Legislature

PA legislature should focus on giving citizens a first chance | PennLive Letters

I am writing this in response to the recent opinion piece published by my current State Representative, Sheryl Delozier. In the first sentence of her op-ed, Rep. Delozier states that Donna, a single mother, was in such dire financial straits that she chose to sell drugs. Perhaps if Rep. Delozier had worked to raise the minimum wage in the 12 years she served, single mothers wouldn’t be in such dire economic straits.

Representative Delozier would not even agree to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $7.75. She claims the reason she voted NO to raising the minimum wage by even fifty cents is that single mothers could then lose access to their government assistance or government-subsidized child care. Oh good? Why not pass a law that would ensure that this does not happen to these poor single mothers?

Data from the Prison Policy Initiative suggests that the American prison system is full of people who have been excluded from the economy and who have neither a quality education nor access to good jobs.

Instead of focusing on second chances, why isn’t our state legislature working to address the issues that put people in jail in the first place? Issues such as low wages, inequitable funding of schools, high student debt due to predatory lending, and lack of job training.

PA has not had a minimum wage increase since 2009! Guess who gets a cost of living adjustment every year and who should get one in January? Yes, Sheryl Delozier and the rest of the PA legislature. Our legislature works part-time (50 days/year in session) and is one of the best paid and least efficient. They will soon be making over $100,000. It must be nice to work part-time and have this huge salary plus benefits.

If only we took care of Donna like that instead of making her wait 10 years for a second chance!

Jo Bitzer, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.