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Victory
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
1,004,969 supporters
Petitioning Fairfax District Office

Justice for Natasha McKenna

Natasha Mckenna, a 37 year-old mother from Alexandria, Virginia living with mental illness, was murdered during a struggle with six police officers on February 3rd, 2015 while naked, handcuffed, and restrained. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression at age 14. The police departments involved were fully aware of her struggles with mental illness. The Virginia medical examiner's office determined that her cardiac arrest was caused by 4 uses of a stun gun. No one was charged for the death of Natasha McKenna. The officer that delivered the lethal tasering, Lt. Lucas Salzman, is still gainfully employed by Fairfax County Police Department (salary of over $120k), interacting with young community members, and even posing for photo ops with female prisoners. Sheriff Kincaid has ironically recently spoken at a League of Women Voters event on destigmatizing mental illness, but has not commented on Natasha McKenna’s death outside of the conclusion of the department’s report. We demand justice for Natasha McKenna and accountability for her murder; we condemn the failure of the Fairfax County Prosecutor's Office to bring criminal charges against Lucas Salzman and the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office. We call for the reopening of this case and a legitimate criminal investigation of the officers involved. We call for their termination. We call for the mayor and city council to address the use of unnecessary force and the violation of Natasha McKenna's Constitutional 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. We call for the reallocation of FCPD funds into training mental health professionals and social workers to provide public community services, to prevent police force against the mentally ill. We call for the public officials of Virginia that in any way contribute to the standing and funding of its police departments hold officers like those involved in this case accountable. We call for the U.S. Department of Justice to address these grievances and enact comprehensive policy for mental health calls, beyond jurisdiction of shielded and untrained police departments.

NVCREE
315,326 supporters
Petitioning Virginia State House

Impeach Judge TJ Hauler for Giving a Sexual Abuser No Jail Time

Similar to the Brock Turner case, a convicted abuser may be getting off on simply registering as a sex offender for sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl on school property. Logan Osborn, a former high school wrestler in Virginia, was 18 when he was accused of “tying a belt around a 14-year-old girl's neck and hands and forcing her to perform a sex act in late April of 2017.” Osborn plead guilty to having “carnal knowledge” of a minor and was sentenced to 10 years in jail with eight years suspended — meaning he would have to serve two years. But last week his judge, Judge TJ Hauler, stayed the two-year term. Osborn will serve no jail time. This is because his lawyers claimed the girl consented, even though she was crying when it happened, was tied up, and is not of the age of consent in Virginia (where it happened). This isn’t the first time Osborn has been accused of sexual assault and a Clinical psychologist testified that he has a "moderately high risk" of reoffending. When I was this girls age, I was sexually assaulted in another high school just down the road. To see this happen again to someone so close to me is unbearable. So many victims go without justice against their abusers but through taking action, we can fix this. As we saw with the #MeToo movement and other sexual assault cases, this affects many of us as every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. This girl (14 years old!!) came forward immediately about her experience while it takes most of us much longer. She is strong and brave and deserves our support in her time of need. Please join me in calling for the impeachment of Judge TJ Hauler if he does not reinstate the original sentence. We need justice for this young girl and other sexual assault survivors. No one should have to watch their abuser get off with no punishment at all. Her pain is worth more than that. Thank you, Emily

Emily Jansen
168,245 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!

Terra Jackson
34,680 supporters
Petitioning UNICOR, FPI, White House, Earl Blumenauer, Ron Wyden, Lew Frederick, Kate Brown, Lamar Alexander, Alabama State House, Andrew M. Cuomo, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Louie Gohmert, Joaquín Castro, Michael...

FREEDOM MATTERS, RELEASE ALL FROM JAIL FOR CANNABIS RELATED CHARGES UNDER 8 OUNCES

We have had many successes recently in progressing cannabis laws - which are to be celebrated. However, we can’t celebrate the progress without acknowledging the travesties that are still happening daily.  There are literally millions of Afro American men and women sitting in jails and prison cells because of the failed war on drugs. While our representatives in Congress focus on banking, interstate commerce, and states’ rights, human beings are being incarcerated and enslaved by corporate prisons for possession of a plant, the majority of which are Afro Americans.  For instance, Corvain Cooper is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for non-violent marijuana-related charges.   According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply possessing marijuana.  Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Black people are 3.73 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana. Over half of those arrests were of black males between 2001 and 2010. Let that number sink in for a minute.  We need to create a plan that releases these people from prisons and jails throughout the United States. It is imperative that every state that passes tax and regulation laws also includes the release of those serving time for non-violent cannabis convictions. We need to focus on getting those incarcerated for non-violent cannabis charges released so they can start their lives again with their loved ones.  Corporate prisons in the US profit an average of $39,000 per incarcerated person per year. In New York, they profit $60,000 per person. It’s unjust and needs to end.  It’s time to start righting the wrongs of cannabis prohibition and the prison industrial complex. Every time a state considers “legalizing” cannabis, the first consideration needs to be for the men and women who have been locked up and removed from society for the same plant they are planning on collecting billions of dollars in taxes on.  Please sign the petition to let your voice be heard - no legalization without every non-violent cannabis prisoner’s release. If you want to continue the support for this effort further please contact the National Cannabis Diversity Awareness Convention by email (NDACPDX@GMAIL.COM)  

Mss Oregon
20,325 supporters
The Virginia General Assembly: Block the Confirmation of Helen Dragas