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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. 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!

Jenifer Bass
33,204 supporters
Petitioning Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate, Mark Herring

Pass a Virginia law to protect dogs in harsh weather

Legislation is greatly needed in the State of Virginia, requiring dog owners to keep their pets indoors once the temperature drops below 35 degrees, or exceeds 85 degrees. Currently, there is no protection for dogs left outside, and severe weather poses a fatal threat to these defenseless creatures. Rainbow is a recent example: On the morning of January 12, 2017, a dog was found frozen to death in Accomack County, Virginia, surrounded by snow, ice, and vomit. Her neck was bound tightly by a short chain that prevented her from reaching her plastic, uninsulated igloo, and she died an agonizing death, alone. She was named posthumously named "Rainbow." Rainbow's owner, Jose Berlanga, was charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of failure to provide proper shelter. General District Judge Gordon Vincent found Berlanga guilty of both counts. He was fined $650 and sentenced to 60 days in jail. However, the entire jail sentence was suspended, as was $500 of the $650 fine. In the end, Berlanga paid a fine of $150 for Rainbow's death. Unfortunately, it is a common practice to leave dogs outside in extreme weather. These are just a FEW cases from Virginia Two Pit Bull Dogs Freeze to Death in Frederick County, VA Owner gets second animal cruelty charge after pit bull dies from heat stroke in Henrico, VA Two dogs die of heat stroke in Newport News, VA Suffolk, VA woman charged with cruelty in dog death Dog dies of excessive heat in Bristol, VA Dog freezes to death in Accomack County, VA (Rainbow) Dog Dies After Being Left in Hot Car Outside Virginia PetSmart The general consensus is that dogs are not susceptible to harsh climates, and that their fur makes them resistant to such temperatures. This is untrue. To the contrary, dogs suffer a great deal in these conditions.  Numerous animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA and The Humane Society of the United States, have urged pet owners to keep their animals inside during times of extreme and inclement weather.  Recently, there have been several cases of people leaving their pets chained outside, day and night, in extreme weather. Many of these animals FROZE TO DEATH and there is NO LEGAL RECOURSE TO PROTECT THEM OR TO HOLD THEIR OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE! We are appealing to you to help us protect our best friends!  Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed Emergency Legislation on February 21, 2017 to protect animals from harsh weather: DC Mayor signs "Momma's Law" See a similar law passed by Massachusetts last year: malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter248 Illinois: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=099-0311 And in Indianapolis: https://www.municode.com/library/in/indianapolis_-_marion_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIIIPUHEWE_CH531AN_ARTIVCATR_S531-401GEREANCATR    

Gary Sweeney
25,995 supporters
Petitioning Terry McAuliffe

Petition to Restore Parole in Virginia

Since 1995, a year after the Virginia Assembly passed legislation to abolish parole, Virginia has built thirteen new prisons and many new jails even as the crime rate has declined. The money spent building new prisons to house those serving long sentences could be better used in three ways: to fund rehabilitative programs for inmates in the prisons, to fund re-entry programs for those leaving prison, and to fund education in Virginia to prevent children from going to prison.   The fact that the state of Virginia only spends approximately $10,597 a year per student in public schools, and $25,129 per year per inmate in prison, demonstrates that state officials entrusted with the duty and responsibility of fulfilling their accountability to the public have neglected the serious needs of the commonwealth.          

Lindsay Michie
10,606 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!

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

Dominick Evans
6,482 supporters
Petitioning Diane Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Jim Patterson, Jim Costa, Devin Nunes, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, T. Montgomery Mason, Rob Wittman, Scott Taylor, Terry McAuliffe, Jerry Brown...

Responsibilities Required From Social Media Regarding Military Romance Scamming

THE CAUSE: Military Romance Scammers are all over social media networks. These scammers use pictures, names and valor's of men and women who are actively serving in our military, retired  or are deceased. The scammers are aware how highly Americans think and feel for their military and they use this to pull at the heart strings of vulnerable men and women. Working with a retired Colonel from the United States Army whose pictures, name and child have been used in the scammers story, I have come to realize just what an epidemic this is. Unfortunately, many of the victims are afraid, ashamed, and embarrassed to come forward. Many just want to forget about the scam and move on with their lives. That is why I bring this petition to you. Due to the overwhelming numbers of fraudulent accounts throughout social media and the unidentified number of victims, we need to be the voice.  Social Media has a great amount of power, and with power comes an abundance of responsibility. THE BATTLE:  Because of the majority of military romance scammers residing in other countries, the United States has very little jurisdiction over these criminals, therefore we must work from where and what we know, and that is through the United States and our legislative system. We are looking to encourage social media sites to provide more public service announcements by way of television, movie theater ads, magazines, radio, etc. and provide additional man power to their fraudulent account tracking system as well as upgrading their security system to recognize these duplicated accounts that are recreated literally moments to hours after being deleted. Facial recognition does not solve all problems, especially when these scammers are using generic pictures (flowers, hearts etc.) on their profiles and cyber security is unable to recognize this discrepancy. PERSONAL NOTE: I am a very proud daughter to a mother who served in our Navy, and brother and father who served in our Army. I also have multiple cousins, aunts and uncles who have served and the thought of our military being abused and disrespected is appalling! My mothers friend fell victim to a scammer using the pictures of the Colonel I am currently working with, thus being the reason I have become so involved. I, like many others, had no idea what an epidimic this has become and what little is being done. Social Media needs to take on more responsibility for this breeding ground than they already have, not just for the sake of the victims, but for the sake of our security, and Military whose job is to protect us. What security is social media providing them? Obviously, not the right kind. Scammers are the cancer to the social media world and it's time our companies and legislature took a stand and initiative to help prevent such illness within our military community and every day victims. 

Kathy Waters
2,371 supporters
Petitioning Virginia State Senate, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia State House

Recognize neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups as terrorist organizations.

Recently the Illinois state senate approved a resolution to recognize neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations. In light of the tragic events of August 12th in Charlottesville, we believe it would be wise for Virginia to do the same.

Patrick Weaver
1,802 supporters
Petitioning Tim Kaine, Terry McAuliffe, Mark Warner, Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate

End the use of front license plates in Virginia

Currently the Commonwealth of Virginia requires vehicles to have a front and rear license plate. Only producing a rear plate would create a reduction of the cost and materials used. Helping to keep money in the pockets of Virginians in a time when every dollar counts. Reduce the amount of time spent by law enforcement officers enforcing this law, and putting that time towards other more serious issues. The absence does not hinder vehicle safety. Currently, nineteen states do not require the use of front plates without any issues. Four of the these states: North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky border Virginia and have motorists who use Virginia roadways on a daily basis.

Andrew Whitehead
1,713 supporters
Petitioning Alabama State House, Alaska State House, Arizona State House, Arkansas State House, California State House, Colorado State House, Hawaii State House, Idaho State House, Illinois State House, Indian...

Save Lives: Require Spinal Muscular Atrophy Newborn Screening

August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Awareness Month. Please join our efforts to require SMA newborn screening, and help end the deadly effects of SMA.  About SMA: •  SMA is the number one genetic killer of babies and children under the age of two.•  SMA is a motor neuron disease like ALS.•  SMA robs the ability to move, swallow, and eventually breathe. •  One in 40 unknowingly carries the gene responsible for SMA.•  When two carriers have a baby, there is a 25% chance the baby will have SMA, a 50% chance the baby will be a carrier, and a 25% chance the baby will be unaffected.•  One in 10,000 babies is born with SMA.  The FDA approved Spinraza as the first treatment for SMA on December 23, 2016. However, newborns continue to go untreated when they would receive the most benefit, as no states are performing SMA newborn screening. Newly diagnosed Type 1 SMA babies treated with Spinraza didn't lose their ability to move, swallow, and breathe, but instead gained strength. Some even crawled and took steps — steps away from the deadly effects of SMA. Newborn babies treated within the first two weeks never lost abilities to SMA, and developed as average babies do. They crawl, eat, stand, and walk. Only newborns with older SMA siblings have been treated this way, as their parents knew to screen for SMA. Every newborn needs to be screened for SMA, so babies born with SMA can develop just as babies without SMA do.  For this to happen, SMA needs to be added to the Recommended Uniform Screening Panel (RUSP), states need to require SMA newborn screening, and funding needs to be provided for SMA newborn screening. The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (Committee) is scheduled to vote to add SMA to the RUSP at its February, 2018 meeting. Once the Committee votes favorably to add SMA to the RUSP, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will add SMA to the RUSP. This is an important step, as many states look to the RUSP when adding new conditions to screen for. This petition will be delivered to both the Committee, and the Secretary of HHS. States also need to require newborn screening, as the RUSP is only a recommendation, it does not mandate states to test for conditions. We will continue to pursue SMA newborn screening in every state, and this petition will help our efforts. Missouri is the only state to enact newborn screening legislation, and will begin screening for SMA in January of 2019. Federal and state funds are also needed to begin and continue SMA newborn screening. This petition will help us as we advocate for funding with the appropriate federal and state congressional members. Act Now: With an FDA-approved treatment, it is urgent we secure SMA newborn screening. Newborn babies treated within the first two weeks will have the best chance at progressing as they would without SMA. Every baby born with SMA should be afforded this life-saving treatment. Please sign our petition urging Committee to vote to add SMA to the RUSP, urging states to require SMA newborn screening, and urging federal and state congressional members to provide funding for SMA newborn screening.   

Hunter Has Hope
1,580 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate, Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, Virginia Governor, Mamie Locke

"No Bully Zone" License Plate for Virginia Drivers

Parents Against Bullying VA wants to spread the "No Bully Zone" message across the Commonwealth of Virginia!  A specialty license plate would reinforce our message to drivers and people everywhere to be kind, compassionate and make Virginia a #NoBullyZone. You have seen the heartbreaking headlines about the effects of bullying. Suicides, depression, assault and murder mark the toll bullying is taking on our children. It hit home for me when my daughter was brutally attacked for miles on a school bus and teased so badly she no longer wanted to live. It became my mission as a parent to prevent this from happening to anyone else’s child when I created the non-profit organization Parents Against Bullying. In just four years, PAB has begun to reverse the bullying phenomena in Virginia. We have educated hundreds of kids about the perils of bullying, and encouraged them to embrace acceptance and individuality through events like our annual 1,000 Youth March, bi-weekly Girl Talk and Gent Talk, and the Stand Your Ground for Peace Youth Step Show.  We are also sought after by many southeastern Virginia school districts to train teachers, counselors and school staff on how to identify signs of bullying and take action to properly end it. Our efforts have been featured on CNN and Virginia television and newspaper outlets. Additionally, First Lady Michelle Obama recognized our efforts, thanking us for “finding ways to create a better tomorrow.” In order to continue our mission, we rely on the generosity of individuals and businesses for support. Without the assistance of community-minded individuals just like you, we would not be able to eradicate bullying. Creating a "No Bully Zone" license plate will allow us to spread the message everywhere you drive, and raise funds to support our efforts to end the bullying epidemic. We have been able to spark the tide of change, and your support will help us make our nation a #NoBullyZone.  Visit www.pabVA.com for more information. 

Shant'a Miller
1,487 supporters
Petitioning Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate, US Congress

The secession of "Southern Virginia"

Virginia is comprised of two entirely different regions.  The liberal "North", comprised of the counties in the Washington Metropolitan Area (up to about Prince William County), and the conservative "South", which is comprised of essentially the rest of the state.  They both have their own unique geography, culture, and political beliefs.  Even though the vast majority of the state votes Republican (land and county wise) the lack of an electoral college essentially guarantees the population-heavy north the ability to dictate the leadership for the whole state.  Regardless, this isn't solely a pro-conservative movement, the north has their own reasons for wanting the state to divide.  "Northern" calls for succession trace all the way back to the 70's thanks to the work of "Mother Fairfax", Martha Pennino. The high amount of northern tax dollars being allocated to southern counties has been a rallying cry for years for "Northern" inhabitants(I know about this first hand since I live in the "North").  More so, the “threat” of a conservative uprising (such as the election of President Trump last year) is always only an election away.    Now is the time to act.  This isn't a conservative vs liberal issue at its heart. This issue regards the right of individuals to have the liberty to consistently and unabatedly pursue their desired way of life.  Why should we continue to live election to election with the fear of whether our beliefs will be supported or completely reversed (which is what can happen in a “swing state”)?  Thankfully, Virginia has a special advantage as a “swing state”.  The extreme centrality of the two “cultures” in Virginia makes the goal of creating two separate states a relatively easily accomplishable goal.  It can be done without causing undue hardship on individuals to relocate or totally uproot their lives.     Why not allow the state to go its separate ways so that those in the North can live a way of life they desire and those in the South can do likewise?  This is an easy solution to a growing and consistent problem.  The exact specifics of how the state would be divided is not that important yet (the heavy leftist focus in Richmond and Norfolk could call for the “North” to include not only the northern region but also the eastern corridor, and the “South” including the west, central, and southern regions), what’s important is to garner support (from both sides) for this mutually desirable goal for the people of Virginia.  Decentralization is the best route to freedom of association, permitting individuals the ability to live amongst similarly minded peoples without drastically changing their lives.   

Peyton Olszewski
1,396 supporters
All Virginians deserve healthcare

I would like to thank all of you who started and signed this petition to urge Delegates to support Governor McAuliffe in his fight for Medicaid expansion. Increasing access to affordable healthcare in Virginia has been a top priority for me since being elected to represent the 38th district in 2010. As I indicated in my July 2015 column for the Falls Church News-Press (http://fcnp.com/2015/07/08/from-the-front-row-kaye-korys-richmond-report-28/), it will continue to be so. You can count on me to support the Governor’s proposal to expand Medicaid. I am glad to see fellow Virginians coming together to let their representatives know that we cannot afford continual inaction. Together we can make significant strides toward closing the healthcare gap, as well as increasing funding for education.

— Kaye Kory, State Representative
2 years ago