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Pennsylvania State Senate


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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
100,922 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
25,616 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
22,302 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
18,610 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
Petitioning New York State Senate

Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience

The purpose of this petition is to voice opposition to legitimizing naturopathy through state licensure and mandated insurance reimbursement. Naturopaths are attempting to become legally recognized as "primary care physicians" in all U.S. 50 states and become Medicare providers. This is a dangerous future. UPDATE: This petition has expanded to include Canada, where naturopaths are also aggressively lobbying for licensure in all provinces and inclusion in healthcare programs. In Canada and the U.S., naturopathic education is shared across the border via a common accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (see below). Thus, a naturopath who graduated from Bastyr in Washington state can then become licensed in Ontario. It is only natural that opposition to NDs should be applied to all of North America. Naturopaths are not trained similar to physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants. Naturopaths are trained in a hodgepodge of antiquated methods, mystical theories, and bare-bone fundamentals of medicine. Naturopathic students are required to master homeopathy, energy modalities, herbalism, chiropractic-like manipulations, and therapies involving heat and water. There is a strong emphasis on anti-vaccine promotion and alternative cancer treatments. This petition concerns naturopaths who graduated from programs approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. These programs are attempting to circumvent comprehensive medical training by misrepresenting their academic rigor to lawmakers and the public. This is our chance to make a stand against pseudoscience masquerading as legitimate medicine. Please sign this petition to show your support for blocking naturopathic licensure, scope of practice expansion, and inclusion in federal and state health care programs. Naturopaths are not doctors, and they should not be treated as such. Below is a list of references with data and expert opinion on naturopathic education and practice: Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine 5 (4): 39. Atwood IV, Kimball. C. (2004). "Naturopathy, pseudoscience, and medicine: Myths and fallacies vs truth". Medscape General Medicine 6 (1): 33. Barrett, Stephen (2013). "A close look at naturopathy". QuackWatch. Wilson, K. (2005). "Characteristics of Pediatric and Adolescent Patients Attending a Naturopathic College Clinic in Canada". Pediatrics 115 (3): e338–e343. Busse, Jason W.; Wilson, Kumanan; Campbell, James B. (2008). "Attitudes towards vaccination among chiropractic and naturopathic students". Vaccine 26 (49): 6237–6243. Wilson, Kumanan; Mills, Ed; Boon, Heather; Tomlinson, George; Ritvo, Paul (2004). "A survey of attitudes towards pediatric vaccinations amongst Canadian naturopathic students". Vaccine 22 (3-4): 329–334. Mielczarek, Eugenie V.; Engler, Brian D. (2014). "Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer 38.3. Boon, Heather S.; Cherkin, Daniel C.; Erro, Janet; Sherman, Karen J.; et al. (2004). "Practice patterns of naturopathic physicians: Results from a random survey of licensed practitioners in two U.S. States". BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine 20 (4): 14. "Testimony in Opposition to H. 1992 and S. 1205, An Act to Create a Board of Registration in Naturopathy". Massachusetts Medical Society. Massachusetts Medical Society. Downey L, et al. (2010). "Pediatric vaccination and vaccine-preventable disease acquisition: associations with care by complementary and alternative medicine providers.". Matern Child Health J. 14 (6): 922–30. Lipson, Peter. (2016). Naturopaths: Fake Doctors in White Coats? Forbes. Caulfeild, Timothy. (2013). Don't legitimize the witch doctors. National Post. Palmer, Brian. (2014). Quacking All the Way to the Bank: Naturopaths are winning insurance coverage for medical nonsense. Slate. Various authors. Naturopathy vs Science. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Bellamy, Jann. (2015). 2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt. (2015). ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt (2015). ND Confession, Part II: The Accreditation of Naturopathic “Medical” Education. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt. Naturopathic Diaries.      

Britt Marie Hermes
8,780 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
Victory
Petitioning Pennsylvania State Senate

Change the law involving "Vehicular Homicide" in Pennsylvania.

Under Pennsylvania law, a drunk driver who kills someone faces a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison. Those who flee normally can only been charged with fleeing the scene of a fatal crash, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of one year. Kevin's family and prosecutors want the penalties to match, so there's no incentive to flee. They want drivers to call 911 or stay to render aid. Mrs Miller's addressing reporters after the sentence was rendered: “I will fight the hardest I ever have in my life to make this legislation a reality,” said Miller, wearing a yellow dress in memory of her son's favorite color. “I do this first and foremost for my precious Kevin. And I also do this so that any mother, and any family, will never have to live in the Hell that I and my family will live in for the rest of our lives.” http://citizensvoice.com/news/letteer-sentenced-for-w-b-hit-and-run-crash-that-killed-boy-1.1678745

Uwe Fisher
3,416 supporters
Change PA Hate Crime Law to include Sexual Orientation

Dear Friend: Thank you for your email regarding changing PA hate crime laws to include sexual orientation. As you know, Senator Ferlo has introduced legislation that would reestablish the Hate Crimes Statute, known as SB 42. I am pleased to be a co-sponsor of the bill and, alongside other elected officials and community activists, have been fighting to see its passage before the end of the current legislative session. SB 42, as well as HB 177, would amend Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania consolidated Statues to include categories of ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity. It also makes it clear that all groups under the act are protected from offenses committed for actual or perceived associations. I lead a press conference last week with other legislators and LGBT community leaders in Harrisburg to urge leadership in the General Assembly to act now. As a supporter of the LGBT community and the member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, I assure you I will continue to stand up for equality in our state. Not only do I support revisions to our hate crimes statute, but I am pleased to be a co-prime sponsor of Senate Bill 300, legislation that amends the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act by adding the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the protected classes in the existing statute. I have worked on the issue of non-discrimination since beginning my tenure in the General Assembly and will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passage of these important civil rights protections. Thank you again for contacting me with your views on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance with any other state-related issues. Sincerely, Larry Farnese 1st Senatorial District www.senatorfarnese.com

— Lawrence Farnese, State Senator
3 years ago