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Petitioning U.S. Governors, Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate, Robert Casey, Pat Toomey, Tom Wolf, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Fund the testing of backlogged rape kits

Eleven-year-old Madison Wertz of Williamsport, Pa., learned about the national backlog of rape kits from a YouTube crime show that she and her dad, Michael, watched in early 2016. Madison was appalled to learn so many victims’ kits have sat untested for years, and she leaped into action. She began collecting signatures on a petition to help pay for Pennsylvania's backlog of untested kits. After about 6 months and 750 signatures, she was nominated for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette's 2016 Person of the Year. Now, with the help and support of my office as Pennsylvania Auditor General, Madison is collecting signatures nationwide to encourage each state to pass legislation that fully funds the testing of its untested rape kits; to upload all usable DNA evidence into CODIS, the federal database that matches DNA to identify serial offenders; and to prevent such a backlog from ever forming again. As auditor general, I produced a special report in September 2016 that evaluated the state of untested rape kits in Pennsylvania and offered 10 recommendations for improvement and action. Please join Madison and me as we fight to help all victims of sexual assault find justice, regardless of what state they live in. Your signature can spur action that helps victims find peace and leads to serial offenders being put where they belong: behind bars, where they can't hurt anyone else.    

Eugene DePasquale
100,926 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to  be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2017 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children.  John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the  life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 now!

Jenifer Bass
33,204 supporters
Petitioning Jay Costa, Pennsylvania State Senate, Robert Casey, Tom Wolf, Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania State House, Andrew Dinniman, Patricia Vance, Stan Saylor, Brendan Boyle, Frank Farry, Glenn Thompson, Mike Ke...

Support Safe Harbor Legislation for Sexually Exploited Children

The average age of commercially sexually exploited children is 14. Juvenile victims of sexual exploitation face a life continually threatened by torture, rape, broken bones, fractures, and extreme psychological manipulation to such an extent that most victims develop symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome as a result of having been trafficked. According to the International Labor Organization, 4.5 million illegally trafficked individuals are forcibly sexually exploited, and 21% of those individuals are estimated to be less than 18 years of age. Children who are victimized in the illegal sex trade are still criminalized in the state of Pennsylvania. The state contends that it is legal for juvenile victims of sex trafficking to receive criminal charges for prostitution, public indecency, obstruction of highways and other public passages. According to the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge conducted a study of state laws in 2015 that addressed domestic minor sex trafficking. They found that Pennsylvania ranked 35th on the effectiveness of 41 legislative components addressing domestic minor sex trafficking. In regards to Pennsylvania’s attempts to address protective provisions for juvenile victims, it ranked 45th out of 51 states, with the addition of Washington D.C. Senate Bill No. 554, the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund, which proposes to provide special relief for juvenile victims of sexual exploitation in order to restore dignity, provide necessary services, ensure safety, and provide a safe harbor for sexually exploited children. Provisions proposed by the bill include: reimbursement of funds for the costs of removing a tattoo or identifying mark left on the victim by their pimp, safe and stable housing, access to education, employment and life-skills training, comprehensive case management, healthcare and trauma-based therapy, access to personal care items and adequate clothing, treatment for drug and/or alcohol dependency, and other supportive services.  Supporting this petition will make a difference in the lives of children who have experienced severe trauma and chronic emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The sexual exploitation of juveniles is both an international and domestic issue. Supporting Safe Harbor Legislation in the State of Pennsylvania will make provisions for vulnerable children who have been exposed to extremely traumatic and chronic abuse. Additionally, this legislation has the potential to create a societal paradigm shift in which victims of forced prostitution can be rightly understood and cared for as victims, rather than as criminals. I urge you to support this bill and encourage Pennsylvania to join the two thirds of the United States that have taken a stance against the sexual exploitation of minors. I have both volunteered and worked professionally with individuals who have experienced crises related to trauma, domestic violence, and sexual assault. This form of trauma shakes people to the foundation of their being. We will not be able to foster and sustain an exploitation-free society, if we are not empowering people to heal. The ramifications of criminalizing children who have experienced trauma in the form of violence and sexual exploitation are severe in terms of the implications they carry for the future of rape culture and the social acceptability of violence.

Kai Smith
27,507 supporters
Petitioning Tom Wolf, Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania State House, John Gordner, PA Department of Community and Economic Development, David Millard, Kurt Masser

Save Graffiti Highway

PennDOT wants to cut public access to Graffiti Highway. They claim that the road is much too dangerous, even for foot traffic. This is not the case. Graffiti Highway is a gathering spot for tourists and residents of NEPA. The road itself is no more hazardous than a common PA hiking trail. Graffiti Highway is an outlet of expression for artists of all kinds; it should not be shut down.

Luke Maffei
23,534 supporters
Petitioning Mike Regan, Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate

Allow Sunday Hunting In Pennsylvania.

Currently many states in the United States allow hunting on Sundays, this gives many people more opportunities to get out into the woods an carry on a great nationwide tradition.  Pennsylvania currently does not allow hunting on Sundays. This leaves much of the working class, especially those with children and other obligations very little time in the woods.  By signing this petition you are asking Pennsylvania Law Makers to consider allowing hunting on Sundays, which will assist greatly in keeping this great Pennsylvania tradition strong and alive for many generations to come.

Douglas Klinefelter
22,374 supporters
Victory
Petitioning The Governor of PA

Save Upper Darby Arts (www.saveudarts.org)

A PETITION FROM THE CONCERNED CITIZENS OF UPPER DARBY TOWNSHIP & THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA TO THE HONORABLE TOM CORBETT AND THE PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WHEREAS, the Governor has expressed his conviction that state money should “follow the students,” and WHEREAS approximately 90% of Pennsylvania children attend public schools; WHEREAS, the $860 million in funding slashed from public schools in the 2011-2012 budget and the additional $100 million in cuts to public education proposed for 2012-2013 have decimated Pennsylvania public schools’ mandate to provide a complete, rigorous, and holistic education to all children; WHEREAS, the Upper Darby School District and its approximately 12,000 students, in spite of significant and remarkable progress toward standardized AYP goals, have suffered directly and indirectly under the stipulations of these budgets; WHEREAS, the loss of state reimbursement for the education of charter school students has cost the Upper Darby School District approximately $10 million over the course of the last five years; WHEREAS, the District is now faced with the need to eliminate art, music, library science, and physical education classes and their associated instructors from all District elementary schools and technology and foreign language classes and their associated instructors from District middle schools; WHEREAS, the academic, emotional, social, and cultural benefits of these programs to elementary and middle school-aged children are widely recognized; WHEREAS the loss of these beloved and enriching programs must be considered a blight upon not only the students of the Upper Darby School District but upon their parents and upon all citizens of Upper Darby Township whether publicly or privately educated, and; WHEREAS, the dismissal of certified, subject-specific instructors and the redistribution of their lesson plans and responsibilities to classroom teachers will marginalize the art, music, library science, physical education, technology, and foreign language curricula insofar as to make compatibility with the academic standards set down in Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania Code vastly unachievable; BE IT RESOLVED, we, the undersigned parents, students, alumni, teachers, and taxpayers of Upper Darby Township and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania respectfully but emphatically call upon the Governor and the General Assembly to restore the millions of dollars slashed from funding public schools and public schoolchildren. We demand that our school district be funded in such a way as to enable it to do full justice to the academic, artistic, and fitness-related needs of our children and to properly prepare them for success in diverse communities both within and beyond the classroom. www.saveudarts.org

Colleen Kennedy
18,610 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Cumberland County township,Pennsylvania

South Newton Township, Cumberland County, Pa: Stop their plans to kill all feral and free roaming cats by a paid trapper on September 7th & 8th,2013

These cats are clearly being marked for extinction through the Townships' witch hunt of these innocent animals! South Newton Township in Pennsylvania is going to have a feral cat "cull" trapping and killing free roaming farmcats because of an incident with a cat having rabies in the area. They have hired a local "trapper" who will trap and kill (and I am not talking about a TNR trap, ie leg hold and other methods) and will be killing any cats caught. Residents have been warned to keep their pets indoors during the timeframe of September 7-8th. ALL cats, healthy or not will be killed!! Please visit our Facebook page...https://www.facebook.com/Savethenewtontownshipcats

jf richards
15,153 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Pennsylvania Legislature

Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania

The LGBT community in other states is winning the right to marry. As defined by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, we should not be denied the right to wed without "due process of law." Furthermore, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Proposition 8, we have reached the point in this state that all people should be treated equally.

Pennsylvania Equality Project
7,576 supporters
Victory
Petitioning New Sewickley Township, Pennsylvania

New Sewickley Township, Pennsylvania: Stop New Sewickley Township re-classifying Gentle Ben's Giant Breed Rescue

From Gentle Ben's: I would like all of Gentle Ben’s followers and supporters to know that after 11 years of operating our rescue at our home, without incident, the Borough of New Sewickley Township has now made the decision to classify Gentle Ben’s as a commercial “kennel”, instead of a rescue. A kennel is not permitted in our residential zone. This means that Gentle Ben’s will be forced to close and the large breed dogs we take in will face uncertain futures that almost certainly will include euthanization. During the past 11 years, Gentle Ben’s has saved hundreds of dogs and have found homes for many in return. Many of our followers are families who have either had to surrender their beloved pet due to a family illness or death, due to their home being in foreclosure and having to move to an apartment, or due to other situations such as a new baby or divorce. Whatever the reason, we have always been here to help and open up our home to these unfortunate dogs who, by no fault of their own, end up in these situations. We have wonderful relationships with several of the local shelters and we are the first contact on their list when a large breed dog is surrendered to them. We support our community and participate in events to promote rescue. Many of our supporters and followers have adopted from us….not once but two or three or four times. They keep coming back for a reason. They know we care for these dogs as one of our own family and they are well loved and socialized while they are with us. We spend thousands of dollars of our own money to help vet these dogs and nurse them back to health. Just imagine if Gentle Ben’s ceased to exist. Where would these dogs go? Who would they turn to? The potential for these dogs to be euthanized would be extremely high. The Borough of New Sewickley Township has not yet formally approved the decision to shut our rescue down but will likely do so in the next few days. We need your support and help to make sure that our rescue is able to continue to rehabilitate and save these dogs who have already been through so much. Please call or write to the New Sewickley Township office to urge the borough to keep our rescue up and running. Mailing address: New Sewickley Township Municipal Office, 233 Miller Road, Rochester, PA 15074 or call 724-774-7822.

Claudia Trautman
6,864 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!

When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities

Dominick Evans
6,481 supporters
Stop Wind Turbines in Penn Forest Township

Thank you for your interest and investment in this incredibly important issue. I stand with all of you in opposition to this windmill project in Penn Forest Township. Windmill projects of this magnitude are neither efficient nor safe for our environment. I summed up my thoughts in an op-ed which you can read here (http://www.repheffley.com/NewsItem.aspx?NewsID=263618). I am also submitting a letter to the Penn Forest Township Board of Supervisors and Zoning Board stating my opposition to this project. In order to give you a forum to voice your concerns about the project, I am holding a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 26, from 6-7 p.m. at Penn Forest Fire Company No. 2, State Route 534, in Albrightsville. Again, I appreciate your efforts and support of this cause. I hope to see many of you on Thursday. - Rep. Doyle Heffley

— Doyle Heffley, State Representative
1 year ago
No Septa high speed train line in Upper Merion Township.

Thank you for your petition regarding the proposed SEPTA High Speed Line Extension into King of Prussia. Many of those commenting are constituents of mine, and I always appreciate and believe it is very important to hear the views of local residents on their concerns. As you are aware, Upper Merion over many years has become an economic engine of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This growth has brought many challenges related to traffic and congestion, and will only become a more significant problem for our area as we continue to move forward. I support many studies to explore potential solutions to these challenges, like PennDOT’s recent decision to explore the feasibility of utilizing the shoulders of the Schuylkill Expressway during morning and afternoon rush hours as well as funding studies, improvements and the eventual expansion of Route 422. I take my position seriously and obtaining accurate information is an important component to making any decision. However, with everything in life it is also necessary to be able to find a balance. A balance between protecting our great neighborhoods and community and allowing Upper Merion to move forward by supporting our commercial and retail assets in order for them to thrive in the future. This is the approach I have taken in regards to exploring the possibility of extending a rail line through King of Prussia. SEPTA is currently in the process of studying various routes that an extension of the high speed line could make and will determine one that will be called the Locally Preferred Alternative (“LPA”). It is important to note that this project is still in the very early stages of consideration, and I have attended many public meetings that were open to our community. My understanding of the process is that once SEPTA recommends an LPA the next step would be the adoption of the LPA by the Upper Merion Board of Supervisors and County Commissioners. For the extension to be pursued further, there must be agreement between SEPTA, county, and local officials regarding the proper route, as well as obtaining significant funding from the federal government and other sources. Although I do not have ANY vote regarding these next steps, I will only support this project if it finds the right balance. Many of the aspects that are currently being considered are not what I had in mind when this was initially being discussed. It is also essential that the concerns of UM residents be taken into account throughout this process. I will continue to listen to my constituents, and I encourage you to attend upcoming SEPTA community meetings as well as contacting SEPTA, the Township Supervisors, and County Commissioners to let them know about any specific concerns you might have. Below is their contact information: Montgomery County Commissioners • Josh Shapiro (Chairman) – josh@montcopa.org • Val Arkoosh (Vice-Chair) – val@montcopa.org • Joe Gale (Commissioner) – joe@montcopa.org Upper Merion Board of Supervisors - Contact Page • William Jenaway (Chairperson) • Greg Waks (Vice-Chair) • Erika Spott • Carole Kenney • Greg Philips SEPTA Comment Form - http://kingofprussiarail.com/comment.html Thank you again for contacting me regarding this important issue. Tim Briggs

— Timothy Briggs, State Representative
2 years ago
No Septa high speed train line in Upper Merion Township.

Thank you for your petition regarding the proposed SEPTA High Speed Line Extension into King of Prussia. Many of those commenting are constituents of mine, and I always appreciate and believe it is very important to hear the views of local residents on their concerns. As you are aware, Upper Merion over many years has become an economic engine of Southeastern Pennsylvania. This growth has brought many challenges related to traffic and congestion, and will only become a more significant problem for our area as we continue to move forward. I support many studies to explore potential solutions to these challenges, like PennDOT’s recent decision to explore the feasibility of utilizing the shoulders of the Schuylkill Expressway during morning and afternoon rush hours as well as funding studies, improvements and the eventual expansion of Route 422. I take my position seriously and obtaining accurate information is an important component to making any decision. However, with everything in life it is also necessary to be able to find a balance. A balance between protecting our great neighborhoods and community and allowing Upper Merion to move forward by supporting our commercial and retail assets in order for them to thrive in the future. This is the approach I have taken in regards to exploring the possibility of extending a rail line through King of Prussia. SEPTA is currently in the process of studying various routes that an extension of the high speed line could make and will determine one that will be called the Locally Preferred Alternative (“LPA”). The next step of this process once would It is important to note that this project is still in the very early stages of consideration, and I have attended many public meetings that were open to our community. My understanding of the process is that once SEPTA recommends an LPA the next step would be the adoption of the LPA by the Upper Merion Board of Supervisors and County Commissioners. For the extension to be pursued further, there must be agreement between SEPTA, county, and local officials regarding the proper route, as well as obtaining significant funding from the federal government and other sources. Although I do not have ANY vote regarding these next steps, I will only support this project if it finds the right balance. Many of the aspects that are currently being considered are not what I had in mind when this was initially being discussed. It is also essential that the concerns of UM residents be taken into account throughout this process. I will continue to listen to my constituents, and I encourage you to attend upcoming SEPTA community meetings as well as contacting SEPTA, the Township Supervisors, and County Commissioners to let them know about any specific concerns you might have. Below is their contact information: Montgomery County Commissioners • Josh Shapiro (Chairman) – josh@montcopa.org • Val Arkoosh (Vice-Chair) – val@montcopa.org • Joe Gale (Commissioner) – joe@montcopa.org Upper Merion Board of Supervisors - Contact Page • William Jenaway (Chairperson) • Greg Waks (Vice-Chair) • Erika Spott • Carole Kenney • Greg Philips SEPTA Comment Form - http://kingofprussiarail.com/comment.html Thank you again for contacting me regarding this important issue. Tim Briggs

— Timothy Briggs, State Representative
2 years ago
Keep the American way of life in our schools!!!

Thank you for voicing your concerns regarding the Pledge of Allegiance. There is nothing in federal or state law to prevent a school classroom from reciting the pledge. I am a strong supporter of reciting the pledge. In Pennsylvania, local school districts are responsible for these policies. The issue should be addressed with your child's classroom teacher, building principal, school district superintendent or local school board of directors. I would recommend, if you have concerns, to schedule an appointment with the classroom teacher to discuss, whether or not, the classroom is reciting the pledge. If you disagree with the classroom teacher, schedule an appointment with the building principal or the superintendent. You may also contact the school district administrative office and request to address the board of directors. You may be required to request being placed on their meeting agenda. Parents have a right, and a duty in my opinion, to play an active role in their child's education. I would encourage you to know, not just whether or not your child says the pledge, but what is taught throughout the school day. Thank you for contacting me regarding this issue. Rep. Kathy Rapp

— Kathy Rapp, State Representative
2 years ago
Protect Pennsylvanians from Secondhand Smoke!

Thank you for your e-mails and for signing the Petition. I understand and appreciate your points. For many years, I was the victim of secondhand smoke, having worked in an office setting where I was surrounded by chain smokers. I was pleased to help pass Pennsylvania's Clean Indoor Air Act which prohibits smoking in most indoor workplaces. HB 1485 would go further by prohibiting smoking in the few indoor public settings permitted under current law. I am certainly open to considering this bill. It is currently in the House Human Services Committee and must be scheduled for a vote by the Chairman of that committee, and receive an affirmative vote, before being in position for a vote on the House Floor. I am not a member of the House Human Services Committee, but will keep my eye on this bill in the event that it comes to the House Floor for a vote. Once again, I thank you for your advocacy on this important matter. State Representative Mark Longietti.

— Mark Longietti, State Representative
4 years ago