One of the many beautiful things about musical getaways like Strings & Sol in Puerto Morelos, Mexico is that with such a concentration of artists in the same place, sit-ins abound. For last year’s Strings & Sol this past December, Yonder Mountain String Band took advantage of this fact, inviting Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth and Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass to join them on the track “Traffic Jam.” You can check out newly released pro-shot footage of this musical moment below, courtesy of Cloud 9 Adventures.
Gov. Wolf Signs First Two Law Enforcement Reform Bills Bill Signing, Criminal Justice Reform, Press Release, Public Safety Calling them ‘new laws that make progress in keeping every Pennsylvanian safe,’ Governor Tom Wolf today signed House bills 1841 and 1910, which both passed unanimously in the House and Senate. The bills are the first two pieces of legislation from the governor’s comprehensive police reform executive actions announced in early June in the wake of the death of George Floyd when in Minneapolis police custody and subsequent protests in Pennsylvania and across the country.“A little over a month ago I met with leaders of Black communities in Philadelphia and Harrisburg to discuss ways we can improve law enforcement to make our commonwealth safer for every Pennsylvanian,” Gov Wolf said. “Today, I am signing two bills that will take steps toward achieving this goal.”Gov. Wolf was joined at the bill signing at the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, members of the legislature and the Pennsylvania State Police, and Keir Bradford-Grey of the Defender Association of Philadelphia.PCCD Executive Director Mike Pennington welcomed the governor and provided an overview of the commission’s role in police reform.“As an agency, we answered the call the governor made last month to address reform,” Pennington said. “We’ve created a Racial and Ethnic Disparities Subcommittee under the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee here at PCCD. Keir Bradford-Grey of the Defender Association of Philadelphia will serve as our chair, and we look to have that subcommittee formed and convened within the next month or so.”I commend Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for establishing a mandatory, statewide database of police misconduct — a key change sought by reform advocates and a down payment on the improvements we still need to make. Today, Pennsylvania becomes one of the only states in the country to change its laws in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing. I heard the community in October, and worked to bring a breakthrough coalition of law enforcement leaders forward to get this done,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “This legislation will make all Pennsylvanians safer by preventing departments from unknowingly hiring officers with past records of misconduct, and it shows we can make meaningful improvements in our criminal justice system. We won’t stop pushing for change until inappropriate police-community interactions, like what we saw that day in Minneapolis, are as rare as they are unacceptable.”The governor signed at the event:House Bill 1841, sponsored by Rep. Harry Readshaw, which requires a thorough background check for law enforcement applicants prior to being employed and requires a law enforcement agency to disclose employment information. The bill also establishes an electronic database housed and maintained by the Municipal Police Officers’ Training and Education Training Commission (MPOTEC) that contains separation records of law enforcement officers.A hiring report that indicates the prospective law enforcement agency’s reason and rationale must be completed if a hiring law enforcement agency hires an individual whose separation record includes any of the following:Excessive forceHarassmentTheftDiscriminationSexual abuse or misconductDomestic violenceCoercion of a false confessionFiling a false reportA judicial finding of dishonestyHouse Bill 1910, sponsored by Rep. Dan Williams, which requires mental health evaluations with a focus on PTSD of law enforcement officers as a condition of continued employment. The evaluation may be upon request of a law enforcement officer or a police chief or within 30 days of an incident of the use of lethal force.The bill also requires training for police officers on trauma-informed care, use of deadly force, de-escalation and harm reduction techniques, community and cultural awareness, implicit bias, procedural justice and reconciliation techniques. Under the bill, magisterial district judges are required to complete, as part of their annual continuing education requirement, one course on the identification and reporting of suspected child abuse and court proceedings involving children.“A resounding cry for justice for all citizens has risen up throughout our commonwealth and our nation,” Rep. Dan Williams said. “The General Assembly has responded to this impassioned demand to protect the vulnerable by passing these two police reform bills unanimously and the governor by signing them into law.“I’m proud that my bill will enhance the training the police receive so they can better serve the public and expand the reporting system to protect children from child abuse. The swift passage of these bills and their enactment into law is a sign that police reform and child protection are not partisan issues.”“Just 36 days after a handful of Black legislators commandeered the Speaker’s rostrum on the House floor, a handful of police accountability bills were enacted in the wake of mass protests statewide that have inspired urgent and substantive legislative action when justice has demanded these measures for far too long,” said Rep. Chris Rabb.“I am so happy to have participated in the efforts that will lead to real reforms in policing throughout Pennsylvania,” Rep. Jason Dawkins said. “None of this would be possible without a coordinated group effort. I would like to thank my partners in the General Assembly, the Governor and everyone who has demanded change for helping to make that happen. There is more work to do and we are not backing down.”“I am so proud to have been part of this bipartisan, bicameral process to bring legislation to the Governor’s desk,” Sen. Jay Costa said. “Every corner of this state and in every one of our districts, citizens have called for reform. We’ve heard them, and we’re still listening. These bills are a step in the right direction for better outcomes in our criminal justice system, but they are just the first step. Our work continues. By enacting comprehensive reforms, I believe we can prevent the next tragedy.”“We are proud to advance legislation in a bipartisan effort that enacts essential reforms to policing in PA,” said Sen. Sharif Street. “The stressful nature of law enforcement mandates we assess and ensure the mental health and wellness of our men and women in uniform. Additionally, ensuring elevated standards of hiring for officers who have exhibited behavior egregious enough to amount to termination is an important measure in salvaging the integrity of law enforcement and restoring the public’s faith. This indeed would have saved the life of Antwon Rose who would have turned 19 years old on July 12. These are seminal policy initiatives that must be met with other comprehensive measures. We still have work to do.”Gov. Wolf also signed into law today:House Bill 1860, which amends the Urban Redevelopment Law to permit any municipality to establish a redevelopment authority. Specifically, this bill removes the definition of “city” from the law and replaces the references to a “city” with “municipality.” Further, the bill adds the term “incorporated town” to the existing definition of municipality.House Bill 2045, which authorizes the granting and conveyance of certain lands in Ohiopyle Borough, Fayette County in exchange for different lands in Ohiopyle Borough.Senate Bill 352, which establishes the Tax Exemption and Mixed-Use Incentive Program Act. Specifically, the bill authorizes local taxing authorities to provide for tax abatement incentives for certain deteriorated industrial, commercial, business and residential properties.Senate Bill 934, which amends the Human Services Code to require that all child care centers and family child care homes have an operable and properly maintained fire detection device or system within their facility that is regularly inspected and tested.Also, today Gov. Wolf vetoed House Resolution 836, which called for an end to his disaster declaration for the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a legal dispute to the resolution’s passage, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with Gov. Wolf, calling the resolution “a legal nullity.” View the governor’s veto message here.Ver esta página en español. July 14, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
With more and more professionals turning to freelancing, it can often feel like you’re getting into a confusing new reality. It sometimes feels as though there’s a vast horizon of potential work on offer, yet also an impossible mountain to climb when it comes to getting your foot in the door.Having consistent freelance work that pays well is often touted as something to struggle and strive for – a hard-won prize for only the most determined freelancer. Yet even top level marketing agencies offer work that’s both attainable and engaging to get into, if you know where to look and how best to tailor your approach.Why in-house agency work worksAs a freelancer, whatever your niche or specialism, you’ve likely had to spend at least half of your aggregated professional time pitching your talent to companies – and at worst, having to prove years of experience and knowledge from scratch.Marketing and advertising agencies already have the work pitched and prepped to go – they just need it completed. And just as many of your own freelance projects might have sometimes been a mad scramble to the finish line, even the biggest of agencies sometimes brush up against steep deadlines or surges of work they need talent like yours to complete to their high standards.Unlike brands you might work with directly, agencies are typically far less hit or miss with paying on time, too. While exceptions exist, agencies work with freelancers often enough to know how much they appreciate timely payment, delivered free of hassle.Getting agencies to notice your skillsBigger agencies often receive numerous approaches and emails from freelancers daily, all hungry for the kind of consistent and well paid work these companies can provide. As you can appreciate, standing out from the crowd is key here.As always, you can let your portfolio do a lot of the talking, tweaking it the same way you might tweak a resume. Adjust what it shows to ensure it always works as a highlight reel of your greatest achievements.How do you recognize what those big achievements are? Try to take the perspective of the agency you’re trying to befriend. Don’t just focus on how long you worked with a client, or even how big a deal that company was in its respective industry (although big brands definitely help plump up your portfolio). Instead, consider the story behind certain moments of success.Did you develop the UX for a client who’s since gone from strength to strength in their industry? Did you write the copy that’s at the heart of a resurgent local business’s marketing campaign? Did you code the backend of a web page that’s since won business in abundance for a financial firm?It’s about selling your storyConsider the benefits of the work you’ve accomplished so far. Communicate to the agency how this same set of skills can be put to their advantage, and – where possible – tie that to campaigns or current projects you know they’re involved in, or niche experience that you know sets you apart from the market.New to freelancing? Not a problem. Communicate your openness to learn and gain valuable experience by aligning with the needs of the business, and even demonstrate some of your own passion projects to highlight your skills.Don’t feel let down by an initial ‘no’, either – get back in touch a few months down the line. Much like you, agencies run in peaks and troughs of business, and some times of a given year simply won’t need external help versus others. It’s nothing personal.That thorny money talkEven the most seasoned freelancers often feel as though their fees and service costs are calculated almost on the fly, and it can feel impossible to know whether the price you set is one your prospective client is going to crinkle their nose at.It’s daunting to know that other people likely want to be having the negotiations you’re having in the moment, and that can elicit panic. And of course, you can feel tempted to rock-bottom your rates to win the day — a practice rarely worth doing if you want respect and reasonable revenue.Many agencies will have set rates and some leeway to negotiate – remember that your talent is essentially a budgetary consideration in that agency’s current campaign or project, and they have their own criteria to fill. Agencies who understand what makes freelancers tick and the value they add, of course, will have set rates that are on the generous side.Those who seem to offer far below the mark, and seem to vaguely hint that your talent could be replaced by any number of other people, are rarely worth too much of your time. Sure, they’re right in saying there are dozens of freelancers they can turn to – but that agency is far from the only game in town themselves, and fabricating a scarcity mentality to get you along for the ride won’t do them any favors, nor you. You’re as free to consider other options as they are.It’s good practice to establish early on the expected timeframe of payments to arrive – weekly, biweekly, monthly and so forth. The best agencies pay well and fast, but some prefer the NET 30 approach of rolling out payments after 30 days have elapsed – something to consider as you plan ahead.Being a team player, albeit not a team memberThere’s much talk in recent times of how the lines between on-site self employed individual and traditional employee are becoming ever more blurred. In the UK, for instance, this confusing gray area is being tackled ever more stringently with IR35 taxation rules, but the same fogginess seems to be the norm wherever you lookWithin that gray area, some agencies and other clients will treat you as an employee in all but name, but avoid making it official simply to avoid contributing to your taxes, pension and so forth. In purely pragmatic terms, this may be because it simply makes no sense for them to take on a formal new employee for, say, a three-month project or a brief flurry of intense activity.However, it’s also important that you ensure you know your own rights and boundaries. For example, although many agencies are happy for you to work on their premises, you aren’t beholden to do so as a freelancer. That said, there’s no reason to be a diva either. By all means offer your own insights on things you’ve learned over your career to not only enhance your client’s experience of working with you, but also increase your value in their eyes – alongside the potential of repeat business in the future.Knowing your limits Expected hours or availability for work are not unreasonable to ask of you, and likewise, if you work on-site you’re expected to treat the facilities and amenities well. However, keep in mind that that boundary between you and the rest of the team will be there, subconsciously, when you are on the agency’s premises – and in the worst cases this can leave you feeling isolated and shut out.A good agency will communicate to its employees who you are and why you are on-site, as well as what is and isn’t being asked of you – and in best case scenarios, they might extend a few perks or staff gatherings your way too. At worst, you might feel as though you’re working in an information silo among teams who have all established their own cliques, with no interest in getting to know you. That said, at least you have the home office option, if this becomes an issue – but it’s better to address these concerns in open communication.Come project’s end, evaluate your experiencesAgency work often comes thick and fast, and then all at once a project will end as rapidly as it seemed to barrel ahead just a short time ago. Agencies move fast, and it can leave you with little time or room in your mind to evaluate whether you found the experience of working with them worthwhile.Honestly discuss what future, if any, exists between you and the agency, but remember that the future isn’t certain. Again, the best agencies will have kept you in the loop about their game plan going forward, and whether it has a place for you as campaigns unfold. This helps you plan your own forward strategy in kind, and of course, having established good workplace friendships and team bonds, will make your likelihood of being invited to contribute in the future that much more likely.Keep an open mind, but also remember your worth, and you’ll find that the most professional marketing agencies around are engaging and courteous to work with. Don’t feel intimidated in making an approach towards them, and likewise, use these opportunities to keep building your network and portfolio — as well as that all important financial success and security. This might just be some of the most rewarding work in your freelance career.