Pennsylvania’s Proposed Women’s Health Agenda

agenda under discussion before the Pennsylvania House and Senate’s joint Women’s Health Agenda Caucus, from Joanne Tosti-Vasey, Civil Rights Advocacy, 10/1/13:

Protect and Expand Women’s Reproductive Health Rights

Pregnancy Accommodations: Require employers to provide accommodations to pregnant employees with temporary pregnancy-related conditions to allow workers to remain employed throughout their pregnancies while imposing minimal burdens on employers.

Support for Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace: Require all employers to provide compensated break time and a private, sanitary (not a bathroom) for all employees who need to express milk.

Buffer Zones: Enact a statewide reproductive health care clinic buffer zone statute to protect safe access to essential health care.

Inmate Shackling: Strengthen pregnant inmate shackling law (Act 45 of 2010) to cover the entire pregnancy and a reasonable post-partum period for mother-child bonding and to eliminate the tasering of any woman known to be pregnant.

Medical Professional Conscientious Right to Refuse to Deliver Medically Inaccurate Information: Protect physician-patient relationships from political intrusion.

Improve Women’s Economic Security

TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) Grant Amount: Increase TANF cash assistance grant levels.

TANF Asset Limit: Increase the TANF eligibility asset limit to encourage saving and financial independence.

Earned Income Disregard: Increase the earned income disregard and apply it to applicants as well as recipients. FYI, the earned income disregard allows very-low income workers to continue receiving TANF, food stamps, and Medicaid if they make 50% or less of the poverty level. This proposed legislation would raise this “disregard” level to 75% and would apply to applicants as well as recipients.

Childcare Works Waiting List: Eliminate the childcare works waiting list.

TANF Pre-Application Job Search: Eliminate or modify the TANF pre-application job search requirements.

Minimum Wage: Increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00/hour.

Gender Wage Gap: Strengthen Pennsylvania law to eliminate the 24% gender wage gap by prohibiting retaliation against employees for discussing wages (“pay secrecy”) and closing the “factor other than sex” defense to apply only to bona fide business-related factors.

Family Responsibilities Employment Discrimination: Prohibit family responsibilities discrimination in employment by amending the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to prohibit family status discrimination in employment pursuant to an expanded definition of familial status to encompass the true scope of familial responsibilities shouldered by employees.

Paid Family and Sick Leave: Require all employers to provide employees with paid family and sick leave.

Spousal Pension Benefits: Require spousal consent when a retiring state employee chooses how his or her pension benefits should be paid consistent with federal law protecting each spouse from his or her spouse’s selection of a pension benefit in all privately-sponsored pension plans and laws adopted by other states.

Domestic Worker Protection: Amend Pennsylvania anti-discrimination laws to provide domestic workers protection from employment discrimination’

Sexual Harassment: Extend the prohibition on sexual harassment in employment to all employers, even small employers.

Protect Women’s Personal Safety

Paid Leave for Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking Victims: Require employers to provide paid leave to obtain assistance for and pursue legal protection against domestic and sexual violence and stalking.

Housing Discrimination: Prohibit private and public housing discrimination against domestic violence victims.

Civil Orders of Protection for Sexual Violence and Stalking Victims: Authorize courts to issue civil orders of protection for sex crime and stalking victims.

Absolute Privilege for Student Victims: Protect victims/witnesses of sexual assault who testify in school grievance proceedings from being sued by their harassers.

Human Trafficking: Strengthen Pennsylvania’s criminal statute on human trafficking.

Veterans’ Real Estate Tax Exemption: Amend Pennsylvania law to provide veterans real estate tax exemption for veterans suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) due to sexual victimization during service and appoint women representatives to the House and Senate Committees on Veteran Affairs and to the Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission.

Voting Reform: Reform voting rules to provide online registration, same day in person registration, early voting, including early in person voting on weekends.

read the full post at Civil Rights Advocacy

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