ISSUE 102 | April 6, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Local nonprofits offer community support at multiple levels
Area nonprofits are creating impact by simultaneously supporting families and businesses.

Fork Over Love, a nonprofit launched during the pandemic, is working to feed families and support local restaurants. The organization served over 4,000 people and contributed to local businesses by purchasing more than $40,000 in meals. 

The Electric City Connection, a partnership among Friends of the Poor Scranton, Scranton Tomorrow, and the University of Scranton purchases restaurant gift cards and distributes them to low income families. The program has raised over $56,000 and served more than 3,800 meals.

State restrictions loosening despite increasing caseloads
Some COVID-related restrictions were recently lifted in Pennsylvania, despite the state being one of 25 with increasing caseloads.

Permitted indoor capacity at restaurants has increased, with self-certification protocol required, and bar service no longer hinging on curfews or food requirements.

The state opened vaccine eligibility for individuals in group 1B, and all Pennsylvanians should be eligible by April 19.

Infrastructure plan my connect Scranton and New York City via rail
The long awaited train from Scranton to New York City may become a reality.

President Biden’s infrastructure plan promotes the connection of major cities via passenger rail.

A Scranton-NYC line is listed as a potential project. 

Research Spotlight: The latest Economy Tracker addresses financial stability and food security in Northeast Pennsylvania. It also covers the disproportionate negative disruption of the entertainment and recreation industries - major generators of economic impact in the area.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
New legislation may be harmful to transgender youth 
Officials in Arkansas have passed a bill criminalizing gender-affirming health care to transgender youth.

It is now in the hands of the Governor, and two dozen other states are considering similar legislation.

Health care providers, advocates, and LGBTQ organizations oppose the bill, indicating that the treatment improves the well-being and mental health of trans youth.

American Jobs Plan presents lofty goals and big opportunities
The American Jobs Plan promotes goals pertaining to economic and community development, infrastructure, education, and workforce.

Theoretically, the plan also covers climate change, global competition, and disparities in equity.

Efforts in these areas are expected to function in concert, so each initiative supports the others without exacerbating any problematic circumstances.

Details regarding implementation are yet be developed in the legislative process.

Mayors prepare public spaces for a post-COVID world
Parks and public spaces gained popularity during the pandemic.

It is anticipated that people will continue to gravitate to the outdoors even in a post-COVID world.

Mayors across the U.S. were surveyed about their plans to enhance public spaces in communities, and to ensure equitable and safe experiences. 

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