We urge protections against imprisonment solely for the inability to pay fines in new comments on PA criminal procedure rules

On April 24, we submitted public comments urging the PA Supreme Court Criminal Procedure Rules Committee to ensure that the Committee’s proposed revisions to the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure protect low-income defendants who default on their fines, fees, or restitution payments.

The Public Interest Law Center is establishing a disability rights policy circle

We are using this Policy Circle to help us identify and plan for the urgent unmet needs of persons with disabilities and where the Law Center’s high impact legal strategies could create positive change.

Our public comment opposing new criminal record restrictions for COVID-19 recovery loans to small businesses

May 15, 2020–As the nation began to take on the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress authorized $350 bullion in loans and grants administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to support small businesses that have lost revenue. It soon became apparent that business owners with criminal histories–in some cases, only consisting of arrests without conviction–face barriers when […]

A criminal record shouldn’t be a barrier to the Paycheck Protection Program

A criminal record shouldn’t be a barrier to the Paycheck Protection Program | Opinion This commentary was originally published in the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.  By Claudia De Palma, Staff Attorney, Public Interest Law Center Jamie Gullen, Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia April 27, 2020 — Tianna is a 37-year-old woman who owns her own […]

Congress must end restrictions on COVID-19 small business relief based on criminal history

April 10, 2020–As part of the CARES Act, Congress has authorized $350 billion in loans and grants administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to support small businesses through two programs, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program. We joined more than a dozen civil rights organizations across the country to […]

Law Center joins other Lawyers’ Committee affiliates to submit public comment opposing a proposed rule that would require federal job applicants to disclose participation in diversion programs

In collaboration with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Law Center filed a joint public comment opposing a rule change proposed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that would require applicants for federal employment to disclose their participation in diversion programs.

Amicus Brief Supports State Supreme Court Appeal of Man Denied Unemployment Benefits While Incarcerated on Weekends

The Public Interest Law Center, together with other legal advocacy organizations, filed an amicus brief in support of an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from a decision by the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review that interpreted state law to deny unemployment benefits to an individual who was incarcerated on weekends.

Law Center Signs Letter Opposing The ADA Education and Reform Act

For over 27 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has served millions of people with disabilities. However, on July 26, 2017, the anniversary of the ADA, many business associations signed onto a letter of support for the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620). This act would hinder people with […]

Amicus Brief in Support of Man Unlawfully Denied Unemployment Benefits

The Public Interest Law Center, in partnership with the Homeless Advocacy Project and Community Legal Services, filed an amicus brief in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by Daniel Harmon who was unlawfully denied unemployment benefits. The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review’s ruling that denied Mr. Harmon’s unemployment benefits undermines efforts by state […]

Law Center Director Speaks Out in Favor of City Ban-the Box Ordinance

Minutes before Philadelphia’s City Council voted on a ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance on March 31st, 2011, Law Center Executive Director Jennifer Clarke argued in favor of the proposal, which bans employers from asking about a job applicant’s convictions during the initial phase of the hiring process.