Decision Maker

Kirsten Gillibrand

  • NY
  • Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from New York, in office since 2009.


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Victory
Petitioning U.S. Senate

Pass the ABLE Act

My name is Sara Wolff. I am a 31 year-old from Moscow, Pennsylvania, who happens to have Down syndrome but that doesn’t stop me from achieving “my” better life. I work as a law clerk and also at Keystone Community Resources in the Office of Advocacy. I am a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). I'm calling on Congress to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (S. 313/H.R. 647), a bill that will help individuals with disabilities to save for their futures. When the ABLE Act passes into law this year, it will change my life forever. I lost my mother this past year, Connie, to a sudden, rapid illness. With my whole life ahead of me, I need an ABLE account to plan for my future. And, I am not alone, like most individuals with disabilities, people with Down syndrome and other conditions are out living their parents. Families, like mine, need to rest assure that they can equally care for their children and adults with disabilities, just like they can for their other children and family members. Just because I have Down syndrome, that shouldn’t hold me back from achieving my full potential in life. I can work a full-time job, be a productive member of society, and pay taxes – but because of these outdated laws placed on individuals with disabilities, we hold people like me back in life. This is the year, we call on leaders in Congress to put an end to the inequities that exist for people with disabilities by passing the ABLE Act and allowing individuals and families to save for the future and break down the barriers to employment for these individuals. I spoke last week during the NDSS gala in New York City about my personal lobbying efforts on the ABLE Act – before a large audience, I declared that I will be standing right next to President Obama when he signs the ABLE Act into law this year! The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources. An ABLE account could fund a variety of essential expenses for individuals, including medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. The ABLE Act provides individuals with disabilities the same types of flexible savings tools that all other Americans have through college savings accounts, health savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts. The legislation also contains Medicaid fraud protection against abuse and a Medicaid pay-back provision when the beneficiary passes away. It will eliminate barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s eligibility for any federal benefits program.  The ABLE Act was introduced into Congress on Feb. 13, 2013 by a bipartisan, bicameral set of Congressional Champions including Sens. Robert Casey, Jr., (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). It currently has 325 cosponsors in the US House and 62 in the US Senate.

269,905 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Justice for Military Sexual Trauma Victims: Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act

Of the 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012, only 3,374 were reported and only 302 were brought to trial. I am a retired U.S. Navy Veteran and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivor. And like many other victims in the military, I was harassed, and humiliated by my Chain of Command after reporting my abuse. But a bipartisan bill before the U.S. Senate right now can completely change how sexual assaults in the military are handled - the Military Justice Improvement Act.  As it stands now, any U.S. Military personnel, male or female, who are sexually assaulted or harassed are at the mercy of their own Commanding Officers who have full jurisdiction and discretion in prosecuting these cases. In many of the cases the perpetrator is not prosecuted while the victim is treated as the criminal, ostracized and harassed by their own command and often their military service stands in jeopardy. This is why so many assaults go unreported. Even though I was raped while in the Navy, my case it is a story of command harassment.  During a 5 year period I was harassed, by my command because the Maintenance Officer didn't want "women in his Navy".  Between being raped and continuously harassed I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2001.  I was raped and it was traumatizing, but the most devastating thing was the Command Harassment. The Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 967) changes this by taking the Commanding Officer out of the case and providing a specialized legal group in charge of investigating and prosecuting these cases. This is a common sense step that our closest allies, including the UK, Canada, Australia and Israel, have made to their militaries.  The Military Justice Improvement Act has bipartisan support but needs more votes to pass and it will be voted on this week. Your Senator needs to hear from you about this important bill now!  I spent 20 years trying to run away from the hell the Navy put me though. I was told that all of my problems were between my ears. They tried to Court Marshal me, they harassed me on a daily basis, and when I was transferred the harassment continued because my perpetrator picked up the phone and had me labeled a troublemaker before I even checked in. If the Military Justice Improvement Act had been passed then, that wouldn't have happened to me.  Help us get the word to Congress that the rape culture in the military is still prevalent.  Tell them we will no longer allow our men and women in the military to be raped, tell them that we WILL hold them accountable.  I am taking a stand against the unjust persecution of my brothers and sisters that are victims of MST and harassment. Please join me by asking your Senator to support the Military Justice Improvement Act. 

131,876 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Chuck Hagel

Suspend the Weapons Transfer Program that is Militarizing Police

Our police officers are not our military. Yet military weapons meant for battlefields like the ones I served on as an Army Officer in the Gulf War are being transferred to local police departments around the country. Put simply, these weapons are not intended for local policing and often result in escalating - not solving - situations. We’re seeing this right now in Ferguson, Missouri. Many of the weapons being sent to small police departments are coming directly from the Pentagon through the 1033 Weapons Transfer Program. Since its creation, at least $4 billion worth of equipment has been distributed to local police departments through this program. Thankfully, the Senate Armed Services Committee is reviewing the Weapons Transfer Program to evaluate how these weapons are being used. However, there’s no reason to continue sending weapons through the program while it's under review. So I’m calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to temporarily suspend the 1033 Weapons Transfer Program - something he has the power to do.  When local police departments have access to armored personnel carriers, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, M-4 rifles, camouflage uniforms and assault rifles - we’re clearly seeing the militarization of local law enforcement. But police officers are not at war with American citizens - they are here to serve and protect us. But it only makes sense that if we arm them like soldiers going into battle, they will act like soldiers. As a veteran and executive director of Veterans For Peace, I don't want to see our police militarized here at home. And I know many other troops and veterans agree.  The program has been suspended before in 2012, when some states actually lost track of military equipment. You read that correctly, these battlefield weapons have actually gone missing before. Yet the program was quietly restarted in 2013. It’s clearly time for a moratorium on the 1033 program while it is under review.

118,677 supporters
Petitioning John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Jeb Hensarling, Jacob J. Lew, Greg Abbott, Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt, Jeremiah Nixon, Marco Rubio, Bill Nelson, Rod Scott, Rick Scott, Kelly Ayotte, Tammy Baldwin, John Bar...

Refuse to cut 400,000 retirees pensions

Imagine working 30 years for the same company. Every morning, you wake at the crack of dawn, put on your uniform and do backbreaking work so you can get food on your family's table. All the while, you dream about retirement, when you will have the freedom and funds to enjoy the rest of your life with the person you love. Many of us do just this, every day. If we are lucky, we work for a company that provides us with a pension that will allow us to take that post-retirement trip around the world, build that new house, or simply enjoy our old age. That is what my husband and I thought we had. We thought UPS was looking out for its loyal employees, making sure that the hard work we put in would come back to us in later years. But we were wrong. UPS recently reconfigured its pension plan, taking only their current employees and leaving retirees to the mercy of Central States, a multiemployer pension fund that was on the verge of collapse. Now retirees like my husband have received notice that he could lose 50% of our pension as part of their attempt to save themselves. How can they do this? My husband worked day in and day out for UPS, and they have left him and other loyal retirees to fend for themselves. The U.S. Department of Treasury has appointed Kenneth Feinberg to review these proposed pension cuts. We are asking Mr. Feinberg and the Treasury reject theses cuts. Please don’t allow Central States Pension Fund to fix its financial mistakes on the backs of these 400,000 pensioners, who worked so hard to achieve their retirement. And this issue isn’t limited to Central States Pension’s retirees -- if the Treasury approves this cutback plan, other struggling multiemployer funds could be encouraged to do the same thing. According to the government, about 10 percent of participants in such funds — more than 1 million workers and retirees — are in plans projected to run out of money soon. My husband is now disabled, and I am his fulltime caregiver. Neither of us is able to work to make up for the cuts that will be hitting us in July. Just like that, the $2500 a month that enabled us to cover our obligations will be $1250, leaving us on or near the poverty line and forcing us to rely on the government for our most basic needs. No one should have to face this, especially not employees of a company that earned more than $3 billion last year.   Employees like my husband kept up their end of the bargain, now let's make pension funds keep theirs. Please stand up for hardworking Americans. Please ask Kenneth Feinberg and the Treasury not to approve these cuts.

82,807 supporters
Petitioning Secretary of the Army John McHugh, COL Doug Crissman, MG Jeffrey Buchanan, Dr Jonathan Woodson

Review an innocent soldier’s wrongful conviction

My name is Ken Pinkela. I am a US Army Lieutenant Colonel, and in June 2012, I was wrongly convicted of exposing someone to the HIV virus. Since then, the main witness against me has recanted, explaining how he was coerced into giving misleading testimony. I am fighting to have my case reviewed by President Obama and Secretary of the Army John McHugh, as they are the only 2 officials authorized to directly order a review and change the outcome of a military court-martial.   I served my country for more than 26 years in the US Army and now that sacrifice has been erased by my wrongful conviction for exposing another soldier to HIV. Not only am  I innocent--the accuser and I were never intimate--the Department of Defense has been criticized for prosecuting people with HIV, bringing charges in cases like mine that are not based on any medically accurate understanding of how HIV is transmitted and treated.  Without any real evidence, I was convicted, spent 272 days in prison, and lost all my benefits: retirement, medical insurance for both combat related injuries and the HIV treatment that I require. I won't even get a flag for my coffin when I die. According to the Army, I am a felon, and if I leave New York State I will be required to register as a sex offender. These charges have ruined my life. I have lost the freedom which I fought to defend for nearly three decades. And I have lost the honor of being able to serve my country. My final hope is to get my case reviewed.  The prosecution's only witness has recanted his testimony. He describes being threatened by Army prosecutors, being lied to and says that the prosecution led him in his testimony. This should be reason enough to have my case reexamined and get the charges against me dismissed. That will allow me to get my life back and continue to serve my country and support my family. Please join me in asking President Obama and Secretary of the Army John McHugh to grant me a review of my court-martial, so that I can begin to serve my country with honor and dignity again.

74,189 supporters
Petitioning Kirsten Gillibrand

Help Reunite Mohammad's Family

Mohammad Yousaf Yahyapur recently spoke in one of my classes. I felt an instant connection with him -- during the war in Afghanistan, he provided assistance to American journalists, translating, finding contacts and arranging meetings. Because of this work, he received dangerous threats and was forced to leave his country and seek refuge in the United States. The same was true for my grandfather in Vietnam in 1975. He had to flee after serving as a liaison between Vietnamese and Americans during the Vietnam War. The only difference is, my grandfather was allowed to bring his family with him. Mohammad received refugee status in the U.S. in 2013. U.S. immigration policy allows refugees to request permanent residency for their families, which Mohammad did immediately upon his arrival. But United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has taken no significant action to grant his wife and three young children permission to join him here. Mohammad risked his life to help American journalists and the American public understand what was happening in Afghanistan, and he continues his work educating people on Middle Eastern affairs and supporting fellow refugees. His family poses no security risk whatsoever. Mohammad is a humanitarian and a hero. We must fight to help him as he has helped us all these years. Please join me in urging New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer to push for the granting of immediate residency to the family of Mohammad Yousaf Yahyapur. Mohammad fears for the safety of his family, as they reside in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. In recent years, many people who have worked with American media outlets in the same ways as he did have also been threatened and even directly harmed. Many have had their families threatened as well. Mohammad’s family is his backbone and greatest support, and every day that passes is another day that he is missing out on watching his children grow. Mohammad is using his qualifications and personal experience to improve the lives of American citizens, especially those who are generally underrepresented. The USCIS has proven unresponsive in his case, but some prodding by his senators would go a long way toward getting him justice. We must ask Senators Gillibrand and Schumer to act now to bring Mohammad’s family to the U.S. so his immigration nightmare can finally end.  

38,836 supporters
Petitioning The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

FDA: Post consumer warnings where we can see them!

Every day, every person in this country faces potentially lethal food products. You and your loved ones are at risk every time you bring home groceries! Have you heard of the FDA Reportable Food Registry that lists products that have a “reasonable probability of causing serious adverse effects”? I had never even heard of it - and it cost my dog his life. Will my children, spouse, parents or friends be the next victims? Bella, Cali, Ginger, Heidi, Sampson, Sarge, Shelbie… These are just a few of the over 3,500 dogs reported to have been sickened or killed by chicken jerky dog treats – with untold thousands unreported. How could this happen – and still be happening? The answer: The warnings about this danger are ONLY available on the FDA website. My name is Ray Parker, and my beloved companion Sarge was a victim. Days after eating one of these treats, days of suffering, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to let him go. I had no idea that there was (and still is) a major ongoing investigation by the FDA - there was no warning on the package nor was there any warning posted on the shelf where they were displayed. Searching for answers, I went to my computer. I learned -- too late – that the FDA has been investigating jerky treats for years! The danger doesn't stop at pet treats. Prescription drugs, baby formula, black licorice and pet treats are just some of items that are currently under FDA Advisory. The only way to find these warnings is to search on-line. The average consumer doesn't compare their grocery list to the FDA website, nor should they be expected to do so. And if you don't have internet access, how are you supposed to learn what products might be putting your family at risk? The FDA has always claimed their hands are tied when it comes to warning consumers about reported products at the point of sale, but this is no longer true. In 2011, Congress finally enacted - and President Obama signed into law - the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which explicitly gives the FDA this authority. With just a simple piece of paper posted on store shelves, millions of American families can be spared the consequences of purchasing potentially dangerous products. There are so many loopholes that allow hazards to reach our homes and families. This is our last line of defense! I believe that the FDA has the responsibility to inform consumers of possible risks and we have the RIGHT to make informed decisions. A trip to the grocery store should not be deadly! If you agree, please join us in signing this petition demanding that the FDA and your representatives: • IMPLEMENT FSMA SECTION 211 requiring warnings to be prominently displayed in stores. • AMEND FSMA SECTION 211 to include all retailers, not just major chains. • SPECIFY THAT WRITTEN WARNINGS must be displayed with the affected product, not just at the cash register.   THANK YOU FOR ADDING YOUR VOICE TO OURS! (If you have been a victim of the FDA’s warning system, please share your story in the comments. To learn more about our group, the link between jerky pet treats and illnesses, or the Food Safety Modernization Act, see the links under “News” at the bottom of the petition page.)   S. Raymond Parker Co-Administrator of ‘Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China!’

26,741 supporters
Petitioning Kraft Foods, Richard Hanna, Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Rudolf Wild & Co, Hans-Peter Wild, Irene Rosenfeld

Stop polluting our children's future with unrecyclable juice pouches.

Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? I hadn’t until recently, and it’s awful -- a huge, spinning tangle of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean, covering what some experts say is an area up to two times the size of the continental U.S. Where did this plastic come from? You guessed it -- from us. I never thought I’d get so worked up learning about trash, but when My Lego Robotics team researched our waste habits and their effects on people and the planet for Lego’s 2015 Trash Trek Challenge, I was hugely affected by how important the trash we make, and what we choose to do with it, is.   One of my discoveries has me particularly troubled, because I, my family, and almost everyone I know is making one consumer choice that is environmentally disastrous – those innocent-looking juice and baby food pouches that so many of us use these days, are horrible for the earth. They are metal and plastic mixed together, so they are not biodegradable and not truly recyclable.  And billions are sold per year in the U.S. alone. I’ll bet that most people using these products are unaware of the terrible environmental impact they have. But the companies that choose to produce them are well aware of it, and have chosen to ignore the environmental damage they’re causing. Honest Kids, one of the best-selling juice companies, has finally woken up and is switching from pouches to paper cartons because of concerns about environmental impact. I am now calling on Kraft Foods, maker of Capri-Sun, to follow suit. Capri-Sun has been produced for 30 years, and an estimated 1.6 billion pouches are consumed in the U.S. each year. This means that if all Capri-Sun pouches discarded annually in the U.S. were laid end to end, they would circle the earth nearly five times. We didn’t know about the Pacific Garbage Patch when they first came on the market. Now that we do, we cannot allow these pouches to continue polluting our earth. Americans throw away more trash than any other country – 4 pounds per person, per day. Recycling is one solution, though we still only recycle about 13% of plastics. We need to increase this number by a lot, as soon as possible. And companies like Kraft Foods need to stop compounding the problem by unnecessarily placing non-recyclable packaging onto the market, when readily available recyclable alternatives exist. Please sign my petition calling on Kraft Foods CEO John T. Cahill to stop using these pouches for Capri-Sun. Kraft is a major leader in food production, and if it chooses to take responsibility this way, many other companies will follow suit. #KnockOutThePouch

24,539 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Kirsten Gillibrand

Ask US Customs and Border Protection to reconsider my case and let me come home to the U.S.

In September 1990, I came to the United States at 15 years of age in order to search for a better life and a better way to support my parents. I immigrated to New York, being homeless much of the time along the way. I had to go into the trash to find food in order to survive another day. I was forced to work in harsh conditions, sometimes locked in the basement of a supermarket without food or water. One day after working nearly five years like this, I was able to escape my abusive job and finally really go in search of the American Dream.   Fortunately, life got better. Good people helped me get a great education (from GED to Master’s degree), and with it, I have been able to have a major impact on minority communities and young people in NYC. Recently, I was offered a full time job and a 3-year work visa, but I needed to return to Mexico in order to reapply for legal immigration status in the U.S. My lawyers believed that with my educational success, my contributions to the community and letters of support from local elected officials, my application was sure to be granted. After waiting nearly six months back in Mexico, my petition to return to New York - my home of 24 years - was denied. I have been fortunate to do a lot of great things here in America -- not only for myself, but more importantly for others who were less fortunate than myself. Today, I am requesting that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ask immigration to reconsider my case and allow me to return to the place that I called home - New York City - so that I can continue my community work there. While working upwards of 12 hours a day in the U.S., I still made time to coordinate various projects to support the recent immigrant community and other minority groups in New York City. Through my volunteer work, I became an expert in creating educational programs for recent immigrants - work which led to numerous awards and recognition from both local NYC and International government officials. I want to be able to go on educating our children and their parents through my volunteer work, to continue to be involved in the creation of programs for the minority community, and to help build a community of future leaders of tomorrow. New York City is my home and my community, and I hope that I have the chance to come back to give again to the place and the people that have given so much to me. Please sign my petition asking Senator Gillibrand to request a reconsideration of my case.

13,033 supporters
Petitioning Andrew Cuomo, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer

End the Cruelty of Solitary Confinement

This petition will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to encourage him to sign the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act into law, and to our New York senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to introduce this bill in Congress. The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act is in the process of passing the New York legislature. It bans solitary confinement for over 15 days, and bans it in all situations for those who are under 21, over 55, physically or mentally disabled, pregnant, LGBTQI, or in need of protective custody. Solitary Confinement is a failed policy. It does not make our prisons safer, save the state any funding, or rehabilitate individuals. It costs the state approximately $20,000 more per annum to keep a prisoner in solitary confinement than it does to keep them in a prison’s general population. The United Nations considers solitary confinement longer than 15 days as torture. This practice of solitary confinement is institutionalizing torture in our country. Solitary confinement has overwhelming negative effects. For most of recent history solitary confinement was only used as a brief punishment, but in the late 20th century prisons began regularly sending prisoners to solitary for months or even years at a time. It is typical for inmates to spend 23 hours in a small cell with one hour of recreation, which is often only walking laps in a cage.The psychological toll is tremendous.   Studies from the Harvard Medical School show that roughly a third of solitary confinement inmates are acutely psychotic or suicidal before entering solitary. On top of that, the extreme isolation causes panic attacks, self-mutilation, a loss of sense and smell, decreased brain activity, and many other negative symptoms. Eliminating Solitary Housing Units (SHUs) does not mean letting violent offenses in prison go unpunished. Instead, inmates who commit serious crimes could be sent to secure Residential Rehabilitation Units (RRUs). In this setting they are removed from the general prison population, but are given substantial out of cell time to get treatment from therapists, talk with family, and work towards rehabilitation. It is also important to note that contrary to common belief most prisoners who are sent to solitary go for nonviolent infractions. In fact, five out of six inmates in SHUs in New York are in for nonviolent infractions. This is clearly a gross misuse of a very severe form of punishment. As it is now, solitary confinement infringes on inmates’ citizen rights to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act can discontinue this infringement of inmates’ citizen rights. Every signature adds weight to this petition and brings us one step closer to ending solitary confinement, so please sign to help end this gross injustice.

12,514 supporters
  • Thank you, Sarah, for starting this petition and for turning the tragedy of Sandy Hook, which impacted your family so deeply, into activism to end the scourge of gun violence. The lack of action by Congress in the face of continued gun violence in this country truly is outrageous. This week I was extremely disappointed that the Senate once again defeated commonsense gun safety measures to expand background checks and to prevent suspected terrorists from accessing firearms. But we will not stop fighting. On Tuesday, I stood on the floor to announce the introduction of my bipartisan bill to end gun trafficking to finally make the trafficking of firearms a federal crime. I also introduced amendments to allow the ATF to ban the import of military style weapons and to require weapons dealers to keep accurate inventories. I also strongly agree that the CDC must be allowed to study gun deaths just as they study any other cause of death in this country. I've signed on to a letter to Senate leadership urging them to end the ban and to appropriate funds to allow the CDC to conduct this crucial research. Thanks to everyone who has signed this petition – keep up the pressure by sharing this petition with your friends and contacting your representatives and ask them to support commonsense gun safety reforms. Enough is enough!

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • Thank you, John, for starting this petition and for your unwavering commitment on behalf of your fellow first responders, volunteers and community survivors who have suffered so much as a result of exposure at Ground Zero. We truly do owe you all a debt of gratitude and it is our moral obligation to make sure these 9/11 health programs are funded long into the future. And thank you to everyone who has signed this petition, it really makes a difference. Only by raising all our voices will we succeed in passing the re-authorization of funding for these critical 9/11 health and compensation programs. On Wednesday, we're going to have a day of action on Capitol Hill and I hope you'll all join in. While John and his fellow first responders will be joined by Jon Stewart to walk the halls of Congress urging my colleagues to support this legislation, you can help too by contacting your members of Congress and letting them know you support the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Re-Authorization Act. You can reach them by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Thank you for raising your voices on this important issue!

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • Thank you, Kate, for speaking out so strongly on this issue and for your incredible advocacy. It was an honor to stand alongside you and Morgan last month when we introduced the CARERS Act. By making your voice heard, you are speaking for so many other families around the country who simply want to ease their loved ones' suffering. I also want to thank everyone who signed this petition and added your voice to the growing chorus calling for common sense reform of our medical marijuana laws. It really makes a difference. Right now, our federal medical marijuana laws ignore the rule of law in 23 states, not to mention modern science. The CARERS Act would modernize the federal approach to cannabis, by classifying it as a Schedule 2 drug. This would allow doctors in states with legal medical marijuana programs to write prescriptions, and scientists to finally expand research into the medical uses of marijuana. It would also give patients and families around the country access to critical treatment without fear of federal prosecution or separation from their loved ones. Please continue to speak out in support of the CARERS Act by posting this on social media and contacting your members of Congress to urge them to stand with Kate and Morgan in favor of reform. Congress is lagging far behind the American people on this issue and it's going to take all of our voices to change the status quo.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • Thank you, Dana, for telling your story so eloquently and for making your voice heard in support of the FAMILY Act so we can finally implement a national paid leave program right here in the U.S. It's unacceptable that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world not to offer paid leave to new parents. The FAMILY Act, which I've re-introduced in the U.S. Senate today, will finally ensure no new parent has to choose between caring for a newborn child and receiving a paycheck. Thanks also to everyone who has signed on to Dana's petition, I hope you'll continue to make your voice heard on this issue. You can help us pass the FAMILY Act by sharing this petition on social media and by contacting your Senators and Representatives to urge them to support the FAMILY Act. Momentum is building for paid leave in this country, but only with your help will we gain the support to pass this important legislation.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • Thanks to Know Your IX and The Nation for starting this petition and making your voice heard on behalf of survivors of campus sexual assault. And thanks to all the signers, this is such an important issue and it's important that we let survivors know they're not alone in this fight. The simple fact is that the cost of college admission should not include a 1 in 5 chance of being sexually assaulted. Nor should going to college make women more likely to be victims of assault, but that's precisely what the data shows. To help combat this epidemic, I've been working with my colleagues to craft commonsense bipartisan legislation to support survivors and hold colleges accountable for how they handle these crimes. On Wednesday, I was proud to stand alongside survivors, advocates and 7 of my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to introduce the Campus Accountability & Safety Act. This bill will inject transparency and accountability into the adjudication process and flip the incentives so colleges no longer sweep these crimes under the rug. Our bill would: - Increase support services for survivors on college campuses - Improve training for campus personnel - Increase transparency for colleges, including mandating online reporting of crime statistics - Increase accountability for colleges, including increased fines for noncompliance with federal law - Improve coordination with local law enforcement I agree with you that the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights must have real teeth to be able to hold colleges accountable for how they adjudicate these crimes.That's why we've given the Office for Civil Rights the ability to impose fines of up to 1% of an institution's operating budget for violations of Title IX related to sexual violence. We believe this measure will succeed in increasing transparency and accountability on the part of our colleges and universities while also protecting the students who did nothing wrong from being caught in the crossfire. These are crucial steps if we are going to end the scourge of campus sexual assault and I'm confident we'll continue to build bipartisan support over the coming months. You can help by making your voice heard during the month of August by asking your representatives to support the Campus Accountability & Safety Act. It's time for all of us, regardless of party, to stand with survivors, hold universities accountable, and make college campuses safe for all students.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
Decision-maker response — 2 years ago
  • Thank you so much, Sara, for making your voice heard on this important issue, and to everyone who has signed this petition and supported Sara's campaign to urge passage of the ABLE Act. The ABLE Act is bipartisan legislation that would amend the tax code to allow disabled Americans to open tax free savings accounts to cover qualified expenses. I'm proud to co-sponsor the ABLE Act because only by helping Americans with disabilities plan for their futures will they, as Sara put it so beautifully, be able to "achieve their full potential in life." Which is an opportunity every American deserves. I urge the Senate to take up the ABLE Act this year so we can put millions of Americans with disabilities, like Sara, on a more secure path to their future.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • I wanted to alert you to the need for urgent action to help pass the Military Justice Improvement Act. We are expecting a vote on the Senate floor perhaps as soon as tomorrow. We need you all to join with survivors of sexual assault and make your voices heard today to help build support for this important reform. We have a strong majority of the Senate -- 55 Senators and counting -- who are publicly supporting this bill, just a few shy of the 60 we'll need to overcome a filibuster. Can you add your voice to help us win those few extra votes and get us over the finish line? Please call, write or tweet your Senators right now, urge them not to filibuster justice for sexual assault survivors and to allow an up or down vote on the Military Justice Improvement Act. Thanks for all you're doing to help us pass this important legislation so we can create an impartial system of justice within our military that is worthy of the sacrifices our brave men and women make for us every day.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator
  • Teresa, thank you for telling your story and for making your voice heard on behalf of so many survivors of sexual assault in the military who haven't had a voice. Your story unfortunately is all too common, but together, by passing the Military Justice Improvement Act and bringing real reform the military justice system, it's my hope that we can ensure no one goes through what you went through ever again. And thanks to the over 100,000 signers of this petition. It really makes a difference that Americans all over the country of all political stripes are raising their voices to say, enough is enough. After decades of inaction in the face of a growing epidemic of sexual assaults in their ranks, it's time for our military commanders to relinquish their authority over whether or not to prosecute sexual assault cases, and transfer that authority to trained, independent military prosecutors where it belongs. Only in the U.S. military does a boss get to determine whether or not their employee was sexually assaulted. This policy must end. The brave men and women of our military sacrifice every day for our country and deserve a justice system worthy of that sacrifice. They deserve better than to fear an enemy within their own unit more than they fear an enemy abroad. And they deserve better than to be victimized all over again by the very military they serve even after being physically traumatized by their attacker. It's my hope that we will get a vote on the Military Justice Improvement Act in the coming weeks, and while a clear majority of the U.S. Senate is behind us, unfortunately, we'll likely need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in order to be successful. That means I need you all to take the next step beyond signing a petition. I need you to contact your Senators and urge them to support the Military Justice Improvement Act. Get on Twitter and Facebook and join the voices of so many others speaking out about this injustice at #passMJIA. Because only by passing this important legislation will the survivors of sexual assault in the military get a fair shot at the justice they deserve.

— Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator