Alaska State House
Alaska State House
Anti-cruelty protections for sled dogs
I used to be a fan of the great Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race. It seemed like a truly noble event; a throwback to when man and man's best friend worked together to defy the odds and conquer nature. But then I learned the truth: under Alaska law, sled dogs are exempt from animal cruelty protections. Since the race began in 1973, at least 140 dogs have died during the event, because of injuries and strain from overwork. But even off-season, sled dogs can endure cruel conditions: those that are kept in unregulated commercial kennels are too often tethered on short chains, unable to play or even move freely, forced to eat where they defecate. At these nightmare kennels, when a dog is no longer profitable, it is often destroyed. We must remove the clause in the current law that exempts competition sled dogs from anti-cruelty protections. Until we do, the animal abusers in the mix will too often get off scot-free, without fear of prosecution, and will have no reason to change their ways. The Iditarod has turned into a massive event with many corporate sponsors, and a lot of money at stake. Because of this, the race will not police itself -- uncovering animal abuse could hurt sponsorship and attendance. And even if the event did work to protect dogs, this current law limits the charges they could file against known abusers. Changing the law is the first step to ensuring that sled dogs are treated humanely. Moreover, removing the anti-cruelty exemption would also help limit “over-driving” of sled dogs, which happens when they are overworked to the point of irreparable harm, including internal hemorrhaging, broken bones, internal organ damage and fatal injuries. Let’s bring the nobility back to Alaska’s Iditarod, and change the animal cruelty laws to reflect the respect these sled dogs deserve. Please sign my petition asking Alaska lawmakers to remove the anti-cruelty exemptions for sled dogs.
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. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). 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. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. 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 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, 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 struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
Please sign this petition to request that the Alaska state and/or federal supreme court, Alaska state parole board or Governor Dunleave grant Jason Vukovich discretionary parole or release him immediately. He is the Alaskan “Avenger,” who is serving 23 years in prison. This is unfair and injustice! People like Vukovich should not be punished and forced to spend decades in jail. Vukovich is a victim himself and was sexually and physically abused between the ages of 3-16 years old. The man who sexually abused him only served 3 years of probation and was never behind bars! Please set Jason Vukovich free! He has already endured such pain, suffering and heart ach at such a young age! This man and protector deserves another chance! #FreeJasonVukovich
U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY NOW
The Earth has been around for almost 5 billion years, with us modern humans evolving only about 200,000 years ago. In the 0.004% of our planet's total lifetime that we have been around for, we have managed to rip up around 46% of the trees worldwide in our luscious forests, pollute our majestic oceans and the almost-extinct coral reefs, and drive countless species to extinction. In fact, before the evolution of humans, less than 1 species per million went extinct annually; today, a devastating rate of 100-1,000 species per million are lost every year. We are destroying our planet faster than we can process the changes. These deaths are directly linked to habitat destruction by the hands of humans and climate change. According to the International Panel on Climate Change, "To keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45% by 2030." Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Climate Institute, states that the climate may become irreparable if we don't reduce carbon dioxide emmisions in the next 18 months. We must act now, if we have any hope of preserving this planet for future generations to come. Our climate is in a crisis. The U.S. federal government, one of the largest and most influential democratic governments in the world, must declare a climate crisis IMMEDIATELY. Chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund, Tanya Steele puts it clearly: "We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it." Sign this petition to stand alongside us, and our planet. We are the ones who must save our Earth. The time is now! Cover photo by NASA
Anchorage Ban On Plastic Bags
We are a small University of Alaska Anchorage group looking to combat the problem of harmful plastic waste. We're hoping this petition helps to put this issue on the radar, and encourage more people to shop using sustainably sourced bags. This change will help us to keep Anchorage beautiful while keeping our own individual carbon footprints light.