Our nonprofit partner, Community Legal Services, recently helped bring about a huge victory for the residents of Pennsylvania.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, by a unanimous decision of 7-0, ruled that Act 80’s enactment violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. Act 80 of 2012 eliminated the General Assistance cash assistance program. The GA program provided a small income and basic support for some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. This included individuals with serious disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and those being treated for drug addiction. In addition, Act 80 made it considerably more difficult for poor families with young children to qualify for aid.
The Court found that the way in which Act 80 was enacted violated a Pennsylvania constitutional provision which prohibits the bundling of separate and distinct issues into one bill. In this case, the Court ruled that Act unconstitutionally bundled together different provisions relating to taxation, block grants to counties, the elimination of the General Assistance program, and the alterations of the qualifications needed for a family to be eligible for TANF cash assistance.
We commend the incredible work that the attorneys at Community Legal Services have done on this critical case, including arguing it before the Court. The Court’s decision to strike down Act 80 is a huge win for many Pennsylvanians all across the state, and a chance for lawmakers to revisit questions on the best and most just way to assist certain members of the Pennsylvania community.
Read more about Act 80 and the work Community Legal Services is doing.