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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 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
33,099 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
22,063 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
10,522 supporters
Petitioning Alabama State Senate, Alaska State Senate, Arizona State Senate, Arkansas State Senate, California State Senate, Colorado State Senate, Connecticut State Senate, Delaware State Senate, Florida Stat...

Require Amazon to Collect and Remit Sales Tax For All FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) Sales

Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Requiring the hundreds of thousands of small businesses to register in every state and collect and remit in all applicable states is not practical -- it is a complex, heavy financial burden on small businesses and it is causing states to lose billions of dollars in tax revenue each year. With E-commerce now playing such a big role in the local economies, and with Amazon being THE major player, it is time for new legislation to be passed so that these matters can be properly addressed, removing any doubt regarding State sales tax liability and nexus -- especially as it relates to Amazon FBA and similar programs. If Amazon FBA was recognized as consignment, from a sales tax perspective, as it should be, then this would solve a lot of the associated issues that we are currently seeing. Laws vary from state-to-state, but most states require that the consignee (the store, or, Amazon in this case) should collect and remit sales tax. Arguments regarding consignment, who the seller really is and who the 'supplier' is: 1. FBA 'Suppliers' (as they should be called, and not FBA 'sellers') do not choose how/where their products are stored/shipped. 2. Commission is paid to Amazon on each unit sold. 3. FBA 'suppliers' must adhere to Amazon policy. Suppliers do not have the right to refuse sale/shipment without consequence and do not collect any money on transactions (all transactions are handled and controlled by Amazon, the store owner, with the supplier having no participation in said transactions). 4. FBA 'suppliers' have no real relationship with the customer as nearly all communication is prohibited as per Amazon (this relationship is owned and controlled by Amazon, the real seller). 5. Amazon provides advertising for products that they sell, including FBA products. Suppliers have no say in that message or how it's presented. 6. Amazon charges a 'monthly, rental fee' (FBA subscription fee) to display FBA products at their property, as well as additional fees for special exposure (e.g. special ad types or brand page vs. window or end-cap at front of store), as well as additional fees for how the product may be presented (e.g. videos on listing vs. in-store display). 7. Product ownership does not transfer to Amazon (the store owner), but sits on Amazon's shelves until a buyer is found...at which point, the buyer should pay the appropriate sales tax (Amazon/the store owner, is responsible for collecting and remitting this, as they handle all transactions with the end-buyer and own the property where all merchandise is stored and sold). 8. et al. Amazon should be charging and then remitting the sales tax to all applicable states -- not the FBA seller. Not only would this eliminate any argument about complexity or what constitutes nexus amid the varying, questionable and ever-changing interpretations that each state has established, but convincing the States to get behind it should be easy if they only had to pursue one entity (Amazon), in lieu of the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that currently operate within the US marketplace. It is estimated that the majority of the FBA sellers that sell on the Amazon-US marketplace are operating on foreign soil, and do not have a legal entity that is locally established inside of the United States. How are the states going to force compliance if a foreign seller, using a foreign bank account, is operating outside of the jurisdiction of local law? This poses serious problems and creates an environment of unfair competition if foreign sellers can offer products 10% cheaper due to not having to collect and remit sales tax. If Amazon were required to collect and remit on all FBA sales, not only would this reduce costs, man hours and complexity etc., but it would be a lot easier to ensure compliance and remittance. States could get the tax dollars that they desperately need, instead of missing out as they do now. If things continue as they are, States will waste tons of money auditing individual sellers and pursuing legal action, all, unnecessarily. Since Amazon has decided to take full custody of its customer base and is essentially acting as consignment, this should put sales tax liability on Amazon's shoulders, not on FBA sellers. Since FBA sellers are currently required to collect and remit for all states where they are deemed to have a substantial nexus, then, in order to do that, they must first register their business in that State, apply for permits etc., and admit to having a substantial nexus. Just having a single box of inventory in one of Amazon's warehouses will be sufficient for establishing nexus for most applicable states. Amazon may move inventory around, however they see fit, and in doing so, will force FBA sellers to have nexus in those states, oftentimes, unknowingly. Once nexus is established for a particular state, it applies to ALL subsequent sales to that State -- so, if a seller wants to sell something on Ebay, and the buyer is located in the nexus state, then that seller would need to collect and remit sales tax, even if that inventory was stored in and shipped from their home. If FBA sellers are required to register in all of the applicable states and admit that they have a substantial nexus, they would then potentially be subject to Corporate/State income taxes for that state, use-tax for all products/services, franchise taxes, non-resident taxes, opportunity taxes and other, associated fees/taxes etc.. If non-local businesses have to admit that they have substantial nexus due to a single box of inventory, and if they have to remit in the same way (or worse) as a local business that is actually operating out of that state, then what other tax implications and responsibilities will they be subjecting themselves to? And wouldn't this put undue burden on FBA sellers? And isn't that illegal? Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Thank you.

American Citizen
2,147 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
1,790 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
1,700 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
1,612 supporters
Petitioning U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Terry McAuliffe, Kenneth Mapp, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, Muriel Bowser, Lolo Moliga, Eddie Calvo, Ralph Torres, Steve Bullock, Mark Dayton, Andrew Cuomo,...

Make Partisan Gerrymandering Illegal.

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth." - Abraham Lincoln Whereas: We the PEOPLE are supposed to select our representatives in the government, not the other way around; Whereas: Gerrymandered districts encourage extremism & partisanship to win primaries, and discourage cooperation in the Government; Whereas: The majority of Americans want their voices to be heard accurately, and their parties NOT to be pulled to either wing leaving them with choices that feel like the LEAST BAD or no voting option at all; Whereas: When power is consolidated to a party, it discourages INTERNAL debate and stifles new ideas; Whereas: Gerrymandered districts allow incumbents to show more care for their party or personal position than the people they are supposed to be representing; Whereas: Non-partisan organizations have come up with a variety of ways to draw voting maps fairly and with accurate representations of the population; Whereas: Disenfranchised voters have no recourse when voting maps are skewed based on politics, since it is not illegal; Gerrymandering districts based on political partisanship, to protect incumbents, to consolidate power to ANY party should be illegal.  This should cover not just future redistricting, but also all current districts.  Any politician who is only keeping their seat because they have gerrymandered a safe voting population does NOT deserve to keep their seat.   "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy   

Juniper Harrison
1,432 supporters
Victory
Petitioning The Governor of VA

STOP the Closure of West Springfield Car Care in NOVA!!

"After 12 years within the Fairfax County community, the West Springfield Car Care shop is being forced to close their doors by the new landlord Capitol Petroleum Group. As a small business, this will affect 9 employees and tens of thousands of citizens within the County. Please help by calling Capitol Petroleum Group and ask them to keep West Springfield Car Care open. Keep this honest and trustworthy shop within our community." Please contact Joe Mamo at Capitol Petroleum Group and STOP the closure of West Springfield Car Care. Capitol Petroleum Group is already in possession of over half of the service stations in the District of Columbia and is expanding rapidly all along the East Coast. Please help Capitol Petroleum Group remember that the "little guy" is what this country was built upon. Let's not squash the American Dream with big business politics. Don't let them displace NINE hard working American families and affect thousand's of loyal constituent's! PLEASE HELP SAVE West Springfield Car Care!!! Shop Address: 8400 Old Keene Mill Rd Springfield, VA 22152

Sarah Rivera
1,125 supporters
Petitioning Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Governor, Virginia State House, Virginia State Senate

Keep killer Joseph G. Sikes Jr. in prison!

Please sign our petition and share it. Joseph G. Sikes Jr. had a hand in brutally killing two teenagers over a small bag of pot in 1996. The murder was done in front of a toddler and was carried out in true gangster thuggery form.  I can remember the day well, Krissy's mother not being able to go home because of her daughters blood spilled out all over the floor. Truly, she had to move and spend many years suffering tremendously because of the loss of her precious only daughter. Roberts family had it no easier. The family of Joseph G. Sikes Jr. is trying to have him pardoned. They feel he has been in prison long enough and has not had a chance to even start his life. They say "His incarceration has been a hardship on his family. The time and travel expense to see him, the financial burden it imposed to provide him with basic necessities."  They selfishly overlook the families who children were brutally murderd. I ask you, is that not the ultimate hardship?  They have the option and may choose to spend the time and expense to go visit Sikes in prison. The other families will never, never mind you, see Krissy or Robert again this side of heaven!  They do not have the luxury of seeing or helping Krissy or Robert with basic needs (which I'm sure the state provides for Sikes) because Sikes stole the basic need of life its self from them.  We all do things we wish we never had, me included. But there are very few of us that take the life of another in cold calculated murder! The things we do bad, we suffer the consequences. To cut Sikes sentence in half and let him out now would be like saying "It was along time ago he was young and foolish. He is not the same anymore." I hope for his sake that he is not. However, Krissy and Robert are still the same, GONE! Leaving family and friends scard for life. Sikes has a debt to pay to society and I, along with many others, are part of that society. I do not want to be short changed! Mr. Sikes and his family are blessed to still have his life. Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have and the Sikes have everything. That's more than Krissy and Robert's family have, who had it all taken from them!  Please do not allow Mr. Sikes out of prison until his debt is paid in full. It would make justice look cheap! I believe in forgiveness and restoration. However, I also would like to believe that American Justice is still honored in the great state of Virginia. So as honorable members of Virginia's government, I along with other voters, hope you will serve justice. Allow Mr Sikes to serve his time. Do not grant him a pardon!

Dwayne Byerly
809 supporters
The Virginia General Assembly: Block the Confirmation of Helen Dragas

One of the responsibilities of the legislature is to confirm appointments by the Governor. As the ranking member of the Privileges and Elections Committee, I have a heightened responsibility. My usual approach is to support any governor's selections unless the appointee has a conflict of interest or refuses to fill out required paperwork. This year we face confirmation of Helen Dragas for a second term on the University of Virginia Board of Visitors. She does not have any conflict of interest and she is willing to fill out the paperwork. Nonetheless, I will be actively opposing her reappointment for the following reasons: • The University of Virginia has a culture of self governance and democratic process. The Rector's actions were not in the spirit of that culture. The decision to remove President Sullivan was made without any transparency or full debate and, thus, was out of line with the principles established by Mr. Jefferson when he founded this flagship university. The decision to remove President Sullivan was made without an in person meeting and vote by the full Board of Visitors. Rather, Rector Dragas solicited support in individual phone calls with Board members. To this day, information has not been forthcoming that would meet the standards for removal of the President. • President Sullivan had been hired with much acclaim only eighteen months earlier. Dissatisfaction with her leadership had never been discussed in official Board meetings or with her, with the result that the President was blindsided when Rector Dragas told her she had sufficient votes of Board members for her removal. • One of the core responsibilities of the Board of Visitors, led by the Rector, is to hire or remove the university president. When the Board acts on that responsibility, its role becomes critically important. It appears that the Rector and the Board did not discharge their responsibility in this situation with an appropriate level of seriousness or professionalism. The person who led the process should accept the consequences. • Ms. Dragas' actions as Rector created turmoil for the University that was unnecessary and unhelpful in pursuing the University's academic mission. The action caused distraction, confusion and disbelief for students, faculty, alumni and donors who had no indication there were questions about the leadership of President Sullivan. The universal and overwhelming response from these groups in opposition to the decision suggests that Rector Dragas and Board members had limited understanding of the University culture. The process of their decision making was, thus, a failure of professional leadership. • The distraction, confusion and disbelief of the summer's events continues with the recent warning issued by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Although the public position of the University is that all parties are now working together effectively, I do not believe the various entities can truly move forward with Ms. Dragas remaining on the Board of Visitors. • On December 3, I met personally with Ms. Dragas. We had a frank conversation. It is my conclusion that she does not comprehend the damage done to the University of Virginia, nor does she accept responsibility beyond having poorly managed the President's removal. As a result of these factors, it is my intention to vote against Helen Dragas' confirmation to the Board of Visitors and to move for a recorded vote by the Privileges and Elections Committee and the entire Senate. Janet Howell Senator 32nd District

— Janet Howell, State Senator
5 years ago
The Virginia General Assembly: Block the Confirmation of Helen Dragas

Thank you all for contacting me regarding this issue. I have written the Governor a letter asking that he not re-appoint Helen Dragas in the weeks after this became public. Regardless of her intent, it is now very clear that procedurally this was handled very badly in a conspiratorial fashion. The lack of transparency and the lack of fundamental fairness to Doctor Sullivan cannot be remedied unless Rector Dragas steps down or is not approved for re-appointment in the General Assembly. It is my hope that like Mr. Kington, she will do the right thing and resign. However it is my intent to vote against her re-appointment in the legislature. Best Regards, Senator Dave Marsden District 37 Senate of Virginia

— David Marsden, State Senator
5 years ago
Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Eviction Want Richmond's Elected Officials to Answer!

Thank you for contacting me regarding public housing in the City of Richmond. Many of the decisions posed in your questions are made by local government, not the General Assembly. However, I support of any efforts to provide everyone with safe, adequate, affordable housing. Therefore, I support the initiatives you have outlined in your questions below. In addition, in the General Assembly, I have sponsored or co-sponsored legislation to: Expand private-market housing options for Housing Choice Voucher holders in areas of economic growth and opportunity by providing a tax credit for property owners. Encourage developers to build affordable housing units by permitting localities to include in their affordable dwelling unit ordinances that the prices for resales and rerentals be controlled by the authority or locality for a period “not less than 15 years nor more than 50,” as opposed to the current period of 50 years. Help preserve affordable rent for the elderly and disabled when apartments are turned into condominiums; Create a three-year, $2.5-million pilot project to provide temporary rental assistance for working families, covering the difference between one third of family income and fair market rent during a limited period of time while the family transitions from homelessness to financial independence; Increase grants to local employees such as teachers, police and firefighters, commonwealth attorneys, and sheriffs to purchase homes in the locality. As we prepare for the 2013 General Assembly Session, I invite you to contact me to express your opinion on any specific legislation that we will consider. The Session convenes on January 9, 2013. You can track legislation online at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?131+men+BIL. In addition, if you would like to subscribe to my e-newsletter or mailing list, I can provide you with regular legislative updates. To subscribe to my newsletter, you can visit www.jennifermcclellan.com, or reply to this email. Sincerely, Jennifer L. McClellan Virginia House of Delegates 71st District (804) 698-1171

— Jennifer McClellan, State Senator
5 years ago