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South Carolina State Senate

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Petitioning South Carolina State Senate

Remove the Confederate Flag from the State House Grounds

UPDATE:  I started this petition BEFORE the terrible hate crime was committed in Charleston.  That horrific event has become the catalyst for my petition gaining so much attention.  Also, Gov. Nikki Haley has changed her position from when I started this petition, but I do not want to change my original message. We have some great momentum now, but the job is not yet complete... Please keep sharing this petition until the Confederate flag comes down from the grounds of the South Carolina State House! PETITION: As a South Carolina resident, my heart broke when I heard about the senseless killings of nine African-American churchgoers during prayer in Charleston. As we mourn and search for answers, I can’t help but turn my attention again to how our state leaders continue to stand by a symbol that represents similar acts of hatred and racism. The Confederate flag is proudly displayed and flown at South Carolina’s State Capitol. Why are we intentionally sending a message of support of terror and oppression to our citizens and the rest of the country? I’m a former teacher who has taken my kids to visit the State House. I was sick to see that the Confederate flag was displayed right at the building’s front door. That’s right, the first thing you see upon entry is a definitive symbol of African-American hatred. What does that teach my children? It tells them that our leaders support bigotry and choose to feign ignorance in order to obtain votes. I can’t stand by and let that happen any longer. The suspect in this tragedy, Dylann Roof, was known to associate with the Confederate States of America -- an organization eager to return to a white supremacist era. He even had a Confederate Flag license plate. While some defend the flag as a symbol of our state’s history, they fail to recognize that elements of our past are not worth glorifying. I don’t believe that taxpayer dollars should support what is a very poor representation of our state. I like Governor Nikki Haley, but I don’t support her defense of the Confederate flag on public grounds. I am asking her and our elected leaders to take the overdue and necessary step to take down the flag for once and all. When I visited the State House, I asked an African-American man exercising on the building’s steps what he thought of the flag. He said it didn’t matter because it would never change. Many people here accept the status quo out of fear nothing will change. We don’t have to accept that reality. We know that the flag appeals to a very specific group of people, but it otherwise serves little to no purpose for most South Carolinians. Let’s make this change. What we saw on June 17 was a premeditated act of mass murder likely fueled by hate. Let this be the last such act that takes place in our state under a flag that stands for such violence and inequality. It’s time for Gov. Haley and the state’s legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the State House once and for all.

59,998 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!

Jenifer Bass
33,530 supporters
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate

Reduce current mandatory 85 % to 65 retroactive for all offenders. Parole offered for all offenders- those who are sentenced under determinate or indeterminate sentence consider previous votes Reestablish good behavior and work credit credits

Currently, the United States has the highest prison population than any other country. South Carolina currently has twenty four prisons through out the state. According to SCDC Profile as of June 30, 2014 there were over  20,000 inmates and over 10.000 of those inmates are sentenced under the Truth In sentencing Law.  Twenty years later there has not been any retroactive relief given to those who were sentenced and under the Truth In Sentence Law or any given to those who were sentenced under the determinate or indeterminate laws. There are inmates who has served more than twenty years and are still being denied parole for the same reason each time a parole hearing is given.  South Carolina  Parole Board requires an inmate to have a minimum of four votes  be considered for release. In most instances inmates are being denied for "nature of offense" for crimes that were committed greater than twenty years ago . South Carolina Department of Corrections requires that all inmates work within the institutions. Those inmates who work within these institutions  are not receiving pay and are not given any work credits that will help the inmate earn time reduction. The Institutions are receiving free labor from the inmates without giving them any incentives for the work they are doing.    In conclusion, the solutions that we pose are to reduce the mandatory minimum from 85% to 65 % retroactive including those with violent offensives, offering  parole eligibility for all offenders and those who are sentenced under the "old laws" consider previous votes towards current eligibility year and reestablishing both good behavior and work credits for all. Creating such solutions will allow the inmates the opportunity to work towards their freedom, independence and coming back into society as productive citizens. All institutions where inmates are required to work should offer trades or job training that will help the inmates earn pay while incarcerated or skills that will help them become employable after being released. There are men and women who daily strive towards making better choices than the one that lead to prison. Lets help them by establishing options that will help them come back into society as productive citizens.      

HEARTS FOR INMATES Founded by Erica Fielder
31,616 supporters
Petitioning Henry McMaster, Donald Trump, United States Supreme Court, U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Pence, South Carolina State Senate, Lindsey Graham, South Carolina State House, Trey Gowdy, Tim Scott,...

Protect SC Employees (It could’ve saved this woman’s life)

36 yr old Alicia Mitchell was walking from work at 8:21am on a usually busy road because she was told she'd be fired (confirmed via a cousin) if she didn't come in. This was apparently the Walmart MarketPlace on Ladson Rd in Ladson, SC. A 17 yr old unlicensed driver was going too fast on icy roads, lost control, slid off the road, that causing him to hit and kill Alicia. SC Governor and countless others urged people to stay home and off the roads. SC currently has no laws protecting an employees rights due to it being a right to work state and employers can let you go at any given moment for no reason at all. I believe SC needs to adopt laws protecting its citizens to avoid situations like this. Many other states have laws protecting its employees and I think it is time for SC to adopt similar laws. This lady’s death could’ve been avoided had SC citizens had laws protecting them from repercussions for simply calling out due to unsafe conditions that State Officials advised people to not travel in. She feared for her job, so she went to work, and in turn lost her life.... My hope is that officials introduce a law named Alicia’s Law or adopt similar laws as other states. Everyone please sign to help! No matter where you live your support is greatly appreciated. ❤️ Share, share, & share some more until we reach our goal.

Shawn Sally
7,623 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!

When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:

Dominick Evans
6,838 supporters
Petitioning Blue Cross Blue Shield, Public Employee Benefit Authorit, South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House

Excision surgery for Endometriosis to be recognized as medically necessary by Insurance.

Please keep in mind the below letter along with 200 pages of medical history was sent to the appeals dept. I'm currently to the third appeal. As of late my file was sent twice for external review to doctors who qualifications are not in endo care. The appeals senior director at BCBS reported to the gentleman handling the case at PEBA, that she did not see it "medically necessary"! This isn't just about my surgery! its about 175 million women! 1 in 10 have Endo! Also, think about it this way...WHAT IF it was you daughter, sister, wife, mother or best friend! WHAT IF we put the word "cancer" in their? Would you think of it in a different light?  Appeals Department: I am writing to appeal the decision to not cover any of the expenses to Dr. Sinvero. All services from The Center of Endometriosis Care should be covered as in-network as there are no in-network providers who provide this service.  In this appeal I will lay out my medical history and the research that I did that lead me to the decision to travel out of state to have this procedure, since nobody in-network or in the state of South Carolina provides this valuable and medically necessary service. This was not a decision that I made lightly, as travelling out of state to have a major surgery was a considerable endeavor.  However, after the years of pain and suffering I experienced and the research that I conducted it seemed the only logical choice to finally be resolved with the endometriosis pain that I have experienced for twenty years. Because of the dismissal of endometriosis (or "endo") as "women troubles" historically, the disease has become a nightmare of misinformation, taboos and problematic hit and miss treatments that fail to take into consideration the multi-faceted, stubborn nature of the disease.  History: Now for a little background history on my journey! I can still remember the day I got my period. My family was going to the beach for vacation. We had to stop each hour for me to change the sanitary napkin due to the amount of blood. Being a young girl we are told over and over “its normal” let me assure you nothing about what I’ve experienced is normal. Flash-forward a few years, my periods during my teenage years were extremely painful. I experienced blood clots, debilitating pain and 6+ days of a menstrual cycle. This never went away, but lets move on to my 20s. The Doctor recommended that putting me on birth control would make the Endometriosis better. It did not. The next suggestion by Dr. Gower was to have laparoscopic surgery. This only provided a short amount of relief. I would continue to have five more surgeries.  Dr. Gower who is an “in network doctor” and per the Greenville Hospital website bio an expert in endometriosis care; that info from his bio has since been removed! I take great pride in that the information, which was misleading, has been removed. I stopped being a silent patient! I have made it my mission to make it very public how we are miss lead by doctors and how we must fight for coverage from insurance!  Lets move ahead to my late 20s. At this point I’ve now been told that having kids will make it go away. Again, not at all true. I’m then told removing my tubes and doing an ablation will get rid of the endometriosis. This last surgery I had with your in network provider proved to be the worst of all. I had surgery on Christmas eve of 2014. The first thing that should have made me turn around and leave was the fact the bathroom in the hospital room I was in was nasty! Unclean, would be me being nice. Then the nurse that runs the IVs came in and broke the needle off in my arm. I get to the operating room and after the procedure I learn  from the doctor himself the machine he preferred was broken. Being Christmas Eve I’m rushed to hurry up and get out and go home. I guess that my presence was an inconvenience to the GHS staff. I was so loopy my husband didn’t feel good about taking me home. That concerned was ignored.  Lets fast-forward a week or so. I return to the in network doctor in more pain. I’m told I have an infection in my uterus. I’m also told not to worry about it. Makes since that the doctor wouldn’t want to find concern in this infection since he sits of the board at GHS for infection concerns. I’ve endured costly procedure after procedure, year after year laparoscopic endometriosis ablative/cauterization surgery. The only thing this surgery did was just make my uterus mad! At this point I went back to this doctor complaining of the same pain. I was told by your in network doctor that their was nothing more he could do for me.   So being defeated I resigned to a life of pain. I think it’s important to understand what that means. We are not talking about pain in the since that most people think of pain. When you have a chronic illness the pain is a pain that changes you as a person. As of about a month ago Blue Cross sent me a letter offering drugs since I have a chronic illness! They received the letter back with my appeal! Drugs do NOT cure ENDOMETROSIS!  My daily life had been reduced to “making it through” each day; some days better than others. It’s just a constant battle. Me against my body; my passions and my dreams and what I want to do with my life, against what I’m physically able to do. On those so-called good days. Not without pain but you are able to get something done that day. You try and hurry and get anything you need or want to do done because you know that what is to come is a unbearable few days of pain that you have to pay for having one half productive day. Its always a part of your life regardless of how you’re feeling. Even on your best day, it’s just lurking in the shadows, ready to strike at any moment.  Imagine having the flu. The way your whole body aches is something endometriosis patients live with and if that not fun enough you get to endure the tireless nights. Night becomes your enemy. Your all alone in the silent night tired but unable to sleep. Then there is the simple thought of using the restroom. When you have been reduced to having to use a special potty stool because you have so much endometriosis growth you either have diarrhea or constipation.  When I found Nancy’s Nook and began to do more and more research I found how miss educated most doctors are in endometriosis. Let alone insurance companies.  I initially looked for an endometriosis specialist in South Carolina, but was disappointed to learn that there are none. So I realized I would have to educate myself and perhaps travel if necessary to get the proper care. In my research, however, I kept coming across “excision” surgery as the gold standard of care for endometriosis. defines excision: Excision removes endometrial implants by cutting them away from the surrounding tissue with scissors, a very fine heat gun or a laser beam.  The technique does not damage the implants, so the gynecologist is able to send a biopsy of the excised tissue to the pathologist to confirm that it is endometriosis and not cancer or another condition. Excision allows the gynecologist to separate the implants from the surrounding tissue, thus ensuring that the entire implant is removed and no endometrial tissue is left [1].  This is contrasted with the cauterization/coagulation/vaporization method that is commonly used by lesser-skilled doctors. Keep in mind; cauterization is what my gynecologist used on the endometriosis during all of my previous surgeries. This already proved to have a limited effect for my endometriosis, as I already needed another surgery. defines cauterization/coagulation/vaporization as: Coagulation destroys implants by burning them with a fine heat gun or vaporising them with a laser beam. When coagulating implants, care must be taken to ensure that the entire implant is destroyed, so it cannot regrow. Care must also be taken to ensure that only the implant is destroyed, and no underlying tissue, such as the bowel, bladder or ureter, is damaged. The possibility of accidentally damaging the underlying tissue means that most gynecologists are wary of using coagulation on implants that lie over vital organs, such as the bowel and large blood vessels [2]. renders their recommendation: Of the two techniques, excision is more effective, requires more skill, and is more time consuming. The skill and time required means that is not used by all gynecologists. If your gynecologist does not have the skill to excise all your endometriotic implants, ask to be referred to a gynecologist who specializes in endometriosis surgery and is skilled in excision. The effectiveness of excising endometriotic implants has been shown in two clinical trials. Women who had their implants excised had fewer symptoms 12 months and 18 months after surgery compared with women who underwent a laparoscopy without excision of their implants [3]. This recommendation is corroborated by many sources. In The Journal of Family Practice’s publication The Female Patient, Todd R. Jenkins, MD puts endometriosis into context by looking at the costs involved with the multiple treatments most patients undergo within their lifetime with the disease: The cost of hospital treatment for endometriosis in the United States has risen 2.7 times faster than that of overall medical care costs; in 2002, inpatient costs were approximately $1.1 billion [4]. Jenkins continues by sharing the findings of studies along with his conclusions: Excision of endometriosis was first described in 1991 in a 5-year follow-up of more than 350 women. In this cohort, fewer than 20% of women experienced  subsequent recurrent symptoms or disease. A 2003 study involving 39 subjects with histologically confirmed endometriosis randomized patients to either immediate excisional surgery or diagnostic surgery only. All patients underwent second-look laparoscopy, with 80% of women in the excision group reporting improvements in pain symptoms versus 32% in the control group. Women with more advanced disease experienced a greater response to laparoscopic excision. Furthermore, responses on quality-of-life instruments showed significant improvements in both mental and physical scores. A 1996 investigation reported on a 2-year follow-up of women undergoing excision versus laser vaporization. At 12 months, 96% of excision patients and 69% of vaporization patients were pain-free, falling to 69% and 23%, respectively, at 24 months. Findings from a study of 135 patients with a mean follow-up of 3.2 years revealed reductions in pain scores related to dysmenorrhea, nonmenstrual pelvic pain, dyspareunia, and dyschezia. As expressed by survival curves, the likelihood of avoiding further surgery over the subsequent 5 years was 64%, Based on the studies performed to date, it is the author’s opinion that laparoscopic excision of endometriosis, when technically feasible, should be the standard of care [5]. Further, a data review on the “effectiveness of laparoscopic excision of endometriosis” concludes: Laparoscopic excision is currently the 'gold standard' approach for the management of endometriosis, and results may be improved with careful use of appropriate techniques and suitable adjuvant therapies [6]. The decision to pursue endometriosis excision surgery seemed clear after researching the data. The results are superior to other modalities and the potential for having to have yet another future surgery would be lessened if I could get the surgery from an excision expert. Ken Sinervo, MD. And the Center for Endometriosis Care Once it was clear which procedure to undertake, I began to research who would be the most qualified to conduct the surgery. Unfortunately, because this surgery is so specialized, there are no excision specialists in the state of South Carolina. Therefore, I had to look out of state and out of network. I researched several excision specialists around the country. I came upon the Center for Endometriosis Care (CEC) and was impressed with their experience and success rate. In the past 25 years they have conducted procedures for over 5,000 patients [7]. Further, based on their follow-up surveys since 1991, 85% of the patients surveyed had no recurrence [8].  I further sought input from past patients of the CEC, all of whom shared their successful recovery from this debilitating and recurring disease. The choice seemed clear that Dr. Sinervo at the CEC was the best person to get the job done correctly once and for all.  My care was excellent and the pain I experienced prior to surgery is now gone. During surgery Dr. Sinervo thoroughly inspected my entire abdomen for endometriosis and found it in several locations.  I do not believe most surgeons would have this level of expertise. However, because Dr. Sinervo deals with difficult to treat cases from around the country he is one of the few skilled doctors I would trust to perform this surgery.  Conclusion I have dealt with chronic pelvic pain for twenty years and have tried many treatments. After many failed surgeries and the lack of success to bring relief from pain from endometriosis, it seemed only logical to get excision surgery from a skilled doctor with a good track record. Excision surgery is the gold-standard of care for difficult endometriosis cases according to many top medical journals and studies. Because there is not skilled excision surgeons’ in-network I petition you to please cover my services with Dr. Ken Sinervo at the Center for Endometriosis Care. They are a reputable facility with highly skilled doctors, of which Dr. Sinervo is one.  Dr. Sinvero is 1 of 100 surgeons who are skilled in excision in the entire world. When did it become the right of an insurance company to deem what is medically necessary for a person based on only wanting that person to be seen by the doctors that are in-network. Not based on medical facts but rather the cost of doing business. That is where Blue Cross has decided to play God. If you think your tired of hearing my story about my invisible illness think of how tired I am fighting for treatment, fighting for understanding, fighting for a cure, fighting to live again! I fight for my health in ways that most people will never understand. As if Endometriosis is enough to deal with the disease also has brought about other problems that have to be addressed, one being Adenomyosis. The other is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, this being caused from the years of pain. Due to having to use in network providers what resulted was more damage to my body and yet more expenses.  As I’m providing all of this information to you my insurance company, I’m also providing a copy publicly along with the ones you see cc. below. You will see from the records from Exhibit A, B & C that the services from the Center of Endometriosis Care should be covered as in-network. I would also like to grant you permission to request any medical records necessary from Dr. Sinervo’s office you may need in reviewing this claim.  IN SUMMARY •    Standard medical treatments by general gynecologists have failed to relieve the symptoms caused by my endometriosis. •   The standard surgical procedure (laparoscopic ablation) provided only Temporary relief of my symptoms. Repeated ablation surgeries will prove costly and place me at additional risk given my history of my VSD. •   Laparoscopic excision, performed by an experienced skilled surgeon, has been proven to be more effective than ablation, especially in moderate to sever cases including those involving the bowel and other organs •   There are not currently any providers in South Carolina and most cost-effective treatment for my disease is not available in-network. I have chosen this particular center because their experience and skills offer the best chance for long-term relief and successful treatment Thank you for reviewing my files. I’m 1 in 10 who have this disease! As I stated previously I will NOT stand silent on the lack of care. This letter is also being made public. It is my hope that PEBA can show the 176 million worldwide and the 5 million in the United States that they are taking women’s health more serious and I can share publicly that we have a resolution to this matter.  Thank you,  Jennifer Winney    

Jennifer Winney
5,892 supporters