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News You Can Use - Jan 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

News You Can Use Jan 4, 2022

Hey friends, Especially as we go into the new year, I know folks have been avoiding the news since it’s usually all doom and gloom. Here at PA Stands Up News You Can Use, we want to add some hope! That’s why our write ups come with some calls to action so you know there are folks fighting for the issues you care about. And we want you to join them!

Jan 6

Since the gift for one year anniversaries is paper, feel free to serve papers to anyone you know that took part in the violence.

Together, we have the power to demand that our Senators create national standards that protect our rights, ensure that trusted local election officials count every vote, and prevent partisan politicians from sabotaging the results of our elections.

Redistricting

Last month PA's Legislative Apportionment Committee released their proposed new maps for PA State House and State Senate Districts. Analysis of the new maps shows that the new maps for the State House are much fairer than the maps used over the last decade. Although the maps still have a slight Republican bias, Democrats have a much better chance to take control of the State House now than before. By contrast, the new State Senate maps are actually more biased to the Republican Party than before.

The difference between the House and Senate maps can somewhat be attributed to the different approaches taken by House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. McClinton seems to have prioritized winning, while Costa seems to have prioritized the protection of incumbents.

At this time, there is no agreed upon map for the Federal Congressional Districts for which PA is set to lose one seat in Congress. :( Think your new map is bogus? Submit a public comment? You can submit your own map, leave a text response, or attend a public hearing!

COVID update

Omicron worries
WATCH: Artist Omarion clears up confusion around the name of the new strain of COVID as well as the confusing new CDC guidelines surrounding isolation for those who test positive

Omicron has rapidly overtaken Delta as the dominant variant of COVID spreading in the US. Evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is milder in symptoms (for fully vaccinated people) than other COVID strains but much more infectious leading to troubling capacity issues in healthcare systems across the nation and PA.


Mask mandates for schools
Schools across the state are also feeling the weight of the rapid increase in Covid cases. The School District of Lancaster was forced to close Monday due to a surge of Covid cases reported over the holidays. On Tuesday, parents in Central Dauphin School District received an email dismissing high school and Middle school students early and pivoting to an abbreviated school day beginning Tuesday until further notice due to transportation delays due to the rapid spread of Covid.

This comes a few weeks after the PA Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s mask requirement for k-12 schools in the state. This ruling places the burden of implementing mask policies on local school districts. Get more involved with Lancaster or Dauphin’s efforts to hold electeds accountable and keep students safe!

Testing available

The Wolf administration is opening mass testing sites across the state, particularly in rural areas, as part of its plan to combat the spread of COVID in the state. They have also requested 1 million at-home tests from the Biden administration in anticipation of the roll out of Joe Biden’s plan to roll out an expansion of at-home testing in the US. It’s important to be tested so we can help prevent the spread by identifying people who are in need of care in a timely fashion. When was the last time YOU were tested?

Police Accountability

NEPA Stands Up held one of nearly a dozen marches for justice for Christian Hall, the teen that was killed by PA state troopers back in 2020. His family organized vigils in Scranton, Philippines, NY, LA, and more. The movement to make sure that police are not the only responders to mental health crises is ongoing, and for now, the family has retained the services of attorney Ben Crump, who continues to push for the Monroe County DA to pass the investigation to PA Attorney General Shapiro.

New Candidates

In Good News You Can Use, many of our chapter endorsed candidates became elected officials after being sworn in this week! We look forward to co-governing with them and holding them accountable while they serve.

If you want to run, or know someone who wants to run in 2022 or beyond, get involved with your local chapter!