Alabama State Senate
Alabama State Senate
Remove Selma’s KKK Memorialization: Rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge
Fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Movement marched through Selma and over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The marches across the bridge led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and today the bridge is a symbol of nonviolent victory for change! Unfortunately, the bridge is STILL named after a man who served as Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, was a Confederate General, and was later elected as a United States Senator. The bridge was the site of “Bloody Sunday”. On March 7, 1965, hundreds of nonviolent protesters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery for their right to vote. But as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met by Alabama state troopers and deputized civilians who were armed with billy clubs, tear gas, and cattle prods and attacked the marchers and drove them back to Brown Chapel Church. How could a landmark that holds so much significance for the civil rights movement be named after a man who not only supported slavery, but held one of the highest positions within the Ku Klux Klan? It's time for the state of Alabama, the city of Selma, and the National Park Service to remove a KKK leader's name from the historic bridge. Selma and the Voting Rights Movement altered the course of history forever, and Selma has done too much for this country to remain unchanged. Selma is currently 80% African American, with a black mayor and majority African American local city officials. The name Edmund Pettus is far from what the city of Selma should honor. Let’s change the image of the bridge from hatred and rename it to memorialize hope and progress. Please sign our petition calling on Selma and Alabama leaders and the National Park Service to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Outlaw hog vs. dog hunting/fighting in the wild
Goal: To outlaw the cruel and inhumane practice of using dogs to hunt wild boar in Florida, as well as in the 31 others states it's currently legal or have no laws on the books. Florida (as well as other states) has a wild boar problem. Hogs are numerous, omnivorous and have no natural predators, making them one of the largest nuisance pests in the state. There are many humane options for dealing with the pigs, which do not need to involve brutally killing the pigs or putting domesticated dogs in harm’s way. However, despite the existence of alternatives, Florida and other states have exempted the use of "bait-dogs" in boar hunting. This practice is incredibly dangerous and very inhumane for the dogs and boars involved. Each of the 32 states that allow this practice laws differ, but Florida animal cruelty statute states: FLORIDA ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0828/Sections/0828.122.html 828.122 Fighting or baiting animals; offenses; penalties.—(1) This act may be cited as “The Animal Fighting Act.”(2) As used in this section, the term:(a) “Animal fighting” means fighting between roosters or other birds or between dogs, bears, or other animals.(b) “Baiting” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals. In addition, “baiting” means the use of live animals in the training of racing greyhounds.(c) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.(3) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following acts commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:Baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting; (9) This section shall not apply to:.....(e) Any person using dogs to hunt wild hogs or to retrieve domestic hogs pursuant to customary hunting or agricultural practices." The exception (e) makes NO logical sense, because dogs are trained to "hunt" by chasing, cornering, attacking and fighting. So, why is it illegal to cause a dog to fight another dog, or a pig in an enclosure, but it is legal to use dogs to chase and viciously attack pigs while being trained and in the wild? Boar hunting with dogs is exactly what it sounds like: dogs trained to track and attack. They are taken out into the country, or wherever wild hogs are plentiful, and set loose to sniff out hogs. Once a hog is found the dogs will chase it down, corner, bay and attack it, usually leaving it badly injured, but normally still alive. Hunters (when they catch up) will kill the pig, usually by "sticking," which is a prolonged death vs. the use of a proper gun. Wild hogs are incredibly difficult to kill and will put up a fight until the end. Many dogs involved are wounded by tusks, bitten, trampled and sometimes killed. This is basically animal fighting, in the wild. Putting dogs in such a dangerous situation is inhumane and should not be legal. Visit http://sugarshope.org/ to learn more. PETITION LETTER: Wild boars are a major problem in Florida and in other states. The species has no natural predators, is omnivorous and repopulates very quickly: it is because of these traits that wild boars are a force hard to reckon with. There are many control methods used, some of them very inhumane. Currently it is legal for dogs to be used in wild hog hunting. This practice is extremely dangerous for the dogs involved and leads to inappropriate practices elsewhere. Dogs involved in hunting are likely to be seriously injured by the hogs. Dogs get trampled, bitten, pierced by tusks and may be infected with diseases that pigs carry. The hogs are frightened, outnumbered and suffer a painful death. I urge you to propose a ban on hunting wild pigs with dogs in order to put a stop to these inappropriate behaviors. Please consider other methods of wild pig population control, such as designating land for hogs to be displaced to, and controlling breeding of the species. Allowing dogs to hunt them is inhumane and unnecessary. Visit http://sugarshope.org/ to learn more. Sincerely, [Your Name Here]
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2017 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 now!
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources : Stop the euthanization of orphaned wildlife in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division) issued a letter on August 29, 2013, to all Alabama Wildlife Rescue Centers and licensed Alabama wildlife rehabilitators. The letter states that due to a policy change, they will not be allowed to rehabilitate any fur bearing animals including orphaned/injured baby bats, skunks, opossums, foxes, coyotes, feral pigs and raccoons. Furthermore they are to be turned over to specified locations for euthanization. The original concern was for what is believed to be an overpopulation of raccoons in the state and the threat from rabies and other diseases which raccoons "can" carry as can ANY mammal. The small number of these animals that are orphaned each year, rehabilitated and returned into the wild is not significant enough to be causing an overpopulation. Statistics gathered by the Alabama Department of Health for 2013 shows the number of documented cases of raccoon rabies is eleven. THERE HAVE BEEN NO DOCUMENTED CASES OF HUMAN INFECTION SINCE 1994. Statistics gathered by ADOH from 1950-2012 show an average of 29 cases of raccoon rabies per year while the same time span shows dogs to be the highest with an average of 47 cases per year. Clearly dogs have been more of a threat then raccoons. These numbers are for the whole state of Alabama. RABIES IS NOT AIRBORNE. We do not need to be killing perfectly healthy animals who are zero risk to anyone. Any mammal can get rabies if they are bitten by an infected animal. There are documented cases of cows and horses having rabies. Raccoons are not born with rabies, they can only get rabies by being bitten by an infected animal. So what this amounts to is a war on orphaned/injured baby bats, skunks, opossums, foxes, coyotes, feral pigs and raccoons. There is no way to test for rabies without killing the animal and necropsy of the brain. Millions are tested every year and only a tiny percentage are ever positive. As far as the concern for "public safety": People will always be finding orphaned wildlife and will need a place to turn them in for rehabilitation. With this new policy, do they really think people will turn babies in to be killed? NO, this will only drive rescuing and rehabilitation underground and make it much more difficult for the public to find someone to help therefore causing the animals to be raised by well intentioned people who have no idea what they are doing. By doing this they will be putting many more people and domestic animals in potential contact with the diseases they are so worried about. Please urge Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to rescind this policy. People HAVE always and WILL always try to help the helpless, especially little animals. How do you explain to children that all Fish & Game will do with a wild baby is kill it? What kind of message does that send? Please do not tie the hands of the trained proffessional rehabilitators and wildlife centers. They are the buffer zone between our wild life and the general public. There is absolutely no cost to the state of Alabama nor to the taxpayers to allow the continued rehabilitation of these orphaned babies. All rehabilitators and wildlife centers are funded through donations and out of the personal pockets of the rehabilitators...a true labor of love. By what authority can any government agency, established to protect our resources, go against the very wellbeing that has been entrusted to them to protect.
Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!
When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities
Justice For My Husband Bernard Simpson
Hello everyone. Most of you all know somewhat of what my family and I are going through. These last few weeks have been so devastating but I have to remain strong for my husband and continue to fight for him. For those that may not know who I am, my name is Karla Simpson. My husband, Bernard Simpson was arrested December 30, 2016 on a warrant from Alabama stating that he was a fugitive from justice. My husband was then informed that he was released from prison “too early” back in May of 2011 due to a clerical error. He spent time at the local jail here in Georgia until Alabama Department of Corrections came to pick him up on January 8th where he is currently now an inmate at Kilby Prison in Montgomery, Alabama. My husband and I have known each other since middle school. We’ve been married now for 5 years and he is also a new father of a 9 month old daughter. As previously mentioned, Bernard was released from prison here in Georgia in May of 2011 and was placed on parole. He recently completed his parole in November of 2016. Since being released, my husband has completely turned his life around and has become a successful and productive citizen. He has maintained work since being released and has also started his own business in transportation and has made quite an impression on the transportation industry here in Georgia. As his wife and as a new mother, I am completely devastated. My husband and I have started this new life and it has completely changed due to this unacceptable error. My husband had no idea nor was he ever informed that he was wanted in the almost 5 ½ years he’s been out. I want to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers but I am now asking for your support in signing this petition in hopes that the Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole, the state's governor Robert J. Bently and the District Attorney Daryl D. Bailey take the state’s error and my husband’s contributions to society into consideration and release him. My husband made some mistakes very early in his life and has paid his debts to society. Financially and emotionally, this situation has hit us very hard. My husband doesn’t deserve to have his years of hard work and family stripped from him because of this error. I am asking that you please take a moment and sign this petition for my husband and me. We would greatly appreciate your support. Thank you
Alabama Animal Cruelty and Neglect Law Revision
The state of Alabama has a serious problem with abused, neglected, and stray animals. This petition is an attempt to get the Alabama lawmakers to revise the current laws regarding animal abuse, neglect, and breeding the way Pennsylvania has recently done with the passing of Pennsylvania House Bill 1238. My wife and I work with an animal rescue group located in Walker County Alabama and the number of animals that we have had come through our rescue this year alone is staggering, but what's even more staggering is the number of animals we are unable to help because we are constantly at full capacity. On average my wife and I have between 10-15 rescued dogs and cats at our home waiting to be adopted out to loving families and the happy life that they deserve. Please help us by signing this petition. I don't know if it will do any good, but it's worth a shot. THANK YOU!!!
Alabama Expungement 2014
Presently, without an Alabama expungement law, if a person is charged and acquitted of the crime, their record still shows the charge in a public manner. Information regarding an arrest can cause issues for that person forever, even when innocent. It can haunt the individual every time they fill out a job application background check with Alabama's "Right To Work" laws, a mortgage application or applying for a sensitive position that requires a security clearance. Seemingly an Alabama expungement law has been introduced each year for the past three years or more, only not to make it out of committee or vetoed by the Governor. An expungement bill would fill an important gap in Alabama’s broken criminal justice system and allow people who were arrested and not convicted, for whatever reason, to clear their records. Please Sign and Contact Your Local Rep. http://www.legislature.state.al.us/index.html Twitter : @alabamacitizens Blog : http://alabamaexpungement.blogspot.com
Require Amazon to Collect and Remit Sales Tax For All FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) Sales
Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Requiring the hundreds of thousands of small businesses to register in every state and collect and remit in all applicable states is not practical -- it is a complex, heavy financial burden on small businesses and it is causing states to lose billions of dollars in tax revenue each year. With E-commerce now playing such a big role in the local economies, and with Amazon being THE major player, it is time for new legislation to be passed so that these matters can be properly addressed, removing any doubt regarding State sales tax liability and nexus -- especially as it relates to Amazon FBA and similar programs. If Amazon FBA was recognized as consignment, from a sales tax perspective, as it should be, then this would solve a lot of the associated issues that we are currently seeing. Laws vary from state-to-state, but most states require that the consignee (the store, or, Amazon in this case) should collect and remit sales tax. Arguments regarding consignment, who the seller really is and who the 'supplier' is: 1. FBA 'Suppliers' (as they should be called, and not FBA 'sellers') do not choose how/where their products are stored/shipped. 2. Commission is paid to Amazon on each unit sold. 3. FBA 'suppliers' must adhere to Amazon policy. Suppliers do not have the right to refuse sale/shipment without consequence and do not collect any money on transactions (all transactions are handled and controlled by Amazon, the store owner, with the supplier having no participation in said transactions). 4. FBA 'suppliers' have no real relationship with the customer as nearly all communication is prohibited as per Amazon (this relationship is owned and controlled by Amazon, the real seller). 5. Amazon provides advertising for products that they sell, including FBA products. Suppliers have no say in that message or how it's presented. 6. Amazon charges a 'monthly, rental fee' (FBA subscription fee) to display FBA products at their property, as well as additional fees for special exposure (e.g. special ad types or brand page vs. window or end-cap at front of store), as well as additional fees for how the product may be presented (e.g. videos on listing vs. in-store display). 7. Product ownership does not transfer to Amazon (the store owner), but sits on Amazon's shelves until a buyer is found...at which point, the buyer should pay the appropriate sales tax (Amazon/the store owner, is responsible for collecting and remitting this, as they handle all transactions with the end-buyer and own the property where all merchandise is stored and sold). 8. et al. Amazon should be charging and then remitting the sales tax to all applicable states -- not the FBA seller. Not only would this eliminate any argument about complexity or what constitutes nexus amid the varying, questionable and ever-changing interpretations that each state has established, but convincing the States to get behind it should be easy if they only had to pursue one entity (Amazon), in lieu of the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that currently operate within the US marketplace. It is estimated that the majority of the FBA sellers that sell on the Amazon-US marketplace are operating on foreign soil, and do not have a legal entity that is locally established inside of the United States. How are the states going to force compliance if a foreign seller, using a foreign bank account, is operating outside of the jurisdiction of local law? This poses serious problems and creates an environment of unfair competition if foreign sellers can offer products 10% cheaper due to not having to collect and remit sales tax. If Amazon were required to collect and remit on all FBA sales, not only would this reduce costs, man hours and complexity etc., but it would be a lot easier to ensure compliance and remittance. States could get the tax dollars that they desperately need, instead of missing out as they do now. If things continue as they are, States will waste tons of money auditing individual sellers and pursuing legal action, all, unnecessarily. Since Amazon has decided to take full custody of its customer base and is essentially acting as consignment, this should put sales tax liability on Amazon's shoulders, not on FBA sellers. Since FBA sellers are currently required to collect and remit for all states where they are deemed to have a substantial nexus, then, in order to do that, they must first register their business in that State, apply for permits etc., and admit to having a substantial nexus. Just having a single box of inventory in one of Amazon's warehouses will be sufficient for establishing nexus for most applicable states. Amazon may move inventory around, however they see fit, and in doing so, will force FBA sellers to have nexus in those states, oftentimes, unknowingly. Once nexus is established for a particular state, it applies to ALL subsequent sales to that State -- so, if a seller wants to sell something on Ebay, and the buyer is located in the nexus state, then that seller would need to collect and remit sales tax, even if that inventory was stored in and shipped from their home. If FBA sellers are required to register in all of the applicable states and admit that they have a substantial nexus, they would then potentially be subject to Corporate/State income taxes for that state, use-tax for all products/services, franchise taxes, non-resident taxes, opportunity taxes and other, associated fees/taxes etc.. If non-local businesses have to admit that they have substantial nexus due to a single box of inventory, and if they have to remit in the same way (or worse) as a local business that is actually operating out of that state, then what other tax implications and responsibilities will they be subjecting themselves to? And wouldn't this put undue burden on FBA sellers? And isn't that illegal? Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Thank you.
Governor Ivey: Expand Alabama Medicaid Now
Expanding Medicaid in Alabama is essential to the health of our citizens and the economic viability of our state. Since passage of the ACA, Alabamians have paid $6 Billion in federal taxes for expanded health care access in the United States. Not in Alabama though. For seven years, our elected leaders have put their political ideologies ahead of the health of our families. Alabama already ranks at or near the bottom for infant mortality, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, just to name a few. Every poor health measure experienced by Alabamians would improve from greater access to insurance and care. Reclaiming the federal tax dollars we are paying will cover up to 300,000 Alabamians, more than half of whom work full-time in low wage jobs. Eighty percent of Alabama’s hospitals are operating in the red. Rural hospitals and clinics are closing in Alabama at an alarming rate, including J. Paul Jones Hospital in Camden, the hometown of Governor Kay Ivey. Expanding Medicaid would bring desperately needed revenues for hospitals that serve the poorest, most rural counties. For the long term security of Alabama's health care system and our workforce, Medicaid expansion is the answer.For more information about the benefits, go to alabamasbest.org.