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Petitioning Texas Governor Greg Abbott

30 Day Hold from Euthanasia for Harvey Animals in Texas

We are writing this petition, in hopes of having a mandatory 30 day hold for all displaced animals in all Texas shelters due to Hurricane Harvey and for any other area disasters in Texas in the future. With a disaster of this magnitude there are still many stranded, homeless and devastated people and families who were separated from their pets due to the flood waters, destroyed homes, and the rescue process. Numerous people are still without cars, transportation or the means to locate their pets.  OVERVIEW: The animal situation in Houston and Texas is dire. Dozens of thousands of strays, at one point conservatively estimated at 1.2 million, were on the streets  before Hurricane Harvey. There are few laws about breeding, selling or spaying/neutering animals with little or no enforcement of any laws that do exist. Backyard breeding and dog fighting, especially involving the bully breeds, is rampant. Dogs and puppies are sold openly out of cars in parking lots. The Houston SPCA (HSPCA) is overwhelmed with the many reports of cruelty as animals are dumped and wander the streets. Only a couple of places offer low cost spay/neuter and there are few if no free clinics. Shelters are already over-crowded and animals can be killed in 3 days under city law if strays/owner surrenders are not adopted out. Thousands and thousands DIE yearly. This is true for Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend, Montgomery, and Galveston County which can all be considered part of the greater Houston area as they are bedroom communities to Houston. THE NEED FOR A 30 DAY HOLD FOR HARVEY ANIMALS: There is no current legislation protecting displaced animals for longer than the typical 3 day hold time at government animal control shelters during a disaster - meaning an animal coming into a county or municipal or any animal shelter could be legally euthanized after only 72 hours. People report that FEMA: (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/conferences/iaconference/2010/wednesday_830am_household_pets_intro_1.pdf - Page 7) and the Federal PETS Act: (http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/federal-pets-act-information/ ) require hold times for 30 days or more in a disaster area to reunite people with pets. However, we have found no written documentation or information that supports this and have learned there is no mandate to hold animals in a government animal control/shelter for longer than usual hold times of 3 days (72 hours) during a disaster. It is each animal shelter's discretion in the State of Texas as to whether they extend the hold time or not. Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and has numerous animal shelters located in different areas for families to locate their pet. But, to our knowledge, NONE of the government animal control animal shelters are no kill shelters. There are only 2 no kill animal shelters in and around the Houston area, both of which are private shelters - Friends for Life and Special Pals. Many animals that came in at the beginning of Harvey are already out of "time" and legally can be, have been, and are being euthanized at this very moment. Indeed, some unfortunate animals are rapidly approaching their 30 day hold limit for shelters that did agree to give the 30 days. There are unimaginable numbers of displaced animals and Austin Pets Alive nonprofit has already taken in more than 1000 displaced pets from Hurricane Harvey and expects to reach 2000 soon if not more. Many local nonprofit organizations and out of town rescue groups and nonprofits such as Best Friends Animal Society are doing all they can to rescue and care for thousands of Texas animals, with many more to be rescued - hopefully to be reunited with their families or placed into new homes if the families cannot take them. However, this time limit is tremendously challenging for people who have already lost so much. Record-keeping of the displaced animals appears to be chaotic and animals are being transferred out of town/area, making it even more difficult for people to simply LOCATE their pet. Government animal shelters requirement to only hold displaced Harvey animals for 3 days is, in our opinion, inhumane for both the animals and their families who have likely lost everything. Rescue groups cannot even plan to save these animals or transfer them to safety or to fosters if they are rushed to euthanasia in just 3 days. Found animals are now being directed to BARC or HSPCA - the kill shelters now! There are still thousands of injured and/or stray animals. The City of Houston does not want to address these problems. Ignoring the problem will not resolve the issues. Right now individuals and rescues are desperately forming groups and transport chains to try to pull dogs/cats and get them to safety - but the numbers are staggering....and overwhelming and they are running out of time in many cases. It's extremely challenging, if not impossible, to reunite animals with only a 3 day hold, or even the 30 day hold that is soon ending. Many are elderly people who cannot get to computers to search through the multiple difficult data bases to look for an animal they may be missing, and in many cases animals are not even showing up in the data bases. A better system must ultimately be put into place so this does not happen again. One database for all animals involved would help, better evacuation plans and shelters taking pets would help, suspending euthanizing at local shelters while animals are moved to rescues or foster groups would help, mainstreaming and keeping records to where animals are moved would help. In short, a greater discussion must be had very soon about the problem with the over pet population in the greater Houston area and surrounding counties, along with what to do in these emergencies.  In the meantime, we are asking the State of Texas, and the animal shelters for The City of Houston, Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Galveston County and all the surrounding cities and areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to PLEASE have compassion for these animals and their families. Please give them a chance to reunite with their families if they can be, by instituting a state-wide minimum 30 day hold, for the sake of the Harvey victims and their beloved pets. Thank you. Signed, The Righteous Paws Group (formerly The Go Team Rescue Group) Wendy Thompson, Mia Bendixsen Shorey, Sheri Boyd Haynes, Godiva K. Guillory, Lisa Carroll, Tara Taheri, Francene Chlon Weber, Chrystal Spencer, Rebecca Kornblum, Sallie Humphries, Deanna L. Lopez, Jimisu Balko, Tina Eilders, Ashley Cyrena Johnson Photo Credit: Nancy Wilmont. Photo taken of actual Hurricane Harvey displaced dogs rescued by Angie Shawn Sanchez. Angie rescued the lucky mom and 10 puppies and currently is caring for all of them. The photo was taken when the pups were loaded into her car. Shelters in Corpus Christi where these dogs are located are able to euthanize in 3 days. Another mom and her pups was picked up by the county shelter the same day. They were euthanized. 

Mia Bendixsen Shorey
334,968 supporters
Petitioning Greg Abbott, Texas Governor, Texas State House, Texas State Senate, City of Austin, Texas, Texas

Governor Greg Abbott: Suspend Rent, Mortgage & Utility Payments During Coronavirus Crisis

 To Governor Greg Abbott, The Texas House of Representatives, The Texas Senate and all of the Lone Star State's Senators, Congressman, Mayors and other elected officials. COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) has been classified as a global pandemic. As of March 15th, there are 68 known cases of the virus here in Texas. The CDC has recommended that gathers of more than 50 people be canceleld for the next 8 weeks. Many states have also closed down bars, restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments. State and federal officials are encouraging people who feel sick to stay home, but many workers already struggle to make rent or mortgage payments. The choice to skip work for the sake of community health could leave them and their families unsheltered. In order to protect the health and housing security of our community we call on Governor Abbott and our government to act now so workers won't have to make that choice. Specifically, we call for a suspension of all rent, mortgage, and utility payments for 2 full months to allow people to do what they need to in order to take care of themselves, their loved ones, and the community. The legacy of every public official currently serving will be determined in the next few months. Across the world, Texans are known for taking care of Texans. It's time to act now and protect the community you are sworn to serve.

Peter Nicholas
220,532 supporters
Petitioning Texas State House, Texas State Senate

Sales Tax on 501c3 Organization's Adoption Fees

It was brought to our attention this week that 501c3 tax exempt organizations are required by the letter of the law in Texas to collect sales tax on adoption fees/donations.  Not only does this need to start being done immediately, but 7 years of back taxes and penalties are also required to be paid.  While this is the letter of the law, it does not appear that this is the way the law was intended nor the way the law has been interpreted by rescues, CPA's, or the comptroller office itself until this week.   This change and the back taxes and penalties will cause many rescues in the state to close their doors.  This puts the animal population at higher risk and will cost the state more in housing, caring for, and euthanizing animals that would have been helped by rescues. We need the law to be rewritten to make 501c3 rescue organizations exempt as shelter's are in the state of Texas. Our Congress men and women need to amend the Texas Tax Code Sec. 151.343 and the Texas Administrative Code Title 34 Part 1 Chapter 3 Subchapter O Rule 3.316 to read:  (m) Sales by nonprofit animal shelters and rescues. The sale, including the acceptance of a fee for adoption, of an animal by a nonprofit animal shelter or 501(c)(3) rescue is exempt from sales and use taxes. The term "animal shelter" is defined in Health and Safety Code, §823.001, as a facility that keeps or legally impounds stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals.  The term "501(c)(3) animal rescue is one that is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as one operating for the purpose of saving homeless, abandoned or unwanted animals and is in good standing with the IRS. 

Laura Everitt
60,340 supporters
Petitioning Texas State Senate, Texas State House, Texas Governor, Ted Cruz, Donald J. Trump

BRING VANESSA GUILLIEN HOME TO HER FAMILY ALIVE OR SHUTDOWN FORT HOOD MILITARY BASE NOW!

On April 22nd, 20 year old Vanessa Guillien disappeared from Fort Hood Military Base in Texas. Shortly before her disappearance she called her mom to tell her about being sexually harassed and possibly assaulted by an “unnamed sergeant” it is now June 27th, they waited 2 months to even try to search for Vanessa and now Fort Hood military base is supposedly stopping their investigation into her disappearance they know what happened to her and they need to be held fully responsible. I have started this petition in hopes of either finding Vanessa Guillien alive or making Fort Hood face the consequences of what happened to her. This is not the first soldier to “disappear” from this base either this time last year another young soldier who’s body was recently found named Gregory Morales also disappeared from the Fort Hood Military Base in Texas this is not a coincidence there are stories about Fort Hood and how bad of a base it is we absolutely cannot allow this base to remain open and leave an opportunity for this happen to another innocent life who thinks they are joining the US Military to make a difference only to have their lives put at jeopardy by their own so called “brother/sisters in arms” what happened to Gregory is unacceptable and what’s going on with Vanessa is unacceptable. Fort Hood must continue their investigation into her disappearanceor admit they know what happened to Vanessa Guillien and face the consequences just cause you are in the military does not make you above the law if these people hurt Vanessa they must answer for it fully!

Spencer Rowe
39,766 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
34,401 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Texas Governor, Texas State House, Texas State Senate

Oppose Changes to the Code of Conduct for Social Workers in Texas

Stand with Texas Social Workers who oppose removing protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct! #StandWithTXSocialWorkers The Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is outraged that the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) accepted language from the Governor of Texas removing protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct.  The Governor’s office rationalizes this change by claiming that agency rules cannot be more expansive than what is in state law.  However, the TSBSWE has the explicit statutory authority to propose and adopt rules regarding: “the scope of practice of and standards of care and ethical practice for social work.”  This includes defining anti-discrimination protections under the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is the guide which serves as the foundation for the profession, and disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression should receive protected status.  Social workers already have the ability to decline to provide services to a client based on their competencies and training, but they cannot discriminate based on selective personal values.  And while removing this language does not allow a social worker to discriminate based on other state and federal statutes, especially in the area of disability, it could send the erroneous message that this is allowed.  This might deter a client from coming in for services, or cause a social worker to withhold a service they are ethically obligated to provide. From Ali Ramos, MSW "I’m a 33-year-old queer, disabled woman and I also happen to hold an MSW. I’m an advocate. I’m in the queue to be approved to become licensed as an LMSW. I live with a neuromuscular disability which highly limits the mobility in my limbs, although the only true limitation I experience is society’s ableist interpretations of who I am as a person. I also have anxiety and depression. While living in an incredibly conservative area of Texas, who am I to go to when I need treatment for my physical and mental health? Will my colleagues turn their back on me because of how I move and who I love? This is an abhorrent revision to the TSBSWE’s code of conduct and is against everything that I am as a professional and person." From Melanie "JaeHee" Chung-Sherman, LCSW-S, LCPAA, PLLC., NASW/TX Board Member (she, her, hers): "The intentional removal of protections by the TSBSWE and BHEC based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and disabilities was callous, unacceptable, and derisive. The complete lack of regard for Texans who identify within the LGBTQ+, non-binary, and disability community was exemplified by the unanimous and taciturn decision to redact the specific protective language from the SW Code of Conduct by TSBSWE and BHEC Governor Abbott's appointed regulatory board members--all of whom are also licensed social workers and mental health providers (LPCs, LMFTs, and psychologists) who not only provide treatment, supervision, administration, and social services within diverse populations, but also oversee thousands of license reviews, complaints, supervisor status, Codes of Conduct, and ethical/legal practice within the state of Texas. Social workers have a legal and ethical duty to provide equitable, accessible, and competent services to all Texans (which includes fellow clients, colleagues, students, and peers), with a particular specificity for marginalized communities who encounter historical and continuous roadblocks to fair and non-discriminatory actions such as the removal of these protections. These changes are not only in direct violation of the NASW Code of Ethics but create confusion for social workers providing services and some who rely upon the Code of Conduct to protect their service provision when employers and/or organizations refuse fair and equal treatment based on identity. The misguided initiatives also create undo identity-based stress and apprehension for clients seeking assistance due to fears of further discrimination and bias--and at the height of a global pandemic, disproportionate barriers to public health care, economic downturn, and socio-political environment that continues to intensify unpredictability and fear. On behalf of NASW-TX, as the Region 3 NASW-TX Board of Directors Representative and a proud NASW member since 2004, we are requesting the immediate reinstatement of protective language to the Social Work Code of Conduct.  #StandwithTXSocialWorkers because every Texan's life is worthy of respect, dignity, unbiased, and compassionate care that is upheld by safeguarding protections for the most vulnerable populations." From Steven Parks, LCSW, NASW/TX Board Member "Texas social workers are outraged by the Governor’s personal attack to strip away protections for the vulnerable populations we serve. The governor has erased legal protections for social workers to serve the disabled and LGBT persons.  This despicable action paves the way for conservative social service organizations of all types to deny services to vulnerable Texans (mental health services, shelter space, employment assistance, and healthcare). This is just the latest act in a tiring history of hobbling social workers in Texas. It is unacceptable. Texas Social Workers are mobilizing to restore the law that extends legal protections to be consistent with our ethical code of conduct. Please support our efforts to fight this oppression." Sign this petition to show Texas social workers that you oppose any changes to their Code of Conduct. Stand with Texas Social Workers who oppose removing protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct! #StandWithTXSocialWorkers

Alison Boleware
24,751 supporters
Petitioning City of Austin, Texas, Greg Abbott, Austin Police Department, Dell, Apple, Google, Inc, Google, Downtown Austin Alliance, Austin City Council, STEVE ADLER, Tovo, Kitchen , Delia garza, Donald J. Tr...

Citizens against de-funding Austin Police Department.

Please sign to show your SUPPORT of Austin Police Department funding.The silent majority of citizens support Austin Police Department, this is the way to show your support. Sign to show you are against Austin City Council vote to de-fund APD in any way. Austin City Council members are planning to vote for de-funding APD, and to stop of hiring new police officers for the future. Sign to show your support of both of these. Side note: currently Officers have been assigned to patrol city council member houses. They are voting to de-fund APD, but want to be protected by APD. Austin Mayor Adler who voted to de-fund APD also has his own APD executive protection unit who is with him 24/7. Garza, Casar, Flannigan, and Renteria want to de-fund APD. Here is their contact info:  Natasha Madison512-978-2101 Natasha.Madison@austintexas.gov Delia Garza512-978-2102 Delia.Garza@austintexas.gov Sabino "Pio" Renteria512-978-2103 Sabino.Renteria@austintexas.gov Greg Casar                                        512-978-2104   Greg.Casar@austintexas.gov Ann Kitchen512-978-2105 Ann.Kitchen@austinteas.gov Jimmy Flannigan512-978-2106 jimmy.flannigan@austintexas.gov Leslie Pool512-978-2107 Leslie.Pool@austintexas.gov Paige Ellis512-978-2108 Paige.Ellis@austintexas.gov Kathie Tovo512-978-2109 Kathie.Tovo@austintexas.gov Mayor Steve Adler                           512-978-2100 Steve.adler@austintexas.gov

MARV MCKENNA
23,156 supporters