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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
100,718 supporters
Petitioning Pennsylvania Governor

Change PA Hate Crime Law to include Sexual Orientation

In Pennsylvania, LGBT community members are not legally protected by state law because sexual orientation isn’t included under its hate crime definition. My petition seeks to change that. On the evening of September 11 in Center City Philadelphia, two of my good friends were viciously attacked by a group of 15 boys and girls because they are gay. After asking the two young men if they were a couple, the group assaulted and robbed them while repeatedly calling them "dirty f*ggots." One of my friends was beaten so badly that police initially thought he was dead from a gunshot wound- due to his unconscious state and the amount of blood coming from his head. This gap in legislative protection is a gross failure to protect and serve people like my friends who were savagely attacked PRIMARILY FOR THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION. My friends are traumatized but not defeated. They never want this to happen to anyone again. And I won’t standby so I am demanding that the Pennsylvania state legislators act now to pass a law for a hate crime to include sexual orientation in its definition. According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, a hate crime “is an act motivated by prejudice or bias. To be a hate crime, the act must be criminal - not a mere expression of an intolerant opinion.” Given the initial “Is that your f*cking boyfriend?” question and the constant use of anti-gay slurs during the attack, there can be no doubt that the motivation in this case was prejudice based on sexual orientation. Now it’s time for the state to get its act together. Despite three years of trying to make this change, legislators haven’t been able to get it done. Bills are pending in the state House and Senate, but no action has been taken. Today is the day that we get our state leaders to pass this law. Please sign my petition and help to get this critical law passed immediately. #LeaveYourHateAtHomeItsHideous

Caryn Kunkle
95,335 supporters
Petitioning Pennsylvania Governor

Pass Right to Try

Our son Matthew is six years old. He has a deadly form of Muscular Dystrophy called Duchenne. Right now, Matthew is like any other six year old: he enjoys playing sports and is very competitive. Soon, however, his body will defy his amazing spirit. His muscles will grow weaker and Matthew will need a wheelchair. Eventually, our son will be completely immobilized and face premature death. It's a terrifying future for our family to contemplate. But there could be hope if Matthew gains access to promising experimental treatments not yet approved by the FDA.  So far, Matthew has been denied access to these treatments, and, sadly, he is not alone. Whether it's the thousands of boys in the U.S. diagnosed with Duchenne each year, or the hundreds of thousands of Americans who receive a terminal diagnosis of another kind, many are left without hope because they are denied access to experimental drugs. I would do anything to save my son, and I believe that Matthew and all other terminally ill patients like him deserve the right to try to save their own lives. This petition is an attempt to get a "Right To Try" law passed in my home state of Pennsylvania, which will allow Matthew and other terminally ill patients to access promising new medications that have not yet received full FDA approval. There are currently only 28 states with "Right To Try" laws and I want Pennsylvania to be added to that list. Under the FDA's current system, only 3% of terminally ill patients are accepted into clinical trials each year. "Right To Try" laws open the doors to tens of thousands of terminally ill patients that have been closed for too many people, for far too long. For terminally ill patients like Matthew, that could mean the difference between life and death. I want to see my son continue to run, jump, and grow up achieving his dreams. I want people of all ages with ALS, cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, and other terminal diseases to have hope. Please sign our petition to tell the Pennsylvania legislature and governor to pass and sign House Bill 1104, the"Right To Try" Act into law. Thank you for your support.

Jonathan Anning
90,845 supporters
Petitioning Thomas Wolf

Help pass Ally's Law

Most people take for granted access to restrooms. For people like my daughter, having to use the restroom can be a medical emergency. My 11 year-old daughter Amber has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). At any moment, she could have a sudden and painful urge to use the restroom. Waiting to go is not an option and it often happens when a public restroom is not available. That is why my daughter and I have joined the fight to get Ally’s Law passed in Pennsylvania. Ally’s Law, also known as the Restroom Access Act, requires businesses that only have employee restrooms to grant access to customers if they have a medical condition requiring immediate access to a toilet. The law originated when a young girl named Ally was denied access to a store restroom and was forced to soil herself. Ally’s mother vowed that such an embarrassment would never happen to another person. So far a version of Ally’s law has been passed in 14 states. With your help, Pennsylvania could be next. An estimated 1.6 million people in the United States have IBD. When these people need to use the restroom, it is not out of convenience. The Restroom Access Act raises awareness and protects those with IBD. Please sign to allow people in Pennsylvania, people like my daughter like Amber, access to restroom facilities. Even if you are not a Pennsylvania resident, please sign and share. Every time a version of Ally’s Law becomes law, it’s a win for people with IBD everywhere. Hopefully there will be a day when the law is passed in all 50 states.

melissa todaro
57,206 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 reunite with their families

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served for 10 years mostly 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. sailors and military contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. Many Amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. sailors 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 reunite 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 reunited 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 reunite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2016 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 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 reunite with her dad. You can find them in the Amerasian group pages on Facebook. Search angel services are available to both sides.There is a PBS documentary called "Left by the Ship" (2010), the video above, documenting everyday life and their personal struggles as a Filipino Amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers, to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2016 now!

Jenifer Bass
33,038 supporters
Petitioning The Governor of PA

Save Upper Darby Arts (

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.

Colleen Kennedy
18,610 supporters
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...

jf richards
15,153 supporters
Petitioning Pennsylvania State House

Tell Lawmakers: Oppose the PennEast Pipeline

The PennEast Pipeline Company is trying to build a massive pipeline from the Marcellus Shale wells in north-central Pennsylvania out of state that will pollute the water supply and scar preserved land. We’ve seen how dangerous pipelines can be. A natural gas pipeline exploded in Westmoreland County earlier this year. No matter what PennEast does, the pipeline creates a permanent threat to thousands of our citizens. The good news is that there’s massive opposition to the project. Local townships in the pipeline’s path, residents across the state, and members of Congress have weighed in, and they’ve managed to delay PennEast’s application for months. If we can mobilize state lawmakers to speak up, we can keep the pressure on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and get the attention of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), both of which need to approve PennEast’s application. Tell your state legislators to oppose the PennEast Pipeline and urge FERC and DEP to reject the application!

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania
9,956 supporters
Petitioning Robert Casey


  On Thursday, April 21, 2016, 16-year-old Honor Student Amy Joyner-Francis was violently attacked by several other students inside of a bathroom at the Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington Delaware. This young student subsequently died after this violent attack. The violent attack was allegedly recorded on cell phone video and allegedly disseminated on social media. These types of violent acts are becoming far too frequent, and the glorification of these types of violent acts are becoming the new norm. I am making the following proposaIs: 1. I propose that local, state or federal legislation be passed to identify and prosecute those individuals who video violent attacks against other persons with the intent to display these senseless, violent and gratuitous acts of violence on social media; 2. I propose, that any individual who records these violent acts and who fails to intercede (summoning help) or act as reasonably as to contacting authorities be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as an accessory to the violent act in which they are recording; 3. I propose, that the individual recording such violent acts be given reasonable time (within 12 hours of the incident) to turn such recordings over to the proper law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the location of the incident or be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as an accessory to the act; 4. I propose, that individuals who video these violent attacks be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as accessories to the act, if these recordings are uploaded to any social media platform with the intent to circulate and redistribute, prior to the notification of the proper law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the location of the incident; 5. I propose, that any social media entity which allows the uploading of these senseless, violent and gratuitous recorded acts make attempts to identify the location of these acts and forward such recording to the proper law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the location of the incident or any other local, state or federal law enforcement entity which can further investigate these acts; 6. I propose, that any social media entity which allows the uploading of these senseless, violent and gratuitous recorded acts be financially sanctioned for every day that these videos/recordings are displayed on their social media sites without making an attempt to identify the location and notification of proper law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the location of the incident or any other local, state or federal law enforcement entity which can further investigate these acts; 7. I propose, that any social media entity which allows the uploading of these senseless, violent and gratuitous recorded acts be held financially liable for damages to the victim of these violent acts if the social media entity makes no attempt to identify the location and notification of proper law enforcement entity with jurisdiction over the location of the incident or any other local, state or federal law enforcement entity which can further investigate these acts. Social media entities which allow the uploading of these types of videos/recording are in essence glorifying these types of violent acts. I believe that holding these social media entities accountable, financially and from a social responsibility perspective will eliminate the medium for these types of acts to be displayed and viewed. These sanctions will hopefully reduce the supply and demand for these senseless, violent and gratuitous acts. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of 16-year-old Amy Joyner-Francis, and I pray that governmental interventions such as those that I have proposed will end the glorification of these senseless and tragic, violent acts. Please stand with me and forward this petition to as many people as you can so we can save the lives of our children and change their mindset on violence. J.D. Josey IIPhiladelphia, PA

J D Josey II
9,439 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. Bellamy, Jann. (2015). 2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures. Hermes, Britt. (2015). ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out. Hermes, Britt (2015). ND Confession, Part II: The Accreditation of Naturopathic “Medical” Education. Hermes, Britt. Naturopathic Diaries.      

Britt Marie Hermes
8,684 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

— Lawrence Farnese, State Senator
3 years ago