On Election Day 2019, Just Vote No on Both Referendum Issues on the Ballot

I’ve already made my case against the Parks Conservancy plan to tax Pittsburghers to fund their important work. Good cause, bad plan. #VoteNo.

The other issue on our ballot is an amendment to the Pennsylvania State Constitution known as Marsy’s Law.  The City Paper has a solid history on the legislation for your information. The tv is filled with victim’s rights advocates insisting this is a measure that is fair and reasonable to protect victims. Even actor Kelsey Grammar filmed an ad, referencing his personal experience with losing family members to violent crimes.

Both the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the League of Women Voters actively oppose this constitutional amendment. First, Pennsylvania already has strong victim’s rights laws on the books and this does not actually change much. Second, it does alter the way courts might treat defendants in criminal cases by altering their fundamental right to due process and the presumption of innocence. Finally, embedding these types of changes into the state Constitution is a very serious step that makes it almost impossible to amend own the road.

Marsy’s Law projects across the nation have been funded by one very wealthy man. Pittsburgh just witnessed a case where four wrongfully accused teenagers were wrongfully held in detention for 15 months because of our existing terrible criminal justice system. Making it worse for people wrongfully deprived of their freedom is not a solution to the pain and anguish of the victims and their families.

I’m writing this as a survivor. I’m also writing this as a survivor of secondhand childhood sexual violence by FOUR priests in my home parish. The changes that are necessary to ensure my peace of mind are not embedded in this amendment. We need genuine reform of the criminal justice system and victims & victim’s families should absolutely be part of the conversation.

Just keep in mind – the four youth wrongfully incarcerated are now victims of state sanctioned violence. They were stripped of their liberty and life and peace of mind. The system is very broken, but stripping away the rights of those accused of crimes is not a solution.

Just vote no on BOTH referendums/ballot initiatives. Vote No.

And remember to NOT vote a straight Democrat ticket – look at the Independents.

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