Bellevue Bulletin 10/18/2019
Welcome back to your weekly update from Bellevue Strategies!
This week in state news: Pennsylvania is leading the nation in student loan debt. Jennifer O’Mara, a freshman state representative from Delaware County, attended the new Student Debt Caucus in the state House on Wednesday, located at Cabrini University in Radnor. The issue in question was, why does Pennsylvania have the highest national average student loan debt per resident, at $36,000? O’Mara, in an interview beforehand, said that she believes there’s a variety of reasons, including societal pressure, a severe lack of financial literacy, and predatory lending, to name a few. One recent estimate puts outstanding PA student debt at $68.2 billion, with more than 1.7 million borrowers. O’Mara says, “We have to let students know it’s okay to chose Community Colleges first.”
Meek Mill is a champion in the fight to reform the Pennsylvania criminal justice system – and Philadelphia 76ers partner and Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin is joining the fight with him. Rubin and Mill founded the REFORM Alliance – a partnership of titans in the entertainment, sports, and business worlds – with the focus on disrupting the probation system in Pennsylvania. In this state alone, the probation system oversees more than 180,000 people, according to federal figures. The REFORM Alliance is pushing Pennsylvania lawmakers to reduce the number of years people can stay on probation and to ensure that those on probation can’t be sent back to prison for technical violations. The group now has more raised than $50 million and is working to convince lawmakers and voters of the need for change. Read more about it here.
In Philadelphia City Council this week, councilmembers introduced a bill that plans to restrict minors’ access to e-cigarette products. The bill prohibits stores that sell high-nicotine or flavored e-cigarettes from allowing anyone under the age of 18 inside. Under Mayor Kenney’s administration, City Council attempted to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products last year but was preempted by the state from doing so. Councilmember Greenlee, who introduced the new bill, hopes that in light of the recent deaths and illnesses associated with e-cigs, the state won’t interfere again.
Additionally in City Council, Councilmember Al Taubenberger introduced four bills that would give real estate and wage tax credits to residents raising their grandchildren or working parents with children in daycare. He says the bills are intended to help families, whose income is fixed, or has not kept up with inflation. Councilmember Blondell Reynolds Brown put forth a resolution celebrating October as “National High School Dropout Prevention Month”.
That’s all for now! Make sure to follow us on Twitter @PhillyAdvocates for more.