5,834 petitions

Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Paul Ryan, Johnny Isakson, Orrin Hatch, VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, President of the United States, Philip Roe, Elizabeth Esty

Give the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans their presumptive rights.

In 1977, the first claims of Agent Orange exposure came flooding into the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But it took 14 years for Congress to actually listen, take action and give our Vietnam veterans the benefits they deserved. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 was implemented to provide much-needed care to veterans who were exposed to the harmful chemical cocktail Agent Orange. Many of us thought the fight to get the medical attention we deserved was over, but that wasn’t the case. In 2002, the VA amended its initial plan and excluded thousands of “Blue Water” Navy vets -- vets who served right off the coast -- from receiving  our rightful benefits. Because we hadn’t served on land, the VA tried to say we were unlikely to suffer the effects of Agent Orange poisoning. Even though we didn’t serve on Vietnamese soil, we were still exposed to Agent Orange. In fact, a 2011 study by the National Institute of Medicine found that Blue Water veterans could have been exposed in multiple ways, including via the ships’ water distillation system and through the air. The National Institute of Medicine also stated, “Given the available evidence, the committee recommends that members of the Blue Water Navy should not be excluded from the set of Vietnam-era veterans with presumed herbicide exposure.” We are asking for your help in urging Congress to pass legislation (House Bill H 299 and Senate Bill S 422)  that will reinstate our right as Vietnam Navy veterans to receive the benefits we deserve for being exposed to this terrible chemical. Nearly 90,000 Blue Water vets are depending on you. We are dealing with serious health issues that range from cancer to diabetes, and from Parkinson’s to heart disease. Many of these diseases have made it nearly impossible for some of us to get steady work. Last year, the VA finally extended benefits to Air Force crew members who flew in C-123s after they had been used in Vietnam to spray the toxic cocktail. The VA came to the realization that even the slightest exposure to this chemical had serious effects on a soldier's health. So why are the Navy vets’ pleas being ignored? We breathed the Agent Orange-polluted air that drifted from the coast and drank water sprinkled with the herbicide, and now our bodies are paying the cost. We ask you to stand with us, and with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. David Valadao, and demand that the VA assume responsibility for the effects of Agent Orange on Blue Water vets. Please sign our petition asking Congress to pass House Bill HR 299 and Senate Bill S 422 and give us our benefits. 

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
84,986 supporters
Update posted 6 hours ago


Demand HESSA to offer REHABILITATION for defaulted NJCLASS Loans

The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority ("HESAA") is the guarantor of roughly $1.6 billion in student loans and state aid to students of New Jersey.  HESAA's role in administering the NJCLASS loan has been one of preying on unsuspecting borrowers, trapping them into student loans they know can never be repaid, and crushing futures. HESAA is a profit making entity hawking high interest loans that carry monthly payments unsustainable for recent college graduates. HESAA does everything they can to default borrowers by failing to send consistent monthly billing statements; failing to respond to written billing inquiries/disputes; and an outright refusal to work with or assist struggling borrowers who want to pay their NJCLASS loans, but are unable to meet HESAA's enormous minimum payment, all of which allow HESAA to easily default NJCLASS loans, especially those borrowers who have Option III NJLCLASS student loans.  A defaulted NJCLASS borrower has nowhere to turn. The borrower essentially has just three choices after their loan defaults: first, they can work with HESAA’s collection attorney and make payments though him/her who will add a collection fee of up to 30% to the balance that one already could not afford; second, they can file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, which will "stay" the collection action for up to 5 years and allow the borrower to pay what s/he can afford through the Bankruptcy Trustee; and third, a borrower can spend an exorbitant amount of money in an attempt to litigate the matter, but chances are, they will not prevail.  Let's fact it, this is a State of New Jersey "student" loan program--who is going to side with the borrower?   The NJCLASS student loan program is administered in accordance with N.J.A.C. 9A:10-6.18, et seq., which provides for rehabilitation as follows: “(c) An NJCLASS borrower may request the rehabilitation of the borrower’s defaulted NJCLASS Loan Program....The borrower shall make one voluntary full payment each month for 12 consecutive months to be eligible to have the defaulted loans rehabilitated.” Under section (d) it further states, “the maximum period for a rehabilitated NJCLASS Loan Program loan....shall be the same as that of the [NJCLASS] loan prior to default.  A borrower who wishes to rehabilitate a loan in which a judgment has been entered must sign a new promissory note.  Although, the Administrative Code under which HESAA administers the NJCLASS student loan  has a provision for REHABILITATING a defaulted NJCLASS loan, HESAA outright refuses to offer rehabilitation, and claims they cannot because they are “not authorized by either statute, or the bond indentures that fund NJCLASS loans. And, the regulations were written into the Administrative Code prospectively to allow for a NJCLASS rehabilitation program in the event that statute and market conditions change to allow for the issuance of bonds to finance rehabilitation."  This reasoning is incredible.  The National Council of Higher Education Resources, of which HESAA is a member, has included a provision for the rehabilitation of non-federal student loans in their proposal for the upcoming Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. HESAA claims they prospectively amended their regulations so that they could offer rehabilitation when or if the law does change. But, they currently do not offer rehabilitation because the federal law does not allow for it.  While 34 C.F.R. 682.405 and 34 C.F.R. 682.211(f) prohibit non-federal student loan lenders from removing a default from a borrower’s credit history; however, that is NOT AT ALL a statement that federal law prohibits non-federal student loan lenders from offering rehab programs – to the contrary, it clearly recognizes that HESAA is permitted. The NJCLASS student loan program, as it operates today, has transformed away from the original intent of the NJCLASS program created in 1995, which was to promote and enhance  the “general welfare, health and prosperity of the people of the State of New Jersey…making higher education available to the greatest number of students possible.”  In 1995, NJCLASS loans were limited to a maximum amount each year, which prohibited a borrower from over-borrowing to allow for payments that remain affordable.  Today, HESAA lends as much as you request with no questions asked, as long as you add a cosigner.  Why? Because they know the borrower will never be able to afford the enormous minimum monthly payments, but the cosigner can--and that is exactly who they will go after if you miss or are late on just one payment.  It is apparent that Your NJCLASS loan was NOT approved on your ability to repay, but rather the cosigners’ ability to repay.    The New Jersey State Legislature has expanded the unregulated power enumerated to HESAA to collect on defaulted loans, resulting in HESAA's outright refusal to provide default aversion to its borrowers.  I mean really, why would HESAA work with their borrowers when they have unfettered authority to garnish both yours and your cosigner’s wages and intercept State Income Tax Refunds. The NJCLASS loan default total reported in March 2012 was $153,343,416. Just two years later, in February 2014, HESAA, the NJCLASS student loan default total increased 46.628% to a whopping $224,844,408 (February 2014).  This mammoth increase brings home the very fact that NJCLASS student loan borrowers are struggling to meet their minimum monthly payments. The significant increase in defaults also evidences that HESAA has failed to assist NCLASS loan borrowers by providing more affordable repayment options and adequate default aversion It’s obvious that HESAA has and continues to ignore that the NJCLASS student loan program, in its present state, is failing the college graduates of New Jersey; setting them up for a lifetime of failure; and an inability to become productive members of society by grossly delaying their ability to contribute to the economy in any meaningful way.  NJCLASS loan borrowers are expected to make fixed principal and interest payments just 60 days after they graduate. However, what HESAA fails to recognize is that most college graduates are not immediately taking jobs that mimic their lifetime earnings. The fact is, many college graduates take internships, and nearly all have periods of unemployment. And, this most recent generation graduated during the worst recession this country has seen since the Great Depression. Recent college grads are not immediately earning their lifetime income in fixed monthly payments over 20 years.  Instead, they initially earn less and then more later. Evidence suggests that a repayment system, mimicking the actual reality college grads face throughout their lives, a system that adjusts over time, would prevent many needless student loan defaults.  The increase in NJCLASS student loan defaults between March 2012 and February 2014 evidences the unrealistic expectations in HESAA’s minimum monthly payment requirements.  NJCLASS student loan borrowers are not asking for their debt to be cancelled--they just want a more affordable way to repay their NJCLASS student loans. Defaulted NJCLASS loan borrowers are demanding HESAA to immediately offer rehabilitation of defaulted NJCLASS student loans and defaulted borrowers with default judgments. NJCLASS loan borrowers want a chance in obtaining the American Dream; they want out of this nightmare!! NJCLASS student loan debt and the rise in defaults is a crisis facing the recent college grads of this State. NJCLASS loan borrowers can no longer sit idly by and allow HESAA to remain a spectator in their own game. Time is up. HESAA must take action NOW and do what is right!!!  

Brian Carney
1,032 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to State Bar of Texas

Disbar Nona Matthews for Using and Abusing Children for Profit

En el fondo es en Espanol...   Above you will see a picture of Attorney, Ms. Nona Matthews. Our 12 year old son was the victim of her flagrant abuse and egregious decisions four years ago and he continues to be victimized by Ms. Nona Matthews for flagrant abuse of law.  Texas Attorney, Nona Matthews (Bar Code 00787982), represents school districts in the state of Texas regarding issues arising from the mistreatment of disabled students across the state. IMPORTANT: THE MAJORITY OF THIS ACTIVITY HAPPENED UNDER HEAVY SEAL IN THE LOWER FEDERAL COURT. JUDGE JOHN MCBRYDE DID NOT EVEN ALLOW THE FAMILY (CASE PARTICIPANTS) ACCESS TO THEIR OWN COMPLAINT. IT WASN'T UNTIL WE GOT TO 5TH CIRCUIT THAT WE COULD SEE ALL OF NONA MATTHEWS' ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.  She is well known for being extremely unethical in redacting factual information from records to cover the truth. She is doing this under deception of using the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act also known as the acronym FERPA. The Act was created to conceal the child's identifiable information and NOT to be used to conceal the actual facts crucial to the knowledge of events in the judicial system. Redacting and covering those facts in records is unethical and does not allow justice to be served. It is deception. Nona also TAMPERS with evidence and changes government documents, blatantly lies and commits subornation of perjury. In Federal Court, she did much of this under heavy seal that even the family (case participants) were not allowed to access her illegal activity until well after the fact. This is all a fun game to NONA MATTHEWS - what's worse is that she intentionally and deliberately did this as a FACT WITNESS and decision maker to a disabled child harming a child permanently.   A good case is fought by the laws that protect the school districts, not by unethical acts Ms. Nona Matthews takes in hiding the truth ultimately harming disabled children and the judicial process further that is to fairly protect all as our legal system was intended to do.  Presently, we have a case in our legal system that she is doing much of the same to the ultimate harm of our minor young son that has continually been harmed by her tactics including making intentionally CRUEL and FALSE allegations in her briefs. It is deplorable and preventing justice from taking place. Ms. Nona Matthews also redacted facts that we took to the Hurst-Euless-Bedford School District School Board Grievance against the school district's Vice Principal Damon Emery for committing perjury in a Texas Education Agency Hearing also known as TEA. Ms. Nona Matthews redacted facts in order that the school board was not able to see what actually took place. Her acts have prevented justice from being served in the legal court system as well and she continues to do these extremely unethical acts to the detriment of many Disabled children across the state of Texas and to the detriment of justice being served. She has done this in legal filings in the court system as well. This is one of many very unethical acts she has taken in the TEA Hearings and the U.S. Court system including intentionally misrepresenting facts as she biasly protects herself for poor decisions she made. A good attorney fights with good caselaw and the laws set up by our country to protect the rights of all people with a fair, ethical, unbiased court proceeding. Harming children with these unethical acts is inexcusable and deplorable. These unethical acts have harmed Autistic children, children with ADHD and other learning disabilities in the schools across the state of Texas.  Additionally, Ms. Nona Matthews has also intervened with the Texas Education Agency Investigation team by asking certain TEA employees not to investigate complaints brought by parents for the safety of their children. She is doing this to protect her own bad decisions as well as unethically intervening with the Texas Education Agency investigations that are to protect children and teachers both. We ask that the process is allowed to go through without Ms. Nona Matthews unethical interventions.  We ask that Ms. Nona Matthews be fully investigated and disbarred for flagrant abuse of the law.  She has made thousands of dollars winning cases illegally. There are many that can attest to this as you will see in the comment section of this petition. Please sign our petition to help have Ms. Nona Matthews removed from the judicial system to prevent her from further harming Texas DISABLED CHILDREN and the legal system from doing the work it was intended to do to bring fair, ethical justice for all.   PETITIONING FOR CHANGE AND PLAYING FOR CHANGE!  Please sign this petition with ONE click on behalf of our son and all children's disability rights...we NEED Change for these children!!   IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS PETITION, PLEASE READ THROUGH THE UPDATES.    Arriba veran un foto de la abogada Sra. Nona Matthews.  Nuesto hijo de 12 años fue la victica de su flagrante abuso y de sus decisiones atroces de hace cuatro años y el continua siendo victimizado por la Sra. Nona Matthews por su atroz abuso de la ley.  La abogada de Texas, Nona Matthews (numbero de barra de abogados 00787982). IMPORTANTE;  LA MAYORIA DE ESTA ACTIVIDAD SE LLEVO A CABO BAJO CIERRE INTENSIVO (LOS EXPEDIENTES NO ESTAN DISPONIBLES AL PUBLICO) EN LA CORTE BAJA FEDERAL.  EL JUEZ JOHN MCBRYDE NO LE PERMITIO EL ACCESO A LOS EXPEDIENTES NI SIQUIERA A LA FAMILIA.  ESTO ACERCA DE SU (DE LA FAMILIA) PROPIA QUEJA!  NO FUE SINO HASTA QUE LLEGAMOS AL CIRCUITO QUINTO QUE PUDIEMOS VER TODA LA ACTIVIDAD ILEGAL DE NONA MATTHEWS. Ella es muy bien conocida por su falta extrema de etica al redactar informacion objetiva de expedientes que abarquen la verdad.  Ella esta haciendo esto bajo engaño al usar  el Acta de los Derechos Educacionales y de Privacidad tambien conocida for sus siglas en Ingles FERPA.  El acta fue creada para sellar (mantener inaccesible) la informacion identificable del niño y NO para ser usada para sellar (esconder) los propios hecho cruciales para tener conocimiento de los eventos en el sistema judicial.  Redactando y encubriendo esos hecho en los expedientes carece de etica y no permite que se haga justicia.  Es un engaño. Nona tambien altera (falsifica) la evidencia y cambia documentos del gobierno, descaradamente miente e instiga a cometer perjurio.  En la corte federal hizo mucho de esta bajo sello (con expedientes que no son accesibles) que ahun la family (participantes del caso) no se les dio acceso a su actividad ilegal sino hasta mucho despues de los hechos.  Todo esto es un juego divertido para NONA MATTHEWS - lo peor es que ella intencionalmente y a proposito hizo esto siendo un TESTIGO DE LOS HECHOS y siendo una de las personas que tomarian una decision respecto a un niño con una discapacidad, dañando al niño permanentemente. Un buen caso (a favor de un niño) es combatido por las leyes que protegen a los distritos escolares y no deberian ser combatiodos con hechos sin etica de la Sra. Nona Matthews quien oculta la verdad y a final de cuentas daña a niños discapacitados y al proceso judicial cuyo objetivo es proteger justamente a todos.  Hoy en dia, tenemos un caso en nuestro sistema legal al cual ella le esta haciendo mucho de lo mismo lo cual, a final de cuentas, termina dañando a nuestro hijo menor quien ha sido continuamente lastimado por las tacticas de ella, inclyendo haciendo alegatos FALSOS y CRUELES en sus informes.  Esto es deplorable y esta previniendo que se haga justicia. La Sra. Nona Matthews tambien redaca hecho que llevamos a junta de quejas del distrito escolar Hurst-Euless-Bedfors en contra de el vice presidente de la escuela Damon Emery por cometer perjurio en una audiencia de la Agencia de Educacion de Texas tambiien conocida como TEA por sus siglas en Ingles.  La Sra. Nona Matthews redacto los hechos de tal manera que la junta escolar no pudiera ver lo que realmente estaba pasando.  Sus acciones previnieron que se hiciera justicia en el sistema legal de las cortes y ekka tanbueb continua cometiendo estos hechos extremadamente sin etica que perjudican a muchos niños discapacitados por todo el estado de Texas y que no permiten que se haga justicia.  Ella tambien ha echo esto en presentaciones legales en el sistema de cortes.  Este es uno de los muchos hechos con mucha falta de etica que ella ha llevado a audiencias de la TEA en el sistema de cortes de Estados Unidos incluyendo tergiversar hechos para protegerse a si misma, con prejuicio y parcialidad, de las pobres decisiones que ha echo. Una buena abogada pelea con casos de ley y con las leyes que se establecieron en nuestro pais para protejer los derechos de todas las personas con un procedimiento en corte justo, etico e imparcial.  Dañar a los niños con estos actos sin etica es imperdonable y deplorable.  Estos echos sin etica han lastimato a niños autistas, niños con ADHD (THDA, trastorno de hyperactividad con deficit de atencion) y otras discapacidades de aprendizaje en escuelas por todod el estado de Texas.  Adicionalmente, la Sra. Nona Matthews ha intervenido con empleados del equipo de investigacion de la Agencia de Educacion de Texas al pedirles a ciertos empleados que no investiuen quejas que los padres han interpuesto con respecto a la seguridad de sus hijos. Ella hace esto para proteger sus propias malas decisiones y tambien su intervencion sin etica con las investigaciones de la Agencia de Educacion de Texas. Teles investigaciones son para proteger a los niños y a los maestros. Pedimos que el proceso se le permita continuar sin las intervenciones sin etica de la Sra. Nona Matthews Pedimos que la Sra. Nona Matthews sea completamente investigada y sea expulsada de la abogacia for su flagrante abuso de la ley. Ella ha ganado miles de dolares ganando casos ilegalmente. Hay muchas personas que pueden atestiguar sobre esto como veran en la seccion de comentarios de la peticion. Por favor firmen nuestra peticion para ayudar a que remuevan a la Sra. Nona Matthews del sistema judicial y para detenerla de que continue dañando a NIÑOS DISCAPACITADOS en Texas y parar que siga previniendo que el sistema legal funcione en la forma para la que fue diseñado: que haga un trabajo justo, etico y con justicia para todos. HACIENDO UNA PETICION POR UN CAMBIO Y ORANDO POR UN CAMBIO. Por favor firmes la peticion con un 'click' de parte de nuestro hijo y todod los derechos de niños con dicapacidades...NECESITAMOS un cambio para esto niños. SI ESTA PETICION ES NUEVA PARA TI POR FAVOR PONTE AL DIA LEYENDO TODAS LA ACTUALIZACIONES (UPDATES).                             Esta peticion sera entregada a: La Barra de Abogados de Texas

Kristie Cripps
131 supporters
Started 2 days ago

Petition to Wendy V. Falb, Teresa Weatherall Neal, Raynard Ross, Jen Schottke, Tony Baker

Adopt Measures to Address and Stop the Dismantling of Special Education at GRPS

In 2017, there have been many changes and situations (listed below) which signal the dismantling of special education at Grand Rapids Public Schools (hereinafter, “GRPS”).  Moreover, since GRPS is the largest public school in West Michigan, it is also the leader in either quality special education or the downward slide of special education in West Michigan.  Also, since GRPS is in the U.S. Secretary of Education’s backyard of West Michigan, what happens to special education in GRPS will set a precedence for the quality of special education throughout the United States.  In 2017, there have been many changes which affect the quality of special education.  We are greatly concerned that these changes and results appear to signal the dismantling of special education in West Michigan’s largest public school, the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Special education appears to be in a downfall and to be reduced to its bare bones.    Denying ESY (extended school year or yearlong school) to the many students with severe autism who desperately need it.  The students at the center-based schools of Lincoln, Lincoln Developmental Center, and Pine Grove qualified for these schools based upon the severity of their disabilities.  Last summer, GRPS denied ESY to a significant portion of students with severe autism for the first time.  Many families who were denied did not have skilled and experienced advocates to represent them during IEP meetings with the schools throughout the school year.  Closing a transitional school (which serve students with special needs from age 18-26 years old).  GRPS closed Kent Vocational Options (KVO) without giving families and the community an opportunity to voice their concerns before making this major decision. Moreover, the ramifications include one school facility which cannot adequately accommodate students who have physical disabilities or challenges.    Transferring a special needs preschool program:  GRPS closed the Kenosha special needs preschool program at Van Auken and transferred and consolidated it with the Campus Early Childhood Center at Thomas Street (Kenosha Campus).   We are also very concerned that, in September 2017, GRPS is somehow short over 30 special education teachers.  One special needs school, KEC Oakleigh, does not have a principal and only 2 of the 9 teachers from last year have returned.  We are also concerned about GRPS’ ability to hire qualified special education teachers.    We are also concerned that less students now qualify for special education, even though the number of students medically diagnosed with a disability has increased.  Furthermore, the students who have a high functioning disability, such as ADHD, are often and unfortunately denied special education, an IEP or Section 504.  They too have a disability and require accommodations.    Students who are in the Moderately Cognitively Impaired and the Autism Spectrum Disorder programs at the GRPS high school are currently changing teachers and classrooms many weeks after the school year has begun.  Finding details (transparency) for this unusual change is a challenge.  Therefore, to prevent the dismantling of special education at GRPS, we ask that GRPS adopt the following safeguards and measures:  GRPS and its Board will zealously protect its students with disabilities. GRPS and its Board will maintain and improve special education services and programs for its students with disabilities.  *** Each GRPS Board Member should visit a classroom in a special education program or school quarterly.       GRPS and its Board will be fully transparent in informing its families and its community stakeholders of any proposal which may significantly cut, alter, or close any special education programs, services, or schools.  It should do so “before” it makes any decision for a major or significant change. GRPS and its Board will ensure that the Board, the families, and the community stakeholders fully understand the impact and ramifications of any proposal for a major change which affects special education services and programs, “before” any decision for a major or significant change is made  GRPS and its Board will ensure that the families and community stakeholders are fully engaged and are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and have their voice fully heard and their concerns fully considered, before any decisions for a major or significant change is made. *** GRPS and its Board will ensure a quarterly town hall meeting for students, parents, guardians, and community stakeholders (who are care about students with special needs and are concerned about the state of special education and its effect on the city of Grand Rapids and West Michigan).  This meeting should have an impartial moderator.  GRPS and its Board will make a commitment to zealously advocate for students with disabilities to ensure that their education improves their future, including but not exclusively:  the ability to work, to volunteer, and to become a productive member of society. We believe that the state of special education is an important community issue.  It affects both the families of students with disabilities and the reputation of Grand Rapids.  Since we desire that Grand Rapids be a welcoming, caring, and open-minded cosmopolitan city, we are vigilant in protecting students with disabilities and preventing the dismantling of special education.  [The mission of the A-TEAM: Disability & Community Coalition is: to advocate for the best interest of individuals with disabilities, to actively utilize our collective resources, to collaborate, and to empower individuals and their families to ensure that their education improves their present quality of life and their future.]

A-TEAM: Disability & Community Coalition
127 supporters