Decision Maker

Patrick Murphy

  • FL18
  • Representative

Patrick Erin Murphy is the United States Representative for Florida's 18th congressional district.

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Petitioning Florida State Senate, Jeff Miller, Ander Crenshaw, Corrine Brown, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Richard Nugent, David Jolly, Kathy Castor, Dennis Ross, Vern Buchanan, Tom Rooney, Patrick Murphy, Alce...

Add a need-based component to Medicaid

My four-year-old daughter Avery has medical conditions so severe that she will need assistance for the rest of her life. When Avery is sick, I quickly find myself drowning in debt and struggling to afford the care she needs. Unfortunately, I make too much to qualify for Medicaid, even though I wouldn’t be able to afford her bills if I made double what I was making now. I am asking the state of Florida to add a need-based component to Medicaid, so that families of loved ones with severe and extremely costly medical conditions can get the healthcare they need without sacrificing their family’s financial security. Families like mine aren’t asking for handouts. Many of us are fortunate enough to have insurance, which covers some of our loved ones’ medical bills. But because we make more than the annual Medicaid income threshold of around $26,000, we are prohibited from getting state assistance, something crucial for families of debilitated children. We are left with two primary choices – hope that our child’s affliction qualifies for the Medicaid Waiver (my daughter does not because her disease is rare) and enter the seven-year long waitlist; or quit working, sacrifice our annual income and family’s well-being in order to qualify for Medicaid. As a single father of three children, I have a responsibility to provide my kids with the best life possible. I cannot do that now, because Florida’s Medicaid program refuses to help me afford Avery’s care for bills that well-exceed the scope of my insurance coverage. How can I keep a roof over my kids’ head,  food on the table, and find a way to save for  their education if the majority of my income is going towards her medical bills? Sadly, my children are the real victims here. I agree that low-income families need help in receiving healthcare, but families who have loved ones with severe and costly disabilities should also be able to get the necessary assistance from Medicaid. I shouldn’t have to quit my job so my daughter can qualify for Medicaid. I shouldn’t be penalized for trying to be a contributor.  That doesn’t help anyone -- not my daughter, my family or society at large.   Please help me change Florida’s Medicaid for the better and ask for a need-based component, so families like mine can take care of their loved ones without sacrificing their family's security.

Greg Creese
133,088 supporters
Petitioning Eric Hirschhorn

U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments: Stop Silencing Syrian Voices! #FreeSyriasNet

Every day, Syrians are risking their lives to broadcast pictures and videos of the uprising -- but because of U.S. sanctions on Syria, they don't have access to essential technologies that would protect them from being spied on and tracked down by the Syrian government - often with the use of computer viruses. By easing current sanctions, the U.S. can help Syrian activists share information more safely. Because of U.S. sanctions, Syrian people are denied access to tools important to their online safety and security, such as anti-virus software and automated security updates. Syrians can't make purchases in Apple's App Store for their Apple products and it isn’t even possible to target Syrians with online advertising and PSAs on platforms like Facebook. Widely used products like Java, Yahoo Messenger, and mobile app stores like Google Play, which host important tools such as the Guardian Project's popular anti-censorship tools, do not have essential automatic security updates. Western governments and private corporations have publicly committed to helping Syrian activists, but the reality described by activists on the ground—and documented recently by the Washington Post —does not always match the rhetoric. Recent statements from the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have made it clear that it is U.S. Government Policy that these tools should be available.  Yet many vital platforms and tools remain inaccessible, because the sanctions are too complex and most companies fear harsh penalties of up to $1m per infractions.  As Syria undergoes unprecedented political upheaval, there is an opportunity for the Departments of Commerce and Treasury to review existing export controls, examining current language and licensure mechanisms, to address the concerns of private companies and reduce the barriers to licensing.  We ask that Commerce and Treasury consider:   • Granting a new general license to provide broader, clearer, and more explicit exemptions on personal communications and security technologies, balancing legitimate concerns over cryptography and financial transactions with the need to protect the safety of at risk populations.   • Streamlining the licensing process for both companies and non-governmental organizations, and offer clearer formal and informal guidance to companies on licensing procedures.  Please join me and other human rights advocates from Syria and across the world in calling on the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce to rise to the challenge.

Dlshad Othman
18,318 supporters
Petitioning Casey Steinau, Ian Olson, Kim Metcalfe, Darryl Sinkfield, Janet May, Nancy Worley

All Superdelegates - Vote Bernie

We, the undersigned constituents, write to you today to discuss how crucial your vote is to the future of our great country. I write to you today not only as a proud lifelong Democrat, but as someone who is deeply concerned about the upcoming election this November. Along with your colleagues, you are in an extremely powerful and special position for shaping our country's path forward. You have the power to help solidify the strongest candidate for our party to stop Donald Trump from damaging our country beyond repair. The party failed to prevent the loses of the '72 McGovern and '80 Carter elections. We can't make that same mistake in 2016, this time against an even more harmful and destructive Trump. That's the whole reason why you have your super delegate vote: to help prevent the party from choosing a poor General Election candidate that cannot guarantee a Democratic election. We have to do everything we can to make sure our Democratic candidate has the best odds to beat Trump. Senator Sanders has brought many people into the process (more than Obama did in 2008)(1), but many of those same people won't support Secretary Clinton. In fact, a petition that supported the 'Bernie or Bust' notion,  with over 100,000 signatures, was delivered to the White House recently. If we are to acknowledge the scientifically proven exit-voice theory, research suggests that it’s very likely more than 2.4 million people share the same sentiments (2) .In addition, hundreds of thousands of constituents feel disenfranchised due to abundant and documented voter restriction and election fraud (mass voter roll call purging, massive decrease in polling location, unused provisional ballots, misguided voting instructions, altering of ballots, broken voting machines, and a consistent trend of exit polling not matching election outcomes) (3)(4)(5)(6). Never mind the notion that hundreds of super delegates pledged their support for Clinton even before this election season, or the fact that documents were leaked proving that the DNC had already chosen Clinton as the nominee back in May 2015, on the same day that Sen. Sanders announced his candidacy (7).  We also run the risk of Secretary Clinton's potential legal issues costing us precious votes at the worst time possible. That is made clear by her own testimony regarding her misuse of her private email server; her statements to the public completely contradicted the FBI's testimony. It is also important to note that there is another petition that was delivered to the White House that voices the "Never Hillary" pledge., which was signed by over 200,000 people. There is also resounding concern over the issue of 'big money' in politics, including the issue of super PACs and the Hillary Victory Fund (8). The general consensus of average citizens is that she cannot be trusted.  The National polls are clear. The swing state polls are clear (9). The favor-ability ratings are clear. The momentum, energy, youth and Independent enthusiasm are all clear. Our best hope in defeating Trump is clear: Senator Sanders (10)(11). You have a unique opportunity to go down in history as one of the special few individuals who made the right judgment call and helped us elect the stronger candidate for the Democrats to retain the White House. You also have the opportunity to disregard all logic, polls, and the anti-establishment pulse of the country and stay with a riskier candidate and further the notion of a #DemExit. For the sake of the Democratic Party, for the sake of your place in history, and for the sake of unifying the entire country and not having to say "President Trump"... please vote for Senator Sanders in the convention this July. Thank you for your time and consideration. References: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) - who resourced the FEC (9) (10) (11)    

Jamie Ferrier
5,552 supporters
Petitioning Carlos Curbelo, Devin Nunes, Patrick Murphy, Doris Matsui, Yvette Clarke, Grace Meng, Kathleen Rice, Brian Higgins, Mike Pompeo, Mario Diaz-Balart, Richard Nugent, Gus Bilirakis, David Valadao, Jef...

Horse Racing is Desperately in Need of Reforms. Email Congress Now!

The Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity, a group of horse racing advocates, supporters, and industry members, believes every Thoroughbred race should be run on a safe and level playing field, and that nothing is more important than fair competition for the horses, jockeys, trainers and owners that compete, as well as the fans who wager their hard-earned money on our sport. Thoroughbred racing must follow the lead of most other major sports, and enable an independent, science-based organization to create national uniform medication standards for rulemaking, accreditation, testing, penalties and enforcement. Neither a state nor federal agency, USADA has the impartiality and scientific expertise to ensure that drug testing is uniform and the sport’s magnificent equine athletes are protected. An independent and uniform drug testing program is essential to prove the integrity of Thoroughbred racing and is the first, critical step in attracting new revenue for the sport. The time is now. If reforms are not implemented, the sport risks losing credibility, sponsors, owners, fans, and overall support. We encourage everyone who loves horses and horse racing to support our coalition and join with us to support national, independent testing and enforcement.

Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity
5,812 supporters
Petitioning Karen Glonoka

Stop the Love Street Project!

Stop the Love Street Project! Stop the Swap!! The Love Street Project would have the Town of Jupiter (i.e. the citizens) swap our front half or the Love Street property with Charles Modica (i.e. billionaire) for half of his property down the road on Parkway Street. This would enable Team Modica to build a shopping center on the Jupiter Inlet. There is not enough parking for the project even with the parking lot that will be on Parkway. the Love Street Project adds more restaurant and retail space to an all ready over developed community. Destroys our low key community with an increase in traffic and more retail and restaurant spaces then can not be sustained for the long run. The project destroys our precious waterfront. The "jobs" created are not living wage jobs and panders to the fickle tourist industry and destroys why people want to vacation and live in Jupiter.

Teri Grooms
3,915 supporters
Petitioning Steve Bullock

DNC Delegates & Super Delegates: Only Bernie can defeat Trump

(First, we MUST have a roll call vote, all the Democrats who cast their votes for a candidate and in turn voted in delegates to cast that vote at the DNC MUST be heard and recorded. This is democratic.) Bernie Sanders is simply the best candidate to beat Donald Trump; Delegates and Super Delegates please cast your votes accordingly. An average of the entire summary of all polling data compiled over the course of the election confirms this:  Sanders leads Trump nationally +10.4 Hillary is slightly above at +3.2 Do Democrats REALLY want to Win the White House? The Democratic Party claims that Winning the White House is their top priority, along with defeating Trump. It's time to look at the facts and look at who is the best candidate to achieve these goals; goals taken straight from the DNC. DEMOCRATS ARE FOCUSED ON WINNING ELECTIONS, PERIOD. Case in point #1: When Bernie addressed the House of Representatives to  explain that "it's not about winning, it's about transforming America," he was booed by Democratic members of Congress who believe they have no power to transform America unless they win elections. Bernie Booed by House Democrats DEMOCRATS SAY WE MUST DEFEAT TRUMP Case in point #2. Democrats also believe our main goal is to defeat Trump, i.e. win elections.  Their messaging is solely, WE MUST DEFEAT TRUMP.  Those two points have the Democratic Party freaking out after, to their surprise, Hillary's polling went DOWN after Bernie endorsed her. Democrats Freaked Out About Polls Emails sent from DCCC after Bernie's endorsement Three desperate emails were sent out in one day following Bernie's endorsement only to find Hillary's polling against Trump showed her LOSING ground, especially in three key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania showing them being completely terrified over the lack of "unity" as Sanders supporters fail to fall in line behind Hillary claiming: "After Bernie’s call for unity yesterday, we just figured Democrats would...well...unify. But instead, everything is falling apart. FIRST: We heard barely a peep from grassroots Democrats. THEN: A Quinnipiac poll showed Trump and Clinton tied in OH, FL, and PA.* NOW:  We’re questioning whether the Democratic Party can unify at all." __________________________________________________ Polling prior to Bernie's endorsement, June 21st vs. after, July 13th: *(note that the states are not all 'tied' as the DCCC claims): FL:  Clinton 47 - Trump 39 -----> Clinton 39 - Trump 42 OH: Clinton 40 - Trump 40 ------> Clinton 41 - Trump 41 PA: Clinton 42 - Trump 41 ------> Clinton 41 - Trump 43 June 21st vs. July 13th, as well as virtually EVERY POLL conducted between Sanders and Trump, Bernie wins nationally every time (as stated in beginning): FL: Sanders 45 - Trump 39 ------> Clinton 47 - Trump 39 OH:Sanders 48 - Trump 38 ------> Clinton 40 - Trump 40 PA: Sanders 47 - Trump 40 ------> Clinton 42 - Trump 41 __________________________________________________ 13 million votes for Bernie Sanders were cast from demographics who are largely composed of people who simply refuse to vote for Hillary OR Trump.  And some of them rather vote for Trump INSTEAD of Hillary! This is a stark reality that the Democratic Party must come to grips with if they not only want to put a Democrat in the White House in January, but elect Democrats in Primaries across our nation in November. Are you willing to lose the White House (as well as Congress) and suffer a loss that allows the potential for a President Trump? Dr. Cornel West is now endorsing Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton Most Bernie supporters are Dr. Cornel West supporters. He makes a compelling argument to his supporters on why Hillary, nor Trump, is a viable choice. How many of those 13 million will follow West? How many will vote Trump? How many will write in Bernie or simply stay home? Are Democrats willing to risk losing over this? So, do Democrats REALLY want to Win the White House? Then maybe it's time for DNC Delegates and  Super Delegates to rethink who their nominee will be in order to achieve that victory.  Bernie Sanders is simply the best candidate to beat Donald Trump; Delegates and Super Delegates please cast your votes accordingly.

Progressive Democrats
1,578 supporters
Petitioning John Mica, Alan Grayson, Corrine Brown, Daniel Webster, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Frederica Wilson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Curtis C...

Relief for Commuters: Ask our Representatives to Support Commuter Benefits

If you like the idea of less congestion for your commute, more transit benefits, better commuting options, then please read and support this petition: Even if you drive to work by yourself, passage of this bill will help you because less cars will be on the same streets, and more people will be in public transit. In May of 2014 Florida took a step forward in making our cities friendlier to transit with the introduction of SunRail, and in January of 2015 this country took a step back by decreasing commuter tax benefits for everyone. Please read the following letter sent to every member of Congress earlier this year. Let's ask our representatives to take action on passing this bill.   Cosponsor H.R. 990, the Commuter Parity Act of 2015 and restore parity for pre-tax commuter benefits for motorists and transit riders Dear Colleague:On January 1, 2015, almost 3 million of America’s commuters felt a tax increase because Congress was unable to come to an agreement to permanently extend parity between the parking and transit pre-tax benefits. I ask you to join me in co-sponsoring legislation to fix this problem once and for all. H.R. 990, the Commuter Parity Act of 2015, is a bipartisan solution to permanently establish parity in a revenue-neutral manner. At the beginning of this year, the transit portion of the transportation fringe benefit fell to $130/month while the parking portion remained at $250/month. The decrease in the transit portion of the commuter benefit resulted in an increased tax burden for workers who utilize public transportation for their daily commutes. For example, a working family that takes advantage of the full allowable monthly pre-tax deduction could pay as much as $750 more next year in federal taxes without legislation to re-establish parity. In effect, the lack of parity creates a financial incentive for Americans to drive to work alone, further crowding our busy roads. The “Commuter Parity Act” would create a unified cap of $235/month for both parking and transit. In the coming weeks, Congress will have the opportunity to take action to maintain parity in the parking and transit portions of the commuter benefit as it considers important tax-related legislation. We urge you not to forget the millions of commuting Americans that rely on the transit commuter benefit and join us by cosponsoring this bi-partisan legislation. To cosponsor, please contact Jamie Tricarico of my staff at Sincerely,PETER T. KINGMember of Congress

Peter Martinez
1,489 supporters
Petitioning FAMU BOT, Florida Board of Governors, Florida Governor, Florida State House, Florida State Senate, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Corrine Brown, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Frederica Wilson, Hillary Clint...

I'm With FAMU; FAMU Today, FAMU Tomorrow, FAMU Forever

Will FAMU be the next South Carolina State University? FAMU's revolving door of permanent and interim presidents created an unstable environment at the university since the departure of our beloved Dr. Frederick S. Humphries in 2001. Since 2001, FAMU has had 6 presidents (3 permanent and 3 interim), and this instability led to two probation periods by SACS, the suspension of the Marching 100 and an erosion in the FAMU brand because of the negative media that has followed FAMU in those years. Florida Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Board of Governors, and some members of the FAMU Board of Trustees want to destabilize FAMU just like Republicans did in South Carolina. Did you know that the Florida Board of Governors recently changed the rules for selecting university presidents so that they can fire Dr. Mangum and choose the next president of FAMU? This would be the 7th change in leadership since Humphries left in 2001? They are using what we call the “South Carolina Strategy” to attempt to destroy FAMU. The SC Strategy includes: 1.) Appointing Board Members who create chaos2.) Closing high-impact programs in STEM (e.g. joint engineering school)3.) Ensuring inconsistency in leadership (e.g. consistent dismissal of presidents)4.) Creating failure on state metrics5). Ensuring that enrollment declines6). Highlighting negative stories while burying positive news7). Interfering in the selection process of new presidents Dr. Elmira Mangum's leadership at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has brought stability to our alma mater despite the consistent resistance to change by the previous members of the FAMU Board of Trustees during here two years in Office, our 11th and 1st Female President has begun to implement the changes necessary to turn FAMU around. Dr. Mangum's time at FAMU has been much like President Barack Obama's time in the White House: major accomplishments despite the consistent obstructionism from Republicans in congress. Dr. Mangum has brought stable and strong leadership to FAMU that has led to increases in the unfair BOG performance metrics. She thwarted an attempt by FSU to steal FAMU's College of Engineering that they were allowed to tag on to in 1982 as a joint engineering college. Despite only being on the job for 24 hours, Dr. Mangum stood up for Rattlers everywhere and said no despite urgings by state Republicans and others to "cut a deal" with FSU. Last year, FAMU was at the bottom of these metrics, yet this year the University was two points behind Florida State University. Fundraising at FAMU is at an all-time high over the last two years. Dr. Mangum has also brought in a dynamic team who is bringing needed changes to benefit FAMU students, faculty, staff and alumni. These include Provost Marcella David who has been responsible for leading FAMU's focus on improving student outcomes; Athletic Director Milton Overton, who has led the charge to revitalize FAMU's dormant athletic program; and Vice President for Research Timothy Moore, who has increased FAMU's ability to attract much-needed research dollars over the last 16 months. Dr. Mangum's leadership ensured the transfer of nearly 400 acres from the United States Department of Agriculture to FAMU- the largest transfer ever to an HBCU. While Dr. Robinson signed the agreement, Dr. Mangum closed the deal. Her leadership was also responsible for the elevation of FAMU to an R-2 (high research activity) Carnegie classification, and an increase in fundraising from $3.3 Million to $5.7 million in 2015. The University is expected to bring in an all time high $6.3 million in 2016 and plans to embark on a $100 million dollar Capital Campaign- the first for FAMU! Capital Campaigns take stability in order to be successfully implemented. Dr. Mangum has been recognized for her leadership by many external organizations including being named the HBCU Female President of the Year by HBCU Digest. Dr. Mangum's leadership has brought a level of recognition from outside entities on a level not seen since Dr. Frederick S. Humphries was president at FAMU. These accolades include: ♣ESSENCE and MONEY magazines rank Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University No. 5 among all national universities and colleges on its “50 Best Colleges for African-Americans” lists. Additionally, the list identifies FAMU as the No.1 historically Black college or university (HBCU) in the nation. ♣ FAMU is the 2016 Champion of the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge National Quiz Bowl Competition♣ FAMU was recently elevated to an R-2 Research University, which is the second highest research category in the Carnegie Classification System. This special classification has elevated FAMU to the same research level as institutions such as Auburn University and Old Dominion University with only half the faculty. ♣ The National Science Foundation Lists FAMU as the No.1 HBCU in the nation for research and development expenditures.♣ U.S. News & World Report has listed FAMU among the top 25 schools in the nation for enrolling the highest percentage of students accepted. Making us number one in the state of Florida, and topping the national average out by 20 percent. ♣ The Princeton Review named FAMU among its "2016 Best Colleges: Region-by-Region" list, ranking FAMU as one of the "Best Southeastern" colleges and universities in the nation. ♣ U.S. News & World Report named FAMU among the best national universities, and Forbes magazine listed the University as one of "America's Top Colleges" for 2015, and as one of its "Best in the South" colleges. ♣ A funding report obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), which compares National Institutes of Health research funding in pharmacy schools across the country, names the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences the largest recipient of NIH research grants among all Florida pharmacy programs as well as the University of Georgia, Auburn and Samford.♣ The National Institute of General Medical Sciences has awarded FAMU a total of $1.4 million to conduct research that should lead to the discovery of novel third generation antipsychotics. ♣ FAMU received one of the largest single land transfers in the history of the USDA and has become the owner of the historic Brooksville Agricultural and Environmental Research Station. The Station will support and enhance agriculture research and technology transfer to farmers and local communities, including small farmers, minority farmers, Native Americans, beginning ranchers, and veterans.♣ FAMU holds the U.S. patent for cDNA that can be utilized in small RNA technologies to promote expression of disease tolerance-related genes to induce production of disease-tolerance related gene products for resisting disease occurrences in Florida hybrid bunch grapes.♣ FAMU is recognized among the top 20 “Best Online Master’s in Public Health Degree Programs” in the nation.♣ A newly released study by New York-based financial technology company SmartAsset has ranked FAMU among the best value colleges and the top schools where graduates earn the highest starting salaries. ♣ FAMU’s Nursing Program is ranked among the top 20 best-value nursing programs in the U.S. by, and among the top 25 (No. 21 out of 1,189 entries) nursing programs in the eastern region by The Nursing Journal. ♣ FAMU’s College of Education is listed by as the No. 3 education program in the state of Florida for pursuing an education degree and jump-starting a teaching career.♣ FAMU holds the inaugural HBCUGrow Consortium LEAD awards in the areas of leadership (President Elmira Mangum) and Marketing (Office of Communications)♣ FAMU holds the esteemed designation as a nationally ranked military-friendly school by GI Jobs.♣ FAMU is the No. 3 Volunteer-Producing HBCU in the nation for the U.S. Peace Corps.♣ Teach For America named FAMU among the top 20 contributing colleges and universities in the nation.♣ FAMU is the home of seven Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Millennium Scholars.♣ FAMU is the first designated Purple Heart HBCU and the first Purple Heart University in the state of Florida. Because Dr. Mangum has been such positive force to move FAMU Forward, The over 1,200 Rattlers4FAMU stand with Her. While the vocal minority will use their fancy titles and positions to speak on our behalf, we want to let you know that the NAA President LTCC Greg Clark, Former Trustees R.B. Holmes, nor the Previous Presidents Frederick Humphries nor Fred Gainous speak for us. Instead, we have signed our names to this petition to speak for moving FAMU Forward. On behalf of all Rattlers who want to see a stable and prosperous FAMU, we urge the Board of Trustees to ignore the noise that has been created by the loud majority. We believe that the FAMU Board of Trustees should stand behind the woman that we have chosen to lead FAMU and the positive changes that she has made and will continue to make on behalf of FAMU.  We want to send a clear message that the alumni, students, faculty, and staff of Florida A&M University who have signed this petition are 100% behind Dr. Mangum and we believe that she should not only receive an excellent presidential evaluation for her great work, but also have her contract extended by the FAMU BOT. We believe that any action by the FAMU Board of Trustees, the Florida Board of Governors, or Governor Rick Scott to not extend or terminate the contract of Dr. Mangum will destabilize the University and send the institution backwards in the same ways that have been the case for South Carolina State University, Elizabeth City State University and other HBCUs across the country where states are seeking the demise of our historic institutions. What we seek is FAMU Today, FAMU Tomorrow, FAMU Forever and FAMU Forward!!!!

Rattlers4FAMU Real Rattlers
1,245 supporters
Petitioning Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)

Save Voice of America Radio to Tibet

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that “The [Buddhist] monks [in Tibet] listen secretly to Voice of America’s Tibetan service news every night, despite feeling almost physical pain at the bleak news.” Ignoring the suffering of the Tibetan people under the Chinese communist rule and desperate self-immolations of Tibetan monks to shock the conscience of the world, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. Federal agency which operates the Voice of America (VOA), wants to end VOA radio broadcasts to Tibet. Don't let the Broadcasting Board of Governors deny uncensored Voice of America news and hope to the Tibetan people while BBG executives divert U.S. taxpayers' money to create new high-level bureaucratic positions, pay themselves bonuses and sign a $50 million multi-year contract with the Gallup Organization. As U.S. taxpayers, you fund and support the Voice of America. Demand that your money be used to bring uncensored American news to the suffering people of Tibet, China and other countries without free media rather than being spent on the salaries of government officials at the Broadcasting Board of Governors.   The folowing letter will be sent to Members of Congress:   Open Letter to Members of House Appropriations Committee Dear Members of Congress: This letter is to request your strong support to restore the funding in the FY2013 Budget for Voice of America (VOA) radio and television broadcasting to China and Tibet. We adamantly object to the proposal by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which manages the Voice of America, and their plans to eliminate the VOA Tibetan Radio Service, the entire VOA Cantonese Service, as well as eliminating more than 200 positions and reducing information coverage in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Cuba, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Laos, Russian Federation, Turkey and Vietnam. The Voice of America English and Spanish services are also threatened with severe cuts in broadcast operations and staff. The Caucasus region, including Chechnya, and Central Asia are likewise targeted by the BBG’s plan for unprecedented program cuts and reductions. This egregious effort to disappropriate funding from VOA will effectively undermine the purpose of several Congressional mandates, including Public Law 94-340. The Voice of America has a mandate to inform the people in China who speak Cantonese by providing them with news broadcasts that promote freedom and democracy.  There are more than 70 million people in China who speak Cantonese, including in the critical economic hubs of Hong Kong as well as Quangdong province and this effort to deny VOA broadcasts to them in Cantonese will isolate them from uncensored information. This campaign against the Voice of America – during PRC Vice President Xi Jinping’s week-long visit to the United States – is nothing less than another attempt to concede that, little by little, the Broadcasting Board of Governors will dismantle America’s commitment to broadcast news on behalf of the United States not only to China but to other strategic areas of the world. The VOA Tibetan Service was created by an Act of Congress, Public Law 101-246, sponsored by Rep. Dante B. Fascell and signed into law on February 16, 1990, “to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.” Less than one year ago, the Voice of America was celebrating the importance of Tibetan radio broadcasts, marking the 20th anniversary of the first VOA Tibetan radio program. This campaign against Voice of America also comes during the detention of hundreds of Tibetans into Laogai (re-education through labor camps) upon their return from India after attending teaching sessions overseen by the Dalai Lama.  It comes while Tibetan Buddhist Monks are sacrificing themselves as human torches to shock the conscience of the world as the only way to dispel darkness and ignorance. It comes during the PRC’s ongoing crackdown on Roman Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Uyghur Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, and all prisoners of conscience in China.  It comes one week after the PRC sentenced Zhu Yufu to seven years in prison for writing a poem. This effort to reduce Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Marti and broadcasting to the Middle East also comes during a time when the Broadcasting Board of Governors has entered into a $50 million dollar multi-year contract with the Gallup Organization. It is doubtful that Gallup or any company can successfully conduct a reliable audience research about Voice of America and other US Government-funded broadcasts into countries like China, Russia, Iran and Cuba.  People are too afraid to even admit that they know what these broadcasts are, much less tell a stranger that they are consumers of these news and information programs, which their governments tell them are dangerous and designed to destroy their nations. What these broadcasts in fact provide is uncensored news and hope. And yet the Broadcasting Board of Governors, known for its lack of transparency and the poorest record of management among all federal agencies, again plans to divert valuable resources away from programs serving information needs of the most oppressed into unproductive operations and bureaucratic positions, while also eliminating jobs of journalists who specialize in human rights reporting. We urge you to require that the FY 2013 Budget funding for the Voice of America’s Cantonese Service and the Tibetan Radio Service be restored, and to undo the proposed cuts in other news and information services so that Voice of America can continue to fulfill its mandate to provide an accurate, balanced and comprehensive view of significant American thought and institutions and to clearly present the policies of the United States to the people of China, Tibet and other news-restricted nations. Respectfully, Harry Wu, Laogai Research FoundationAnn Noonan, Committee for U.S. International BroadcastingTed Lipien, Committee for U.S. International BroadcastingJing Zhang, Women’s Rights in ChinaRobert Reilly, Senior Fellow for Strategic Communication at the American Foreign Policy CouncilTimothy Shamble, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1812Marie Ciliberti, retired Voice of America writer, producer and broadcaster for programs directed to the former Soviet UnionManny Papir, International Human Rights CampaignerRobert A. Senser, Human Rights for WorkersJustin Yu, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in New YorkAnn Lau, Visual Artists GuildGanden Thurman, Tibet House U.S.Gary Marco, Alexandria, VAJeremy Taylor, Free Burma AllianceReggie Littlejohn, Women’s Rights Without FrontiersNew York State Senator Reverend Ruben DiazKarl Altau, Managing Director, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC)John Lenczowski, The Institute of World Politics

Ted Lipien
894 supporters
Petitioning Florida State House, Florida State Senate, Florida Governor, Sharon Pritchett, Katie Edwards, Jared Moskowitz, John Tobia, Tom Goodson, Lizbeth Benacquisto, MaryLynn Magar, Jack Latvala, Dennis Bax...

Teachers need to be paid a fair salary for their advanced degrees!

Teachers were short changed in 2015 when Florida Statute 1012.22(1)(c)(3) was passed. It  requires that employees of school districts may not receive a supplement for an advanced degree unless the advanced degree is held in the individual’s area of certification.   This is unfair and directly hurts people like me who started their Advance Degree before the law was changed. There was no provision for a grandfather clause, only if your were actively employed by your district. (In addition, districts had many teachers employed as non-contracted, temporary, and long term certified substitutes or who had a "break in service" and those people also were left out. My particular county was sued and ruled against for replacing teachers with long term certified substitutes, of which I served two years.) A teacher who teaches one subject, who wants to study another is worthless and valueless to their school community according to this law. My program which I graduated in 2013 was in Brain Based Teaching, via an Accredited program at Nova South-Eastern University. This is not a certifiable subject, but is a PhD subject offered at John Hopkins University, and many schools encourage teachers to be savvy regarding this subject, offering in-service points for taking classes in Brain Based Teaching. I started my program after being hired by my district, but had a break in service. Also, my masters program was well underway before the legislators ever changed this law.  I miss out on 2,500 dollars of extra salary a year because the State of Florida does not value my degree. This is not fair Florida. I am a good teacher, I started my program before you changed the law. Please treat teachers as the professionals they are.

tamara alvarado
587 supporters
Justice for Military Sexual Trauma Victims: Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act

Sexual violence in our Armed Forces is unacceptable and a threat to the women and men serving our country. Despite more than 25 years of Pentagon studies, task force recommendations, and congressional hearings, sexual violence continues to occur at alarming rates year after year. A 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report found that nearly 100,000 female and male veterans experienced psychological trauma resulting from a physical sexual assault, battery, or sexual harassment while in the Armed Forces. Tragically, the majority of these victims never come forward. One of the reasons is the reporting and military judicial system is woefully ill-structured to address these crimes. Currently, the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires victims to report crimes to their commander, rather than prosecutors or law enforcement agents. This precludes impartial decision-making and at best, creates a biased judicial system for both the victim and the accused. For those who are victimized by their commander, there is little hope for justice. The result is an alarmingly low rate of prosecuting sexual assailants, with only 8 percent referred for courts martial. The time has come to take the reporting, investigation, prosecution, and victim care out of the hands of the normal chain of command and establish an autonomous Sexual Assault and Response Office to oversee cases of sexual assault in our Armed Forces. That is why I am proud to cosponsor H.R.1593, the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act and look forward to working across the aisle to pass this important legislation during the 113th Congress.

4 years ago