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10/20/2019 08:47 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30068
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: August 8, 2019 12:58 PM
From: Representative Rosita C. Youngblood
To: All House members
Subject: Commonwealth Advisory Board on Geographic Names
 
Negro Mountain. Squaw Valley. Pollocks Knob. All three of these geographic names are actual places that you can visit in Pennsylvania. Although these names may be offensive to many, they remain part of the Commonwealth’s landscape.

Across Pennsylvania, there are certain geographic location names that the public would like to change – either based on outdated or somewhat offensive terms, or to possibly honor a fellow resident or community hero. These locations should be replaced by names that better reflect the Commonwealth’s people, history, and heritage, and the process to update or replace geographic names should not be a complicated web of federal bureaucracy.

In order to help assist residents, organizations, and local governments in their attempts to change potentially derogatory or outdated geographic names, I am proposing the creation of the Commonwealth Advisory Board on Geographic Names. Under my proposal, the board would be an appointed, bi-partisan 12-member board with legislative and executive representation. Several states, including South Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, Alaska, and Texas, have already established similar boards or committees at the state level.

Most geographic names must be changed at the federal level, through the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. This federal agency is a reactive body and does not initiate name proposals. It accepts proposals from local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, as well as from local organizations and private citizens.

Please join me in supporting and co-sponsoring this legislation to assist those in bringing geographic names in our state into the 21st century. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at 717-772-9920. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

This bill was offered last session as House Bill 1767.



Introduced as HB1794