. Workplace Freedom Act

Workers need a Pa. Workplace Freedom Act

Op-ed by Senators Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Michele Brooks (R-Crawford). There are many choices and decisions that need to be made as we age. Medical choices are often the most important, and the most difficult, decisions that people will make for themselves and their loved ones. One choice that people should never be forced to make is moving out of their home and into an institution because Medicaid will not cover the costs of in-home medical care.
read more
We must act to stop crumbling schools in Philadelphia, across Pa.

We must act to stop crumbling schools in Philadelphia, across Pa.

The following op-ed was posted by PennLive.com. As expected, the Supreme Court voted against unions and working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case. This landmark decision makes it easier for anti-worker extremists to rig the economy and try to divide working people. The outcome of the Janus case will harm public servants such as nurses, teachers, school district workers, police, firefighters and social workers, in addition to driving down wages for everyone, eliminating health insurance for many working families and making workplace accidents and deaths more likely.
read more
Redlining is keeping people of color out of homes

Redlining is keeping people of color out of homes

Op-ed By Senator Vincent Hughes
Our schools are crumbling. Before the Inquirer reported on the deplorable conditions in Philadelphia schools, I heard that message from parents and students and even viewed it with my own eyes while visiting city schools. Seeing the conditions in which some of our students learn broke my heart but challenged me to act. And my proposal, the “Public School Building Renovation and Rehabilitation Program,” aims to help K-12 public schools fight this infrastructure crisis.
read more
Veto the Drug Formulary, Governor Wolf

Veto the Drug Formulary, Governor Wolf

Op-ed By Senator Vincent Hughes
The practice of redlining, which segregated communities and prevented minorities from achieving home ownership as their version of the American Dream, appears to be alive and well in our city and many communities across the nation.
read more
Tartaglione’s Legislation Would Lift Tens of Thousands of Tip-Earners Out of Poverty-level Wages

Tartaglione’s Legislation Would Lift Tens of Thousands of Tip-Earners Out of Poverty-level Wages

Op-ed by Senators Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Michele Brooks (R-Crawford). There are many choices and decisions that need to be made as we age. Medical choices are often the most important, and the most difficult, decisions that people will make for themselves and their loved ones. One choice that people should never be forced to make is moving out of their home and into an institution because Medicaid will not cover the costs of in-home medical care.
read more
Inaction is Not an Option

Inaction is Not an Option

Op-ed By Christine M. Tartaglione
In February, I introduced legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate to give the state’s low-wage earners a much needed and long overdue raise this year, next year and for years to come based on a consistent, predictable and sustainable schedule for both workers and employers.
read more
Action to Address Worker Wages First Step on Long Road to Equity

Action to Address Worker Wages First Step on Long Road to Equity

By State Senator Wayne Fontana
Americans are fed up with this nation’s gun violence epidemic. It is intolerable. Horrific accounts of deranged mass murderers using military-grade assault weapons to indiscriminately spray bullets into crowds of innocent people has become part of the regular news cycle. Lives are lost, families are destroyed and communities paralyzed.
read more