Congressman Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Keith Ellison represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ban Child Sex Dolls
Right now, teachers, coaches, babysitters, and neighbors, in every town in America, can purchase lifelike, anatomically correct dolls designed to simulate sex with a child. And it’s perfectly legal. These sick dolls are being imported into the United States and other countries. British police have seized more than 100 already in the UK, and authorities have found that the people buying them usually have child pornography too. Sign this petition to ban the sale and distribution of child sex dolls! These child sex dolls can normalize a pedophile’s behaviors, emboldening them to harm children, as is often the case with those who view child pornography. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children are sexually abused. One child is too many. Our elected officials need to protect children. That’s why Congressman Dan Donovan from New York is introducing legislation that will ban the distribution and sale of dolls that encourage child abuse. Show your support for this legislation by signing this petition, and help protect America’s children!
Bill Summary This bill will require the creation and installment of a new student reporting system that will be accessed by all agencies that deal with children, create an educational seminar on child abuse incorporated into their early education curriculum and up through high school, add additional changes to the way Child Protective Services operates, and restrict records for deceased children from being redacted Background We have heard many stories of child abuse and neglect as a nationwide, systemic problem, citing case overloads as part of a bigger issue. According to the 26th Child Maltreatment Report created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1575 child fatalities reported in 2011; 1619 child fatalities reported in 2012; 1551 child fatalities reported in 2013; 1583 child fatalities reported in 2014; and 1585 child fatalities reported in 2015, nationwide. In 2015, nationwide, 78.61% of those children were all school age or otherwise, < 2 years old. On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez, DOB February 20, 2005, received emergency response services due to full arrest as a result of approximately 8 months of child abuse and neglect at the hands of Pearl Sinthia Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre. Over the course of 8 months, over 50 reports were phoned into social workers to report abuse that went undocumented and unfounded, along with phone calls made to sheriff’s deputies, in regards to Gabriel. In particular, Gabriel’s teacher, Jennifer Garcia, made numerous phone calls to the social worker on his case, citing his injuries. Gabriel succumbed to his injuries on May 24, 2013, in what we know now as one of the worst cases of child abuse known to the United States of America. On November 15, 2017, Isauro Aguirre was found guilty of 1st-degree murder with special circumstances of torture. A trial for Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and the four social workers involved with Gabriel’s case are still pending. When looking into other child abuse fatalities, it was found that the Department of Child and Family Services began redacting all of their records to prevent the community from researching cases. Transparency is vital to instill confidence in the agencies entrusted to protect children. According to “The economic burden of child maltreatment in the Unites States and implications for prevention” (Child Abuse and Neglect. The International Journal. Fang, Brown, Florence, Mercy 2012), cited by the Center of Disease Control, “The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012 in 2010 dollars, including $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in productivity losses; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs. The estimated average lifetime cost per death is $1,272,900, including $14,100 in medical costs and $1,258,800 in productivity losses. The total lifetime economic burden resulting from new cases of fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment in the United States in 2008 is approximately $124 billion. In sensitivity analysis, the total burden is estimated to be as large as $585 billion. Findings concluded that the cost of living children who suffered maltreatment, in 2008, estimated a lifetime amount of approximately $210,012, while those whose maltreatment resulted in fatality cost an estimated lifetime amount of approximately $1.3 million. Problem There is a systematic failure in communication with regards to the safety and welfare of at-risk children who depend on adults to protect them. Had there been a system in place to allow for all agencies to effectively communicate with one another, and track all reports and documents, in regards to any reported child abuse, that may have helped save Gabriel’s life. Children depend on adults for protection and safeguarding. We are in an era of technology where we have need to improve, exponentially, our ability and duties to safeguard children. Records for child abuse fatalities should be unsealed and social workers who have repeat fatalities need to be investigated and retrained. Solution I. A nationwide system needs to be installed, in all schools, child welfare agencies, law enforcement agencies, doctor’s offices, and district attorney’s office, that help mandated reporters create electronic SCAR (Suspected Child Abuse Report), allow the agencies to track reports and status of child abuse. a. The system shall have an alert for law enforcement and social worker of any extended absence that doesn’t have any parent contact/medical documentation over a 2-day period/as reported by the attending school. b. The system shall have an alert for law enforcement and assigned social workers and their supervisors of any non-enrollment of children within a 2-day period. c. The system shall have an alert for CPS supervisors for a daily review of any child that has repeated reports. d. In conjunction with each agency, especially if a school alert comes in, an immediate action plan is put in place to ensure the safety of the child. e. Doctor’s may flag any injury as possible child abuse which will create an electronic SCAR. f. District Attorney’s office will have the ability to create customizable reports and alerts based on criteria needed to help with cases and decisions made in regards to court cases and as needed. II. A child abuse curriculum needs to be created and implemented starting at early education and moving up through high school. This curriculum needs to be implemented into the foster system and the juvenile hall system as well. The curriculum should include a discussion on all forms of abuse, from sexual harassment/sexual assault to all types of child abuse that can occur within the home. III. Specific changes need to be made within the Child Protective Services to ensure adequate and complete recording. a. Assign nurses to social workers for house visits and documentation of any abuse to any child. b. Social workers assigned to Child Protective Services need to be able to handle the caseloads and demonstrate effective investigative and communicative skills. The requirement is 40 hours of in-service training to advance from CSW II to CSW III. c. If a worker cannot perform their tasks effectively, there needs to be immediate consequences or corrective discipline to ensure the safety of children in their care. d. Supervisor technique training needs to be provided to all current and future supervisors, to help ensure supervisory skills. Additionally, they need to also have all the knowledge of working as a Child Protective Services social worker prior to being a supervisor for that department. e. Computer systems must be well maintained and updated on a 5-year basis, to the most current technology, to keep up with efficiency. f. Any fatalities under a social worker must be thoroughly investigated and the worker must be removed from the Child Protective Services department until uptraining is completed and they can prove themselves capable of the position. g. Mandatory recorded interviews with social worker, nurse, and interviewee. IV. Law Enforcement needs to be accountable and understand that child abuse claims are not only important but need to be documented. a. Any type of child abuse needs to be reported, via the new system, which will generate a SCAR b. Any call to a scene should include an address lookup to see if there are children residing at the residence and if there are any child abuse reports made, to make sure they have a well-rounded understanding of what they are walking into. c. The alert for suspected child abuse reports should be reviewed by Special Victims Unit, or a specific unit, to ensure that follow up. V. Educational institutes should have the ability to have access to the system and file reports based on extended absences, tardiness or signs of abuse. a. Teachers should be able to file a SCAR from their desk in their classroom b. An alert from school should immediately trigger with Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services. VI. Doctor’s office will be able to flag and note a child’s record in ways that will flag agencies depending on the situation. a. Extended absences will be flagged to go directly to school’s attendance office and immediately alert school of extended absence. b. The doctor can flag any abnormalities that appear to be child abuse that will create a SCAR to alert Child Protective Services of injuries and suspicions. VII. All documents pertaining to a deceased child shall be made available, via an amendment to privacy laws, with all redaction markings removed. VIII. Increase Statute of Limitations for felony child abuse should be increased from 3 years to 6 years. In Many cases, children are not aware that they are victims to begin with. Often, it is not a single event, but consecutive instances over a span of time which requires that the statute be extended to the point where the victim first files a report of abuse. IX. Failure to Report Child Abuse should be changed from a straight misdemeanor to a “wobbler” with a 3 or 6-year statute of limitations. Negligence to report abuse is not an acceptable excuse to prevent a child from obtaining criminal action. Purposefully declining or avoiding to file a report of abuse should be met with the more severe penalty. X. Children who are in a coma or dying in manners consistent with murder or suspected foul play must undergo autopsy once deceased. XI. Mandatory Child Abuse Education classes for all new welfare applicants. XII. Adults living in a household, and witnesses to abuse of any minors within that household, who fail to report or try to prevent abuse to minors shall be charged as follows: a. Non-fatal injury to child - Accomplice to Child Abuse – min. 1-year b. Child Abuse resulting in fatal injury – Accomplice to Child Abuse resulting in Fatality – min 10 year.
Call for Blue States to Move On
What happened to make this country the focus of judgment, laughter, and fear from the rest of the world? The industrialized world outside of the United States enjoys a better quality of life and general happiness that most of us can only imagine. First class education, comprehensive health care, clean food/water/air and an overall better relationship with their fellow citizens. And as a country, we have higher mortality rates at younger ages, poorer health, and an impoverished population who can't learn new skills without going deeper into debt. As much as we like to blame Donald Trump for our national problems; these problems were here before him, and they will still be here if Trump is removed from office tomorrow. We have a political system that centralizes power to a consolidated political center in Washington, DC and an economic center in New York City. Our Electoral System will isolate the power to determine the direction of our political system to a very small, easily manipulated portion of the electorate in strategic location. Worst of all, we have a large portion of the population who will empower a mentally unstable man to the highest office in the world; just so they can say “We Won”. This group is constantly complaining about a simple world with plentiful jobs in their communities that are extinct or never really existed. And now, they have the nerve to complain about losing the federal government programs they benefitted from and voted against. It's time we said “ENOUGH” and have Progressive States and Communities band together and share resources and ideas to provide a better quality of life for its people, that the Trump Administration wants to take away. And furthermore, we need to ensure that we only support States and Communities who will change their policies for its people. We can no longer provide assistance to Red States, just so they can abuse and neglect their citizens for business interests. For the future of this nation, we need to explore every legal method possible to protect the people from an extremely dangerous President Trump. A Values Based Alliance of the States (VBAS) is one way of resisting this new reality of government, and the dangerous changes that we all know are inevitable. I understand that the constitution will not allow us to directly stop this monstrosity, but it will allows us to devalue it. A VBAS of certain states with similar values and policy preferences can and will use its population centers and economic influence to co-op, share resources, and implement policies with other co-opted states, while not having to depend on or engage the federal government. Examples: There are certain states with a majority of people that believe single payer healthcare system (CA, MA, VT, NY, WA, OR, IL, HI.). If those states passed laws to provide single payer health care for it’s people, a Single Payer Healthcare VBAS organization of those states can share resources to improve efficiencies, expand medical training/education amongst the co-opted states, negotiate pharmaceutical/treatment, amend needed tax policies and petition the US Government. This would also force neighboring states to decide if they want to change their internal policies to provide single payer, so they can join the Health Care VBAS. A resident of Indiana might ask his state to join the VBAS, because he could literally see his next door neigbor in Illinois fully covered, and using a Doctor that just came back from his training at a medical school in California. Although the VBAS states can not legally sign the Paris accords, they can change their internal policies to abide by its recommendations. There could be an environmental protection VBAS, where the states involved agree to abide by the Paris accords, improve safety protocols within its states, take climate change seriously, and provide economic preference to states and nations that do the same. CA, OR, NY, MA, VT, WA HI, and NV could agree to be a preferred customer of states or nations that voluntarily reduces its carbon emissions and address climate change, instead of LA or TX, which most likely will not. Other issues could include minimum wage, education, trade agreements, gun control and virtually every policy not adjudicated solely to the federal government. As more VBASes are organized and more states agree to join them, Donald Trump and the ignorance of future presidents become less and less relevant. Please sign this petition and pass it on to as many people as possible.
Tulsi Gabbard for House Minority Leader! #TulsiForLeader
After the stunning loss to Donald J. Trump and the Republicans, we must reevaluate the leadership in the Democratic Party. Not only should we support Keith Ellison to be DNC Chair but we should also support the Progressive, Sanders supporter, war veteran, and champion for all Americans Tulsi Gabbard to run to be the House Minority Leader. Currently the House minority leader is Nancy Pelosi and she has been in that position for quite some time. It is time to get more progressives to leadership positions. Tulsi Gabbard would be a fine choice for this position in the house.
Protect Shareholders. Strike the Financial Choice Act 2.0.
Shareholder democracy is being profoundly threatened by Section 844 of the Financial CHOICE Act 2.0. This new legislation, which was heard by the Congressional Financial Services Committee on April 26 and then passed by the House on June 8, contains a provision that would fundamentally impair investors' rights to file shareholder resolutions. It is now scheduled to be voted on in the Senate. The new rule would permit only a tiny fraction of the globe’s wealthiest investors (those who own more than 1% or more of a company’s stock) to file shareholder proposals. For example, raising the ownership requirement to 1% would leave only 11 investors with enough shares ($3 billion) necessary to file shareholder proposals at Wells Fargo. All other shareholders would be blocked from using their shareholder rights to address equity, justice, sustainability, climate, risk, and good governance issues. Sign our petition and make your voice heard. We will be sending signatures, as well as the letter linked below, to the Senate. Let’s work together to defeat this destabilizing legislation that will profoundly affect consumers, investors, and the economy at large.
The American Public Wants to See Trump's Tax Returns
I believe many American citizens disagree with this recent statement from Donald Trump: "You know the only ones who care about my tax returns are reporters." Trump argued that the public doesn't care and that it's an issue only important to reporters. So let's prove him wrong. By providing his tax returns, Mr. Trump can prove once and for all that his conflicts of interest will not impede his presidency. We the people expect to be led by a person of integrity, honesty, and strong moral character. Mr. Trump, as citizens of this great nation we would like to see your tax returns so we can be certain managing our country is your only priority.
DNC must bid farewell to Bernie for the sake of the Democratic Party.
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is not a Democrat. A political Independent and self described Democratic-Socialist, Bernie has spent thirty years in political office. One might even say, in the "establishment". Though he has indeed caucused with Democrats, he has also voted with Republicans (e.g., in favor of gun manufacturers over safe gun laws, and against an immigration reform bill that would have granted legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants), and then there's his affinity for socialism. Bernie tends to apply a litmus test of purity to his votes. If it doesn't suit his conscience, regardless of the larger picture or bipartisan effort to find common ground, Bernie votes as Bernie wants. This is the safety of being an Independent. There is no question that Bernie garnered the support and adoration of millions during the Election of 2016. He is credited with attracting young people into the Democratic process by creating an accessible, grassroots movement. Bernie's message of economic populism cut across demographics. However, now is not the time to re-hash the election. In fact, that is precisely the point of this petition. The wounds are still fresh. This petition is for the life-long Democrat, the loyal Democrat, the 2nd and 3rd generation Democrat, the Democrat who has showed up election after election to vote for the best Democrat in the race. This is especially for the Democrat who fought hard in support of the most qualified person ever to run for the office of President - who also happened to be a woman, Hillary Clinton. There is no denying that the 2016 Democratic Primary was one of the most divisive in modern times. Again, now is not the time to re-hash the specifics or to point fingers. We've done enough of that. What we need now is to honor Democrats and to invite anyone who truly shares the ideals of the Democratic Party to stand with us. No purity tests. Democrats understand all too well the compromises, the sacrifices, and the hard work that can take decades to bear fruit. This is what we do. This is who we are. Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. He has stated that fact time and time again. We respectfully request that the DNC Chair, Tom Perez and Deputy Chair, Keith Ellison bid a kind farewell to Bernie and hand the mic to a Democrat, preferably a woman and/or poc. Sincerely, Democrats
ARMS EMBARGO ON BURMA/MYANMAR for GENOCIDE OF ROHINGYA & CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
You may have noted with horror the gruesome reports of crimes against humanity and genocide emanating from Myanmar, the erstwhile Burma which is ruled by a cruel Military junta for decades (which recently allowed a facade of democracy with an election but has refused any meaningful control to elected public officials like Suu Kyi in the key areas of the government). After decades of oppression and gross violation of most basic human rights and frequent surges in widespread violence on Rohingya Muslims one the most vulnerable ethnic minorities in the world, the military junta has launched its most brutal organized campaign yet which meets the definition of crimes against humanity and genocide according to UN officials and former UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and most international observers of repute. To prevent further loss of life and to restore the human rights of the Rohingya Muslims it is incumbent upon you as world leaders to act without further delay first with measures like arms embargo on Burma Military. After a few months of observation if situation does not improve then initiation of phased trade embargo. Thank you for your kind support!
#SAVEH2B: GET THE FACTS & STOP THE LIES!
Stop The Lies and Get The Facts! The H-2B Program Creates American Jobs • The H-2B program is essential for small and seasonal businesses that are committed to hiring a legal workforce but areunable to fill seasonal jobs with American workers despite extensive recruitment efforts. Seasonal industries that use theH-2B program include seafood processing, horse training, hospitality and amusement parks, forestry, landscaping,circuses, carnivals, food concessionaires, swimming pool maintenance, construction and stone quarries. • The H-2B program is important to workers. For H-2B workers, the program provides well-paying seasonal jobs that allowthem to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries. This program is also importantfor American workers whose year round positions are reliant upon seasonal laborers during peak seasons.• Every H-2B worker is estimated to create and sustain 4.64 American jobs. 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 2016 was reached on March 15. The second-half cap was reached on May 12, 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 of December 18, 2015, many companies would have had 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 violate 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. The H-2B returning worker exemption in the omnibus appropriations bills simply provides that if an H-2B worker has been counted against the cap in one of the three prior years, that worker can return to work in the H-2B program in the current year without being counted against this year's cap. For more information please visit: https://www.SaveH2b.orghttps://www.facebook.com/SaveH2B/https://twitter.com/SaveH_2B https://youtu.be/UTYVEirlu3o To contribute further, please contact your Congressmen/women and tweet using the hashtag: #SAVEH2B.
Free Abdi-Advocate for Refugees
"Stepping up detentions and deportations will not only cost taxpayers billions of dollars but will also break apart families and place vulnerable individuals...in peril." The Center for American Progress "The impact of nearly two-and-a-half decades of conflict in Somalia, compounded by drought and other natural hazards, challenges the resilience and coping mechanisms of Somalia's most vulnerable citizens." United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Abdulkadir Sharif Abdi Mohamed, known to his family and friends as Abdi, is a native citizen of Somalia. He came to the United States in 1996. He faced adversities and struggled to adjust to his new life as a 17 year old refugee in a strange country. Regardless of his traumatic past and new challenges, he learned from his behaviors and experiences, and has evolved into a stand-up human being. At this time, Abdi is being detained and threatened with deportation. Sending him back to Somalia would endanger his life. It would also tear apart a loving marriage to a U.S. citizen, and so much more! Here is what Abdi has been contributing to his local community and this country for the past decade: Abdi lives by a strict code of service to others, love, and recovery. Abdi works diligently at a treatment center in Minneapolis, Minnesota assisting scores of Americans triumph over addiction. Abdi visits prisons and mental health institutions with a message of hope and change to people struggling with various addictions and health issues. Together Abdi and his wife welcome struggling individuals into their home. They help them find purpose and pursue a better way of life, which those individuals then do with still others. A stay of removal has been approved for Abdi, but it’s just the beginning of the fight. His case must be reopened and appear before a judge. Every step of Abdi’s path is a miniscule representation of the struggle of so many refugees in the United States today. These people have known unspeakable atrocities. They have not only survived but thrived. They work, pay taxes, and are a vital part of what makes America great! Here is what we, the signers of this petition, ask for Abdi, and people like him: We ask for a just assessment and process to bring Abdulkadir Sharif Abdi Mohamed home to his wife, and the people who love him in Minnesota. We ask that ICE officials, and the facilities where they house detainees, treat individuals with decency, and meet basic humanitarian standards of care. We ask that any person within the United States, regardless of country of origin, not be deemed "criminal" simply because they are here, or have adverse histories, without a thorough process and evaluation into their current lives. For more information and connection to Abdi’s fight, search @abdifreeathome on Facebook and Twitter