The Senate GOP is advancing its radical right agenda this week with legislation that undermines the rights of women, working people in unions, local government and more. The Senate GOP has 34 of 50 Senators and believes that it has the votes to pass this legislation. A brief summary of each is below. I will vote “no” on all.
Adding Abortion Restrictions
The US Supreme Court permits abortions at up to 24 weeks. This week the Senate will vote on SB 3, which decreases the gestational age that abortion can be performed from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Additionally, it prohibits what the medical community commonly refers to as a dilation and evacuation abortion procedure. Violation of this law is a crime. This measure is intended to take away power from women. The PA Medical Society opposes this legislation as does many women health organizations.
IDs for Public Benefits
State and national law permit a low income person to apply for food and shelter from the government with many forms of identification. This week the Senate will vote SB 9, which requires a government-issued ID to receive food, shelter and other government benefits. This measure is intended to create a barrier to access to food and shelter for low income people.
Ending Sanctuary Cities/Counties
Local governments are not required to get involved in national immigration matters. This week, the Senate will vote on SB 10 which requires local governments to detain persons deemed suspicious of immigration violations. If local government does not comply with the request from the national government, those municipalities would be liable for crimes committed by someone that could be or does have an ICE detainer request outstanding, and will be denied all grants to sanctuary cities up to $1.3 billion. This measure is intended to encourage deportation and permit racial profiling.
Unions are permitted to collect al dues from the paycheck of members. This week the Senate will vote on SB 166 and SB 167 to stop the use of paycheck deductions from the paychecks of public employees to support advocacy. This measure is intended to kill the advocacy of unions and end their influence.
Taxpayer Deception Package
The legislature makes spending and taxing decisions each year based upon negotiation. This week the Senate will vote on a package of tax reform bills. SB 7 would enact the so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” that sets arbitrary limits on spending. The Senate will also take up bills SB 201, 202 and 203 that will reduce the taxes on business at a time when we are $3 billion short. This measures will shift taxes to individuals from businesses.
Protecting the pay of women in the workplace is a goal not yet achieved. This week the Senate will vote on SB 241 for pay equity for women. However, the Women’s Law Project is opposed to the bill because it falls short of real protection. This measure is a token response to the real working environment of women.