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Weekly Update: Advocating for Criminal Justice Reform, Creating Jobs, and Promoting STEM Education for Women

April 16, 2018

STEM Education for Women
Last Monday, First Lady Frances Wolf hosted a roundtable at the Governor’s Residence to discuss how to promote the engagement and success of young girls in computer science and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The First Lady was joined by educators, government officials, community members, and business leaders to focus on how to increase participation of girl and young women in STEM.

“Last year, twice as many boys took computer sciences courses than girls, yet over the next 10 years, 71 percent of new jobs will require computer science skills,” the First Lady said. “It is important that we bring those who are on the front lines of this work to the table to look at the barriers to girls and young women entering STEM education programs and careers, and what we can do to reverse this trend.”

Furthering his administration’s support for Pennsylvania’s women, Governor Wolf declared April 10, 2018, Equal Pay Day in the commonwealth on Tuesday. April 10th marked how far into the year women had to work to earn the same as men earned in 2017.

Jobs that Pay
Last week, Governor Wolf continued his commitment to Jobs that Pay by announcing Pennsylvania Cherry LLC’s plan to establish operations in Mercersburg Borough, Franklin county, creating more than 40 new Pennsylvania jobs. On Friday, he announced that Bell & Evans will expand in Bethel Township, Lebanon county, bringing more than 1,000 new jobs and supporting the operations of 3,000 Pennsylvania farms.

Independent Redistricting Commission
Governor Wolf released a statement on Wednesday, stating his opposition to the House State Government Committee Republican majority’s attempt to gut and replace House Bill 722.

“This is partisan politics at its worst and it shows a flippant disregard for thousands of citizens that have spoken in favor of independent redistricting and ending gerrymandering.

After the last few months, it should be clear that the solution to our broken redistricting system is not putting more power in the hands of partisan politicians. This is wrong, and it is an affront to our democracy. I urge the full House to reject this partisan political power play and demand a vote on a truly independent redistricting commission.”

Grandfamilies
On Tuesday, Governor Wolf supported both state and federal proposals to aid grandparents who have assumed sole care-giving responsibilities for their grandchildren, especially those affected by the opioid epidemic. The legislative proposals backed by the governor include those by Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne and Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks, and U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s federal legislation, which passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate and is now in the U.S. House. These bills would help ensure that grandparents have access to all the services possible to help them with their duties as caregivers and guardians.

Criminal Justice Reform
The governor joined with Senator Greenleaf and Secretary John Wetzel on Thursday to outline a package of eight criminal justice reforms. These reforms are long overdue and will help to provide consistency and uniformity in the system.

“The debate about how we can fix our criminal justice system is complicated, and over time that debate has changed to reflect the modern realities and issues present in our system,” Governor Wolf said. “I believe that we can improve the criminal justice system, so that we can protect victims while also ending a cycle of incarceration that has left so many people feeling trapped, helpless and without an opportunity to return to society after they have been released.”

For a list of proposed reforms, click here.

Governor Wolf’s Week, April 8–14, 2018

Monday, 4/9/18

Tuesday, 4/10/18

Wednesday, 4/11/18

Thursday, 4/12/18

Friday, 4/13/18

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