Written April 16, 2017 by Winston Crockett Fredrickson
We the People Petitions were created in 2011 by the Obama Administration as a way for people to express their concerns to the president. Although the Trump administration did keep this part of the White House website going, they have yet to respond to a single petition. As of this writing, they have a total on nine petitions that have crossed the threshold of 100,000 “signatures” needed to receive some sort of official response. The top petition, called Immediately release Donald Trump’s full tax returns, with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance received a total of 1,090,439 electronic signatures, more that ten times the threshold required within the time limit between its creation on January 20th and the deadline of February 19th. Several others have received numbers far higher than this threshold also, such as the second most popular with more than 300,000 supporters demanding that the president divest his financial assets or put them in a blind trust, which he has not done of yet. Three more have over twice the required number: Repeal the NFA, Preserve the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and #ChineseLivesMatters Calling a federal investigation into the United Airlines incident on 10th April 2017 which was started and received all of its votes within just the last week. The NFA is the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the petition says it is to remove regulations on 2ndamendment rights, among other things. Others that have exceeded the threshold also request that the president not defund the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, resign from office, release tax returns, lift a ban on growing hemp as a material for use in products such as cloth and rope, and officially name the sea between Japan and Korea both the “East Sea” as it is known in Korea, and the “Sea of Japan” as it is known in Japan.
It should be noted that the Obama administration also sometimes took quite a while to come out with a response to petitions from the website. According to Wikipedia, who cited the White House website (which has been reset), as of October 16, 2016 the Obama administration had answered 321 petitions with an average response time of 117 days. Currently, according to the White House website, the waiting time on average is 39 days.
We the People Petitions site: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov Accessed 16th of April, 2017
Information on petitions past the threshold: http://whpetitions.info Accessed 16th of April, 2017
Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_the_People_%28petitioning_system%29 Accessed 16th of April, 2017
photo credit: Geoff Livingston <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9397412@N06/32567287266″>A Fence Divides Us</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>