Pennsylvania Family Institute
Family Update | May 15, 2015 | Tell a Friend | Facebook Twitter Addthis
Primary Election Day This Tuesday
2015 Primary The Municipal Primary Election is this Tuesday May 19th. Every election is important, but unfortunately the “off-year” primary features the lowest voter turnout. This year, though, is historic: there are an unprecedented three openings to be filled on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Do you know about the candidates? For information on statewide judicial races that will determine the course of our courts for decades, be sure to consult our comprehensive, non-partisan online Voter Guide at pafamily.org/2015/05/primary2015guide.
Remember, though, that even the local elections are important. Your municipal officials, from county to local council to school board, have just as much (if not more!) impact on your everyday lives as more well-known politicians. Whether it’s taxation or your school district’s sex-ed curriculum, there’s a lot at stake on Tuesday.
Education Tax Credit Passes PA House
Earlier this week the State House passed an expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) by an overwhelming 166 to 26 vote. These tax credits permit businesses, in lieu of state taxes, to give to accredited scholarship programs for children to attend private elementary and secondary schools. Whereas the EITC program is available across Pennsylvania, the OSTC program targets students living near the worst-performing schools in the state.
The state caps the tax credits available to corporations under the EITC and OSTC programs. House Bill 762, introduced and championed by Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), would increase those caps from $100 million to $170 million for the EITC, and from $50 million to $80 million for the OSTC.
These programs are popular among families, businesses, and members of both parties. They are effective and compassionate initiatives that increase access to educational opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. Further, they apply pressure to failing schools to improve. We urge the Senate to quickly send HB 762 to the governor, whom we urge to sign the bill.
Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act Passes U.S. House
On Wednesday, the U.S. House considered and passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This popular legislation (polls consistently show majorities of men and women support it) recognizes that unborn children can feel the pain of the violent abortion process and bans all abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
The United States is currently one of only seven countries in the world (including human rights standouts such as North Korea) to permit abortions after twenty weeks. Putting this bill up for a vote gets members of Congress on the record on their support—or opposition—to humane and essential human rights protections.
Several Pennsylvania congressmen voted for the act, including Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler), whose floor speech you can watch here.
Gosnell-Era Secretary of the Commonwealth Grilled at Confirmation Hearing
Pedro Cortés was Secretary of the Commonwealth—head of the Pennsylvania Department of State—during Gov. Ed Rendell’s tenure from 2003 to 2010. This period coincided with some of the worst negligence at the department chronicled in the Gosnell grand jury report. While Cortés said in the hearing that he is “responsible for the actions of the department,” he shifted responsibility for the Gosnell failure onto “a few prosecutors who utterly failed” in their duties. This is at odds, though, with the grand jury report, which states:
The Grand Jury is convinced – based on the number of state prosecutors who failed to take action against Gosnell, on the fact that the prosecutors’ supervisors uniformly approved recommendations not to take action, and on the testimony of Prosecuting Attorney Ruiz – that the problem does not lie just with the individual attorneys. There are clearly problems with procedures, training, management, and motivation within the Department of State’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.
The tough questioning of Cortés was led by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), who chairs the Senate State Government Committee. Call or email your senator to encourage him or her to reject the Cortés nomination, which shows that some Pennsylvania leaders have not learned the lessons of the Gosnell tragedy.
Gosnell Trial Anniversary
It has been two years since the trial that resulted in Kermit Gosnell’s life sentence for murdering women and born-alive infants at his abortion clinic in West Philadelphia. On our blog, you can find a play-by-play of the trial. It is important that we remember the Gosnell story—and continue to remind others—so that the lessons learned from what happened are not forgotten.
PFI in the Media
The Pennsylvania Family Institute is committed to bringing our message across our state. Today (Friday) at 8 p.m. you can watch PFI Director of Strategic Initiatives Brandon McGinley appear on NightTalk: Get To The Point on PCNC in Pittsburgh. Additionally, you can catch up with PFI on the radio at several times and on several stations across Pennsylvania.
City on the Hill Youth Leadership & Worldview Conference: July 19-25, Lancaster Bible College. Featuring Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation and Scott Klusendorf of Life Training International. Early registration deadline (saving $65) is May 31st.
Friends of the Family Banquet: Friday, October 30, Hershey Lodge. Featuring an outstanding speaker to be revealed soon!
Pennsylvania Family Institute & Council
Protect the Family. Preserve the Future.
Address: 23 N Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17101
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