COUNCILMEMBER GILMORE RICHARDSON PASSES THREE BILLS IN CITY COUNCIL, ADDRESSING CAREERS PIPELINES, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, AND PUBLIC SAFETY

In Council News, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, News by PHL Council

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(PHILADELPHIA) Friday, June 24, 2022 – Yesterday, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson passed three bills in Philadelphia City Council: The Career and Technical Education Civil Service Preferences legislation; the Philly Tree Fund bill, and the Minor Summer Curfew bill. With this legislation, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson is addressing issues that are of the utmost importance to Philadelphians: economic opportunity, clean, equitable, and well-maintained community spaces, and public safety.

Introduced in 2020, the CTE Civil Service Preference legislation changes the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to provide a five-point preference to qualified civil service applicants within three years of completing a School District of Philadelphia Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. The question of whether to amend the Charter to create this preference will be on the November 2022 ballot.

“Our City only works because civil servants do. A career in civil service can be life-changing, providing wages and benefits, opportunities for advancement, and, crucially, union representation. But even though these jobs offer many advantages, the City is facing a workforce crisis,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “Philadelphia voters will now have the opportunity to decide to create a strong pipeline to public service for our young people. With soaring levels of gun violence that are highly correlated with unemployment and a demand for better quality City services, I think our voters will be thrilled to support a policy that can help us address both of these issues.”

The Philly Tree Fund Bill will improve the City’s tree canopy by updating the onsite and parking landscaping provisions of the Zoning Code and requiring a payment-in-lieu of planting trees for certain developments. Improving the City’s tree canopy has numerous benefits, including enhancing property values, reducing summer peak temperatures and air pollution, improving social ties among community members, aesthetic benefits, and reducing crime rates.

“Our most burdened communities will see the most significant impacts of climate change. We must do everything we can to ensure we are protecting environmental justice communities already struggling with extreme heat, flooding, and air pollution on top of the impacts of poverty and gun violence,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson. “This legislation will bring in millions of dollars dedicated to the growth and care of our City’s trees, and the updated provisions of the zoning code will expand and enhance plantings that will protect our residents health and improve their wellbeing. Well-maintained trees and green spaces are a necessity for every community in Philadelphia, and this legislation will move us closer to the equitable tree canopy our residents deserve and are asking for.”

The Summer Minor Curfew Bill will modify the minor curfew for teens 16 and older from midnight to ten pm until September 29, 2022. This change will help us keep more young people safe during the time of year with the highest rates of gun violence. In previous legislation, Councilmember Gilmore Richardson removed all punitive fees and fines associated with the minor curfew, and she has secured millions of dollars to open Community Evening Resource Centers, community-based safe spaces for young people at Dixon House at 1920 South 20th Street and Community of Compassion 6150 Cedar Avenue, open every day from 7 PM to 2 AM.

“We are in a state of emergency in the City of Philadelphia, and no one is suffering more than our young people,” said Councilmember Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “Residents are asking us to do more, and I am willing to use every tool in our toolbox if it means saving the life of even one child. The updated summer curfew will help us keep young people safe and connect more families to the positive, community-based resources offered by the Community Evening Resource Centers.”

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