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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
285,050 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 B, 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. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). 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. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. 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 H 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 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, 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 struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, now!

Jenifer Bass
33,328 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
26,025 supporters
Petitioning Pennsylvania State House

Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

Twelve states have moved to ban "ex-gay therapy" for young people -- dangerous "therapy" that tries to change someone's sexual orientation. "Ex-gay therapy" has been linked to suicide, depression, isolation and anxiety, and has been condemned by nearly every medical and psychological body as dangerous, destructive and something no child should be forced to undergo. And yet in 38 states -- including states like New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio -- "ex-gay therapy" remains a practice that's largely legal under the law. But there is national momentum as more and more states move to ban "ex-gay therapy" and protect minors from attempts to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Hawaii just became the 12th state to ban "ex-gay therapy," and New Hampshire and Delaware are close to following suit. They join states like California, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Oregon. That's nearly 25% of the country! But it's not enough. LGBT kids are still facing dangerous "ex-gay therapy" attempts in more than 30 states around the country.  All these states have seen bills introduced to ban "ex-gay therapy". New York -- which touts itself as one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the country -- has seen legislation pass the State Assembly three times; Pennsylvania has had a bill introduced several times; Ohio now has a bill as well that legislators are pushing; and activists in Minnesota have been pushing for a ban on "ex-gay therapy" programs for years. Let's build on this national organizing momentum, and work to get these states added to the list of states stepping up to protect LGBT youth, and banning harmful "ex-gay therapy" that tries to "cure" LGBT people and change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Max Johnson
25,036 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
24,302 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
18,582 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
15,121 supporters
Petitioning Pennsylvania Governor, Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate

Demand Release of All Incarcerated Persons with Pending PCRA Petitions

Last week, a Philadelphia judge ordered the release of a list containing the names of dozens of former and current members of the Philadelphia Police Department whose credibility has been fatally undermined by corruption, false testimony and other forms of misconduct. The existence of the List is a critical moment in this City’s history, especially because, today, dozens and perhaps hundreds of men and women are behind bars based on the tainted testimony of the officers on the List. But the List is just the latest manifestation of a long-standing crisis of police misconduct in Philadelphia. In 2014, federal authorities indicted 6 officers on charges of corruption and brutality. Over 800 people had been sent to prison based on the testimony of those same officers. Faced with those facts, then Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams appropriately called for all 800 convictions to be overturned. A judge agreed, and the scales of justice were made more level in this important way. With the newly discovered evidence, we are demanding the immediate release of Meek Mill, and all of the people convicted based on the wrongful conduct of the officers at issue. Let your voice be heard and join us to fight these injustices!

Justice League NYC
14,852 supporters
Petitioning NFL, Pennsylvania State House, President of the United States, Pennsylvania Governor, Mike Pence

NFL and Philly PD Investigation and possible charging of the Fans during NFC Championship

Multiple Video posts show the harassment and assault of Fans trying to attend the NFC Championship game last Sunday. From spitting to throwing full beer cans to verbally assaulting people who were there is absolutely uncalled for and something should be done to criminally charge the assailant's. People may never attend a NFL Game again because of the way they were treated. People may not go out in public after theses incidents of bullying and assault. People may develop PTSD from the acts that were commited towards them.  This is totally uncalled for and sad that Philly PD and the NFL allowed this to happen! I believe with enough signatures there should be an investigation and further litigation against these people that performed these assaults. It's stuff like this that makes those attendance numbers drop and viewers not watch games knowing this is happening behind the scenes! Let's stand up to bullying in any form against anyone!

Jarid Kuchenreuther
7,754 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
7,570 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
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”). 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
3 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