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.
Save Graffiti Highway
PennDOT wants to cut public access to Graffiti Highway. They claim that the road is much too dangerous, even for foot traffic. This is not the case. Graffiti Highway is a gathering spot for tourists and residents of NEPA. The road itself is no more hazardous than a common PA hiking trail. Graffiti Highway is an outlet of expression for artists of all kinds; it should not be shut down.
We the voters demand vote recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Hillary Clinton is being urged by a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers to call for a recount in three swing states won by Donald Trump, New York has learned. The group, which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked. The group is so far not speaking on the record about their findings and is focused on lobbying the Clinton team in private.
Saving lives on McNally Bridge
The McNally Bridge that carries route 219 over the Stonycreek River is roughly 1,388 feet long and 192 feet high and has unfortunately been a prime spot for those struggling with the decision to end their lives. On public forums, time and time again the people of Somerset and Cambria counties ask the same question "Why doesn't someone do something about this?". Including representatives for Pennsylvania as our target audience, join me in indicating that something must be done with the McNally Bridge. Suggestions include constructing a fence around the bridge, installing signs for suicide hotline numbers and words of hope, and painting the bridge with local artist's work to create a place that reminds others that even strangers care. In showing strength in numbers, let's make the push for something to be done. Saving just one life would be worth the effort!
Make all protestors accountable for a permit for exact location and officers needed.
Stop allowing protestors to occupy neighborhood streets without proper permits and paying for police to accompany them. In Philadelphia there was a group of people on Facebook telling everyone to come to a police officers house because he killed a man who was fleeing from him with a illegal gun. Meanwhile, the street was filled with police officers who were being called pigs and other foul language was being used via a megaphone. Philadelphia home owners have had our property tax raised numerous times in recent years. Along with many other things being taxed. And we should not have to feel unsafe because these protests going on today continue to get out of hand. There are young children in the community watching and listening to the rediculous things these men were shouting, along with a community of people that did not want this on their street. I know everyone has a right to freedom of speech, but when it comes to these protests, why should we have to fund people from other cities? Why should we have to fund criminals rights but not our officers who serve us? Why should we have to allow our officers that are so limited be taken away from our neighbhoods because someone wants to stand outside screaming profanities through a megaphone. This needs to end somewhere! We can not afford to keep being taxed for nothing! They closed our schools, taxed cigarettes repeatedly, taxed home owners repeatedly, and even soda. It is time to make others pay for the services we are taxed for, when it is not an emergency.
Governor Wolf: Protect Our Schools and Communities Under PA Health and Safety Statute
Governor Tom Wolf: Texas-based Sunoco Pipeline/Energy Transfer Partners has taken advantage of so-called certificates of public convenience, issued in the 1930s, to claim public utility status and the awesome sovereign power of eminent domain for its troubled “Mariner East” project. Sunoco proposes to construct up to three hazardous, highly volatile liquids pipelines, to transport industrial quantities of liquid ethane, propane and butane through densely populated Pennsylvania counties for the purpose of shipping these materials overseas for plastics production. No agency of the state or federal government has exercised authority over the route selected by Sunoco for its own maximum convenience. If these materials are released for any reason, they become odorless, colorless heavier-than-air gas which is extremely flammable or explosive. These materials present a unique set of public safety hazards which have not been adequately evaluated. The Health and Safety Statute of Pennsylvania (Title 35, Chapter 77) identifies the Governor and all state agencies responsible for disaster prevention. Municipal authorities across Chester and Delaware counties have acknowledged the new and unique hazard to its citizens from Mariner East. Many townships and school districts have sent Resolutions of Concern to Governor Wolf regarding the dangers of the Mariner East project and the need for intervention with no response. Under Commonwealth law, when a new threat is identified at the local level, Governor Wolf has the authority to direct all appropriate state agencies to conduct comprehensive hazard assessments so that emergency preparedness plans and appropriate emergency response procedures are developed. Sunoco has a risk assessment for this project that it refuses to release. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency handbook states that elected officials will work with, and support, county emergency management coordinators to ensure that the community is prepared to respond to disasters. This includes a mitigation plan with a hazard analysis and vulnerability impacts—and yet, no such document has been provided. Separately, school districts are required to file an emergency preparedness plan that is reevaluated yearly under Pennsylvania school code Title 22 Safe Schools. School districts must put all emergency preparedness plans on file with the county offices by September 30th. Our school districts are grossly unprepared without a hazard assessment to fully understand the risks as they exist of running highly volatile liquids pipelines in unsafe proximity to at least forty schools and many more child care centers. Our most vulnerable members of society, our children, have virtually no chance of proper evacuation without formal, expert-led preparedness to identify the most efficient and safe route based on topography and wind direction in real time. Sunoco's suggested plan for homes, schools, businesses and senior living facilities? Self-evacuate immediately: on foot, uphill and upwind, to a minimum initial distance of one-half mile. This is simply not a credible plan, and schools have already been out of compliance for two years, as “Mariner East 1” has been operational since 2014, experiencing three reported leaks of highly volatile liquids over the space of less than one year. Sunoco reported that each of these leaks occurred in a “High Consequence Area;” Governor Wolf, we’ve been lucky so far. Will it require “high consequences” to get your attention? Governor Wolf, Sunoco’s reckless Mariner East project is not essential infrastructure, nor is it about fuel or energy for Pennsylvanians. The proposed project is not necessary to the kind of life we want to lead, as you recently put it—in fact, the project is antithetical to our core values of public safety, property values, and private property rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Pennsylvania. We, the concerned citizens of our Commonwealth, ask that you fulfill the duties of the office we have entrusted to you, in compliance with your responsibilities under Pennsylvania statutes, to protect our society—especially its most vulnerable members, including children, our senior citizens, and the physically challenged. We call on you to direct your Department of Environmental Protection to revoke the deficient permits the agency hastily issued to Sunoco. And we call on you to issue an immediate safety-based halt to Mariner East construction until your duty to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all Pennsylvanians has been fulfilled.
Pennsylvania: Allow students an excused absence to play TAPS at military funerals
My name is Aidan and I'm a fifth grader at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. This year, every student in my grade has to complete a Think, Care, Act (TCA) project. For my project, I picked a non-profit organization that means a lot to me -- Bugles Across America. Last year, I started volunteering with Bugles Across America to play live TAPS at military funerals. I'm the youngest bugler in the organization’s history and earlier this year, I earned the gold President's Volunteer Service Award from the White House. There are only four states across the U.S. that have a law in place to allow students an excused absence from school when they travel to play TAPS at military funerals. There’s another student in Illinois who’s pursuing a similar law. My mom helped me start a petition so that we can do the same thing here in Pennsylvania. Please sign this petition and support young people like me who want to do what we can to honor and thank our military veterans and their families -- one final time.
TELL GOVERNOR WOLF: VETO THE POLICE SECRECY BILL
Dear Governor Wolf, The state legislature recently passed a bill that not only hides the identities of police officers who seriously harm or KILL people, but it goes further to criminally charge public officials who release those names to the public. Police officers have a great deal of power, including the power to use force. That requires police departments to be transparent and accountable about their actions. That transparency is undermined by HB 1538. We do not believe in unchecked police violence. We do not agree with criminalizing those who's goal is public safety and fair accountability. We stand against the wave of police violence that grips our country. We stand to make Pennsylvania a leader in positive police and community relations. Today we ask you to stand with us and VETO House Bill 1538.
Help Get Family Information About Dakota James from Police
Dakota Leo James is still missing and there are no more answers today than the first day. It is not okay that the police have given up. Dakota is no longer their priority because there are no new leads so they are basically waiting for his body to show up. How can you tell a parent that? The James family will not give up.
Stop the legalization of hunting bears, wolves and their babies while they're sleeping.
There is a bill trying to be passed for the legalization of hunting bears and cubs while hibernating, also with wolves and their pups. If this bill is passed, we go through a bigger mass extinction than we are already going through with elephants, rhinos, polar bears, tigers, etc. By over kill, we lose our "circle of life", and by over kill, we kill ourselves in the future. We kill our children, grandchildren and so forth. By stoping this one thing, we can stop poaching for good, and be wiser when it comes to our environment, for the human race is killing the earth. Bears, wolves, and their babies aren't doing anything wrong, they are so much more afraid of us than we are of them, and the only reason they would attack is for self defense, or the defense of their young. There are so many more bills and issues that need intended attention than killing innocent animals, WHILE they are sleeping. Also, there is no necessary need to kill these animals, only for fun and sport do they wish to pass the bill. We start with the bears, wolves, other animals, and their babies; we end with human civilization looking for alternatives till the death of all life. This is an important, EXTREMELY inhumane problem that needs to be addressed, for it is morally wrong. Thank you.