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Law Center News: April 2014
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia  
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Voting News: One More Blow to Voter Id!
Commonwealth Court denied the state's post-trial motion for reconsideration in Applewhite v. Commonwealth, meaning the final injunction against the law will stand. Denial of the post-trial motion means the state defendants must now decide whether to appeal the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Read more, including Judge McGinley's full decision, here
Call to Action: Help Support a Permanent Office of Sustainability 
The Mayor's Office of Sustainability could become a permanent city agency if a resolution to change its charter is passed by a two-thirds majority of City Council. This past Monday, Amy Laura Cahn testified on this change before City Council saying, "No city agency has been more impactful or more of a partner in our work supporting environmentally just communities than the Mayor's Office of Sustainability." We need your help: Call or email your City Council member before May 8 and ask him or her to support Resolution Number 130884! To read Amy Laura Cahn's full testimony on the issue, click here
Education News: Parents of Children With Autism to Have Say in School Placement 
The Law Center and Dechert LLP reached an agreement with the School District of Philadelphia that will ensure children with autism will not be unfairly transferred between schools. The settlement resolves a class action law suit and is subject to approval by the court after notice to the class of children with autism and a hearing. "With this settlement, I am looking forward to the future with a little more hope than I had before," said Sharon Romero, one of the parents of the plaintiffs in the case. "Every parent is entitled to know the placement of their child and should have enough time to plan for any transitions, especially for students with autism." Click here for full details of the settlement. 
Healthcare News: Healthy PA Plan Will Create a "Blizzard of Paperwork"
We recently asked you to submit comments against Governor Corbett's Healthy PA proposal, which would extend Medicaid to only some of the 600,000 people who need and deserve it, and eliminate benefits for some current enrollees. Our very own Benjamin Geffen submitted his comments to the Department of Health and Human Services, saying the plan " at worst a benefits cut for existing Medicaid enrollees masquerading as an experiment," and the plan lacks "simplicity of administration," which is a requirement of the Medicaid Act. The changes proposed in the plan are illegal because they "erect powerful bureaucratic barriers" that will keep people from getting care and will create a "blizzard of paperwork." Stay tuned--we'll let you know if CMS decides to approve the plan. 
Education News: Half of PA's Schools Fail to Meet State Proficiency Targets
Pennsylvania has a long way to go before it is able to provide an adequate education in all schools so that students can meet state standards. We conducted an analysis of the 2013 PSSA and Keystone testing results and found that almost half (49%) of the 2,908 schools reporting test results did not have the targeted number of students who were proficient in reading and math. Failure to meet state standards was not confined to a few "ineffective districts," but instead was widespread. The state cannot keep under-funding schools while also raising standards. 
Law Center News: Welcome New Members of Board and Staff!
At the March meeting of the Board of Directors, the board elected Kenneth Racowski, Of Counsel at Wilson Elser, and at the April meeting, the board elected David Caputo, partner at Kline & Specter. The Law Center is also excited to announce three new staff members: Kirtrina Baxter is the new community organizer of Garden Justice Legal Initiative, Michael Berton was hired as the communications & development associate, and Jason Fortenberry just came on as a new special education attorney.
Employment News: Sunoco Lends Support to Fair, Legal Use of Criminal Background Checks 
Stephanie Settles is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, single mother and grandmother. She is a veteran employee in the customer service industry who was turned away from a job at a Sunoco gas station because of a five-year-old arrest that never led to a conviction. Click here to learn how we worked with Sunoco to ensure best hiring practices, as well as how we help people like Ms. Settles overcome barriers to employment. 
Save the Date!
Annual Event: A Celebration of Civil Rights 
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Center for Architecture 
1218 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Assistive Technology: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Settlements: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Settlements (abbreviated): Thursday, May 15, 2014, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Purchase tickets here.

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