Tennessee State House
Tennessee State House
Pass an Animal Rescuer Protection Law
I am being punished for trying to save horses from slaughter. My wife and I buy neglected, often abused horses at auction to keep them from going to slaughter. We have successfully cared for and re-homed over 100 of these animals in the last 5 years. But passersby who don’t know our mission have twice called Animal Control to report suspected abuse. My wife and I have often debated giving up our rescue mission because these run-ins with Knox County Animal Control (KCAC) are both humiliating and costly. Animal rescuers should be supported for helping neglected and abused animals not discouraged. Join me in asking Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee legislature to pass an Animal Rescuer Protection Law. Pictured is Gracie, whom we saved from slaughter only about 6 weeks ago. KCAC has now seized her and other horses, suggesting that we are the ones responsible for their poor condition. We have tried to show them the medical records, purchase history, dental treatment records, and other documents to prove we are trying to nurse these poor creatures back to health, but they refuse to consider any of this until we go to court and present it to a judge. The process is not only humiliating but costly. We’ve successfully defended ourselves against similar distressing accusations in the past, but we don’t have much more fight, or money, left in us. There are many horse enthusiasts in Tennessee who have the knowledge and ability to help horses in need. But they are afraid, because they don't want to fall into the Animal Control trap. The issue is so bad that even vets understand the risk. Recently, after taking a rescued horse to a local vet, we were told to hide her in the barn and feed her hay instead of turning her out to pasture to avoid trouble with Animal Control. That is absurd, and clearly not right. Helping animals should not be a liability. It should be encouraged and supported.Please help us pave the way for the Tennessee Volunteer spirit to flourish. Sign this petition to show your support for animal rescuers, so we can help these animals without fear of retribution or prosecution. Join me in calling on Tennessee to pass an Animal Rescuer Protection Law
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members reunite with their families
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served for 10 years mostly 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. sailors and military contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. Many Amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. sailors 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 reunite 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 reunited 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 reunite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2016 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. 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 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 reunite with her dad. You can find them in the Amerasian group pages on Facebook. Search angel services are available to both sides.There is a PBS documentary called "Left by the Ship" (2010), the video above, documenting everyday life and their personal struggles as a Filipino Amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers, to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2016 now!
Abolish the SSDI work credit law for lifelong illness patients
Hi my name is Nikki and I currently live with Cystic Fibrosis. I decided to write this petition because I need your help to fight for our well being. I was born with CF. There has never been a day where I was not sick. I had few opportunities to work in high school because trying to balance high school and a terminal illness was hard enough. I was in and out of the hospital for 2 weeks at a time, 3-4 times a year. I was forced to get my GED. But that's not the problem here. Being that I never worked, I never earned credits towards Social Security Disability. I never had the opportunity to. And I still don't. So when I hit 18 and my mom's income no longer counted for me, I was stuck getting a minimal Supplemental Security Income check monthly (which is for people of "low income") of $650. If you haven't worked a certain amount of years, then you do not qualify for disability checks. And we all know that $650 barely enough to pay for 2 utility bills. Especially here in TN. I have tried to work. When I do, they cut my SSI. Then when I'm in the hospital and can't work I'm stuck living without income until the SSI office can catch up with it. Which takes 2-3 months. I can't keep a job long enough to earn SSDI credits. So I'm stuck. Like many, I will forever be stuck. A majority of Cystic Fibrosis patients were diagnosed at birth. So they are in the same sinking ship that I am. Unlike most typical disability cases, we didn't work 20 years then go out on disability for a hurt back. We were always sick and always will be. But the last time I checked, we are in fact DISABLED but apparently that's not enough to earn a disability income. And SSI is simply not enough to sustain ourselves. It's especially important to make sure we have enough money for when we undergo and recover from a lung transplant which a majority of us will get. During this time a CF patient will not even be able to leave the hospital for weeks even months. How can we fight to get out of this everlasting circle of poverty? We must find a way for Cystic Fibrosis patients and other terminal illnesses from birth to get a different consideration when it comes to social security. There must be a way we can get a bill passed that allows us to receive more than what we do, without work credits, since we're not given the chance to earn them ourselves. Please sign this petition so we can start a conversation with the law makers about the changes that need to be made. We need your help. We want a chance to live a normal life like everyone else, but are unable to because of this Social Security Disability law.
STOP THE KILLING, We Demand an Investigation of Lewisburg Animal Shelter's Practices
To see all current updates and links to all news stories as well as the protest, and much more, please visit our main page dedicated to the cause, http://www.pbatn.org/?page_id=1008 Our protest is scheduled for July 28th at 12pm at the Lewisburg City Square. Please see above link for more info on the protest. All Media Inquiries Can Be Directed To : Ronnie Van Zant President/Founder of Pit Bull Awareness of Tennessee 615-669-PITS (7487) email@example.com Over the last year, Lewisburg Animal Shelter has had many faults in its daily functions. They have refused to allow volunteers to assist them in the facility, refused to install much needed equipment, refused to repair the failing structure which has left animals within the facility open to the elements, and much more. The most recent atrocity to occur, which has happened multiple times, they have put down every sponsored dog in their facility. They refuse to release why they continue this practice to this day. The dogs put down on July 18 2012 all had commits to be saved from the shelter. This makes no sense, because someone was rescuing all the dogs in the shelters care, paying the adoption fee, and relinquishing any responsibility from the shelter. Instead, they used tax payer money to put down every single dog! This is an abuse of power and abuse of tax payers money. We are demanding an investigation into the practices of Lewisburg Animal Shelter and the city council who is making these decisions. This is animal abuse by the ones we pay taxes to and charge with caring for animals in their facility. Please let them know we demand explanations as to why they kill dogs. We understand they are a kill shelter, but if a dog has a commit that very day, then it should not have been put down, much less an entire commited population. And if they do have a reason, they need to be able to provide legal documentation as to their decisions and the findings that lead up to that decision. By law, they are required. And as well as documentation, they are required to keep part of the animals body and send it off the state for testing if it is a facility wide outbreak. So they have to answer and prove why they murdered every animal in their facility, multiple times before now as well. By signing this petition, it sends an email to everyone involved in this decision. Further more, you can contact the people directly involved by the info below : Willard Cates, Animal Control Officer 931-359-5948 Tommy Engram, City Manager 931-359-1544 Barbara Woods, Mayor931-359-1544 131 East Church StreetP.O. Box 1968Lewisburg, TN 37091931-359-1544Fax: 931-359-7055
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:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities
Don't Punish Transgender Students For Who We Are: Don't Pass HB 2414/SB 2387
My name is Henry Seaton. I’m a transgender student at a public high school in Tennessee. Right now, my state’s lawmakers are debating a set of bills that would cause enormous pain to me and other transgender students in my state. I need your help to make sure these bills never become law. These bills – HB 2414 and SB 2387 – would ban transgender students from using the restrooms in public schools and universities that correspond with our gender identities. I’m a boy – I live my life as a boy, my friends know me as a boy, my parents accept me as a boy. But now I have to use the teacher’s bathroom because a bunch of politicians feel uncomfortable with who I am? That’s not right. I often lay in bed too afraid to attend school. But I’m still fighting here. Join me to tell Tennessee lawmakers not to take this drastic step that would legalize bullying and stigmatize and humiliate transgender students. That’s not what laws should do. Bills like these are part of a nationwide wave of attacks on transgender people. Many of these attacks target and isolate students like me. In South Dakota committed activists and allies convinced the state’s governor to veto a bill just like the two I’m fighting in my state. At first, the situation looked bleak – the governor had never even met a transgender person before. But thousands of people took a stand to support the rights of transgender people, and we won a huge victory. I know we can do this in Tennessee. If we shine a spotlight on fear and misinformation, we can show Tennessee lawmakers that we won’t tolerate legislation that harms transgender students. Personally, I think our elected officials should spend their time making sure that every student can be safe and feel welcome. Where we can use the bathrooms is important enough, but these bills are about more than that. They add to the bullying, harassment, and violence we already face. Almost half of all transgender people attempt suicide at some point in our lives. I don’t want transgender students to be punished for who we are. We’re not alone in trying to stop these bills. After the victory in South Dakota, momentum is on our side. In Tennessee, 75 faith leaders have publicly opposed these bills. Thankfully, my state’s governor, Bill Haslam, is already worried about the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Title IX funding that Tennessee would lose if these bills become law. We need to convince lawmakers how much is at stake. The tide is turning. And the voices of those of us fighting for transgender people’s safety and dignity are stronger than ever. Let’s stand together to protect all students and make public schools a place where all feel welcome. On behalf of the transgender students who will suffer if HB 2414/SB 2387 becomes law, thank you for taking action.
End Civil Asset Forfeiture in Tennessee! Restore Individual Rights and Due Process!
Civil asset forfeiture (CAF) consists of state and federal laws that allow government agencies to seize and keep private property that is suspected by a government employee of being involved in criminal activity. Unlike criminal asset seizures, CAF do not require the property owner to be found guilty or even charged with a crime to lose their cash, car, home, or other property. Tennessee is one of the worst states when it comes to protecting property rights from CAF. In our state, government must establish by only a preponderance of evidence, which has included a government employee’s suspicion as sole justification for private property being seized. This is opposed to the principles of beyond a reasonable doubt and innocent until proven guilty. In Tennessee, the average person harmed by CAF will have $502 in value seized from them, most are not able or willing to spend thousands to hire a lawyer. The process to prove your innocence can take more than a year in some cases. CAF can happen to almost anyone and does happen to tens of thousands of people in Tennessee. All that is needed is one government employee’s suspicion, anyone to conduct criminal activity on your property without your knowledge, a false alert by a dog, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It violates your individual right to due process and property. It also violates the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. In 2000, the United States government passed CAF reform legislation and, in the late 1990s and 2013, Tennessee passed reform legislation. Despite these attempts, the abuses of CAF have continued. The only solution is the abolition of civil asset forfeiture in Tennessee. Fortunately, there is legislation to do this in the Tennessee House and Senate. Please support efforts to pass a no compromise bill and restore due process and our individual property rights. Please sign the petition and join the campaign to help end CAF in Tennessee. Your voice matters!
Withdraw Proposed Amendments to House Bill HB621 and Senate Bill SB865
We believe that the proposed amendments to House Bill HB621 and Senate Bill SB865, which labels any pit bull type dog in the state of Tennessee as vicious, must be withdrawn. Not only does it infringe on our rights as citizens of this state, but also is breed discrimination. It is clear that all animals are a product of their environment and are not born vicious. These amendments are expected to be proposed by Representative Brenda Gilmore to the House Sub-Committee (Agriculture and Natural Resources) on March 20th. If approved by the sub-committee, these regulations and restrictions would go into effect as early as July 1st, 2013 if passed by the full House vote. Not only does it infringe on our rights as citizens to have pets, it also will cost the state to implement and enforce. This is money that the state does not have, so it would trickle down to the taxpayers. So we would virtually be paying for our pets to be regulated, twice over, since owners would be required to obtain insurance for their dog. Many insurance don’t provide insurance for pit bull type dogs or other dogs deemed vicious, and the few that do, have obscene deductibles and rates. In the proposed amendment, it states : “Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.” “Every owner of a dangerous or vicious dog shall have a policy of insurance in the amount of at least twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state insuring the owner of the dangerous or vicious dog against liability for any injuries inflicted by the dog. The owner shall within sixty (60) days from the date on which the owner knows or should reasonably know the dog is a dangerous or vicious dog comply with this section.” We believe there are better ways to implement safety, which starts with harsher punishments against animal abusers instead of attacking responsible owners. Responsible owners should not be punished by the few people who decide to abuse, neglect, and fight their dogs. We are respectfully asking that the proposed amendments to House Bill HB621 and Senate Bill SB865 be withdrawn and not carried to vote, as it would take innocent pets away from responsible owners and contribute to the misunderstanding and blind views of pit bull type dogs, which are just like any other dog. Please join us for a peaceful protest against BSL in the state of Tennessee. This peaceful protest is in response to proposed amendments to House Bill HB621 and Senate Bill SB865, in which Representative Brenda Gilmore is set to propose breed specific state wide laws that regulate pit bulls. We will not stand for BSL of any sort in this state, and hope you will stand with us as we show our support to have this amendment withdrawn. In a joint effort between Pit Bull Awareness of Tennessee, Operation Education, and Labor of Love Animal Welfare Project, we have organized a protest to take place on March 20th at 1pm. Details: Attire : Please wear purple to show your support of our peaceful protest against the proposed amendments. If you plan on attending the hearing after the protest, please wear appropriate attire for a hearing. When : March 20th, 2013 Location : 650 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville TN 37243 (Base of Capitol Hill, facing Bicentennial Mall) Followed by a march to Legislative Plaza. Time : 12pm Things to keep in mind : We are allowed to be on the sidewalk only. We may not enter Capitol Grounds or impede traffic flow on the street. Any passing pedestrian traffic must be able to pass freely without interruption. Signs are encouraged, as long as tasteful. Dogs are encouraged, as long as well behaved and socialized. W e want to see dogs of many breeds represented on Wednesday, as this bill effects anyone with a dog! When we are marching, we must allow passing pedestrian and vehicular traffic to flow freely. This means giving right of way to pedestrians and waiting for legal traffic signals allowing us to cross. Prior to the protest, we will be attending the hearing to see the votes, and this is not a public speaking engagement. We are allowed to view the process, but are not allowed to interact during this hearing or ask questions. We ask you all to remain professional and silent during the hearing. Thank you all for signing, Ronnie Van Zant - President/Founder Pit Bull Awareness of Tennessee firstname.lastname@example.org - 615-669-PITS (7487)
End the Tampon Tax in Tennessee
Did you know that women across the country are paying luxury taxes on necessary feminine hygiene items such as tampons and pads? This is true – and in the state of Tennessee, tampons are taxes as a luxury item. However, you can ask any woman who has a menstrual cycle and she will tell you that this is simply unacceptable. Tampons, pads, panty liners, and other feminine hygiene products are a necessary part of public life and allow women to function normally during their period. Even President Obama thinks this tax is ridiculous. (1) Having a period is already expensive enough. Women spend more than $70 a year on sanitary products. The financial burden of menstruating is made even worse by the taxes imposed by 40 states across the country. (2) Shockingly, there are similar products exempt from taxes in the state of Tennessee, including insulin, disposable medical supplies, and diabetic testing supplies, which are just as necessary to some as feminine products are to menstruating women. Also included in tax exemptions are guns sold at gun sales, which are not nearly as necessary as feminine products. (3) Change is possible. During the summer of 2015, Canada made history when it abolished its tampon tax with a unanimous vote. Across the world, women are starting campaigns to get taxes removed in the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Malaysia, and all over the United States. (4) We ask that you sign this petition and share with your friends so that women across the state can be liberated from this unjust tax. Abolishing the Tampon Tax would be the fair and honest thing to do. (1) http://time.com/4183108/obama-tampon-tax-sanitary/ (2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/18/period-cost-lifetime_n_7258780.html (3) https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/revenue/attachments/salesanduse.pdf (4) http://www.upworthy.com/the-tampon-tax-is-real-these-are-the-40-states-taxing-periods ACTIVE CAMPAIGNS: Australia: http://goo.gl/AcHaza France: http://goo.gl/vp8v6M Germany: https://goo.gl/AOZdVM Malaysia: http://goo.gl/50BRJs UK: https://www.change.org/p/george-osborne-stop-taxing-periods-period United States: https://www.change.org/p/u-s-state-legislators-stop-taxing-our-periods-period SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGNS: Canada: https://www.change.org/p/no-tax-on-tampons-a-campaign-to-remove-the-gst-charged-on-menstruation-products-sign-the-petition
Allow Tennesseans the Freedom to Choose Fiber Optics for our Future
Give Tennesseans the Freedom to Choose Fiber Optic Broadband for Our Communities We urge Tennessee lawmakers to allow Tennessee cities and counties to determine their own economic and quality of life needs and make their own decisions about fiber optic broadband services. We implore our elected General Assembly to do away with the law that prevents municipal electric utilities with fiber from extending broadband service to communities across the state. For years, the world’s most advanced technology has been available just outside of many of our Tennessee communities; yet state law keeps that technology just beyond our reach. Now, we seek a change in the law that would allow municipal providers – who work for the public interest – to serve our broadband needs with the fiber optics that will improve our quality of life and educational access across Tennessee, bring jobs to our communities and make us more competitive for business on a regional, national and international scale. We want the right to choose fiber optic broadband for our Tennessee communities and our future.