Keep the teacher's tax deduction in our federal taxes
Imagine you are at work and realize that you are in need of something very important to your success at this job. You go through the proper channels to acquire this item but at every turn are told that this essential item is not truly essential to the job. Some might say, well just get it yourself and move on. Well imagine again that this happens with EVERY item that you need. This is the life of some teachers in this country especially in the most needy of districts. These districts are also the ones with the highest achievement gap. Parents can only provide so much for their children. For some it is a matter of buying clothing or buying the books, notebooks, pencils, markers etc. Clothing is a bit more important. Imagine even further that the situation is choosing between clothing and housing. School supplies do not even enter into their consciousness. Teachers provide for these students because we set our students up to succeed in life. The kids are not the ones that have put their families into these situations. They are just collateral damage. The $250 that teachers can get back via taxes yearly only chips away at the mountain we spend out of our own pockets. Every little bit back helps us to provide the best possible education for the future of our country. By doing away with this help, it impacts those who are the most vulnerable in our country, the children. Please help to make sure that our future has an actual future.
Adverse effect of GOP tax bill on Graduate students in the US
Graduate students in the US are already living at the survival line. They are working hard to push forward the frontiers of science in all directions and trying to make a better tomorrow than today. Their disposable income is barely reaches 20k per year ( stipend for being TA or RA) and this money goes all to their consumption needs with almost nothing left to save. The new GOP tax bill is going to make the tuition waiver taxable which is estimated to cost each graduate student about $2000 a year and this will push most of the graduate students even lower the survival level. As a result, they should cut down their daily expenses to get along with the new budget and this means they will buy and consume less necessary stuff. On the other side, local businesses will suffer as well because students will spend less money in local restaurants, bars, games and etc. In all, this bill is going to put more financial pressure on graduate students and also hurt local businesses across the US. Please sign and share this petition to support all graduate students in the US and also opposing this unfair tax bill.
To open and maintain more public ATV/Dirtbike Trails in MA
As of right now I am up to $750 in fines for simply riding an ATV on public town land. The areas in which I and other ATV/Dirtbike enthusiasts use are created by ATVs and Dirtbikes to go in and around areas like landfills and powerlines. These are not beautiful places to hike or walk your dog but they suit us just fine. The problem is our State's strict laws on offroad vehicle use. Basically, if you own an ATV in MA the only place you are able to ride is Pittsfield MA, which is practically in another state form where I live. Because of this I and many others head to their local spots. Some are old quarries, sandpits and powerlines. However these are all illegal and I can attest to that. Like I stated before I am up to $750 in fines for simply wanting to have fun and not bother anyone. The state is not doing its part in providing enough safe space for outdoor recreational use for all of its residents. In my town alone there are over 70 acres of protected land that are permissible to be used by foot, bicycle or horseback. Some of this army land looks like it was used for nuclear experiments (no growth in forest and all sand). Yet still these sandy areas, perfect for riding ATVs and dirt bikes, is still illegal. As riders and residents of Massachusetts we need to propose the State to do something about this. Riding ATV's and dirtbikes should not be considered a crime! There is a need to have more legal places to ride! In order to do this people need to register their machines. If everyone in the state registered their machines the state might be persuaded to take action. Massachusetts should also look to change the rules of legal dirt bike only areas to allow both ATVs and dirtbikes; for example Freetown State Forest and the Wrentham Trails. This would at least give ATV riders some other options without traveling 3 hours. Regardless we need to start a conversation with the State!
Change MA law regarding child abuse. Harsher jail sentences and more rights for Children!
Our current laws in Massachusetts to protect innocent children and to get the justice they rightfully deserve is broken. Your attention to this matter is requested. The laws in Massachusetts regarding child abuse are not acceptable. My two year old was physically abused by a "man" named Nathan St. Pierre. This man got out on $1,000 bail! The parents of the abused child (myself and Joshua Renaud) were never notified. I am living in fear of this monster constantly. A protection order means nothing. My daughter deserves to see justice from what this monster did to her. 5 years is nothing! He took her innocence away, caused her PTSD, night terrors and separation anxiety.To top it off the MA law states that the accused has a right to face their accuser. Well the accuser is a 3 year old little girl who was a victim of his malicious violence. If we go to trial she will have to face the monster who abused her. She has to sit and point him out and say what he did to her. No child should have to be victimized again. The MA law as it is right now is victimizing children for a second time. The child should be able to sit in a separate room and see a picture of the man and say that is the man/woman who hurt me. They should not be expected to go on the stand. I am looking for harsher punishments and to help our child not be re-victimized again! I want to make a law called Chloe's Law. Please help our system change. Our children need to know they got justice! #JusticeforChloe.
Changing The Legal Status of "Pets" From Personal Property To "Companion Animals"
I have never been a huge fan of petitions but I feel like this 1 needs to really take a stand and fight for what we believe in. I fully stand behind Bill H.2290 presented by 4th Bristol District Representative Steven S. Howitt. This petition will go to every political figure in the state of Massachusetts. From the Governor on down!!! Let our voices be heard!!! Everything on this bill is what animals lovers need!!! From holding animal abusers responsible to protecting the animal rescue organizations. Running a local rescue like I do, a Do Not Adopt List would also be so crucial to making sure these animals are going towards the best forever home possible. Mr. Howitt of Seekonk (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2290) of Elizabeth Cabraldipippo relative to the penalties for a guardian abusing a domesticated companion animal. The Judiciary. The effort to establish a legally meaningful distinction between pets and living room sofas has recently gained momentum. Draft legislation was just introduced in Massachusetts to change the legal status of dogs and cats from property to companion animals. Presenter:Steven S. Howitt (By Request) Status:Referred to Joint Committee on the Judiciary Bill H.2290For the purposes of this bill a “companion animal” shall be considered a dog, cat or any domesticated animal. Domesticated animal for purposes of this bill shall include birds, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, or any animal sharing a home with a caregiver. Caregivers of “companion animals” shall be considered “guardians”. Guardians of “companion animals” have a duty to protect the health and safety of the animal. A companion animal may not be left outside during extreme weather including extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, or hail or any weather condition which poses an adverse risk to the health and safety of the “companion animal”. Guardians and/or any person who abuses a “companion animal” shall have the animal seized by animal control and shall be punished by: First offense - imprisonment in the house of correction for a period of 6 months, but not longer than 2 ½ years and a $2,500 fine, “companion animal” abusers may not be permitted to obtain another animal. Second offense – imprisonment in the house of correction for a period of 1 year but not longer than 2 ½ years and a $5,000 fine and shall be put on a “do not adopt to” list. This list will be published publicly. the list will be provided to all shelters, rescues, animal controls offices and pet stores. Third offense – imprisonment in the house of correction for a period of 2 ½ years and a $10,000 fine and shall be put on a “do not adopt to” list. This list will be published publicly. the list will be provided to all shelters, rescues, animal controls offices and pet stores.
Send Helicopter Aid to Puerto Rico to save lives NOW!
Supplies getting to Puerto Rico have been bottlenecked. They are sitting in warehouses in Puerto Rico and are not being distributed to the people on the island that are in desperate need. People are living without access to food and water. Because of the Jones act the island is unable to receive aid from anywhere but the USA unless the USA decides to waive this (which as of 9/26 they have not). We also have failing infrastructure throughout the island due to the overwhelming amount of debt we hold and an unyielding attitude to allow us to restructure the debt or have access to bankruptcy court. PROMESA was nothing but broken promises to our people. We have still seen no debt relief in any form since the passing of the bill. We demand respect and dignity as people who have been continuously exploited by the USA despite the immense sacrifices we have made for this country economically and militarily. We demand the following: 1. Suspend the Jones Act just as was done for FL & TX & allow foreign relief vessels into Puerto Rico. EEUU controls air and marine frontiers in Puerto Rico. They need to be open NOW for any and all international help. The Jones Act needs to be waived for hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.2. Send immediate and massive aid to Puerto Rico beginning with helicopters to distribute donations and rescue people in areas that are cut off & including cell towers to aid in communications for residents & relief workers.3. Pass bankruptcy relief legislation & negotiate public debt relief immediately.4. Pass a major reconstruction bill that includes solar energy & other sustainable technology that will save millions in the long run.
#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.
Stop harassing Manoj and address institutional racism in the Somerville Police Department
This petition is in support of the letter (goo.gl/ffSsD3) addressed to Somerville city Mayor Curtatone demanding to hold Somerville Police Department (SPD) accountable for harassing Manoj, a local resident of color, over the past few months. The tactics used to harass him, intimidating him at his home, and targeting him in the community are typical policing tactics used by police departments across the nation to criminalize people of color and Black Americans. Because there is currently no transparent systematic institutional way to hold police officers accountable we, the public, demand it. The Somerville Police have, on three different occasions, harassed Manoj and falsely accused him of stealing bikes. On each occasion, Manoj had denied any wrongdoing and sought to prove that his bike wasn’t stolen. Nonetheless, the police have continued to use allegations he is stealing bikes as a pretense to keep harassing him. In one incident of extensive harassment in June 2017, seven SPD officers came to Manoj’s home and harassed him, his partner, and their friends over the course of 2-3 hours. They preemptively detained him on false accusations of a stolen bike, made racist and misogynistic remarks, including an attempt to sexually solicit friends who had come to support. The police officers also searched their property without a warrant. While hovering over his partner, the lead detective, Ariel Collazzo claimed that she was “making him feel unsafe.” Detective Collazzo, has a known history of assaulting a Black man, calling him a N***** and fracturing his jaw. On August 18, 2017 Manoj’s bike was confiscated by a different officer for not carrying proof of purchase. In addition to filing a formal and publicly available complaint against the officers, including Detective Collazzo and Sgt. Salvatore Fusco, we demand the following: 1) That the Somerville Police immediately stop harassing Manoj and return the bicycle confiscated on 18 August, 2017; 2) That the Somerville Police close the prolonged investigation concerning Manoj and make the police incident report from June 22, 2017 available; 3) The City of Somerville conduct an investigation into the police process on June 22, 2017 with a focus on racial targeting and intimidation and take disciplinary action against police officer involved who acted inappropriately. In addition, to address the root causes of these incidents we further demand that mechanisms and processes for democratic community control of Somerville law enforcement be established in order to ensure that communities most harmed by “destructive policing have the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary action, control budgets and policies, and subpoena relevant agency information.” (https://policy.m4bl.org/community-control/
Extend Temporary Protective Status Now!
We the undersigned, write to urge you to support the extension of Temporary Protective Status for the 340,000 people across the country, who may soon lose their immigration status overnight. As a group of healthcare workers and community members dedicated to the health and well-being of the immigrant population in the Greater Boston area, we call on you to support our colleagues, neighbors and communities across the Commonwealth. The Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program, which falls under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has allowed individuals from countries with ongoing conflicts or environmental disasters to work and contribute to the growing economy of the Greater Boston area since 1990. The countries currently under TPS designation include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Nepal and Yemen. As you know, among all US states, Massachusetts has the 7th largest immigrant population, with foreign born individuals representing 15% of the population in our Commonwealth. A large proportion of these individuals living in Boston are from Haiti (7.6%) and El Salvador (6.3%). The immigrant population contributes significantly to the Greater Boston economy, holding a large proportion of health care and social assistance jobs (15%) in addition to high-skill jobs in engineering, information technology, the sciences, and low-skill jobs in manufacturing and service. Since 2003, DHS has overseen TPS and holds authority and ability to designate a country for TPS and to extend or terminate TPS designations. Many immigrants have been able to work and contribute to their communities for several years under this designation by re-registering annually. We are especially concerned by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's recent recommendation that TPS be ended for Central Americans and Haitians. A few months ago, former Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly gave Haitian nationals a six-month TPS extension through Jan. 22, 2018. The Trump administration has until November 23, 2017 to decide whether to give Haitians another extension. On November 6th, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced TPS status would be ended for 2,500 Nicaraguans, who will have until Jan. 5, 2019, to leave the United States or change their residency status. She gave 57,000 Hondurans a six-month TPS extension, through July 5, 2018, and TPS expires for 200,000 Salvadorans on March 9, 2018. These deadlines are approaching quickly, and the Trump administration has made it clear that it is not interested in further extensions. This is concerning to our collaborative group and to the Greater Boston population, as there is reason to believe that if these extensions are phased out or if TPS is allowed to expire, this action could potentially remove over 100,000 individuals who contribute to the workforce within Massachusetts. Besides the large economic toll that allowing TPS to expire would take on the area, the human tragedy is that many TPS families have young children who were born here and are citizens of this country. This adds to the moral dimension of TPS. There are known risks to those who would be forced to return to their home countries. For example, Haiti continues to face public health crises in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which would not only threaten the health of those returning, but also perpetuate the existing cholera epidemic and other health concerns such as Zika.,, In addition, other TPS designated countries such as El Salvador, which holds the world’s highest homicide rate, pose a direct threat to the safety and security of these families who would be forced to return to communities rife with gang violence and murder. In light of this information, we request that you strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security to extend TPS beyond 2018. The consequences of losing TPS would directly impact the communities and strongholds of Greater Boston and Massachusetts on a whole. We hope that you will support our plea and continue to support actions that embrace our immigrant population and further our country’s humanitarian efforts locally and abroad. Please help us to protect TPS and ensure that this program remains active to support the health, safety, and security of the residents of Massachusetts. _______________________ “Temporary Protected Status.” USCIS, Department of Homeland Security, 17 Oct. 2017, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status Walsh, Martin J. “Foreign Born in Boston.” Imagine All the People, City of Boston, Jan. 2016, www.bostonplans.org/getattachment/996f5664-5c87-454b-8a40-0d31a86e983f Bachmeier, James, and Jennifer Van Hook. “Profile of the Unauthorized Population - MA.”Www.migrationpolicy.org Migration Policy Institute (MPI), 1 Sept. 2017, www.migrationpolicy.org/data/unauthorized-immigrant-population/state/MA Haiti: Hurricane Matthew, Situation Report, March 2017, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.Org/3/a-bsl44e.pdf;  "Why the Low Zika Numbers in Haiti Might Be Wrong." Beaubien, Jason, NPR, September 7, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoday2016/09/07/492818984/why-the-low-zika-numbers-in-haiti-might-bewrong Haiti: Hurricane Matthew, Situation Report, March 2017, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.Org/3/a-bsl44e.pdf “The Department of State Warns U.S. Citizens to Carefully Consider the Risks of Travel to El Salvador Due to the High Rates of Crime and Violence. .” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 14 Feb. 2017, travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/el-salvador-travel-warning.html.
Remove Judge Thomas Estes, Make Rapist David Becker a Registered Sex Offender
David Becker, 18, has been charged with two counts of rape and one charge of indecent assault and battery which came from his attack of two women on April 2nd. Hon. Thomas H. Estes, First Justice of Palmer District Court, sentenced Becker to 2 years probation on August 15th and he is not required to register as a sex offender because he believes Becker should enjoy "a college experience." Becker's attorney Thomas Rooke maintains, "We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we should be branded for life with a felony offense and branded a sex offender." This "mistake" included sexually assaulting two unconscious women at a house party and then texting "sorry" the next day to one of the victims. Our justice system is obligated to hold criminals accountable, and when they don't it is our jobs as citizens to hold our justice system accountable. By removing Judge Thomas H. Estes, we are making a progressive step to end rape culture. Sexual assault should not be part of a college experience, it should not go unnoticed, and two years probation and a text sorry is not justice.