Demand An End To The Slaughter Of Sea Lions
I am passionate about marine animal conservation and a member of my middle school’s environmental club. Through the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I learned that since 2011, hundreds of sea lions in the Columbia River at the Bonneville Dam have been branded, captured and killed over the last few years by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their crime? They eat too much salmon. They are sea lions after all, and eating fish is exactly what they are supposed to do! However, only 0.4% - 4.2% of salmon consumption is due to sea lions. The fact is that the real culprit is the commercial fishing industry who are responsible for 16% of the shrinking salmon population -- with no repercussions. Recent studies have shown that killing sea lions has little effect on reducing salmon consumption. Yet the National Marine Fisheries Service have once again reauthorized lethal removal of the sea lions, allowing them kill more sea lions over the next five years. I am calling on Governor Jay Inslee to order the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to ban fishing in the Bonneville Dam, stop the killing these beautiful marine mammals, and to put resources into finding humane methods of managing the population of sea lions and salmon so that both can co-exist.
Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment
This is the year 2016. Isn’t it time women had equal rights in America? Will you join me by signing a petition compelling your lawmakers to vote to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment? “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923 by Alice Paul, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law regardless of sex or gender. Seems self-evident, right? Do you think that women’s equal rights are guaranteed by our constitution? Sadly, they are not. The ERA never passed, leaving women’s rights up for interpretation. This imbalance has been demonstrated time and time again in the highest courts in the land, where women often lose even when clear bias is shown. Women’s rights are seemingly at the mercy of whoever is in office or on a judicial bench at any given time. Here is what one of our most influential Supreme Court justices said on the matter of sex discrimination: "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't." —Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia While we in America may think that women are doing fine, the rest of the world does not. The United Nations has deemed the United States to be a country that does not adequately protect women’s human rights. The Equal Rights Amendment may seem unnecessary to some, but the truth is American women do not have explicit rights under The Constitution. There are dozens of areas where a lack of equal rights negatively affects women and the families they support. Here are just a few: • America is the only nation in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. • 10,000 abused women are turned away from shelters daily, a total of 3.65 million denied requests per year. When looking specifically at the gender pay gap: There is a direct correlation between underpaying mothers and child hunger. It is estimated that half of the 33 million women and children living in poverty in the United States would not be if women were paid their full dollar. Is it any wonder that 1 in 5 children in America go hungry? Seventy-five percent of all African American children are being raised by full time working single mothers who are paid .60 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn .55 cents on the dollar, and white women make .78 cents compared to their white male counterparts. Our transgender sisters are faring even worse. They are four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 and twice as likely to be unemployed. Over the course of her working life, an American woman will lose between $400,000 and two million dollars due to wage discrimination. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide an express constitutional basis to challenge sex-based discrimination. It would also ensure that laws and government actions that treat women differently are reviewed by the courts with the strictest of standards. With the upcoming 2016 election we need to intensify the conversation around women's issues and compel our lawmakers to protect the basic civil and human rights of American women by passing the ERA. It is time that we finally make this happen for ourselves, our daughters, and for the future of our nation. If even Supreme Court justices don’t believe the Constitution protects women from discrimination, let’s pass an amendment that will. Please join me along with Kamala Lopez, the director of the upcoming documentary “Equal Means Equal,” the ERA Coalition, and Noreen Farrell of Equal Rights Advocates, to sign this petition for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment #EqualMeansEqual —Patricia Arquette
Choose Bernie Sanders as the Presidential Nominee
In this moment of historic unrest, when our democracy has slipped into oligarchy and the threat of fascism has emerged, WE THE PEOPLE call on the Democratic National Convention, its pledged delegates and super delegates, to take historic action to save our democracy. We call on you to choose Senator Bernie Sanders as the Democratic Presidential nominee. Yes, we know that Sanders has endorsed Clinton. We, however, cannot vote for her - and neither will millions of other Americans. We call on you to choose Sanders. Our reasons include the following: 1. HISTORIC PRECEDENTS FOR NOMINATING A 2ND-PLACE CANDIDATE. Nominating Conventions exist in order to assess everything that has been learned during the primary season, and which candidate can best win the general election. Two of our greatest Presidents were chosen at conventions after a second-place finish in the primaries: Dwight D. Eisenhower (who had won only 26% of the primary vote) and Abraham Lincoln (who had won 22%). Both were chosen during times of great change and upheaval. Now is such a time. 2. SANDERS MORE LIKELY TO WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION. Senator Sanders is the candidate who can win. Democrats make up only 28% of registered voters. Elections are decided by the Independents, who now outnumber Democrats and Republicans combined. Sanders is wildly popular with Independents, enjoying 70% support plus 44% of Democrats. These 2 numbers add up to a landslide victory in a General Election. This is why, in polls showing 1-to-1 match-ups between Sanders-Trump, Sanders consistently wins by 9-12 points, while Clinton is basically tied with Trump. For example, this latest poll of swing states, Quinnipiac, June 21, 2016: https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/2016-presidential-swing-state-polls/release-detail?ReleaseID=2359 The latest overall national poll of registered voters shows Sanders' favorability rating is 59%, Clinton 42%, Trump 40%. Moreover, Sanders' favorability rating with non-whites is 77%, whereas Clinton's is only 64%, (CNN/ORC poll, June 21, 2016). http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/06/21/rel7b.-.2016.general.pdf Thus it is clear that Sanders' popularity has grown significantly, while Clinton's has declined. Moreover, these polls date from just BEFORE the FBI came out with their highly critical report of Secretary Clinton, showing that she had lied under oath to Congress. 3. CLINTON AS NOMINEE WILL LEAD TO LOW TURNOUT.Since Clinton is viewed unfavorably by the vast majority of eligible voters. Democratic turnout will be extremely low if she is the nominee. This will also damage down-ballot races. 4. SANDERS HAS THE MESSAGE FOR OUR TIME (BREXIT EXAMPLE). Senator Sanders is the candidate who can win because his message has the ring of authenticity and it resonates with our time. The recent BREXIT shows that working families are willing to go to severe measures to express both their frustration with the establishment and their desperate need for a less corporate-dominated society. If Secretary Clinton is the nominee, a similar revolt could take place: a right-wing extremist in the White House. 5. CLINTON CONSIDERED UNTRUSTWORTHY. There is widespread and growing concern among the American people, especially Independents, about Clinton’s questionable ethics and lack of trustworthiness. Since the revelation (via Comey's report and Chavez' questioning) that Clinton lied to Congress under oath about her emails, recent polls show that she is viewed as much less trustworthy than Trump - a notorious liar. 6. SIGNIFICANT NEW INFO HAS CAUSED VOTERS TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS SINCE THE SPRING ELECTIONS.The results of the primary elections are meaningless since voters did not know at the time that the State Department IG and the FBI would both be denouncing the Secretary as they recently have; and that Secretary Clinton lied under oath to Congress (113 classified emails at the time they were sent - not Zero as she said); and that the State Dept would re-open its investigation, as has now happened; and that the House Oversight Committee and Judicial Committee would request a perjury investigation, as has now happened.... To assume that Clinton still has the support of all, or even most, of the people who voted for her in the spring would be naive and dangerous. 7. PERCEPTIONS OF SIGNIFICANT ELECTION IRREGULARITIES FAVORING CLINTON. There is widespread concern and anger against the DNC for a lack of neutrality in its handling of the 2016 primaries. This includes an unprecedented number of superdelegates “pledging” to Clinton before the campaign began; widespread election irregularities, purges, etc.; and significant discrepancies between exit polls and official results, favoring Clinton in virtually every case. A class-action lawsuit against the DNC was filed in Federal court on June 28, alleging illegal manipulation and deceit in the DNC's handling of the primary. Several other lawsuits are pending in other states, including California. The superdelegates now have the opportunity to correct the impression of pre-campaign bias, by using their positions thoughtfully to evaluate all that has transpired and choose the candidate who can best win the confidence and affection of the American people. On July 18, Election Justice USA issued a thorough and scathing report of the fraud during the Democratic primaries. Written by 2 prominent statisticians and an award-winning investigative journalist, it is an extensive documentation of the election fraud in 22 states. With many links, charts and graphs, they conclude: Trump's victory was real, Hillary's was not. "It is hard to conceive of a legitimate transfer of power following an election that has been this flawed. We recommend... these elections be examined and, if found to be inaccurate, decertified. Where paper ballots are available, count them by hand. Where they are not available, it would be more equitable to hold a 2nd vote, one that does not utilize electronic voting equipment. We understand that this is unprecedented." https://drive.google.com/a/apollosfire.org/file/d/0B2gyJMIH8GERVHV3NjhOTVZmaTg/view Video evidence shows that senior Clinton campaign staff instructed interns and younger staff to systematically cheat and break the law. "Whatever you can get away with, just do it," said a Clinton campaign lawyer to her trainees - caught on camera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhI6bMbhsDE 8. SANDERS HAS WISDOM AND AUTHENTICITY. Senators Sanders is the candidate who can win because he is an authentic, experienced, incorruptible, and fearless public servant. He has demonstrated, through speeches on the floor of Congress, that he foresaw in advance the complex worldwide problems we now face, including the dangers of the deregulated banks which led to our financial collapse; the growing income inequality which has now become a crisis; and the consequences of the Iraq war. 9. SANDERS REPRESENTS THE FUTURE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Senator Sanders has brought millions of new voters into the Party, but those people will leave if he is not the nominee. He is the overwhelming preference of voters under the age of 45. This means that by 2024, Sanders’ vision will most likely be the overwhelming philosophy of voters under age 53. The Democratic Party has a choice: to become the party of the new reality, or a relic of the past. We, the undersigned, will not and cannot vote for Secretary Clinton, nor any other candidate put forward by the DNC, other than Bernie Sanders. Millions of us are lifelong Democrats who will leave the Party if Bernie is not the nominee. We will ONLY vote for Bernie, who has our trust, our confidence, and frankly – our love. LOVE TRUMPS HATE.
Justice for Yakima Dog Who Died Chained in Snow & Other Washington Pets Left in the Cold
This is a petition for clearer legislation, closer investigation and swifter prosecution of all animal neglect and abuse in the state of Washington. In the memory of our Yakima Boxer, we want to strengthen laws so that our animals' welfare is not left up to interpretation. Our Yakima Boxer's story shows how an aging and ailing dog can be chained out in freezing temperatures to die, suffering and alone, without any consequences to the humans responsible. The City of Yakima and the state of Washington need revised ordinances and legislation to protect our domesticated animals. "Adequate" is too subjective of a term, as our Yakima Boxer's tragic story illustrates. RIP sweet baby. During the first week of January, 2017 Francisco Rodriguez of Yakima, Washington noticed his landlord's dog wasn't moving on his chain anymore. Reportedly, the dog stayed chained and dead for a few days. The 14-year-old boxer was covered in snow, still chained to his makeshift dog house, dead, when Francisco reported this to Yakima Animal Control. Animal Control determined that the dog died of old age, without a necropsy, end of story. The dog belonged to Francisco's landlord and Francisco was then told he was evicted. The community has come to Francisco's aid and helped him with getting into a new place. Now it is time to come to this nameless dog's aid, and not allow his death to go unnoticed. This poor, aging dog was left out in the cold to die, chained and alone. We need to be this Boxer's and all domesticated animals' voice. Let's prevent this from happening to others. It is time for communities everywhere to be the voice for animals, just as Francisco has been the voice for the Boxer. Ironically, just after Francisco told his story, KIMA came out with this story reporting that Yakima had received 59 welfare checks on freezing and suffering animals in December. Yet, reportedly, there have been no citations. Not even for our Yakima Boxer who suffered untold weeks and finally succumbed in old age in the below freezing weather and record snowfall, suffering both animal abuse and elder cruelty. http://kimatv.com/news/local/up-to-5k-misdemeanor-charge-for-pet-owners-with-neglected-freezing-animals Coincidentally, the same week our Yakima Boxer died, Dr. Ernie Ward, the same veterinarian who demonstrated how dogs suffer in hot cars, happened to upload this video to demonstrate the suffering a dog goes through in freezing temperatures https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK27edLsZow&feature=youtu.be Finally, here is what the American Veterinarian Medical Association (and every other pet welfare group) warns about pets in freezing temperatures: "Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside... no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather." https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx Yakima's ordinances are identical to state law, both vague in their terms, with little in the way of definition or concrete description. The laws to protect precious lives are much too subjective, too open to interpretation. Yakima County Municipal Code 8.36.200: “It is unlawful for any person to physically abuse any dog or to fail to furnish adequate care, including without limitation water, food, shelter, sanitation, ventilation, rest and medical attention, or to confine a dog with any dangerous dog. Any person found guilty of a violation of this section shall be fined five hundred dollars for each violation.” We need clearly defined laws to protect our animal family members in every county of every state so that the laws cannot be loosely interpreted and not enforced. Adequate care must be clearly defined. Every state, county, city ordinance should provide concrete temperature restrictions, both hot and cold, if they truly care for domesticated animals' welfare. These temperature guidelines are available for extreme weather. https://www.gopetplan.com/uploads/media/34/how_cold_is_too_cold.png Some states use the National Weather Service extreme weather alerts for laws for bringing pets inside, others have set a 20 degree and below restriction. http://patch.com/maryland/annapolis/1-000-fine-possible-pet-owners-who-leave-animals-outside Adequate shelter must also be defined. A makeshift box is not adequate shelter. Dog houses should be weather proof as much as possible. They should be off the ground and have at least a heavy flap door. Temperatures should be maintained above the freezing level. According to Maryland law linked above, "A dog house, shed, garage or other large area that has temperatures that reach below 33 degrees’ Fahrenheit inside is too large to allow a dog to maintain adequate body temperature to sustain life will be considered insufficient." Robert Pregulman of Seattle Dog Spot provides an excellent and thorough telling of what Francisco endured and what animal control's response was here. http://www.seattledogspot.com/dog-news/yakima-county-man-kicked-home-reported-landlords-dog-froze-death/ Francisco Rodriguez did what every citizen should do. Report suspected animal abuse. He has bravely stood up to many an attack since posting, including threats of unlawful eviction. Thankfully, he has a community of supporters, from Robert Pregulman and Seattle Dog Spot to the people who run and belong to both Sharing & Caring Lost & Found Pets Yakima County and Yakima Valley Lost and Found Pets on Facebook. Thank you. We all need community members like Francisco and his supporters who all volunteer time for our communities. We need our elected officials to be just as caring. Please listen to our loud voices for our voiceless community members!
Stand with us and support removing the four lower Snake River dams to save the Southern Resident Killer Whales from being dammed to extinction.
The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales support a multimillion dollar tourist economy in Puget Sound. They are perilously close to becoming too small a population to survive and reproduce, primarily due to lack of food. They are slowly starving. There are only 77 Southern Resident orcas remaining today. For more than two years, no calf has survived. In 2014 alone, the Southern Resident population has declined by 5%, with the recent death of J32, Rhapsody, and her calf. At 18 years old, J32 was just coming into her own and was among the most likely females to contribute to the killer whales’ recovery for years to come. With her death, another J Pod matriline, the J10’s, will die out. Rhapsody’s death embodies the plight of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Chinook salmon are the killer whales’ primary food. Chinook salmon runs originating in the Columbia/Snake River watershed are the singular most important food source for the killer whales’ survival. Chinook salmon are endangered species themselves. There are not enough Chinook salmon to sustain even the 77 Southern Residents Killer Whales that are alive today. Each year the Snake River dams kill many millions of Chinook salmon juveniles as they attempt to navigate the dams and migrate down river and out to the ocean. Despite the dams, some Chinook salmon do make it to the ocean and grow to adults. The dams again exact their toll when adult Chinook return to the Columbia/Snake watershed to spawn. The dams finish the killing cycle by impeding the Chinooks return to their spawning grounds. According to hundreds of scientists, removal of the four Lower Snake River dams is the single most effective way to generate the abundant Columbia Basin salmon that Southern Resident Killer Whales need to survive and recover. Judge Redden, the judge who presided over the decades long Columbia/Snake River legal case involving salmon and hydropower, also believes the dams need to come down. Yet as the orcas spiral towards extinction, the federal government refuses to consider dam removal, and instead spends billions of dollars on unreasonable and speculative habitat restoration measures to avoid significant changes to dam operations. It is time for Congress to authorize removal of the four lower Snake River dams. Please join us in calling for Congress to pass legislation to remove these concrete barriers to the orcas’ continued to survival. (Dec. 24, 2015) Since posting this petition we have learned that the President can take executive action to breach the dams. We are now asking the President to do this. In addition to signing this petition, please write, call or email the President and request he use his executive power to breach the dams, and please write, call and email Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Governor Jay Inslee and ask them to support President Obama taking executive action to breach the lower Snake River dams. Contact the decision makers:http://srkwcsi.org/take-action/letters-to-politicians/ Follow us on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/SRKW.CSI
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Tell Sister State, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea, That We’re Opposed to Torture and Consumption of Dogs!
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: Tell Sister State, Jeollabuk-do Province, South Korea, That We’re Opposed to the Torture and Consumption of Dogs and Cats. Jeollabuk-do Province of South Korea became a sister state with Washington in 1996 and New Jersey in 2000. This, despite the fact that Jeollabuk-do, South Korea is responsible for a horrendous dog and cat meat trade. In South Korea, home to global companies such as Hyundai, Kia, Samsung, LG, Daewoo, SK, and POSCO, an estimated 2.5 million dogs are tortured and slaughtered every year because of the greed of dog eaters and the dog meat industry, and the profound indifference of the majority of South Koreans who does nothing to stop this. One of the provinces that supports the illegal mass breeding and brutal slaughter of dogs for human consumption is Jeollabuk-do. Have you ever wondered what Hell is like? Click HERE(https://youtu.be/19dcBonIdIA) to watch undercover videos from a dog slaughterhouse in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do. There are no words to describe the daily horror of this “Hell On Earth.” And there are so many dog slaughterhouses, farms and meat markets like these all around Jeollabuk-do. Countless dog farms and slaughterhouses are scattered throughout Jeollabuk-do and they truly are hell on earth for the defenseless dogs suffering there. Man’s best friend exists for their entire lives in squalid, feces encrusted raised wire cages in utter misery only to be slaughtered in the most horrific of ways – by electrocution, a hammer blow to the neck, being hung or beaten, bleeding to death from a slashed throat, being burned to death from a blowtorch, or thrown into a vat of boiling water while still alive. Jeonju, Gunsan, Iksan, Jeongeop, Namwon, Gimjae, Wanju, Jinan, Muju, Jangsu, Imsil, Soonchang, Gochang, Buan; and on goes the list of cities in Jeollabuk-do where these terrible atrocities are perpetrated. There are laws in South Korea against selling dogs and cats for consumption yet these laws are blatantly ignored. Please watch this undercover video by animal rights activists in South Korea: http://youtu.be/3uR8R8Mu70Q Please inform Jeollabuk-do Province Governor Ha-Jin Song that citizens of Washington and New Jersey and their friends insist that they issue an official document mandating that the following existing laws be enforced: Livestock Product Sanitary Control Act, Article 2, Item 1 which governs the raising, slaughter and disposal of livestock and the processing, distribution and inspection of livestock products, does not categorize dogs as livestock that can be processed as food. Therefore this makes the dog meat industry technically illegal. Food Sanitation Act, Article 7, Clause 1, Korean Food Standards Codex specified by the Food and Drug Administration, does not include dogs in the list of raw materials that can be processed and cooked as food, therefore making raising and slaughtering dogs for consumption illegal. Animal Protection Act: ARTICLE 3. BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR PROTECTION OF ANIMALS Each person shall endeavor to observe the following principles in raising, caring for, or protecting an animal: 1. Each person shall ensure that an animal maintains its natural behavior and original physical shape to live an ordinary life; 2. Each person shall ensure that an animal does not suffer from thirst, hunger, or malnutrition; Each person shall ensure that an animal is free to express normal behavior without experiencing discomfort; 4. Each person shall ensure that an animal is free from pain, injury, and disease; 5. Each person shall ensure that an animal is free from fear and distress. ARTICLE 8. PROHIBITION OF ANIMAL ABUSE ① No one shall commit the following acts toward animals: 1. Act of killing by brutal methods, such as hanging 2. Act of Killing in public or in another animal’s presence ③ No one shall commit the following acts toward abandoned or abused animals: 1. Act of capture and sell or kill. 2. Act of trade or purchase knowing that the animals are abandoned or abused. ARTICLE 9. ANIMAL TRANSPORTATION ① Anyone transporting an animal that has been selected by decree from the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries must make an effort to abide by the following: 1. Ensure that the animals are properly fed, watered and drive carefully so that animals are not shocked or harmed from sudden departures or stops. 2. The vehicle used for transportation must be built to prevent any harm during transportation and to minimize any pain due to poor ventilation or sudden changes in temperature, etc. 4. Avoid any possible injuries while moving an animal and minimize any pain or discomfort, such as sudden changes in body temperature or difficulty in breathing. ARTICLE 46. PUNISHMENT ① Anyone who violates Article 8, Clause 1 through 3 shall be punished with up to one year in prison or a maximum fine of 10 million Korean won ($7,000 USD). Ministry of Environment's Conservation of Water Quality and Ecosystem Act, Article 15 Clause 1 Item 2 and Article 78 Item 3, the act of discharging excrement, livestock waste water, animal carcass, waste materials or sludge into public water is punishable by up to one year in prison or a maximum fine of 10 million Korean won ($7,000 USD). Livestock Safety Management Act, slaughterhouses are only authorized to slaughter animals they are registered to handle. No slaughterhouse is registered to slaughter dogs because dogs are not subject to slaughter under this law. We believe these demands are in line with the goal of sister states to establish friendly communications in the areas of tourism, commerce, cultural exchange and public health. International and Korean media coverage of the brutal dog and cat meat trade in South Korea has stained Jeollabuk-do Province, South Korea’s image and severely tarnished your state’s sister state relationship. The time to end this tragedy is now. The favor of your reply is requested. Thank you for taking swift action! PS: Click here to find more ways to contact Governor Jay Inslee and Governor Chris Christie. http://koreandogs.org/contact-governor-of-jeollabuk-do-sister-state/ It's very quick and simple. For more info: http://koreandogs.org/ Short link for this petition: https://goo.gl/KbgYvl
RESTRICT FELONS FROM CHILDCARE EMPLOYMENT OR GIVE PARENTS FULL BACKGROUND CHECK RESULTS!
This paragraph was added on September 2nd, 2016 in order to clarify the intent of this petition. Everything below this paragraph remains unchanged: Background check results on any childcare provider's criminal record OR parents considering childcare should receive COMPLETE background check results of any childcare workers, just like any other employer can, so every parent is able to make a fully informed decision regarding the life of their child(ren), Additionally, NO CHILDCARE PROVIDERS should be allowed to use any name or nicknames aside from their legal name without full disclosure to the parents of the person's full legal name and a prominently placed notification if a person IS using a nickname or alias. That information should also be included in any "welcome folders given to parents so that there are two ways a parent would be able to easily access. Here's why: My beautiful two and a half year old little boy, David Roberts, died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington on January 20, 2013. David held on to life for two days after suffering from catastrophic abusive head trauma that was inflicted while he was in the care of his two state and military licensed childcare providers (a husband and wife). We had unknowingly placed David in the hands of a person who had been convicted of felony residential burglary and other crimes, and who also had a DOCUMENTED anger management and alcohol problem, and David DIED from the injuries he suffered at that childcare during the time that the person in question was working. The state and military told me and my husband that the providers had cleared the background checks, when in fact the state and military KNEW that particular provider had a criminal record which included felony residential burglary, at least one malicious mischief charge, and a DOCUMENTED anger management and alcohol problem...and still chose to license him even though he wouldn't even be allowed to chaperone at any of the schools his children attend. The state and military also knew and allowed this same person to not disclose his legal name. DESPITE KNOWING THESE FACTS, THE STATE AND MILITARY willingly withheld that information, with fatal consequences: my son lost his life. My husband and and I had NO IDEA that he had a felony criminal record and was not using his legal name and would NEVER have put David in their care if we knew that information. The state MUST CHANGE the "Director's List" (WAC 170.06.0120) and PREVENT FELONS from having access to the child(ren) of other people and parents considering childcare should receive ALL background check results of any childcare workers just like any employer can. The state also must prevent ANYONE from using any name or nicknames aside from their legal name while working in childcare, and a law or laws should be enacted and be named "David's Law", On January 18, 2013 my two and a half year old, autistic, son David, became a victim of catastrophic abusive head trauma at the hands of his daycare providers. He died two days later from the injuries. He was attending a Navy Child Development Home in Oak Harbor, WA. We were told that the providers had cleared their background checks. My husband and I both expected "cleared their background checks" to mean that there was nothing on their criminal record, not that there could be any number of 35 crimes, including felonies, on their record, and that the information about those convictions is not required to be given to the parents. We didn't find out until months later that the husband who ran the daycare with his wife was a convicted felon. He had been convicted of residential burglary while he was extremely intoxicated and had at least one malicious mischief charge and a documented anger management problem. We were told both providers had undergone background checks and had cleared them. The two providers sold everything within five months and in the middle of the CPS and homicide investigation they fled to Maine, where the woman has even attempted to provide childcare still. Here are two links from KOMO4 Seattle which cover what happened to my son as well as the loophole itself: http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/Day-Care-Felons-281805991.html http://www.komonews.com/news/problemsolvers/Family-wants-changes-to-state-law-after-son-died-from-injury-at-daycare-284046971.html Apparently, in the State of Washington, you can have any of the 35 crimes and felonies under the Washington Director's List of Allowable Offenses on your record and not only can you have unsupervised access to children, but your criminal record is not disclosed to the parents seeking care for their child. Instead, the parents are told the providers have passed/cleared background checks. Convicted felons shouldn't even be allowed to have unsupervised access to other peoples' children in the first place, let alone run a daycare. Parents have the RIGHT to know everything about a potential provider so that they can make their own fully informed decision on whether or not they trust a provider in spite of their criminal record. The list of allowable offenses is here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=170-06-0120 Had we been told about the provider's criminal record we would have never left our children in their care and he would still be alive today. These laws need to change. There needs to be a law, called "David's Law" that prevents anyone with a felony record from having unsupervised access to other peoples' children in daycare settings, and discloses the results of background checks of the daycare providers to the parents, so that those parents can have the entire story about the providers they are considering letting supervise their children. On page 2 of this document you'll see the statement: "The reality is that parents cannot conduct effective background checks on child care providers on their own. Even the most motivated, well-financed parent search would still be limited to commercial databases, which the Department of Justice has said are incomplete." http://www.naccrra.org/sites/default/files/default_site_pages/2012/background_checks_white_paper_final_july_6.pdf The Government KNOWS that parents cannot conduct adequate background checks, but they don't disclose the results of the full background checks that THEY have access to. That forces parents to rely on the state and government to assure them and protect their children to the highest extent possible. Withholding information about felony (and other) convictions is immoral and reprehensible. Parents have a primal NEED to protect their children, and yet we are limited in the information that we can obtain, information that interferes with the ability of parents to make the BEST, potentially life altering, decision that they can for their families with incomplete facts. That is NOT right. There are some parents in the world who don't mind if a child care center or child care home provider has a criminal record. There are many more who would absolutely prefer that no criminals be allowed access to their children. Parents have the right to know all the information about the person or people who may be taking care of their child(ren). There is absolutely no reason that a provider's criminal background should be kept secret from parents of any child(ren) that may end up in the care of the provider(s).
Update: Shut Down Olympic Animal Sanctuary
Thanks to all who signed the petition and who stood up and acted as the voice for these animals. I'm so happy that they are all in a safe and happy place now.
WA Super Delegates: support Bernie Sanders!
WA state has held its first 2016 Democratic Caucus event and the voters have spoken loud and clear that they support Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent - Vermont) as their 2016 democratic presidential nominee. Despite the caucus delegates supporting Senator Sanders by a margin of approximately 3:1 over Hillary Clinton, the super-delegates of the state have already committed to support former Secretary-of-State Clinton. To the representatives of the great state of Washington: short of demanding, we respectfully request and urge you to reconsider your respective positions supporting Hillary Clinton and, proportionate to your constituents, lend your votes to Bernie Sanders. We, the voters, have voted you in to office to represent us, the people. As such, it is your civic duty to represent your constituents according to how we have cast our votes, and we support Senator Sanders!
Urge WA State Lawmakers to Fix a MISTAKE Forcing Taxation of Martial Arts Instruction!
<New Developments and Updated For 2017> If you think martial arts deserves to be returned to equal status with every other similar business, as an educational service, in WA State read and sign our petition. Due to an ADMITTED "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE" in legislation made in 2015 all martial arts schools were required to charge students sales tax up to 10.1% in 2017 and beyond. This has hurt these small businesses and is hindering access for children and adults alike. This affected ONLY martial arts studios and not other fine arts or instructional based businesses. Even though this law is unjust and a mistake lawmakers may not want to give this revenue back without your urging. Learn more below. Learning a martial art is about much more than exercising or playing a game. Instruction in the martial arts has traditionally been ESTEEMED in the community for the unparalleled benefits participants receive when learning these important self defense and cultural art forms. It is understood that martial art is as much mental and spiritual as it is physical. Martial arts have been one of the most important and effective bridges between cultures bringing people together. Our schools are the go-to resource for parents with children struggling with confidence issues or bullies and to instill respect, discipline, focus and determination. DETAILS OF THE ISSUE AND 2017 UPDATES FOLLOW In addition HB1550 was proposed and passed without notification or chance for opposing viewpoint by a single member of the martial arts business community. We had no lobbyist or representation. In Olympia we were told, 'if you're not at the table you're on the menu.' Our research showed that martial arts was specifically targeted by Department of Revenue yet most lawmakers were unaware due to incomplete and inaccurate bill summaries and analysis. In opposition to common sense, what our business licenses state and decades of research this law redefined any facility teaching martial arts as an 'athletic or fitness facility' or health club. The law stipulates that ALL business done inside the walls of an 'athletic or fitness facility' is subject to retail sales tax up to 9.9% in our state. A 9.9% tax on all facets of the educational process (tuition, private lesson, guest instructors, testing, special events) makes truly educating extremely difficult if not impossible to accomplish. We also find troubling the institutionalized cultural discrimination inherent in the exclusion and protection of businesses that primarily teach yoga, tai chi and chi gong. Why are two cultural practices from China, and one traditionally associated with India, protected and esteemed of higher value than the cultural arts of the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Brazil or France for example? Spiritual or meditative aspects exist in hundreds of other methods from around the world. HB1550 was about 'simplifying the taxation of amusement, recreation, and physical fitness services." Martial arts and self defense are not about any of these things and the industries covered under this description are a completely different set of pursuits. Martial art should have been the ONE activity NOT to be treated as 'amusement', 'recreation' or a game. When school owners were notified 10 months later, and less than 2 1/2 months before this sweeping change was mandated, they began to mobilize and join together as a community. The result of their grassroots efforts was a bill introduced in the House, HB2334, to fix the issue that passed with bi-partisan support UNANIMOUSLY. A great first victory and first step! On to the Senate where, despite overwhelming support, the bill was not even allowed a vote by leadership in 2016 due to purely partisan politics. And we've all suffered because of it. Because of this UNFAIR and MISTAKEN law every single participant easily pays an additional $100-$200.00 PER YEAR in TAX alone. Imagine the financial damage done to FAMILIES with multiple children enrolled… Damage has been done to dozens of martial arts businesses due to loss of members and a slowdown in new participants… A very small group of dedicated martial arts leaders continued to work on the issue through the summer and fall of 2016 and continued to financially support and raise funds to keep our lobbyists working in Olympia. GOOD NEWS AND 2017 UPDATE Good news! RIGHT NOW new legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives AND the Senate to fix this. There is overwhelming bi-partisan support and dozens of sponsors! We have Rep. Cindy Ryu (D) in the House and Sen. Judy Warnick (R) in the Senate to thank for being leaders and prime-sponsors. We need your help to demand a vote. It's hopeful! Read this background written by Rep. Cindy Ryu who voted for the legislation that CAUSED this problem AND has sponsored the bills in 2016 and 2017 to FIX IT: “In 2015, HB 1550 (Carlyle) passed with overwhelming support of the Legislature. The goals were to clarify and fine tune a section of the state tax code by providing an easy to follow list of things that qualify as physical fitness that are subject to sales tax. The rest of the items are classified as service and are not subject to sales tax. The bill did not provide an exemption; we simply tried to clarify what is and is not subject to sales tax. The unintended consequence was that martial arts lessons became subject to sales tax beginning in January, 2016 – which was never the intention of some of us who voted for HB 1550. Taxing martial arts lessons outside of fitness club settings were never brought up in the 2015 Finance Committee hearing nor during the House Floor debate. So this bill is trying to put the Martial Arts excise tax status back where they have always been for decades – a service and not subject to sales tax.” This excerpt is from the new legislation HB 1032 waiting to be passed. “The legislature finds that the sales tax treatment of martial arts training and instruction changed as an unintended consequence of the passage of HB 1550 during the 2015 legislative session. The legislature further finds that under the current sales tax structure, martial arts training and instruction that take place outside of a fitness facility are treated differently from similar activities. It is the intent of the legislature to redefine martial arts training and instruction that take place outside of a fitness facility in order to return these activities to their previous tax treatment.” Unfortunately we've seen our first setback already in 2017 when the bill seems to have stalled out in the House Finance Committee. We are concerned. Lawmakers have a tough battle with the state budget ahead. We worry now that they've got it they won't want to 'give the revenue back' or are holding our bill hostage to ransom for something else later in the session. If you are a resident of Washington State by signing this petition you will be asking key Representatives and Senators for support on this issue and ask them to get both bills out of committee and pass either HB 1032 or SB 5220 as soon as possible. Together We Can Fix This Mistake. Thanks for Your Support, Washington State Martial Art School Owners