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Pennsylvania State Senate


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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
285,130 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
33,353 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
27,035 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
26,039 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
15,116 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
14,866 supporters
Petitioning Muriel Bowser (D. C. - Mayor), Dannel Malloy, Asa Hutchinson, John Hickenlooper, Rick Scott, Nathan Deal, David Ige, Bruce Rauner, Eric Holcomb, Kim Reynolds, Sam Brownback, John Bel Edwards, Paul ...

Stop The Statute of Limitations (SOL) on Sex Crimes - Sexual Assault, Pedophilia, Rape

Lesley Barton’s WWII hero father once said to her, “You should never take advantage of someone that is weak or vulnerable just because you can." Little did he know how much his simple words would one day mean to his beloved daughter as the 1st survivor of 10 (4 in SOL 6 outside of it) known victims to report a 15 yr active and violent serial rapist who continuously got off with slaps on the wrist. The time is NOW to Stop The Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes for children and adults. Please click the link below to learn more about her and her sisters’ fight against sadistic and emboldened rapist Marc Winner and to really understand the gravity of predators like him who are able to use the statute of limitations against their victims to their advantage. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2016/Marc-Winner/__________________________________________Lesley’s story... Over 16 years, she’d hoped and prayed this day would actually never come, because although she knew he couldn’t stop-it was her greatest wish that he would, so no one else would be violently raped by him again. Painfully, that was not the case with 4 in the Statute of Limitations and 10 known total in a 15 year period. The continuous promises made to her when they wanted her to be okay with the plea deal, were not kept. Woman after woman reported him only to be disbelieved and disregarded, because of archaic belief systems even within the justice system and Chicagoland Cook County City and Suburbs being on different computer systems. How senseless is that? This has not been an easy road for her and her sisters. It’s actually been harder than any victim survivor could ever be able to explain. Our msister and brother survivors understand why sexual assault is the most under reported crime, because coming forward in order to protect others from a monster has no upsides due to the revictimization of stigma, harassment, a pretty inept and broken system, and those who want to make rape of all things about politics or shaming and blaming the survivor rather than stopping the perp. It’s been a long 16+ years for Lesley Barton who was the first to report Marc Winner for criminal sexual assault. Even after she came to terms with the unthinkable by finding some joy again she was really thrown for a loop that invasion day almost two years ago now when she found out he was back or actually never left. For he remained active and her reporting him, going to all their trial dates, and his slap on the wrist plea deal didn’t keep him from continuing his proclivity to do irreparable and permanent harm. Lesley no lomger feels any of the unfounded shame or blame any longer. She could really careless what the ignorant callous bullies towards survivors of rape think or say either. She does however feel an immense responsibility to her sisters who survived him, all sister and brother survivors, and the community at large to see this through to the end-to finish this-and to help convict him anyway they lawfully can so he never hurts another living soul again. Many confusingly mock and attack survivor activists who put it all on the line to stop criminals by using the term social justice warrior as a negative connotation on the internet and elsewhere. However, what they don’t seem to understand is that this is NOT a political issue and a violent despicable crime such as rape can never be referred to as “social.” It’s a matter of stopping a violent criminal from seriously hurting others in a way that the survivors receive a life sentence. Rape is actually a CRIMINAL JUSTICE issue-always has been, always will be. As a Criminal Justice issue, one way to end the emboldening of predators like Marc Winner, Brock Turner, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis CK, USA Gymnasts Dr. Larry Nassar, Thad Alton, and Denny Hastert (to name only a small few) is to Stop the Statute of Limitations Clock. Predators know very well that they have a time clock they can easily run out during the often decades of time it takes a victim to come forward and be a survivor. The time is NOW to #StopTheStatute of Limitations on Sex Crimes in every state for children and adults, once and for all. There are no statutes in different states on Forgery, types of Fraud, Murder, Manslaughter, Attempted Murder, Arson, types of DUI accidents, and even in a few on Rape, but a few isn’t good enough-Rape is a life sentence, so should be the time period it takes to report it (which remember does not mean the lack of burden of proof) in order to help deter. The system needs to give survivors the time they need to come to terms with the heinous violation to their body and spirit in order to get closure and justice-How can’t everyone have some common sense, reasonably understand, and get behind that? #metoo#Ibelieveyou#stopthestatute

Lesley Barton
10,041 supporters
Closed
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
9,281 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
7,569 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
4 years ago