Pass the CARERS Act and protect medical marijuana patients
My six-year-old daughter Morgan suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes frequent and dangerous seizures. We’ve tried everything to help her. She’s taken more than 10 different anti-epilepsy medications but at best, she's gone only four weeks without a seizure. Based on our own research, advice from our doctors, and what we’ve heard from families living in other states, we would like Morgan to try cannabidiol oil -- a form of medical marijuana. For children with similar illnesses in other parts of the country, the results using medical marijuana have been life changing. Medical marijuana comes in many different preparations, and is prescribed accordingly to treat specific conditions. The treatment Morgan needs would not make her "high", and she wouldn't smoke it. It would come in a bottle just like her other medications, but with fewer side effects. The medications that Morgan has tried have devastating side effects. They gave her kidney stones, ulcerative colitis, and compromise her respiratory system. She should be able to try this much safer option. But medical marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. It’s currently a Schedule 1 drug, which means the federal government considers it just as dangerous as heroin and says there is no medicinal value. This means our family would have to move to a different state to get it, or obtain it illegally and risk arrest. I have decided that neither of those choices are good enough for my family. That’s why I’m supporting the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act -- a bipartisan bill that will let states legalize medical marijuana without federal interference. It will also expand research into the health benefits of marijuana and allow Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend marijuana to ailing veterans. The CARERS Act would remove also CBD from scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act, affirming to the world that marijuana does have medical benefits. This bill will change the lives of so many sick and suffering people, like my daughter, around the country. Please sign my petition asking Congress to pass the CARERS Act.
Tell the Trump Administration: Don't spend taxpayer money on a military parade!
On February 6, the Washington Post broke the story that Donald Trump has been pressuring military leaders to organize a military parade in Washington, D.C. There are three reasons why this is a serious mistake. 1) The Cost To put on a military parade of the magnitude Trump purports to want would cost the taxpayers millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars in training, maintenance, and transport dollars alone, not to mention the extra fuel required for driving tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue and flying fighter jets over Washington. How does this expense make sense when the government can barely fund itself? How does this expense make sense when there are around 40,000 veterans sleeping on the streets each night? 2) The Logistics Washington streets and bridges cannot support the weight of seventy-ton tanks. Such a parade would do serious damage to D.C.'s already strained infrastructure. Moreover, organizing and orchestrating a parade would snarl D.C. traffic for days, not only day-of, but also in the days prior as manpower and materiel were put into place. This would profoundly affect the lives of D.C. residents, many of whom are trying to get to work to help provide services for veterans in need. 3) The Readiness Implication Every tank and plane used in this parade is a tank and plane a soldier or airman is not using for training purposes. The lost training days damage our military readiness, and the excessive hours added onto the equipment on parade are an unnecessary use of precious resources. America doesn't need to prove its military strength as if it were ruled by a tinpot dictator. But more importantly, neither the Democratic nor the Republican party should support such an egregious waste of tax dollars and manpower. This is not a partisan issue. This is an American issue.
Remove sub-Asian boxes on Census Form 2020! Stop racist anti-Asian anti-immigrant legacy!
Dear fellow Americans for justice, brothers and sisters against racism, The glaringly racist legacy of sub-Asian boxes on the Census form was started in 1870, after the Burlingame Treaty of 1868, which eventually led to the infamous, racist, and inhumane Chinese Exclusion Act spanning from 1882 to 1943, which among other terrible abominations, banned U.S. residents of Chinese descent from having children or getting married; their family members in Asia were forbidden from entry to U.S. and reuniting as families. The Census form has no "Asian/Asian American" category. In its place are a group of boxes signifying foreign nationalities in Asia as if Asian Americans were all “perpetual foreigners.” It intrusively identified and collected data on which U.S. residents were of Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese...descent. While the Chinese Exclusion Act ended in 1943, did these racist, humiliating, dehumanizing sub-Asian boxes get removed from the Census form? No, they were kept on the Census form by the U.S. government even until today, and if we don't fight back and boycott the Census form with sub-Asian boxes, it will stay on the 2020 Census form and beyond, prolonging a racist American legacy, a shame to all Americans. This legacy treats Americans of Asian descent as perpetual foreigners, and collects intrusive personal ancestral origin data used in many kinds of racial discrimination and persecution. In one example, the U.S. government used information from the Census Bureau to identify native born Americans of Japanese descent and sent them to Internment Camps during the World War II. There were also discriminatory laws against Americans of various Asian descent, such as Filipino. Such horrendous trampling of humanity will happen again unless you and I act now to boycott a 2020 Census form with sub-Asian boxes. We demand these sub-Asian boxes be removed and replaced with one description--"Asian/Asian American." Injustice to one human being is injustice to all human kind. If we don't stop this racist and anti-immigrant legacy, its “logic” and mentality will be repeated in current and future policy-making. Let's keep fighting against racism and improve the human condition step by step. Please join the good fight to make this historically significant change happen for now and forever, by signing this petition and sharing it on social media and by email, word of mouth. Power to the people! Fighting on, Americans against racism and anti-Asian anti-immigrant legacy
Congress: Hold the Hearing and Address Racial Profiling
As a black man in a rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood, I knew the officers were there for me. Earlier this year I moved back to New York after years working for the Obama administration in D.C. I hired a U-Haul, and was carrying boxes up the five flights of stairs when I saw a police car pull up to my building. My stomach dropped. I spent the next hour under “investigation” by seven different officers because one of my new neighbors had called the police on me, thinking I was stealing. What’s worse is that my story is typical: in the past few months we’ve heard too many stories of people calling the police on black people for engaging in everyday, normal activities like sitting in a Starbucks, barbequing in a park, even for sleeping in a university common room. The domino effect that ensues from a racially-biased 911 call is a costly one, from the financial resources from 911 operators to the protocol police officers must then follow. These incidents are part of a history of racism and profiling in this country where 911 and the police are used as weapons to exclude black people from white spaces. And the consequences amount to more than just exclusion: far too many black people have died at the hands of police officers, from Tamir Rice, to Eric Garner, to Rekia Boyd. This excessive response to everyday behavior risks arrest, incarceration, and death; generations of black lives pay the ultimate cost. Calling 911 to report normal, legal behavior is not only a waste of public resources – it’s dangerous. It’s time we did something about racial profiling. We are asking Congress to hold hearings and legislatively address racial profiling, including this pattern of racist 911 calls. These hearings will allow victims of racial profiling to share our stories, and empower legislators to think through solutions to the problem. There’s precedent for this: the House and Senate have both held hearings on racial profiling before. We’re asking them to do it again. Sign the petition to demand that Congress #HoldTheHearing and address racial profiling. Earlier this summer, I and other victims of racial profiling submitted a letter to Congress requesting a hearing. After signing the petition, you can click here to read our letter.
Iowan representatives to vote YES on gun control
In the light of America's School shooting epidemic, high school students like us are extremely shocked and angry. We want to keep our schools friendly, safe, and welcoming, but with all of these school shootings happening, our sense of safety has been compromised, and fear has clouded our curiosity and will to learn. There have been a shocking 18 school shootings in the U.S. this YEAR. There have been 143 school shootings in America since Sandy Hook in 2012. Something has got to change. This is not just a "gun problem", this is a national security problem, one that concerns the youngest demographic and their education rights.This an issue that children and teenagers are going through. There needs to be action. We cannot stand this immense threat to our education. Reform needs to happen, we cannot keep losing young lives to the point where we become desensitized to it, and it becomes "normal." This is our future, and if the government will not fix it, we must. We need to get past our politics and beliefs and find a way to protect our future generation. We can be the change. Join us in supporting common-sense gun control so that we can save lives!
Safety of Public and Law Enforcement Threatened by Budget Cuts and Privatization
This week the Bureau of Prisons has started to eliminate roughly 14% (or 6,000) law enforcement positions throughout the Agency. This is catastrophic for the safety and security of our institutions and the community. The proposed cuts are coming at a time of severe understaffing in most of our federal prisons, because the BOP has left thousands of authorized correctional workers’ positions vacant all year. In 2005 the BOP instituted an initiative known as “Mission Critical” in which staffing at the BOP institutions was reduced to the minimal amount necessary to safely operate each facility. Since then we have continued to operate under this “bare bones” approach, which was less staff than what we really needed – the administration did not take into account leave usage, injuries, military service, emergency situations etc. when calculating these numbers. Since then, they have relied upon initiatives such as augmentation at various times (The term augmentation refers to the practice of using teachers, secretaries, nurses, etc. to cover the vacant correctional officer positions as opposed to hiring the law enforcement officers needed). They only left enough personnel in the prisons to cover essential operations, so whenever something happens outside of that, like inmate medical trips or staff using sick leave when they are ill or injured, the Agency is then forced to pay overtime to law enforcement officers to cover it. Their miscalculation in staffing led to massive amounts of overtime due to the sheer amount of disturbances and medical care in the institution, coupled with the injuries and stress borne by the staff. This leaves fewer staff able to respond to emergencies in the prison, and fewer to prevent violence and assaults. It also results in one law enforcement correctional worker supervising hundreds of dangerous felons - terrorists, gangs, and murderers – with no backup. This administration is setting the agency up for failure. As violence and recidivism rises, and our staff struggle to meet ACA accreditation requirements, the line staff will be blamed for these failures, and the administration will point to this as an excuse to contract out our law enforcement role to the private prison industry. The highly trained staff that work for this agency (30% of which are military veterans) have already proven that we provide the essential, inherently governmental function in a much more responsible and cost-effective manner than the private industry. The historical data and evidence backs this up without question. If we allow the administration to sabotage our operations with the dangerous staffing changes and policies, I’m confident that they will use the results against us, and I’m sure the shareholders in the private prison industry will profit from it. The number of staff assaults and inmate assaults continue to rise in the Bureau of Prisons, and it appears the agency is turning a blind eye to the safety of the community that we are sworn to protect from the nation's most violent offenders These poorly implemented tactics have led to the increased escape attempts and assaults within the BOP, for both inmates and our law enforcement personnel. Agency leaders have stated that assaults and escapes are the chances we take in this line of work. Its disheartening to know that they are willing to take chances with the safety of the community as well as the safety of the law enforcement that work behind the fences. We are asking that our elected officials properly fund our prisons, stop the reductions of safe staffing, and support our law enforcement officers. A vote for BOP cutbacks is a vote for unsafe prisons, unsafe communities and a vote against law enforcement. Call 202-224-3121 or 844-669-5146 and tell our law makers not to cut back on safety
Say Yes To Disability Rights
On February 15th, the House of Representatives passed HR620, the so-called Americans with Disabilities Education and Reform Act. Instead of stopping the few frivolous lawsuits that occur, the bill will roll back nearly thirty years of civil rights legislation for people with disabilities in the United States. By passing this bill, You will undo the foundation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a piece of landmark legislation passed in 1990 that gives disabled people a chance at equal access to employment, education, and society in general. By voting yes, you will Force disabled people to endure a lengthy process that involves filing complaints with businesses when they face accessibility barriers. These businesses, some of which have violated the law for almost 30 years, will have up to six months to resolve accessibility issues, and even longer, if the businesses can demonstrate “substantial progress” toward resolution.No other civil rights law has ever put the burden on those it protects to start and maintain the enforcement process. HR620 places cost-cutting for business owners ahead of the human rights of people with disabilities. Imagine having to wait over six months to use the restroom, locate merchandise, or check out confidentially and independently when building codes and other provisions for your civil rights have existed for almost 3 decades. Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona will soon introduce the bill to the rest of you in the United States Senate.Please, Senators, we urge you to vote against this unacceptable and unfair legislation. Do not weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. Do not weaken current and future civil rights legislation for everyone by placing the responsibility for enforcement on those who need protection.Thank you for your attention.
Congress: Americans are Innocent Until Proven Guilty. Pass Civil Forfeiture Reform Now!
For over 35 years, I’ve run a dairy farm in rural Maryland. Through hard work, my wife and I built up a modest nest egg. But five years ago, the IRS seized our entire bank account—more than $60,000. In February 2012, two government agents came to my farm and told me they seized the account simply because my wife and I deposited cash in the bank in amounts under $10,000. I’m not a criminal, just a small-business owner who handles a lot of cash. We mainly sell milk at farmer’s markets, where customers usually pay in cash. My wife and I were never charged with a crime. But that didn’t stop the government from confiscating our hard-earned money. Thanks to “civil forfeiture,” the government can seize private property even if the owner hasn’t been convicted or charged with a crime. After years of fighting and with help from the Institute for Justice, I won back every single penny the IRS wrongfully took. But the civil forfeiture laws are still on the books and continue to harm thousands of ordinary Americans. In fact, just this week the Department of Justice announced that it was increasing the use of civil forfeiture to take property from Americans without convicting them of a crime.This needs to end, for good. Twenty civil rights organizations including the Institute for Justice, ACLU, and many others, have already called on Congress to pass reform, and now I'm hoping that you will join them. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass three bills—the RESPECT Act, the DUE PROCESS, and the FAIR Act—and stop the feds from taking other Americans' hard earned money.
#SAVEH2B: Save Small & Seasonal Businesses!
PLEASE ASK CONGRESS TO #SAVEH2B AND SUPPORT IMMEDIATE CAP RELIEF! American Small and Seasonal businesses are currently approaching their busiest season of the year and they will not be receiving their seasonal guest workers. Without these legal, temporary employees American businesses and workers are in jeaprody. The H-2B Visa nonimmigrant program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis. H-2B workers are not considered immigrants. In order to qualify for an H-2B Visa, an employer must prove that there are not sufficient U.S. Workers who are capable of performing temporary services or labor. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS TAKE JOBS AWAY FROM AMERICANS.FACT: American workers are guaranteed first chance at every job later filled by an H-2B temporary laborer. By law, every open position must be properly advertised in the community and requires employers to hire any able and willing American workers to fill open positions. The fact is that H-2B temporary workers actually support American jobs and the U.S. economy. The H-2B program provides an opportunity for seasonal businesses to operate at a greater capacity, thereby retaining their full-time American workers and contributing more to their local economies. Additionally, temporary foreign seasonal workers help support many upstream and downstream jobs. According to the American Enterprise Institute study on Immigration and American Jobs, every H-2B worker creates or sustains 4.64 American jobs on average. MYTH: EMPLOYERS DON’T EVEN TRY TO HIRE AMERICAN WORKERS TO FILL THESE TEMPORARY HARD LABOR JOBS.FACT: Employers work extremely hard to hire American workers because 1) it is dramatically cheaper to do so, and 2) the law requires that employers demonstrate that every effort has been made to hire Americans before they can start the process of trying to hire a temporary foreign laborer. Again, the fact is that the vast majority of American workers are not interested in temporary seasonal manual labor jobs. Geography is a big obstacle for many employers; for example, many resort communities don’t have a sufficient local labor pool. And, in many cases, these types of seasonal jobs may not be appropriate for high school students due to the hours or labor laws that prohibit the use of heavy machinery by minors. MYTH: PAYING HIGHER WAGES WILL ENTICE AMERICAN WORKERS AND SOLVE THE SEASONAL TEMPORARY LABOR SHORTAGE.FACT: Hourly pay for these types of jobs have gone up significantly over the last few years because employers who use the H-2B program are required to pay their H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premiumwage dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. These temporary manual labor jobs often pay considerably more than the minimum wage, but American workers still won’t take the positions. Sadly, in many cases, employers who obey the law and use the H-2B program are often competing against businesses that choose to illegally hire undocumented immigrants and pay those workers considerably less. If wages were raised even higher, seasonal employers who use the program would not be able to sustain their businesses or their American workers. MYTH: THE H-2B PROGRAM REPRESSES WAGES FOR AMERICAN WORKERS BY PROVIDING A CHEAPER LABOR SOURCE.FACT: Hiring H-2B workers is a much move expensive and risky option. In addition to the fact employers are required to pay H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premium wage that is often well above the federal minimum wage, complying with the H-2B program is extremely costly, complicated and wrought with uncertainty due to an overly restrictive cap and a constantly changing regulatory environment. Employers turn to the H-2B program as a last resort, after extensive efforts to recruit American workers. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS OVERSTAY THEIR VISAS AND EXACERBATE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA.FACT: According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visa overstay in the H-2B program are rare. Workers who do overstay their visas are barred from using the program ever again. The fact is that the vast majority of H-2B workers and their employers are meticulous about compliance. Not following the strict program rules means the end of a well-paying seasonal jobs that allows these workers to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries – a risk these workers are not willing to take since they generally return to the same employer year after year. Additionally, when approving H-2B visas, the U.S. Consulate confirms workers’ ties to their home countries. Further, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires employers to promptly report any H-2B workers who do not report for work or who complete their work earlier in the season than anticipated. MYTH: THE H-2B RETURNING WORKER EXEMPTION IS UNNECESSARY.FACT: The H-2B program’s annual 66,000 cap (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) is not adequate to meet the demands of a growing economy. The cap for the first half of the fiscal 2017 was reached on January 10. The second-half cap was reached on March 13, leaving many seasonal employers shut out of the program with no access to legal seasonal laborers. Without the returning worker exemption passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the President, many companies will have to close their businesses, lay off American workers or turn away customers.This provision is essential to the survival of small and seasonal businesses across the country and should be made permanent. An H-2B returning worker exemption is a narrow solution to a seasonal workforce shortage that focuses on workers who are valuable to their seasonal employers and who have never violated the terms of their past visas or other U.S. laws. These workers do not pose a security risk and they are not taking away jobs from Americans. For more information please visit: https://www.SaveH2b.orghttps://www.h2bworkforcecoalition.com https://youtu.be/UTYVEirlu3o To contribute further, please contact your Congressmen/women and tweet using the hashtag: #SAVEH2B
Iowans against DeVos
Betsy DeVos is not qualified to be the Secretary of Education in our country. With no public school experience, lack of knowledge regarding federal laws protecting students, the inability to intelligently converse regarding highly debated educational practices (proficiency vs. growth), and thoughtless comments regarding guns and schools, she is simply unfit to be the leader in education for future generations. We are Iowans against this appointment. Do the right thing. Forgo party loyalty and do not be swayed by campaign contributions made by Ms. DeVos and her family. Listen to your constituents and do what's right for kids in Iowa and all over this nation. Experience matters (you said so yourself Senator Grassley) and Ms. DeVos does not have what's needed to lead the educational system of our country. Will you lead with courage and integrity and vote no or continue to blindly follow and disappoint the people of our great state?