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 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. 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. 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 2017 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 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 struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 now!
***HELP DEMAND JUSTICE*** #FREECYNTOIABROWN #JUSTICE
Cyntoia Brown, a 16-year old sentenced to life for the killing of Johnny Allen. Cyntoia Brown had been given up for adoption by her biological mother, Georgina Mitchell, when she was two years old. When Georgina became pregnant with Cyntoia, she continued consuming alcohol which may have resulted in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Georgina began using crack cocaine when Cyntoia was eight months old and Cyntoia was given up to Ellenette Brown. Even though Ellenette Brown provided a generally stable home, Cyntoia had not had sufficient stability in her life for proper emotional development and by 2004 had become a runaway. Sixteen-year-old Cyntoia Brown's sexual encounters had included many rapes, assaults during or before sex, and times when she was under the influence of drugs. Brown had a physically and sexually abusive pimp named "Kutthroat", who brandished guns at her and forced her into prostitution. Brown was picked up by a 43-year-old real estate agent, Johnny Allen and taken to his house on August 6, 2004. Brown stated that for several weeks, she had been repeatedly raped and was on drugs. When she arrived at Allen's house, she found it was full of guns. Brown said that she was afraid that she would be shot, which led her to shoot and kill Allen. Cyntoia Brown was then arrested for Allen's murder. From the day of her arrest she sat for six years until the start of her trial and she was convicted. She requested an assessment by Dr. William Bernet, a juvenile forensic psychiatrist from Vanderbilt University. She was found to have had a difficult childhood, but was considered competent to stand trial, and therefore tried as an adult, at the age of sixteen. She requested to testify on her own behalf at her trial, to tell her own story, but her legal team advised her not to do so. Prosecutors argued that her motive for killing Allen, a child rapist and predator who bought her from her pimp, drugged and raped her daily, was robbery. Brown was sentenced to 51 years to life for first degree murder. The prosecutor of the case had argued for life without parole by stating the importance of ensuring that dangerous and violent people are imprisoned, regardless of the circumstances that may have arisen to make them violent. After her conviction, her story caught the eye of a prominant Tennessee Attorney, Charles Bone, a Nashville attorney, who decided to join Brown's attorneys on the case. They argued for a new trial, particularly to allow Brown to testify on her behalf, something that was discouraged by her attorneys in the original case, to present evidence, and evidence about her developmental delays due to fetal alcohol syndrome. Brown’s new trial is in the appeal process as she sits in adult prison as the VICTIM. Brown is currently serving her sentence at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? Because.... Something is horribly wrong when the system ENABLES these rapists and the VICTIM is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this CHILD’S sentence, I hope to God you don't have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already!!!!!!!! PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION AND HELP ME GET JUSTICE FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRL WHO DOES NOT BELONG IN PRISON FOR THE ACTIONS SHE TOOK AGAINST HER PREDATOR/RAPIST. THE TENNESSEE JUSTICE SYSTEM HAS TAKEN AWAY THE REST OF HER CHILDHOOD AND ENTIRE ADULTHOOD, AND SHE WAS ALREADY ROBBED OF HER ENTIRE YOUTH. I WANT THIS CHILD TO KNOW LOVE DOES EXIST AND THE WORLD IS NOT ALL EVIL. I WANT CYNTOIA TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT HERE WHO SAW HER STORY, LISTENED, AND CARE ENOUGH TO DEMAND CHANGE AND JUSTICE FOR HER. PLEASE SIGN, SHARE, POST THE LINK ON YOUR MEDIA PAGES... AND WHEN THERE ARE ENOUGH SIGNATURES THE PETITION WILL BE SENT TO THE TENNESSEE GOVENOR, DEPT OF CORRECTIONS, SENATE REP, HER ATTORNIES, CONGRESS.... THANK YOU!!!! #ISTANDWITHCYNTOIA #JUSTICEFORCYNTOIA#FREECYNTOIABROWN #HOWMANYMORE
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.
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)
Ban 24 hour shifts for EMTs and Paramedics.
Pre-Hospital Providers are expected to make critical decisions that significantly affect the outcome of the patients that they treat. They must quickly assess for life threating conditions, perform highly technical skills that in any other situation would only be performed by a physician, and often on more than one patient at a time without the full staff and resources of a hospital. We trust that the Paramedics and EMTS are adequately prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to treat us and our families. The reality is, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Increases in call volumes over the last two decades coupled with the " Laissez-faire” status, that allows for both public and private ambulance services to run both emergency and non-emergency calls, when many of the employees have not slept, and in some cases, have not stopped treating patients for 24+ hours. has created a paradigm of pre-hospital care that is damaging to the provider, the public, and the patients.The shifts worked by Pre-Hospital providers vary greatly due to variations in the call volumes of the systems in which they work. In General, most Paramedics & EMTs work an average of at least 60 hours a week for one service and many work for multiple services where the combined hours worked per week can routinely exceed 100 hours a week. Most schedules are 24/48 where an employee works for 24 hours and then has 48 hours off. Low wages, many at or near minimum wage force many Employees to work 24 hours and then to pick up another 12 or 24 hours at their part time Employer. This results in an already tired provider beginning their shift exhausted. A study from the national institute of health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ books/NBK19961/) shows that the Chronic fatigue and irregular sleeping patterns created by the scheduling in EMS, leads to many short term and long term Physical and mental health problems such as those listed below:• Obesity• Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance• Cardiovascular disease and hypertension• Anxiety symptoms• Depressed mood• Alcohol use The negative repercussions on the health and well-being of pre-hospital providers are not limited to the provider. On every call, a provider is tasked with an infinite amount of possible treatments all of which have the potential to negatively impact not only the final outcome of the patient, but also the duration of recovery. Interventions performed, such as airway management, medication calculation and administration, and many others can prolong hospital stays and in many cases lead to the permanent disability or death of a patient. There is a risk-benefit assessment associated with every intervention. Impaired judgement due to provider fatigue has a lasting physical and emotional toll on the patient. The Fiscal burden of preventable death and disability is ultimately passed on to the public through increased costs from loss of work, increased payout of social benefits, increased hospital stays and many other factors. Prehospital providers are also more likely to be disabled at an earlier age and require more expensive medical care. This burden is generally paid for by the counties or city governments that employ them.Increased fatigue does not only affect the patient’s care directly, but through the means in which they assess the patient. Providers must respond to calls with urgency but also with a regard to other motorists. Driving at increased speeds and the disregard of general traffic laws carries with it an increased risk, doing so while barely able to keep one’s eyes open is comparable and at times worse than driving under the influence of drugs and or alcohol. This problem can be highlighted especially in the private sector where providers may transport patients from one facility to another that is hundreds of miles away. It is not uncommon for a provider to transport a Patient from Chattanooga to Knoxville or Nashville. Interstate transfers are also common as many specialty centers are located across state lines. Currently, EMS organizations are excluded from restrictions placed on the number of hours that an individual can drive. In an effort to reduce costs, most private services operate with one EMT and one Paramedic. Because Paramedics (ALS) have a larger scope of practice, this creates a dilemma where the EMT (BLS) may have to drive 100% of the time. It is taken for granted that the practice of medicine is both a science and an Art. The science being the principals, the art... implementation. The current model creates a culture with unprecedented turnover, as experienced providers leave for other fields or to work in hospitals. This Experience vacuum decreases the standard of patient care with some services operating with 80% of their providers having less than six months of experience, and only 5% with more than two years. We recognize that the current system is not designed on a basis to maximize revenue, rather that it is to minimize expenses. The distinction is important, as we understand there is a narrow profit margin in pre-hospital care and that in order to decrease hours worked, more jobs must be created. It is without naivety and with humility that we understand that the burden of changing the scheduling practices of EMS would, for the most part, be carried in the short term by Private Ambulance services and by the public. However, the system as it exists now is unsustainable. We also recognize that a sustainable legislative solution can only be accomplished by working with the Ambulance services and that a solution must be multi-faceted, focused at the root causes with respect to public that we serve. Sustainability must start with a means of funding, and that requires a directed effort by the government of Tennessee to work with all levels of governments from federal to community to:• Legislate stricter definitions of Emergency, Non-Emergency to prevent administrative manipulation of the intent of the law.• legally protect providers right to refuse calls if they feel they are to exhausted to adequately provide care as is common practice in air medical industries. • Diversify The flow of income to ambulance services by allowing EMS organizations to bill for preventive care services provided in home and to pressure Medicare, and private insurance companies to reimburse for services other than transport. Especially those services that decrease the cost to the community.• Increase the depth and breadth of the field of Para-medicine by working with universities to create Paramedic Practitioner Degrees that allow Paramedics greater autonomy and the ability to treat without transport for non life threatening conditions, as already has been done in Australia and the U.K.• Provide stricter oversight by independent agencies to the working conditions of pre-hospital providersRegardless of the ultimate means by which we take care of all citizens in the great state of Tennessee, it must start now with our Paramedics and EMTs. We Petition you, our state representatives, to diligently enact legislation that places limits on the hours that Paramedics and EMTs are allowed to work, not only for our sake, but for those we have taken an oath to serve.
Justice for Luke
Luke John Hill and his siblings case that would keep them in a safe and loving environment and away from alleged abuse both verbally and physically, was completely dropped on Tuesday August 22nd. The children were returned back into a home of alleged abusers and constant fear. Please consider signing this petition to, if nothing else, reopen this case and bring justice for Luke! DCS HAS FAILED these sweet babies and NO ONE, especially young children, should have to live in the environment and constant fear that Luke and his siblings live in! Please, please do not let these sweet babies become part of the statistic of Children done wrong by this DCS and pushed to the side by this horrible system! Thank you so much for your support and prayers!
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.
I will speak with Gov. Haslam,about reviewing Tennessee law.I think we should certainly review neighborhood watch rules and regulations.
I will speak with Gov. Haslam,about reviewing Tennessee law.I think we should certainly review neighborhood watch rules and regulations.