Allow Transgender People Into the U.S. Military
On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be accepted or allowed into the U.S. Military because their cost is a "burden." This is extremely disgraceful and an insult to all those who have already given their lives for this country. This is not equality, and this is not "supporting the LGBT community," as he said he does. This is utterly transphobic. Many people who served are going to be left jobless, and many others will no longer be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not okay, and this should not be legal. Trans people are still people.
Authorize a single case contract with Dr. Sugarbaker / Washington Hospital Center so I can have my lifesaving surgery
My name is Holly Freuler. I am a 35 year old married mother of 2. I have a very rare form of cancer: Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Only 130 cases have been reported worldwide. I was first treated for this cancer back in June of 2012. Unfortunately, my most recent CT scan indicated a recurrence of my disease. This type of disease requires a specialized surgery (Cytoreductive Surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC). No doctor within my insurance network has ever treated a case like this before and no doctor performs the surgery necessary to save my life: Cytoreductive Surgery with HIPEC (open perfusion). My local surgeon who is considered, "in network" recognizes this fact and is also recommending I have surgery with Dr. Sugarbaker in Washington, D.C. He has stated that, "No one here can cure what you have. You need to go to Dr. Sugarbaker." Cytoreductive surgery with Hyperthermic Peritoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is the standard treatment for my disease. There is NO alternative curative treatment. It is approved by the FDA and my surgeon has a 90% survival rate at 5 years (well above the rest). In 2012, my health insurer, Florida Hospital/FHHS, authorized the surgery with the same surgeon/hospital I am requesting now after I created a Change.org petition. Now, I need FHHS to authorize this treatment and sign a single case contract with Dr. Sugarbaker/Washington Hospital Center again. Since they have set a precedent of treatment and clearly agreed with the points I raised in my appeal in 2012, I hope they will authorize this treatment once again. My surgeon's office has been attempting to obtain authorization in a timely manner prior to my surgery date of February 26th, 2014. Unfortunately, they have been given incorrect fax numbers, claims of numerous lost received faxes, and other roadblocks preventing us from receiving the authorization.I am proud to have been a Florida Hospital employee for 3 years. I've been a registered nurse for over 10 years. Through my work not only as a registered nurse but also in Information Technology, I strive to provide the best solutions for our patients. It's time for Florida Hospital to "extend the healing ministry of Christ" to one of their own employees: Me. They can do this by signing a single case contract to let me have my life saving surgery to cure me of cancer. Please sign my petition and help me once again to convince Florida Hospital Healthcare System to give me the same chance at beating cancer as they did in 2012.
Outlaw hog vs. dog hunting/fighting in the wild
Goal: To outlaw the cruel and inhumane practice of using dogs to hunt wild boar in Florida, as well as in the 31 others states it's currently legal. Florida (as well as other states) has a wild boar problem. Hogs are numerous, omnivorous and have no natural predators, making them one of the largest nuisance pests in the state. There are many humane options for dealing with the pigs, which do not need to involve brutally killing the pigs or putting domesticated dogs in harm’s way. However, despite the existence of alternatives, Florida and other states have exempted the use of "bait-dogs" in boar hunting. This practice is incredibly dangerous and very inhumane for the dogs and boars involved. Each of the 32 states that allow this practice laws differ, but Florida animal cruelty statutes states: FLORIDA ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0828/Sections/0828.122.html 828.122 Fighting or baiting animals; offenses; penalties.—(1) This act may be cited as “The Animal Fighting Act.”(2) As used in this section, the term:(a) “Animal fighting” means fighting between roosters or other birds or between dogs, bears, or other animals.(b) “Baiting” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals. In addition, “baiting” means the use of live animals in the training of racing greyhounds.(c) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.(3) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following acts commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:Baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting; (9) This section shall not apply to:.....(e) Any person using dogs to hunt wild hogs or to retrieve domestic hogs pursuant to customary hunting or agricultural practices." The exception (e) makes NO logical sense, because dogs are trained to "hunt" by chasing, cornering, attacking and fighting. So, why is it illegal to cause a dog to fight another dog, or a pig in an enclosure, but it is legal to use dogs to chase and viciously attack pigs while being trained and in the wild? Boar hunting with dogs is exactly what it sounds like: dogs trained to track and attack. They are taken out into the country, or wherever wild hogs are plentiful, and set loose to sniff out hogs. Once a hog is found the dogs will chase it down, corner, bay and attack it, usually leaving it badly injured, but normally still alive. Hunters (when they catch up) will kill the pig, usually by "sticking," which is a prolonged death vs. the use of a proper gun. Wild hogs are incredibly difficult to kill and will put up a fight until the end. Many dogs involved are wounded by tusks, bitten, trampled and sometimes killed. This is basically animal fighting, in the wild. Putting dogs in such a dangerous situation is inhumane and should not be legal. PETITION LETTER: Wild boars are a major problem in Florida and in other states. The species has no natural predators, is omnivorous and repopulates very quickly: it is because of these traits that wild boars are a force hard to reckon with. There are many control methods used, some of them very inhumane. Currently it is legal for dogs to be used in wild hog hunting: this is extremely dangerous for the dogs involved and leads to inappropriate practices elsewhere. Dogs involved in hunting are likely to be seriously injured by the hogs. Dogs get trampled, bitten, pierced by tusks and may be infected with diseases that pigs carry. The hogs are frightened, outnumbered and suffer a painful death. I urge you to propose a ban on hunting wild pigs with dogs in order to put a stop to these inappropriate behaviors. Please consider other methods of wild pig population control, such as designating land for hogs to be displaced to, and controlling breeding of the species. Allowing dogs to hunt them is inhumane and unnecessary. Sincerely, [Your Name Here]
Help families of murdered children pass Curtis’s Law
I will never forget the day those policeman came to my door to tell my that my son Curtis was dead. Your world is immediately flipped upside down and the pain grips you like nothing else you can imagine. After the initial shock wears off, you want answers. As a parent, you need basic answers. Answers to questions like: Who is investigating my child’s case, and where are their belongings? As if the pain of losing my child wasn’t enough, I had to take on the additional stress and frustration of attempting to pry these very basic details out of the law enforcement agency investigating my son’s death. In Florida, law enforcement agencies are not required to release any information about on-going murder investigations to anyone. My son’s investigation has been on-going for almost 20 years now. I had to get a lawyer to simply find out who was working on my son’s case! I would later learn that my experience was not unique. Other parents were struggling through the same process. Those who can’t afford legal counsel often give up. This is why I am working with other parents of murdered children to create a law in Florida that would require law enforcement agencies to send a letter to the parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin within 30 days of notifying them of their child’s death. The letter would include information about: Onsite police and paramedics, assigned investigators, coroner’s name, where child’s property and belongings are stored, and any available photos This would NOT be required if the child’s parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin is a suspect or person-of-interest in the child’s murder investigation. When a family faces the unthinkable, all they want is some type of closure. They shouldn’t have to spend weeks or months, or even retain legal counsel to get the basic information about their child’s case that can help our families begin to heal. Please sign this petition today and help families like mine pass Curtis’s Law today.
Help Protect Our Florida Manatees - Enforce the Use of Propeller Guards on Boats!
According to savethesea.org, over 100 manatees on average are killed each year, and much more are injured or deformed. Mortality rates have been climbing, up to 200 per year. The manatee population has been rapidly declining and has now been placed on the endangered species list. But there is a way to help prevent this. We could use propeller guards. Propeller guards shield the propeller of a boat and are relatively inexpensive. They allow time for the manatee and other sea creatures to get out of the way and protect them from sharp propeller blades, saving countless animals. If we could enforce the law to use propeller guards, at least on rental crafts, driven by inexperienced boaters, we could preserve manatees and other sea life for generations to come! My friends and I, The Sea Warriors, would like to champion a law requiring rental boat companies to equip all rental boats with propeller guards, preventing inexperienced boaters from injuring sea life. Your signature on our petition would be greatly appreciated! You can also visit our website at manateewarriors.webs.com.
Tell ICE: Don't deport Florida DREAMer Jennifer Lopez away from her family!
DREAMer Jennifer Lopez needs our help right now. She is a Florida resident and Dream Act-eligible youth who Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to deport as we speak -- even though she has never committed a crime and was brought to the U.S. as a young child. Jennifer was threatened with deportation after her mother and she were pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Palm Beach county, where she lives with her younger siblings -- who are U.S. citizens with health problems that require Jennifer's ongoing care and attention. Immigration officials let Jennifer's mother go because she was recently able to attain resident status that Jennifer could not be included in because she had "aged out" of the visa process (a painful experience that throws many immigrant youth into legal limbo when they turn 21). Now, Jennifer's family and legal counsel are calling out for help after she was taken into DHS/ICE custody and threatened with the possibility of deportation away from her mother, siblings, and future in this country. Like DREAMer Manuel Guerra, Jennifer should not be a priority for deportation under the new ICE/DHS guidelines. Instead, she should be granted a type of status that allows her to contribute to the country she calls home. Jennifer has lived in the U.S. for a decade and completed high school through a GED program in order to help her mother and siblings. In fact, Jennifer's deportation would be doubly devastating -- not only would it cut her dreams and future plans short, it would rip her away from a family that depends on her care. Jennifer's younger sister, Ashley, a 5-year-old U.S. citizen, has been diagnosed with a blood clot, requiring her to be in observation for 3 months in the hospital, and to wear a special "boot" to get around. Her brother, also a citizen, appears to be losing his vision. Jennifer's mother has been diagnosed with a tumor in her knee, which required knee reconstruction. On top of all of this, Jennifer and her mother have NO criminal record and have been paying taxes for more than 8 years. Jennifer's legal counsel says, "I just got off the phone with Jennifer, who was in tears. It is heart-breaking to hear her fear and desperation. I spoke to the ICE officer arresting her, and he said he has "no discretion" and it is "mandatory" that she be taken into custody, even though she is a DREAM Act candidate, caring for 2 younger siblings with serious medical prob's, no criminal record, and a bright future in this country." If you agree that Jennifer should stay in the U.S. with her family, please sign the petition and spread the word by sharing it on Facebook.
Grant my wounded veteran husband the benefits he deserves now!
Dear Elected Officials, We desperately need your help. This is about a hero’s dignity and respect. I am the wife of a US ARMY Staff Sargent. His name is Rafael Gutierrez. He retired from the Army last November with 22 years of active duty military service under his belt. He wasn’t planning on retirement, but he was found “Unfit for Duty” by the ARMY after being injured in theater. Even though his retirement date was Nov. 27, 2013, on February 6, 2014, he was told by someone at the Florida VA office that he still needs to wait anywhere from 2 to 15 more months to start receiving his pay. Add this to the months we’ve already been waiting. We were told at the time of retirement, that the entire process would take 45 days and we planned financially for 60, just in case. When we called the Florida VA, 71 days had passed. We were told his processing hadn’t even started and had to wait 2-15 MORE months because they were backed up. This was disheartening and EXTREMELY infuriating. We have 2 kids, 16 and 18, and our son is in the Autism Spectrum, anxiety, and depresion. The medications and medical appoitment co-pays are getting ridiculously high. WE CAN'T WAIT ANY LONGER! Let me tell you about my husband, and why he is a HERO. SSG Gutierrez has been deployed and/or away from us so many times that of the 20 years we’ve been married, we’ve actually been “together” less than 15. Through his deployments he suffered from severe PTSD and constant headaches but was told that it would all “go away” with time, and did not receive treatment for either. This first started back in 2004. He VOLUNTEERED for his deployments. He could not sit by and watch in the News his military brothers & sisters fighting and barely getting by, and do nothing to help. Ask anyone who has served with him and they will testify to this. He knows damned well that in order for his family to be happy, they must be free, so he went and fought, as was his job, for the freedon of his, YOUR, our Country. You are reading this because of heroes like him who have always protected our rights. His last deployment was to Afghanistan. His headaches got progressively worse until one day he lost consciousness at the wheel of a Humvee. The vehicle was a total loss. He suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder, back, hips, knees, and head. He was medically evacuated from Afghanistan to Germany on Oct 2009, from there he was sent to Ft Gordon, GA. They told him in Germany that they couldn’t perform the required tests. In GA he spent months seeing doctors but not given any physical therapy and was told not to exercise without medical supervision. This resulted on a man who previously weight a healthy 235 pounds with a 7% index body fat, accustomed to physical labor and exercise, to gain 75 pounds sitting in a room, taking medications that made him gain weight (he wasn’t receiving a medical/hospital diet and had to survive on take-out), waiting alone is a room for someone to do something and give him answers. Needless to say, none of this helped his already set and untreated PTSD and depresion. He was NOT a person. He was NOT treated as a hero, with respect. He was just another patient to fill with pills. Nobody gave a rat's behind. This resulted in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and worsening of the injuries mentioned above, still, no one attended the extra problem that weight gain represented. Of course, this led in more pills. It was a something out of a horror story. After a while, and by our request, they transferred him close to home to the Warrior Transition Battalion in Orlando. Having him home made a big difference, specially in his diet, but the weight caused by the medications wasn’t coming off. Still, it wasn’t being addressed. As to why he lost consciousness and the reason for the headaches, which had by now become severe migraines (about 5 per week, each lasting anywhere from 16 to 48 hours), no answers. We finally DID get an answer, 9 months AFTER the accident, at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, at Bethesda, MD, where he was finally examined extensively by a group of specialists. They discovered he had suffered 2 brain injuries during his first deployment to Iraq in 04 when he was told that everything would “go away,”and/or his vehicular accident in 09. After returning home, everything went back to private doctors prescribing pills. The communication between his doctors was so bad that he almost OVERDOSED and had to go through a week of cold turkey detox. The symptoms were ten times WORSE. This went on from 2009 to 2013 where he was hospitalized at the VA Hospital in Tampa for 3 weeks last September. There, his weight problem had finally reached an all-time danger high with diabetes. He was told once too many times that he was the most difficult case they’ve seen, because no matter what they tried, the migraines would not go away, and there was “nothing we can do.” He still has them. He needs help on daily simple things like driving, getting dressed, remembering his meds (over 15). He has trouble concentrating, remembering, getting organized; he still can’t exercise as before and he’s still dealing with losing weight. Since Tampa, he has finally been able to lose 40 pounds just by switching his medications and the times when they were taken. THIS is the DIFFERENCE that a CARING doctor makes. Needless to say, this has been a very disappointing journey. Once the military finally decided that he was unfit for duty, he was given his retirement date with a disability percentage of 90%. The VA gave him 100%. This brings us to the right-now. While we are still under the ARMY’s umbrella, waiting for the first VA check that was supposed to take 45 days from November 27, 2013, we’re being paid a lot less while, of course, still having the same expenses. Our emergency savings are gone, yet we still have to wait 2-15 more months?! I stay home for my soldier because he needs a 24/hr caregiver, he can’t hold a part time job for OBVIOUS reasons…what are we supposed to do while the people who are supposed to support their heroes the most just say “it will go away,” “there’s nothing we can do for your pain,” and “you have to wait” even longer? My husband has never been treated with the respect a wounded soldier deserves and now it has come to the unthinkable, we have to borrow money from relatives to pay for our kid’s graduation, braces, the normal simple stuff that goes on everyday like food, rent, utilities. Our electric service was discontinued twice since this all hit the fan. This is humiliating. God forbid we have a real emergency while living check to check, AFTER giving SO MUCH for this country. Guess what are the worst triggers for his migraines? Stress, high blood pressure, depression, anger, frustration. He’s back to the severity of when this all started years ago. YEARS! His progress is not only STALLED but REGRESSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously? This is why our government spent so much in trying to get him better? Paying medical expenses and hospitalizations through 5 years, just to go back to where we started ---- no, I'm sorry, WORSE than when he started. We are DONE waiting and going along with excuses. We DEMAND the respect and the benefits we deserve NOW, not in 15 months! We CAN’T wait, and we shouldn’t have to, but we can’t do it alone. We need the backup and the help from our elected officials; from YOU. How can we get my husband back his dignity? PLEASE HELP!! in desperate need, Gretchen Gutierrez …and remember…not all of our fallen heroes have passed away, the one that need us most are still among us. DON'T let them fall any deeper.
Save His Pension!
My husband did physically demanding work for over 30 years for Yellow Freight, and he did it happily, knowing that all of his hard work came with the promise of a pension to support us in our retirement. In 2014, Congress decided that those promises don’t matter -- it passed the Multi-Employer Pension Recovery Act (MPRA), which allows for disastrous cuts to the pensions of those who are already retired and on a fixed income. The pension Jeff earned will now be cut by 50%, putting our home and future in jeopardy. The MPRA was slipped into a must-pass Omnibus budget bill just hours before it had to be voted on to keep the government from shutting down. This dirty tactic was the only way such an unfair law could get passed. Now, lawmakers are trying to work to reverse the damage before it is too late, with the Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPPA). UPDATE 4/9/16: THE SAME PEOPLE WHO HAD MPRA SLIPPED INTO THE OMNIBUS IN 2014 ARE NOW WORKING ON A BILL TO MAKE IT LEGAL TO SLASH PENSIONS OF RETIREES IN FUNDS LIKE JEFF'S THAT ARE LESS THAN 120% FUNDED. THIS IS BLATANT PENSION THEFT! Tell Congress to protect seniors’ pensions. Pass the Keep Our Pension Promises Act. For lawmakers, many of whom are financially secure and don’t need to worry about their retirement, stories like ours don’t seem to matter when they pass harmful legislation. We don't live extravagantly. Now, because of MPRA, we are not sure if we can keep our home. Even worse, we have to stop helping two relatives with food and medical expenses. Jeff is 69 and I'm 66 and I’m scared we will be expected to go back into the workforce if we want to survive. Even if we wanted to, my husband has two bad shoulders and a bad hip from over 30 years of heavy lifting at Yellow Freight. I have a heart problem. It is a shame we are in a place where seniors even have to entertain this idea. The wealthiest country in the world can do better. Our lawmakers can do better. Jeff is a Vietnam vet. 60% of pensioners affected by this bill are Veterans. Jeff's pension fund still has $18 billion he and 400,000 others worked hard for. People like us cannot afford laws like the MPRA. It must be reversed or seniors like us could find ourselves on the streets and living in poverty. Please join us in asking Congress to pass the Keep Our Pension Promises Act.
Change insurance guidelines to cover ALL preventative methods for diagnosed cancer patients
Sonja Wagner, a 24 year old, three time cancer survivor, has been denied insurance coverage for a PET scan that can accurately locate any potential malignant tumor growth. During remission, Sonja goes in for regular scans to keep an eye on any new cancer growth within her body. Blue Cross of Florida, however, has deemed this scan "medically unnecessary" and will not provide her with the coverage she needs to get this potentially life-saving scan. After being told personally by her doctor that the PET scan is medically necessary, they decided to only approve a CT scan, which is nowhere near as accurate as a PET scan. A CT scan can come back clean even when there is cancer present. Early detection is the number one most important factor in beating cancer. Patients like Sonja should never be denied life-saving, preventative, methods for battling cancer. Insurance companies should not be allowed to deny patients the services they need in order to locate any potential new cancer growth, ESPECIALLY after being told by a doctor that the service is a medical necessity. Insurance companies will cover breast reduction surgery under the right circumstances and even provide full coverage to rehab for sex offenders, but turn around and deny the most accurate type of scan for detecting cancer to people who have previously been diagnosed. Please share this petition, as we need all the signatures and support we can get!
No on HJ69/SJ18: killing wolf pups in dens, hibernating bears, stealjaw toe traps on bears
Tell your Senator and President Trump to vote NO on H.J. 69/S.J. Res. 18! 225 heartless House Members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films. And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska. In this case, Alaska has a bloodthirsty Board of Game, whose members enthusiastically implement a draconian policy called “Intensive Management.” That policy dictates that state managers drive down wolf, bear, and coyote numbers to boost caribou and moose numbers for hunters — turning Alaska’s wildlife refuges into what retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer calls “game farms” — the very thing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted to stop through a rigorous, science-based, and legal federal rulemaking process that was overturned by today’s vote. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shouldn’t run refuges like game farms, as Alaskan officials want to do. Only the U.S. Senate and President Trump can now stop this unwinding of a decision by a professional wildlife management agency. Please contact your U.S. Senators and tell them to steer clear of a disgraceful resolution, and to honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America. From the Humane Society (http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html