Merit Selection Bill Needs Your Active Support

On June 15, 2015, Lynn Marks of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) notified the ADA board that House Bill 1336, a constitutional amendment to select statewide appellate court judges through a merit selection process, was introduced in the house. This bill is sponsored by Representatives Bryan Cutler (R-Peachbottom) and Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery).

These legislators, along with Reform Coalition partners and PMC/PMCAction executive director Lynn A. Marks, have worked tirelessly in Harrisburg and across Pennsylvania to garner support for this essential reform

As an organization which has long supported merit selection and as a PMC Court Reform Coalition Partner, ADA strongly supports this effort.

  • Contact your legislator and members of the House Judiciary Committee and tell them how important merit selection of statewide appellate court judges is to you.
  • For more information about the specifics of the bill, click here.
  • For more information about why we need merit selection, check out the PMC blog Judges on Merit.
  • To follow the progress of the bill, click here.

Endorsements for May 19, 2015 Primary Election

ADA believes that it is critical to elect the most qualified judges and has only considered candidates found “recommended” or “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations. We want to make sure that those we endorse possess the integrity, knowledge, experience and temperament for serving as judges. We especially want to have the most qualified candidates face off next fall for the three Supreme Court vacancies given that electing Democrats to the court will be vital to future legislative redistricting.

In Philadelphia, we have endorsed Jim Kenney for Mayor. He has demonstrated his commitment on a wide range of concerns that ADA supports from welcoming immigrants, supporting universal pre-k, opposing school vouchers, decriminalizing marijuana, to approving gay marriage, and raising the minimum wage. These positions reflect a strong track record in making Philadelphia a city that works for all its citizens, especially those historically disadvantaged who rely on public officials and public policy to level the playing field.

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Endorsements for May 20, 2014 Primary Election

Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern Pennsylvania endorses the following candidates in the May 20, 2014 primary election.

Governor
Robert McCord

Lieutenant Governor
Mike Stack

US Congress
District 8: Kevin Strouse
District 13: Daylin Leach

PA State Senate
District 4: Brian Gralnick

PA State House of Representatives
District 179: Jason Dawkins
District 181: Emily Rodriguez
District 188: James Roebuck
District 197: Ben Ramos


ADA SEPA Supports “No Arrest” for Small Amounts of Marijuana

The Board of Directors for ADA Southeastern Pennsylvania voted unanimously at its February meeting to support Bill No. 140001, which was introduced by Councilperson Jim Kenney and would authorize Philadelphia police to issue a summons for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana.

This conforms with the current policy of the District Attorney to not prosecute possession of modest amounts. President Obama has recently cited the disproportionate effect marijuana laws have on minority communities. In Philadelphia, according to Kenney, 89% of arrests for possession of marijuana involved minorities.

ADA bases its support for the Kenney bill on the following:

  1. There is an inherent racial bias in enforcement.
  2. Law enforcement resources would be freed up to counter more serious crimes.
  3. Our criminal justice system could have lowered costs and heightened efficiency.

We commend Councilperson Kenney for his efforts to reform Philadelphia’s approach to this issue.


Endorsements for November 5, 2013 General Election

Americans for Democratic Action Southeastern Pennsylvania has endorsed the following candidates in the November 5, 2013 general election.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court
Giovanni Campbell

Philadelphia District Attorney
Seth Williams


ADA Supports City Council Legislation

At its October meeting, the Board of Directors for Americans for Democratic Action of Southeastern PA endorsed two progressive bills introduced by Councilperson W. Wilson Goode.

The first – #130585 – expands restrictions on the ability of campaign donors and their ability to receive “no bid” contracts from the City of Philadelphia, during the term of the officeholder to which they contributed.

The second – #130586 – provides additional, annual funds to Philadelphia public schools by reducing the current 10 year, full tax abatement, for purchasers of newly constructed homes, to 45%.

This bill will increase city revenue and restore the historical proportion that previously went to our schools. ADA also sees this bill as an important step towards greater tax fairness in that this real estate abatement benefit is almost solely available to upper income residents.

We also reaffirmed our support for the explicit extension of “living wage” legislation to include subcontractors on contracts issued by the City of Philadelphia. The “living wage” bill is another Councilperson Goode initiative.

Bill #130585 has been referred to the Committee of the Whole (City Council itself). ADA urges its members in Philadelphia to contact members of City Council and ask that that Bill #130585 be referred to a Council committee for consideration.  A council committee is more likely to consider this measure and make a recommendation to Council. Because of opposition to the initiative the Committee of the Whole may dismiss the initiative without careful deliberation.


ADA at PCEA Hearing

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration held a public meeting Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This was the third of four all-day public meetings the Commission held across the country to hear from experts in election administration and members of the public as it develops recommendations sought by President Barack Obama to improve voter access to the polls.

ADA Board members Numa St. Louis and Kay Kyungsun Yu gave testimony to the Commission. Kay Kyungsun Yu’s testimony can be found here. A blog at Lawyers.com covered the meeting and it includes statements from Numa St. Louis.

ADA is proud to be at the forefront of improving voter access in Philadelphia. To that end, we are holding a public forum on safeguarding the vote on September 25, 2013. Please join us.


Endorsements for May 21, 2013 Primary Election

Americans for Democratic Action is happy to announce our endorsed candidates for the May 21, 2013 primary election. After review of all candidates and extensive interviews, we have identified the following candidates as exemplifying the progressive ideals for which ADA stands.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court
#105 Vince Giusini
#110 Giovanni Campbell
#126 Stephanie Sawyer

Philadelphia Traffic Court
#147 Inja Coates

Philadelphia City Controller
#165 Brett Mandel



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