Bellevue Bulletin 09/27/2019
Happy autumn and welcome back to your weekly update by Bellevue!
First up this week is the news that almost everyone has heard by now: the U.S. House has moved to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday that he supports the impeachment proceedings, but that he hasn’t seen all the evidence and “doesn’t know whether the president committed an impeachable offense” in pushing Ukraine’s president to look into Joe Biden. As far as Pennsylvania’s senators, they are split along their predictable partisan lines – Senator Pat Toomey called Trump’s conversation “inappropriate”, but not an impeachable offense, while Senator Casey supports the impeachment inquiry, citing that pressuring a foreign government to investigate a political opponent counts as an abuse of power. Quotes courtesy of Fox 29.
In the city of Philadelphia, the big news is that a new federal report shows that the city’s poverty rate has dropped to its lowest level sine 2008, and that median household income has risen. Released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday, the report showed that the city’s poverty rate declined from 25.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2018. The median household income (adjusted for inflation) increased from $43,372 to $46,116 in the same years. But, despite the good news, not all of Philadelphia’s numbers were good. For example, Philadelphia remains the poorest of the 10 most populous U.S. cities, the ACS showed. The number of people in poverty here is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Cleveland. (Courtesy of The Inquirer.) The general consensus is that while this is still good news, Philadelphia has plenty more work to do.
A lot happened this week in City Council, so we’ll start with the most interesting. After an “18-month lobbying battle” between the city, landlords, and child safety advocates, City Council finally voted to approve a bill aimed at ensuring children aren’t exposed to lead in rental housing. After months of discussion regarding lead paint in both Philadelphia schools and Philadelphia rental homes, the legislation aims to create a safer and healthier environment for the city’s kids. While lead paint was banned in 1978, buildings constructed before then can still expose lead when newer layers of paint begin to deteriorate. Find more about the bill here.
City Council is also considering a new proposal that would require Philadelphia institutions that serve children to accommodate transgender and gender-nonconforming youth, which would include allowing individuals to wear clothing and use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. It would require regular anti-discrimination training for staff, and stipulates that personnel should not disclose a child’s transgender identity or gender-nonconformity to parents or other staff, unless the child authorizes such. The bill would be set on top of the city’s existing anti-discrimination laws, and city lawyers and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations are still working out how, or if, the bill would apply to religious institutions. To read more, click here.
In addition to the big bills, Councilmember Cindy Bass produced an ordinance on behalf of Councilmember Clarke that would prohibit the possession of deadly weapons, such as guns, at city recreation centers. Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. had a resolution honoring the Mental Health Courts of Philadelphia, one of Pennsylvania’s most significant re-entry programs, on the occasion of the program’s 10th anniversary.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to follow us @PhillyAdvocates on Twitter for more!