Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's weekly newsletter! Here is the latest on the news and developments worth knowing.
Shutdown Crisis Update
A temporary end to the shutdown crisis is finally in sight -- the day before catastrophic default on the United States' obligations begins. Amid buzz about dismal polling numbers that are rocking Republican party elders, including a set of U.S. House district polls, Senate leaders reached a deal to reopen the federal government through January 15 and allow the U.S. to pay its bills until February 7. The deal also includes a provision to allow more disaster relief for Colorado. The bill is now on its way towards passage after Speaker John Boehner promised to allow a vote in the House.
As state leaders take stock of the aftermath, including the damage outlined by a group of women state legislators led by PSN Board Member Georgia State Sen. Nan Orrock, several themes are emerging. Republicans in Congress have little to show for their hostage-taking other than severe harm to themselves, the reckless and irresponsible brinksmanship behind the crisis should not be sanctioned as a legitimate political strategy, and the Affordable Care Act is alive and well. We are sure to see these themes amplified in the coming weeks.
Spotlight On Progressive Leaders
Ohio Women Legislators
Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich continued her work to secure equal pay for equal work by joining with other women Democratic legislators to crafte a gender pay disparity bill. It's a family and economic issue important to Ohio men as well, given that husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers are also harmed when working women are cheated out of the pay they've earned.
Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus
Sen. Daylin Leach, who chairs the Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus along with Rep. Dan Frankel, and Reps. Brian Sims and Steve McCarter have introduced legislation to bring marriage equality to the state. It comes on the heels of Gov. Tom Corbett's outrageous interview comments comparing same-sex marriage to incest, which prompted a sharp response from Sen. Leach: "I mean Rick Santorum stopped saying stuff like this 10 years ago."
Don't Miss It
We're counting down to PSN's invitation-only Legislative Leadership Retreat, to be held next week from October 23th to October 26th in Washington, D.C. If you are a state lawmaker, please stay tuned for additional updates.
Mark your calendars! The 2014 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference will take place February 10 to 11 in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit http://www.greenjobsconference.org/.
Pulse Of The Community
Freedom To Marry. As broad public support for marriage equality steadily grows, the states are continuing to see more action on the issue. In Indiana, state lawmakers will soon consider whether to put up for a statewide vote an amendment to the state constitution that denies same-sex couples the freedom to marry. In New Jersey, a state court recently cleared the way for the couples to wed starting on October 21 -- a step toward marriage equality that Gov. Chris Christie is attempting to block in the state Supreme Court. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett provoked a public backlash after he compared same-sex marriage to incest, forcing him to later apologize. Meanwhile, today a judicial decision whether to allow Michigan couples to get their marriage licenses was postponed to next year.
Pennsylvania Schools. Today, Gov. Corbett made a surprise announcement that he would finally release the $45 million he was previously withholding from Philadelphia public schools. Last week, national and local civil rights organizations called on him to release the funds, as well as get Pennsylvania back on track with an effective, fair and equitable school funding system. A deeply flawed funding distribution formula on top of severe underfunding was among the concerns highlighted by State Rep. Jim Roebuck, Pennsylvania families, and advocates in a rally last month.