Pennsylvania NOW Supports Agenda for Women’s Health Bills
HARRISBURG, May 11, 2015- The Pennsylvania state chapter of the National Organization for Women (PA NOW) is proud to support the bicameral, bipartisan Women’s Health Caucus as they roll out another round of bills as part of the comprehensive Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health, an apt kick off to National Women’s Health Week. The Agenda addresses the genuine health needs and concerns of women in the Commonwealth. Taken as a whole, these bills proactively protect and promote women’s well-being by addressing barriers to women’s health, safety, and economic security.
This round includes several bills to improve working conditions for women and mothers, including reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, sanitary conditions for nursing mothers, a bill to strengthen retirement protections for spouses of state employees, and a bill to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to extend sexual harassment protections to all Pennsylvania workers.
Representatives Brian Sims and Tina Davis will introduce a bill to strengthen the state Pay Equity Act by closing loopholes in the existing law, including reliance on pay history, and would end the common practice of pay secrecy. Several bills to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and increase tipped wages are also part of the Agenda. Representative Michelle Brownlee and Senator Judy Schwank will introduce bills increasing the earned income disregard in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), so working families making progress to improve their lives don’t lose vital support.
“Putting teeth into the Pay Equity Act so that it actually accomplishes the job it was designed to do- close the gender wage gap, raising the minimum wage, and increasing the earned income disregard for those relying on the TANF program are beyond good bills for women, workers, and their families. They are vital to their well-being,” said Caryn Hunt, President of Pennsylvania NOW.
The Ensuring Patient Trust bill introduced by Representative Dan Frankel protects the doctor-patient relationship from inappropriate intrusion by the state legislature. Healthcare providers cannot be forced to give information or deny information if it is not based on evidence and medically sound. A bill introduced by Representative Matt Bradford and Senator Larry Farnese would protect safe access to health care facilities. Other legislation included in this round are a bill to establish a Women Veterans’ Healthcare Task Force, bills to provide for early termination of rental and cellphone contracts, without penalty, for victims of domestic violence, and a bill to require colleges and universities to adopt best practices policies to prevent sexual assault on campus and to be held more accountable.
“The Agenda addresses long-standing concerns about access to healthcare and medically accurate information, works to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to prevent gender violence on campus. With these and the other bills in the Women’s Health Agenda, Pennsylvania women finally have champions in the legislature focused on their true needs and fighting for real improvements in their lives,” said Hunt.
Pennsylvania NOW strongly supports the Agenda for Women’s Health that puts the health and well-being of women and their families first.
President, Pennsylvania NOW
Lobbyist, Pennsylvania NOW
Pennsylvania NOW, Inc. | P. O. Box 4 Ft. Washington, PA 19034 | 814-280-8571 PennsylvaniaNOW.org | PennsylvaniaNOW@gmail.com