Arkansas State House
Arkansas State House
Stop Breed Specific Legislation in Arkansas
The national trend is moving steadily away from breed-specific legislation (BSL) and toward breed neutral laws that hold all owners equally accountable for the humane care, custody and control of their dogs. The list of states that are considering and passing legislation to preempt municipalities from passing BSL continues to grow. BSL is a discriminatory law or ordinance that prohibits or restricts the keeping of dogs of specific breeds, dogs presumed to be specific breeds, mixes of specific breeds, and/or dogs presumed to be mixes of specific breeds. The trend reflects a growing understanding that regulating dogs on the basis of breed or physical description does not reduce dog bites. Most importantly, studies continue to show that one kind of dog is no more likely to threaten or bite a human being than another. The American Bar Association has urged the repeal of all BSL. The White House also opposes BSL and released a statement saying, “research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.” No major national organizations endorse BSL, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the Humane Society of the United States, the National Animal Control Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The tide has turned against BSL and communities are implementing policies that hold all dog owners responsible for the humane care, custody, and control of their dogs, regardless of breed or appearance. Building safer and more humane communities requires multifactorial approaches focusing on improved ownership and husbandry practices, better understanding of dog behavior, education of parents and children regarding safety around dogs, and consistent enforcement of dangerous dog/reckless owner ordinances in communities.
Arkansas Schools Should Void 4th Quarter Grading and Pass Remainder of 2019/2020 Classes
The Arkansas Public Education System has crumbled in the recent COVID-19 Pandemic. The schools have started "distance learning" which is new to students and teachers. The schools are forcing teachers to put out more work than the normal workload during this online period, for no actual cause. There is no need for this extra workload when all EOC's have been cancelled. The workload along with the stress and anxiety placed on students and teachers does not create a healthy environment for learning to take place. Without the ability to be in direct contact with a teacher, students are not as willing to work and find it harder to grasp the concepts. I have started this petition in hopes of getting our GPA for the 4th quarter voided and receiving our credits in full for this 2nd semester. Students should not be penalized for a global issue that is now fully out of control. Again it is very hard to learn at home, when you are usually relaxing and trying to not think about school.
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!
Convince Asa Hutchinson to close all public schools to stop the spread of COVID-19
It's dangerous and irresponsible to keep schools open in Arkansas until we have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our districts. There are people that have been walking around for weeks exposing others now waiting in hospitals to be tested because we don't have enough tests. Their families, friends, collegues have been exposed for weeks and many will become sick very soon. There are others with mild symptoms spreading it to our elderly and immunocompromised. Schools are petri dishes, and they carry this home to their grandparents, siblings with cancer, Dad's with MS, etc. Do the responsible thing and close the schools. Your decision will literally save or end many lives. The people of Arkansas depend on you to make better decisions.
Abolish Sales Taxes for Used Cars in Arkansas
Auto Sales Taxes are collected by the State when a new vehicle is purchased. If the vehicle is sold as Used later, sales taxes (hundreds/thousands of dollars) are collected again by the State of Arkansas. This is double dipping, it hurts the people most likely to buy Used Vehicles (Middle, Worker, & Lower/Underclass citizens), and encourages fraudulent Bills of Sale. The honest pay the taxes while the crooked skip the bill with fraudulent Bills of Sale. The tax credit received for trade-ins pressures individuals to take less money for their vehicles from dealerships, giving the dealership an unfair upper hand in the negotiations. The same applies for the Tax Credit individuals receive from selling their own vehicles. 45 days is not enough time to sell some vehicles, pressuring individuals to accept unfair deals for their vehicles. New Hampshire, Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and Alaska all have no sales taxes for vehicles. Arkansas should follow their example. Used Car Taxes can hinder a struggling citizen (single parent, etc.) from purchasing a good used car, forcing them to buy a $4000.00 or less Junker. Aren’t we taxed enough already? This is a tax leftover from the governance of Bill Clinton. We can get rid of this double tax in our great state. Thank you for reading and I encourage you to forward this to your Arkansas Representative, Senator, and Governor Asa Hutchinson. Thank you and God bless!
Arkansas votes to decrease therapy for special needs children. Let me tell you why not.
So, Arkansas is voting to reduce the amount of therapies for children with special needs? This is absolutely outrageous and disheartening for a so many reasons.When Aidan was first diagnosed with Mosaic Down syndrome at six month of age I was not a nurse - I was a very worried parent who did lots of research attempting to find out what to do to give my child the best chance possible in life. During this research I became upset knowing that he had missed the first part of his life for the opportunity to receive physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Early intervention through these therapies is key in helping kids with special needs in their development.First of all, as parents of a special needs child I feel we have done everything thus far we can to help Aidan reach his maximum potential. Since the age of 18 months we have sent Aidan to an amazing school in Little Rock called Access, that provides him with the help and therapy he needs to assist in development. While you would think that a child diagnosed with Down syndrome would have plenty of opportunity for therapy funding, this is not true. Primary insurance does not pay for therapy services, which means that in addition to a primary insurance we must pay out of pocket for a type of Arkansas Medicaid insurance called TEFRA that does cover therapy services. The combination of both the private special needs school and TEFRA insurance is not an insignificant cost, in fact, I feel terrible for those individuals that have kids with special needs who do not have the luxury to afford a wonderful school like Access. To qualify for therapy services each child must be evaluated biannually to determine (per Medicaid standards) wether or not they "qualify" for these services. Just last year Aidan did not qualify for any physical therapy, even though he continuously scores extremely low on these evaluations. The "qualifications" remain so high, that even if a child is considered on a less than "profoundly delayed" level, therapy services may be reduced or denied. To give you an idea of how instrumental therapy has been for Aidan - I can tell a drastic difference just talking to Aidan in his goals, objectives, and therapy styles from the speech therapist he had a few months ago verses the one he currently has. I could also tell a significant difference in when Aidan received one hour of physical therapy a week verses none.If a child must be profoundly delayed to receive therapy services, how much more can you raise the bar to disqualify children for these necessary services?I cannot imagine why, of all things, Arkansas would choose to cut funding for this incredibly important service, especially when most individuals who are trying to give their children the best chance possible and already have unimaginable struggles ahead of them.
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