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Tennessee State Senate

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Petitioning 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

mike sullivan
70,536 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 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 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. 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 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!

Jenifer Bass
33,094 supporters
Petitioning United States Congress, Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, John Duncan, U.S. House of Representatives

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. 

Nikki McDonald
20,419 supporters
Petitioning The President of the United States

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,   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)   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

Ronnie Van Zant
9,024 supporters
Petitioning Tennessee State House

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.

Henry Seaton
6,438 supporters
Petitioning The Governor of TN

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 - 615-669-PITS (7487)

Pit Bull Awareness of The United States
4,355 supporters
Petitioning Tennessee Lawmakers

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.
3,615 supporters
Petitioning Tennessee Emergency Medical Service

Legalized concealed carry for E.M.S., Firefighters and all Emergency personnel.

Due to changing times it is no longer safe for our first responders. We deserve the right to be able to protect ourselves and go home to our family. I feel that not only should it be legalized but should be recommended. I also feel there should be state approved training available as with law enforcement.

Brandon Gross
2,521 supporters
Petitioning Commissioner Candice McQueen

Stop Part 2 of TNReady

Students, in grades 3-12th, across the state of Tennessee are suffering through hours upon hours of the TNReady/TCAP test. Part 1 of the TNReady test was fraught with issues. The online test was stopped mid-stream, paper/pencil tests were delayed and caused districts to alter schedules repeatedly, evaluators are being selected via Craigslist....these are facts. It is also important to understand that the TNReady test has been called in question for errors and issues related to developmental concerns. Many parents, students, and educators have voiced concerns. However, the Tennessee Department of Education has continued to defend the TNReady test and are planning to force districts to administer Part 2, despite pleas to "stop the test" and the growing parental "opt-out" movement. My own daughter took Part 1 of the TNReady test. It was an experience that caused her anxiety and lowered her confidence. She spent over 4 hours testing when she sat for Part 1, which is more time than the ACT or SAT. The second part of TNReady would require her to test for 7 more hours! So an eight year old Tennessee student is being asked to be focused, engaged, and silently seated for well over 11 hours, which is the equivalent of taking the SAT four times in a matter of a few weeks (especially for districts whose tests were delayed). Sadly, after all that invested time, TNReady will not provide Claire with any worthwhile data (since scores will be reported after she is already in her fourth grade year). Claire, along with the rest of the students of Tennessee, have spent more time on this test than it deserved. The students and teachers of this state deserve an appropriate assessment. By signing my petition, we will be telling those responsible that "enough is enough". For these reasons, I am pleading with those involved in the Tennessee legislative body, the Tennessee Department of Education, and Governor Haslam to not administer Part 2 of the TNReady/TCAP test.

Jessica Fogarty
2,461 supporters
Petitioning Tennessee Governor

Stop hurting our schools: Remove Kevin Huffman as the appointed TN Commissioner of Education

We, the people of Tennessee, demand that you immediately remove Kevin Huffman from the position of authority over our children's education in our State.  We do not want a corporate-driven, profit-seeking, reform-minded appointed person representing us in office any longer.  Through his actions, Kevin Huffman has hurt the students and teachers of TN.  His actions have benefited greedy corporate interests.  We are not fooled, nor will we remain silent on these injustices:  ~ Failure to release 2014 TCAP scores by the deadline.  Informing local districts of this on the day of the deadline. ~ Manipulation of 2014 TCAP scores, supposedly to "align" with common core but we all know the scores are being manipulated to make the TDOE and Huffman and their failing reforms look good. ~ Continually bragging that the 2013 NAEP scores in TN showed incredible improvement when a law was passed the year before the 2013 NAEP that directly impacted the NAEP test.  The law prohibited non-proficient 3rd graders from being promoted to 4th grade, thus, the low-scoring students were held back a year and did not take the 4th grade NAEP. (The NAEP is only given to 4th & 8th graders every 2 years).  Tennessee magically became "the fastest improving state in the nation" by leaving students behind. ~ Kevin Huffman underhandedly passed drastic cuts to new teachers and those earning advanced degrees in TN.  We realize the extremely important role that teachers play in children's lives, and we further demand that teachers in TN from this point forward be valued, respected, and paid fairly.  This is crucial to recruiting and retaining excellent teachers in our State. ~ Kevin Huffman is paid the highest salary of any TN Commissioner of Education.  ($200,000 per year, which is 11% more than his predecessor).  He has virtually no experience in the classroom except for 2 years as a Teach For America instructor.  He has no education degree and no certification to be an educator.  He is a lawyer and an executive.  He is unqualified to represent public education. ~ Kevin Huffman has sought to ignore and bypass our locally elected school boards by allowing Charter Schools to be approved by his State Board of Education.  He fined the Metro Nashville school district $3.4 million for not approving a charter school of his choice.  We do not want our public schools given to charter operators!  Our public schools belong to the communities they serve.  Do not hand over that right to charter school operators. ~ Kevin Huffman and the TN Board of Education seek to hurt current teachers (ie. lowering and limiting their pay, and revoking their teaching licenses based on standardized test scores) and create unfair policies in questionable manners (ie. on a conference call).  Tennessee parents want certified, qualified, highly educated, experienced teachers leading their child's education, and we want those teachers paid fairly.   ~ We do not want TN students taught by non-certified, inexperienced teachers (such as Teach for America or The New Teacher Project).  If a person wishes to be a teacher, they should do so the correct way: earn a college degree & teaching certification from an accredited college or university.  There are no short-cuts or bypassing when it comes to our children’s education.  Every student should be in a classroom with a degreed, certified, experienced, and fairly paid teacher.  ~ Smaller class sizes benefit students and their educational growth.  Students learn best when teachers can give individual attention.  This is not possible with crowded classrooms and teachers who are stretched thin.  Education in Tennessee must be funded adequately.  Every child should be in a school with strong academics, individualized attention, and rich music & art programs. ~The "problem" of education in the USA is not the problem we are led to believe it to be.  Data has been manipulated to show a crisis, and politicians & corporations are demanding educational reform to fix it, when, in truth, it only benefits their pocketbooks & campaigns, and it is harming our public education system.  The truth is that American students are out-performing other nations when compared to students socio-economically. The very real problem in America is poverty, and these reforms will not address nor help the real issue of children growing up in poverty in Tennessee.   ~ We do not want our tax dollars spent on excessively testing our students through Standardized Tests mandated by our State.  With millions of dollars being spent on these tests in TN, and countless hours wasted as students stressfully take them, teaching staff has been cut and learning time has been slashed in our schools.  These tests are unfairly used to evaluate teachers.  This is not acceptable.  Real teachers, optimal class sizes, and support staff in every school should be the priorities with our tax dollars, NOT Standardized Tests. ~ We further demand that the position of TN Commissioner of Education be an ELECTED position by the people, and not an appointed one (many other States wisely elect this position instead of having one appointed).  NOTE:  Kevin Huffman's child attends Harpeth Hall, an elite private school in Nashville where teachers have advanced degrees and are paid well, class sizes are less than half the size of public schools (8 students : 1 teacher), there are rich music & art programs, students have a state of the art library, and they are not doing Common Core.  We want someone with abundant experience as an educator who is truly vested in Tennessee public education to represent us.CLARIFICATION: At the time this petition was created, Huffman's child attended Harpeth Hall. We have been informed that his children attended the best magnet school in Nashville for 2013-14, and we have also been informed, but have not confirmed, that both children are enrolled in private schools for 2014-15.   Governor Haslam, we realize that you seek to be re-elected to a second term of Governor in 2014.  Be hereby warned: your actions regarding public education will determine whether or not you receive our votes in 2014 to continue to serve another term as our Governor.

Momma Bears
2,321 supporters
Institute Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Tennessee Schools

It was the legislature's desire similar to the desire reflected in the petition that children be empowered to make safe healthy choices throughout their lives.. That is why the law encourages risk avoidance not risk reduction. In doing so, we took the same approach as we have done with other public health issues, like alcohol, tobacco, etc. We encourage abstinence from behaviors that pose significant health risks and avoidance of those same behaviors. We don't encourage children to just "reduce the risk" but we encourage discontinuance of those behaviors that involve potentially great risk. "Risk avoidance." The law also provides and requires a comprehensive education. The curriculum is encourage sexual health by helping students understand how sexual activity affects the whole person including the physical, emotional, social, psychological, economic, and educational consequences of non marital sexual activity. Read the law. You will find confidence in the approach taken.

— Dolores Gresham, State Senator
2 years ago