ISSUE 134 | November 22, 2021
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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
Pennsylvania legislature poised to eliminate community bail funds
New legislation requiring community bail funds to register as formal bail bondsmen has rapidly moved through the House, and is on its way to the Senate.

These community banks match bail funds with those raised by the public in order to assist people with limited incomes and who face minor charges.

There are currently eight such community fund banks in the state, and all would be placed in jeopardy of the bill becomes law. 

Pittsburgh business worker survey results mirror problems in NEPA
Responses to a survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh suggest that, regardless of the skills required, southwest PA employers are struggling to hire workers.

About 50 percent of the respondents have increased their wage offerings, but still face wage concerns from employees and prospects.

Only 24 percent require employees work on site five days a week. 

House considers review team for overdose deaths and suicides
In response to increasing rates of suicide and opioid overdose deaths, the House Human Services Committee passed a review teams bill similar to the 2012 measure pertaining to methadone.

Review teams would be disciplinary in nature and study contributing factors to the deaths (with family permission only), with the goal of preventing future incidents.

The bill is awaiting a full House vote. 

In the Spotlight: Institute Insights into COVID-19 encompasses a series of studies surrounding the pandemic's impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This research includes surveys of local business leaders, analysis of workforce development limitations and opportunities, and more!

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
States maintain inclusive digital service delivery post pandemic 
Three states have highlighted their solutions for maintaining and expanding digital delivery of business services beyond the pandemic.

Services also include citizen information distribution and even emergency food provision to children in need.

Outcomes suggest that single sign-on to an integrated and connected state system is key. 

Iowa City proactively secures affordable housing and offers ownership
Iowa City is using local and federal funds to buy and rehabilitate duplexes, while also adding sustainable technology such as solar panels.

The neighborhood reinvestment program is offering the housing to residents with limited incomes.

City funds are reimbursed once the properties are sold.

Survey reveals more evidence of pandemic-heightened food insecurity
Michigan State University’s Food Literacy and Engagement Poll found that 31 percent of households experienced challenges obtaining food during the pandemic.

The need to leave the workforce has contributed to the insecurity, along with rising food prices.

Nearly 33 percent of NEPA households earn less than $25,000 annually, suggesting that financial constraints likely influence regional food insecurity as well. 

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