Richard J. Durbin
Richard J. Durbin
Net Neutrality Awareness (Illinois)
Despite the fact that millions of Americans use the internet each day, the issue regarding net neutrality still remains almost unheard of to the general population. The basic principle of net neutrality is that internet service providers should provide unrestricted access to all content, applications, and website regardless of where it is coming from. This means that internet service providers are required to provide unbiased service to all customers without discrimination such as the slowing of speeds from certain sources or protocols. This issue is currently being debated and voted on throughout the country. This year, after Chairman Pai of the F.C.C. heavily pushed to undo the Net Neutrality laws put in place by the Obama administration. He aims to reduce the amount of regulation on the businesses that provide internet to users, leaving the industry without strict rules. This could lead to companies giving unfair treatment to certain websites and services, effectively harming the online experience for users all over the country. This may seem like an issue that is out of your hands, but there is always something that you can do to fight against the repeals to net neutrality. In order to raise awareness, contact or write to your respective senator or the FCC. By doing this, you can bring your voice into this debate and show that you care about this issue. Help us raise awareness in order to defend net neutrality and protect internet users, not only in Illinois, but across the country.
Prevent Illinois from killing their police dogs.
In Illinois, a police dog trainer is threatening that legalizing marijuana in the state will lead to the euthanization of police K9 dogs — and an Illinois Sheriff is agreeing with him. This is a horrible attempt to use animal cruelty to stop marijuana legalization. In March, voters in Cook County, Illinois where Chicago is located passed a measure in support of legalizing marijuana. Marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. and 61% of Americans now favor of legalization. For Illinois law enforcement to say that they will kill dogs they no longer need for smelling marijuana is awful. No other state has done this and it is completely cruel and unnecessary. They are using these dogs as a scare tactic for the public so they won’t have legal marijuana. Join in me in calling on Illinois Governor and lawmakers to stop any attempt to kill police K9 dogs. These police dogs can absolutely be retired or trained of focus on more harmful drugs.
Make Election Day a Federal Holiday. Americans Deserve Time and Equal Opportunity to Vote.
We the people believe that voting is the heart and soul of democracy. Nearly 60% of voting-eligible Americans did not vote in the last midterm elections, citing work or school-related conflicts as the primary cause. Americans deserve time and equal opportunity to vote. Blue Point Brewing Company, along with other forward-thinking companies, has committed to giving our employees the day off to vote. But we need implement this change on a bigger scale. Join us in creating the change and protecting democracy. Convince Congress to establish Election Day as a Federal holiday. Blue Point Brewing Company is committed to this initiative and will be making Voters' Day Off beer cans available for supporters to sign and further inspire change.
Put An End To Puppy Mills!
I am writing to request that Congress pushes for comprehensive federal legislation preventing “puppy mills” from operating and imposing stiff fines on any person or company found to be operating a puppy mill. Right now, some states have laws prohibiting puppy mills outright or regulating this industry, but many states do not have any legislation at all and the laws (in those states that have them) are not consistent as between the states. Comprehensive legislation, at the federal level, will impose uniform standards by which these puppy mills can be judged. This legislation will also allow the federal government to step in and prosecute violators, which will carry greater weight and penalties than just having the individual states pursue these claims. Federal legislation is needed because puppy mills are extremely horrific places. Animals are often forced to walk around in feces, urine or standing water filled with parasites and contaminants. The dogs are crammed into cages too small for them, without adequate food and water. These animals don’t receive proper veterinary care. The Humane Society of the United States' website details the types of horrid conditions and abuses these breeding dogs are forced to endure. Many puppy mill owners have been repeatedly cited and some of them even have USDA violations for a number of years in a row. One can only imagine the pain and suffering these helpless animals have experienced at the hands of the puppy mill operators! These puppy mills supply dogs to pet stores. When people buy their dogs from pet stores, it allows these puppy mills to not only continue operating, but gives them profits to expand their operations. It is a vicious cycle, where the revenue generated from the dogs bred at puppy mills and sold in pet stores are almost immediately funneled back to the puppy mills. All in the name of greed and profit! People must step in and force Congress to address this issue and the masses are the only ones that have the power to make Congress act! I realize Congress has many, many pressing problems and issues that are likely more important and urgent than stopping puppy mills. But no animal should have to endure a lifetime of being crammed into a small cage, being constantly bred with no time to recover between litters and never having a loving home and family. Thus, I am asking Congress to please make passing federal legislation against puppy mills a priority.
Urge FDA to approve new treatment for Carcinoid Tumors
Hi. My name is Kerry and I’m a zebra. Now, before you think I'm crazy, I hope you'll please let me have a minute of your time to explain. In medical school, doctors-to-be are often taught the adage “If you hear hoof beats, think horse”. In other words, the most obvious answer is usually the right answer. But sometimes the hoof beats come from something rarer: a zebra perhaps. For nearly 5 years, doctors heard hoof beats as they looked at scans of my liver and saw some small “things” taking up residence. And, for nearly 5 years, they thought horse. They did blood tests, colonoscopies, upper endoscopies; all of the tests you would do looking for the “normal” cancers such as colon cancer, but the tests were negative. So they concluded that my liver had some benign growths on it. Nothing to worry about. In January of 2016 a biopsy of my liver resolved the mystery. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Carcinoid or Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET). The disease is so rare it is referred to as the zebra of cancers and represents only about 2% of cancers treated each year. In honor of its rarity, the zebra has been adopted as the official mascot of those who suffer from it and we, the patients, are called zebras. In my desperate quest for solutions to my problem, I read about a treatment called Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy, or PRRT for short. It has been available in Europe for more than a decade and clinical trials here in the United States have recently concluded. The results have been very promising. According to one of the doctors who participated in the phase 3 clinical trial, “The findings were, in my opinion, extraordinarily impressive, the median progression-free survival improved by nearly 80%, which is fairly unprecedented in oncologic studies. The finding is important because limited therapeutic options exist for such patients, who comprise 20% to 45% of neuroendocrine tumor cases.” (1) As you can imagine, I have been following these trials with great interest as I am their target patient: my tumors are inoperable and are known to respond to the drug being used in the treatment. Earlier this year, there was hope the treatment would be approved by mid-year 2016. Then it was sometime in the fourth quarter of 2016. The latest timeframe for approval is now early 2017. I understand and appreciate the fact that the FDA has to perform their due diligence to insure that new drugs are safe and effective. None of us want unsafe drugs to be hurried to market. In the case of PRRT, it appears to have proven its worth, both in US clinical trials as well as in more than 10 years of use in Europe. I don’t profess to know or understand what the holdup is in obtaining approval. I’m certainly not a doctor. What I do know is that every day that passes without this treatment being approved thousands of us zebras get sicker and closer to the point where treatments won’t matter any longer. Will you please join me in urging the FDA to keep the approval of PRRT at the top of their priority list? I’m only 55 years old and I’m not ready to leave this world yet. I and my fellow zebras thank you. Kerry (1) Full article discussing PRRT can be found online at http://www.carcinoid.org/2016/05/03/one-step-closer-us-peptide-receptor-radionuclide-therapy-prrt-neuroendocrine-cancers/