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!
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.
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
PLEASE REPEAL SB91!
SB91 was passed by the Alaska State Senate in May 2016 as a bill to amend the criminal justice system in Alaska. Their goals were to reduce recidivism, lower the state's incarceration costs and in the future, increase rehabilitation opportunities for inmates. Instead, SB91 has allowed Anchorage to become a literal crime ridden town. Auto thefts, shoplifting and burglary have overtaken our city so much, the Anchorage Police Department has now deemed these low priority crimes. The message to our legislators is simple... There are fundamental problems with SB91 that SB54 cannot fix. SB91 must be repealed and a new, more carefully crafted bill with lessons learned and public input considered. Criminal justice reform may be possible, but not at the expense of public safety. Too many Anchorage residents have become victims, most feel their city is under attack and soon, all of us will be paying higher insurance costs. Please repeal SB91 during the 4th special session, October 2017!
Appoint an AMCO board member from the Industry or open minded Public Member.
The Honorable Senators and Representatives: This letter is being written to you in opposition of the appointment of Vivian Stiver, by Governor Dunleavy, to the Public Seat of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board. As voting constituents of your districts we are concerned and disheartened by Mrs. Stiver's appointment to the AMCO Board. Mrs. Stiver has actively shown and openly expressed anti-cannabis viewpoints vehemently counter to the intent of Ballot Measure 2, which legalized and regulated Cannabis in Alaska. Mrs. Stiver chaired the anti-retail coalition, called “Safe Neighborhoods Fairbanks”, as well as launching the 2017 initiative in Fairbanks to ban all commercial cannabis activity in Fairbanks city limits. Mrs. Stiver, through her rhetoric and actions, has shown herself to be opposed to the will of the People of Alaska, and is being appointed to a seat that should be reserved for an cannabis industry professional or an open minded member of the public. The majority of Alaskan voters, who voted twice for legalization of a cannabis market with sensible regulations, would be better served by a voice that is not already known to be anti-cannabis. The jobs created and tax revenue from the Cannabis industry in Alaska could be stymied and hindered with the 3 year appointment of such a staunch opponent to the legal cannabis market in Alaska. We, as your voting residents within your districts, ask that you cast a “NO” vote for the confirmation of Vivian Stiver and ask Governor Dunleavy to appoint a moderate voice to the board - within the framework that was agreed upon: 2 Industry seats, Public Health, Public Safety and Rural Public. Mrs. Stiver in no way represents the will of the majority public or the cannabis industry, nor does her appointment fit the design of the AMCO board. Whatever your decision, please accept my sincere thanks for your time and consideration of my request. Sincerely,
Health Insurance for Dependents of Public Safety Employees Killed in the Line of Duty
Rep. Charisse Millett has introduced House Bill 66, a bill that offers major medical health care coverage to the spouses and children of employees killed in the line of duty. Currently, if a police officer dies or is killed in the line of duty, his or her dependents’ health care coverage expires at the end of the month. By signing this petition we respectfully ask you to consider and support House Bill 66. We further ask you to consider an amendment to include preventative, dental and vision care. I believe the State of Alaska recognizes the importance of ensuring that police officers know their families will be taken care of in the event that they are killed in the line of duty. Passing House Bill 66 will confirm that belief for the men and women who risk their lives every day in communities across Alaska. This bill can offer some measure of relief to families who have already suffered the ultimate loss. We support offering health insurance to dependents of Line of Duty Deaths. We believe this health care coverage has been earned. We urge you to support House Bill 66.