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.
Allow Transgender People Into the U.S. Military
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be accepted or allowed into the U.S. Military because their cost is a "burden." This is extremely disgraceful and an insult to all those who have already given their lives for this country. This is not equality, and this is not "supporting the LGBT community," as he said he does. This is utterly transphobic. Many people who served are going to be left jobless, and many others will no longer be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not okay, and this should not be legal. Trans people are still people.
FDA Accelerated Approval of Genervon's GM604 for Use In ALS
My name is Nick and I am 54-years old. In October 2011, I was diagnosed with ALS. Today, I am in a wheelchair and cannot walk or stand. My arms grow weaker almost every day and my breathing is starting to be affected. I used to be very active but now I can only leave my home when I have someone with me who's strong enough to lift me into my wheelchair once I'm done scooting down to the bottom of the stairs on my butt. It can feel like I'm a 100-year old man who can't do things for himself anymore. At 54, I should still be a vibrant part of my community, but this disease is kicking me where it hurts. Through the enthusiasm generated by the Ice Bucket Challenge, many people now know that ALS is a degenerative neurological disease that currently affects over 30,000 Americans, and as it stands the disease is always fatal. Most people with ALS are given only 2-5 years to live. When I was diagnosed, I was devastated - it took me months to accept it. Although I am now resolved, I have not lost hope. Currently, there is only one drug available to treat ALS (Riluzole) and it is only able to extend life expectancy by a couple months. That's why the recent news about a small company named Genervon Biopharmaceuticals and their trial drug "GM604" has been so exciting for the Global ALS Community. While most trials have a hard time even finding a positive trend, the GM604 trial data supports the view that this drug could very well be is a game changer in the battle against ALS. There are multiple, statistically significant data. Not only in clinical data and results alone, but also correlated biomarkers data and results as well. (Please see "Files" section on the campaign website: https://sites.google.com/site/aap4gm6/) Genervon met with the FDA in February 2015 and made a potentially life-changing request on behalf of the ALS community; they asked the FDA to promote GM604 to the Accelerated Approval Program with Post-Marketing Phase 4 Requirements, so all ALS patients can have legal access to GM604 now. Under the FDA's Accelerated Approval Program, the treatments would be covered by health insurance. Although Genervon knows that this request might complicate their relationship with the FDA, they were willing to take a stand and do everything they can to help the ALS community because it is the right thing to do. If the FDA does not grant Accelerated Approval, it will likely be 3 more years before patients are able to access this drug -- meaning that most people currently living with ALS will not live to see it reach market. While acknowledging the paramount importance of public safety in the FDA’s drug approval process, I believe that ALS presents a compelling case for an exception to the usual process. I am asking you to help me appeal to the FDA through their sense of compassion for those of us with this dreadful illness. People with ALS don't have time to wait for another clinical trial to be completed. By signing this petition, you'll be helping patients like me request that the FDA expidite the way potentially life-saving treatments are made accessible to people with ALS -- starting right now with GM604. Doing so could very likely mean a change in the course of ALS progression not only for myself, but hundreds of thousands of other patients worldwide. After you sign, please follow this link to tweet and/or email the FDA: https://www.change.org/p/lisa-murkowski-fda-accelerated-approval-of-genervon-s-gm604-for-use-in-als/u/9475826 Thank you, Nick Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gm604forals Please go to the Genervon website for a true understanding of the facts and the science behind GM604: http://www.genervon.com/genervon/about_pressreleases.php
Tell the FDA to stop denying ALS patients treatment options
When I became a parent, I knew immediately that I would do anything to protect my daughters from the hardest parts of life. My mission would be to give them as much love and comfort as I possibly could. But now instead of me taking care of them, my daughters are often responsible for taking care of me, because in May of 2014 I was diagnosed with ALS. Now, instead of protecting them, my daughters are forced to watch as my body dies one muscle at a time. ALS is a devastating disease, that currently has no effective FDA approved treatments. However, there are promising therapies in the FDA approval pipeline that might improve my chances and quality of life, but the FDA isn’t willing to expedite the approval of these drugs, even though the average life expectancy of an ALS patient is 3-5 years and the average time it takes for a drug to become FDA approved is over a decade. Please join me and Hope NOW for ALS in petitioning Congress and the FDA to apply Accelerated Approvals (AAP) to promising treatments targeting terminal diseases, and implement faster, smarter, and more humane clinical trials using today’s science. This is not a radical or new idea. In 1992, in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the FDA adopted the Accelerated Approval Program (AAP) – an expedited approval process to treat fatal diseases. This was a process to allow patients fast access to potentially life saving drugs, and has since been used for cancer and heart failure treatments. But the FDA refuses to apply it to ALS and other rapidly fatal diseases. How can it possibly be fair to exclude the most vulnerable and at risk people -- those with fast acting terminal diseases -- from this program? ALS is always fatal, and there are currently over 30,000 patients in the US with no options. We need help. We need options. My diagnosis is the greatest challenge my family has ever faced, and my daughters have amazed me with their grace and strength in taking on this battle with me. I know that even though my life has not turned out like I imagined it, I can still be the dad I always wanted to be, and I can still show my daughters what it means to take a stand for what counts. Please join me and Hope NOW for ALS to help save my life, and the lives of so many others around the country.
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.
We demand that The United States Senate not confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General
As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the Attorney General of the United States must be independent of politics and respect the dignity of all Americans. The Attorney General has a duty to enforce the rule of law fairly and pursue equal justice under the law. One of the core functions of the Department of Justice is to protect Americans’ civil rights, and to defend those who have been denied them. Another key function of the Department of Justice is to protect our security, but never sacrifice our civil liberties. Not only has Senator Sessions been a staunch opponent of reforming the tragic shortcomings in our criminal justice system, he holds a number of views that are inconsistent with how most Americans believe justice should be applied under our Constitution.
We Demand that the U. S. Senate not confirm Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor
Andrew Puzder is among Trump's more controversial Cabinet picks because he has publicly opposed the overtime rule and various other Department of Labor regulations, and because the fast-food industry, from which Puzder hails, is a top wage-theft enforcement target at the department. Puzder is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Carl’s Jr. and Hardee's. It’s actually very hard to imagine a worse choice for Labor Secretary than Andy Puzder. The Labor Secretary’s job is to look out for American workers. Trump's Labor nominee has opposed increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour and efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay. It would be kind of funny if it wasn’t so serious. During the election, Trump made a lot of promises to create good jobs. But he’s filling his cabinet with CEOs and right-wing billionaires who have spent their lives undermining working people’s rights to come together in unions, while fighting minimum wage increases, paid sick leave and family leave policies. The evidence clearly demonstrates that protecting the rights of the people who work at Puzder’s company or its franchisees doesn't seem to be his priority. Puzder has run a business model that has produced widespread labor abuses at the companies. According to data compiled by Bloomberg BNA, over the previous seven years, about 60 percent of all Labor Department investigations of Carl's Jr. Restaurants found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. While working people at his fast food chains sometimes were making below minimum wage, Puzder was taking big compensation packages. In 2012, he made 291 times as much as workers at his restaurants. Now, he could be in charge of enforcing our nation’s labor laws—from ensuring workplace safety to investigating wage theft. His companies had the fourth highest incidents of wage theft reported to the government. ‘Wage theft is a rampant, everyday problem in the fast-food industry: Nearly nine out of 10 fast-food workers across the country report having money stolen from their paychecks by their boss,’ Kendall Fells, the Fight for $15 national organizing director, told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail. Bloomberg reported. “Fells referred to a 2014 poll commissioned by the campaign of more than 1,000 fast-food workers nationwide. The survey documented such common worker complaints as being forced to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out, having the cost of uniforms deducted from their paychecks, and not receiving breaks during long shifts.” Puzder’s Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain also has a history of sexist television. He thinks it’s appropriate to peddle sex to kids if it sells the product. “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers,” said the CEO in a 2011 press release, according to Fortune. “We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.” Let’s target Puzder’s nomination instead. Just Say No Puzder at Labor. This petition will be delivered to the full Senate and to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee of the U.S. Senate
We are Losing Hundreds of Family Dairy Farms Each Year in the USA
Currently dairy farmers are losing approximately 50-60 cents a gallon on all the milk they produce. This is the reason we are losing so many family dairy farms in the United States. The national production of milk is approximately 204 billion pounds of milk annually which means that dairy farmers are losing $5 per 100 pounds. Nationally this means the dairy farmers are losing over $10 billion each year. This translates into about a $60 billion loss for the rural economy. THIS CANNOT CONTINUE! WE NEED YOUR HELP IMMEDIATELY! THIS CAN BE CORRECTED! We are urging the United States Congress and the Dairy Division of the USDA to have open hearings for dairy farmers to hear and hopefully resolve their problems. We have outlined specific programs congress can take to correct this problem. Please refer to the "Dairy Farmers Are Left Behind Again" guest editorial by Arden Tewksbury located on the Progressive Agriculture Facebook page to view suggestions where congress can help dairy farmers. (Link included) https://www.facebook.com/Progressive-Agriculture-Organization-130911270336981/ Consumers, you must decide; Do you want to be drinking milk from the USA or milk imported from other countries? The decision is up to YOU! Act NOW and sign this petition! Thank you!
Temporary ease of sanctions on Iran to aid earthquake survivors
A terrible earthquake hit a large area on the Iran-Iraq border on November 12, 2017 around 21:48PM local time. More than a hundred aftershock tremors are still striking the area, preventing people from traveling back home, entering their homes, or moving inside the towns. In particular, the town of Sarpol e-Zahab, a locality of about 36,000 inhabitants, was one of the most affected areas. Here, the death toll rose to 236 people, and thousands of injured people continue to need medical attention 24 hours later. Rescue teams are still unearthing bodies. Among the casualties are innocent children, whose access to medical care is precarious and who cannot return to school in the near future, as schools have been severely damaged. Many inhabitants lost their home, and their children are forced to sleep in cars and in tents in a weather bordering on winter. While international NGOs are on the ground in Iraq offering relief to those affected, it is very difficult to get into Iran and help in the areas mostly damaged by the trembler. The US sanctions placed on Iran prevent much aid from being sent to where it is most needed right now. While the US Department of State issued a message of sympathy on November 13, 2017, (https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/11/275491.htm much more can be done. The US has the ability to help. Many people want and can help, but sending aid to Iran is nearly impossible without a temporary ease of sanctions on humanitarian aid. Former US President, Barack Obama and his administration temporarily eased the sanctions in 2012 for 45 days, when a deadly earthquake hit Iran on August 11. Under the lift, NGOs were able to transfer up to $300,000 in funds to Iran at that time to help those affected. We ask President Donald Trump and the US Senate to please allow a similar ease of sanctions to help the children of Iran who lost homes and family in the earthquake. Mr. President, Senators Casey and Toomey, please support humanitarianism. Please allow aid to be sent to Iran. Thank you.
Tell policy makers to SAVE THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
TELL POLICY MAKERS NOT TO GUT THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT! The Endangered Species Act, which was implemented in 1973, has protected 99% of endangered and threatened species from going extinct since its origin. The act was instrumental in the conservation and preservation of endangered animals like the bald eagle, the California condor, the gray wolf, and the grizzly bear among thousands of others. Currently congress intends to gut the act and transform it, removing vital protections for thousands of plant and animal species. This would not only have detrimental implications for ecosystems and habitats in our country, but it will negatively affect our economy in regards to eco-tourism. National parks with flagship species like the grizzly bear generate billions of dollars a year for our government, and thousands of people rely on these parks and their benefits in surrounding areas for jobs, etc. It is essential to protect the animals within these ecosystems, not only for the integrity of the future of our nation’s natural habitats, but also for our own economical, ecological, educational, scientific, recreational and aesthetic needs as humans. PLEASE sign the petition below to ensure that the Endangered Species Act remains in tact. Without the protection of the act, wolves will be shot and slaughtered without consequence, a bald eagle’s nest could be cut down out of a tree to make way for an apartment building, and grizzly bear cubs could be gassed alive in their dens. For more information go here - http://www.endangered.org/campaigns/protecting-the-endangered-species-act/