Petition Tag - commission

1. Keep SD Nuclear Waste Free

DOE is using their 'consent based siting' process on Haakon County to conduct a feasibility borehole to determine if nuclear waste can be stored 5k (3.1 miles) below the surface. 'Consent based siting' is used for repositories and disposal sites. We do not want to open that door. DOE does not require consent from local governments for a research project and, yet, DOE requires RESPEC to solicit approval from the governor, our state representatives, our county commissioners, and our local town boards all without going to the people first!!! This project depends on the Haakon County Commissioners approval. We appreciate your support! Sign the petition and email your commissioners you do not support this project at Haakon.public.comment@gmail.com. **IMPORTANT NOTE: Put the county your are registered to vote in the "state, county" box!!!! We accept all SD signatures but need to sort by county! Realize the sponsors of the petition plan to print names and emails to give directly to commissioners so please be respectful in what you write.. If you're unsure of 'anonymous' really means, please read the FAQ page. If you'd rather sign a paper petition, please ask us. If you have been disrespectful, it does allow you to edit. Thank you.

2. Stop Harming Malaysian General Insurance Agents: No Unfair Rebates!

PIAM created a very uneven playing field by allowing insurance companies to give away a 10% discount to any insured or policyholder, but not allowing their agents to do so.

PIAM did this by amending ICAGIB Clause 5.3 On June 22nd 2009, by deleting the word 'members' from the clause which now reads:
"No agent or broker shall give to any insured or policyholder any discount or rebate whatsoever or any commission paid or payable or on any part of parts thereof, in respect of any insurance policy covering a motor risk rated under the Malaysian Motor Tariff."

Previously, even the insurance companies which in the above are referred to as 'members' cannot give discounts to policyholders - but by amending this clause - PIAM has allowed Etiqa, AIG, Kurnia, RHB Insurance to sell insurance directly to customers, at a 10% discount - and the rest of the companies will follow suit.

This has created a very uneven playing field - the motor insurance premiums contribute to 46.2% of the entire insurance market in Malaysia. This change in the ICAGIB terms has given the the insurance companies the option and privilege to undercut their agents if they choose to. Do take note that we, the agents, depend on our companies for lifelihood and income. We have given our effort, heart and soul to further both our own interests and also that of the companies'.

I have personally lost many clients that are willing to travel directly to the insurance company to renew with the insurance company to get this 10% discount. I would have gladly given back 5% of my commission to my customers as it would save them the hassle of going over to the insurance company. At the very least, I am still able to retain half of the commission which is rightfully mine. I represented my company in instilling a sense of loyalty in my customers' minds, and this is the way my company has decided to repay me - by allowing my customers to renew directly with them without paying me the commission that I deserve.

This uneven playing field has been taking its toll on me - both financially, mentally and psychologically. I believe it is the same for all general agents throughout Malaysia - as a majority of the premiums we bring to the company come from motor insurance.

3. Please Create a Petitions Commission

[11-28-16 Update From Petition's Author: I closed this petition on January 7th, with a commitment to revise and reactivate it "soon." I apologize for not having done so yet, but most of my time since then has been devoted to caring for a terminally ill family member. The task of revising and reactivating this petition is now in the process of being turned over to students at the University of Florida, with a target date of activation in early 2017. A link to their new version will be provided on this page as soon as it's available.]

[This background section is extremely long, so take a look at just the 6 embedded videos (as well as the paragraph immediately above each one) if you're pressed for time. None of them lasts longer than 5 minutes, and they contain enough information to give you a good idea of what public petitions committees are, how they operate, and why it's in our best interests to have one established in our United States Congress.]

So that you can see right away what you are being asked to sign, a copy of the petition is provided immediately below. Anyone wishing to add their signature should scroll down to the original at the bottom of the page.
Please Create a Petitions Commission

We urge you to pass legislation this year creating a joint Senate and House of Representatives Petitions Commission. Its objective will be to make recommendations to Congress concerning the establishment and operation of a congressional petitions committee and e-petitions system.

Elected representatives in many other national legislatures have already provided their fellow citizens with these participatory democracy reforms, and we believe the time is long overdue for you to do the same for us.


(End of Petition)

If you have ever signed a paper or e-petition to Congress and never heard another thing about it, you have an inkling of just how disorganized and discouraging the entire congressional petitioning process has always been. And you would undoubtedly find it welcome news if someone told you that just a few years from now:

  • A bipartisan petitions committee and e-petitions system will be established in Congress.
  • Every e-petition submitted in their new system will be expeditiously reviewed.
  • If it meets the committee's criteria for acceptance, it will immediately become one of their website's active petitions. And the petition's author will be given its URL (complete web address), so that it can be more easily publicized and its progress tracked. On the other hand, the petition's author will be notified if the petition is rejected; and the reasons for its disqualification will be clearly explained.
  • If a petition acquires an established minimum number of signatures, those who submitted it will be contacted and (in many cases) given an opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss the issue(s) involved. And whether or not the petitioners appear before the committee, their petition will be given an official response that will be permanently posted online in a manner similar to what is being done in the United Kingdom and President Obama's White House.
  • This bipartisan committee will probably have a lot more women on it than their meager 19.4% share of seats in Congress would indicate. That is, assuming that membership on such a committee proves to be as attractive to them as it has been with women in Germany's Bundestag, as well as some other national legislatures around the world. There has also been a distinct shortage of women appearing before congressional committees. According to this 2014 analysis, less than 1/4 of those testifying before the House of Representatives have been women. That low participation rate admittedly can't be attributed solely to the under-representation of women in congressional committees. However, it stands to reason that the higher the percentage of women on these committees, the more women that will be invited to testify before them. The net result ought to be that the atmosphere in most congressional committees will gradually become a lot less partisan and confrontational than has traditionally been the case.
  • This committee will also probably have a powerful attraction for those members of Congress who are outspoken advocates for making our political system more responsive to the needs of the American people. To get an idea of how much more impact such individuals could potentially have as members of a bipartisan petitions committee, take a look at the following videos of Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat) and Representative Paul Ryan (Republican).





Well, guess what? Having Congress provide us with such a petitions committee and e-petitions system isn't some sort of pipe dream. Legislatures in a number of other countries have been operating similar ones for years. Take the Federal Republic of Germany, for example. For the past 11 years, if an e-petition on the official government petition site accumulates at least 50,000 signatures during its first 4 weeks, "the parliamentary commission for petitions usually holds a public debate on the issue, whereby the petitioner is invited and has the possibility to present his or her arguments before the delegates." And for a much more recent example, here's the policy that Luxembourg established two years ago: "If a petition garners 4,500 signatures or more in this time (6 weeks), parliamentary committees are bound by law to hold a public debate with the ministers concerned and a maximum of six petitioners."

Here is a look at the membership of some of the public petitions committees in other parts of the world. It is limited to those for which photos of the members were readily available online, so it's much shorter than a complete list of such committees would be: Australia; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Germany; Israel; Scotland; Singapore; the United Kingdom; and the huge one in the European Parliament. It should be noted that some petitions committees provide and oversee the operation of e-petitions systems, while others do not.

You may have noticed that many of these committees have attracted a far higher percentage of women than one might expect in national legislatures, which have traditionally been dominated by men. Indeed, when compared to this list of the proportion of women in national parliaments, the higher percentage is quite surprising in some cases. For example, of the 8 petitions committees shown above, the highest percentage of female membership is Germany's 61.5%—which dwarfs the 37% figure for their national parliament.

Of course, there is no guarantee that a new petitions committee in our Congress would follow the same trend. However, if one takes a look at the impressive backgrounds of just about every one of the 104 women currently serving in Congress, it becomes difficult to imagine very many of them not trying to make the most of their congressional careers by seeking membership in such a potentially powerful new committee. Judge for yourself regarding the 14 newest female members of Congress. Here are links to the official government web pages for the 2 new female members of the Senate: Shelley Moore Capito and Joni Ernst. And here are the links for the 12 new female members of the House of Representatives: Alma Adams, Barbara Comstock, Debbie Dingell, Gwen Graham, Brenda Lawrence, Mia Love, Martha McSally, Kathleen Rice, Elise Stefanik, Norma Torres, Mimi Walters, and Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Now for an examination of what has been taking place in the UK, where ongoing efforts to improve their Parliament's petitions system might very well end up producing what will arguably be the best in the world.

In 2011, the UK's Parliament launched an e-petitions system in which those acquiring at least 100,000 signatures would be "eligible for debate in the House of Commons." And it quickly became so popular that, as this summary of its first 100 days states: "Of the six e-petitions which have passed the 100,000 threshold, two have been debated (the London riots and Hillsborough petitions), two are scheduled to be debated (Fuel Duty and Babar Ahmad – as part of a wider extradition debate) and one has been accepted for debate but will not be scheduled until the new year (Immigration)." And it has remained popular enough for the last 5 years that in March, 2015 it was stated that, "Since the launch of the Government’s e-petitions site, more than 3.7 million individuals have given their support to the 37 petitions that reached the qualifying 100,000 signature threshold for debate. The topics of 32 have been the subject of debate in the House of Commons, most as a direct result of the e-petition."

That e-petitions system was recently changed to one overseen by a newly created petitions committee. Although the threshold of 100,000 might wind up being adjusted, the most important part of the old system will be retained: petitions acquiring a significant number of signatures will still be "considered for debate in the House (of Commons)." However, it is no longer left up to individual members of Parliament to sponsor a petition and recommend that it be scheduled for a debate. That responsibility now belongs to the Petitions Committee, which is also empowered to support the petitioning process in a number of other ways: ask for more information in writing—from petitioners, the Government, or other relevant people or organisations; ask for more information in person—from petitioners, the Government, or other relevant people or organisations; write to the Government or another public body to press for action on a petition; and ask another parliamentary committee to look into the topic raised by a petition.

Meanwhile, what sort of system for submitting petitions does our own Congress have?

Search as you will, you'll find that there is virtually no official system at all. Even the Parliament of our neighbor to the north, Canada (which also still doesn't have a petitions committee), at least has been providing petitioners with extensive guidelines on the "Form and Content" of "Written, Typewritten or Printed" petitions. Not only that, but Canadians will also have access to an e-petitions system run by Parliament "When the House of Commons opens for business after the next election," which is currently scheduled to take place on October 19, 2015.

To put in perspective just how unfriendly and discouraging the process for submitting petitions to government officials has been in our country, it's useful to note that in 1984 the Supreme Court held that "Nothing in the First Amendment or in this Court's case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to communications of members of the public on public issues." Although this started out as a local case (Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight), it pretty well encapsulates what citizens have been faced with when petitioning Congress.

So here we are, without official standards to go by in preparing petitions; and not only must we determine which member(s) of Congress to present them to, but also when, where, and how they should be presented. And now that we're in the age of television, home videos, cell phones, the Internet, and social media, this has naturally led to a wide variety of both cooperative and confrontational scenes of citizens presenting petitions to members of Congress; but either way, they normally amount to little more than isolated publicity stunts. The type of ongoing, respectful, and potentially productive interaction with a group of nonpartisan (or at least bipartisan) members of Congress that a petitions committee would offer—especially one with a large and diverse membership—has been noticeably absent.

As the author of this petition, and as someone who has written a few petitions and signed thousands more during his lifetime, I'm tempted to declare "CASE CLOSED" at this point. However, I know that I've always been very reluctant to sign a petition before I have a firm grasp of the information and issues related to it—no matter how worthy the goal of the petition, or how simple and unambiguous its wording might be. And because I assume that most of you feel the same way, the remainder of this background section will be devoted to explaining some aspects of the petition in more detail.


ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION

1. Here is proof that neither our Senate nor House of Representatives already has a petitions committee.

2. The reason for requesting a "joint" commission is that one of the key issues its members will have to contend with is determining whether a Senate, House of Representatives, or joint Senate & House Petitions Committee would best serve the interests of their fellow citizens. And there is even a fourth option of separate petitions committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives for them to consider, although it seems very unlikely judging by how few other countries have gone that route. India provides one of the few examples, with a petitions committee in its Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and another in its House of the People (Lok Sabha).

3. As to how this new congressional petitions system might operate, take a look at the following 2012 video about the petitions committee in the European Union (EU). It provides an excellent example because it has been functioning effectively for many years, and has managed to do so in spite of having to contend with the incredible linguistic and cultural barriers that exist among the EU's 28 member countries. Any problems that might be faced by a petitions committee in our Congress pale by comparison. Another great reason for using this video as an example is that it shows just how effective a petitions committee can sometimes be: The petition featured in it was instrumental in bringing about a "historic victory for people power."



As stated in the above video, "The Petitions Committee's goal is simple, to draw attention to a particular problem and open a debate." Although it's rarely stated so clearly, that just about sums up the main purpose of every other public petitions committee around the world as well. Bear in mind, however, that these committees vary widely in their scope, operating procedures, and powers. Also bear in mind that there probably isn't a single one of them so good that we should simply copy it. That's why this petition calls for a commission tasked with making recommendations as the first step, rather than simply asking Congress to pass legislation that would establish these two participatory democracy reform measures.

4. Because it will be such a critical factor in determining how beneficial a congressional petitions committee might be for our country, it's important to delve more deeply into what kind of senator or representative is likely to seek membership in it. From what I've seen while researching public petitions committees around the world, there's only one thing I know for sure: The idealism and enthusiasm displayed in the 2012 EU video, especially by the lady who was the Petitions Committee Chair, are by no means uncommon traits among petitions committee members. For example, take a look at this video of the current Committee Chair, as well as the following video of another member of that committee. There are most assuredly a number of other personal qualities we might hope for in members of a congressional petitions committee. However, the beneficial effects of these two qualities alone will probably be enough to make most of us wonder why we didn't urge Congress to create a petitions committee and e-petitions system 15 or 20 years ago!



It's entirely possible that if due consideration is given by the commission to the size and makeup of a congressional petitions committee, it will attract a significant number of such highly motivated public servants. And if that happens, our Congress could very well end up with such an outstanding petitions committee that it will inspire the creation of 50 more in our state legislatures.

5. "Long overdue" refers to the fact that neither of the congressional reforms we are requesting are new innovations. Indeed, public petitions committees have existed (in one form or another) for centuries. For example, a journal entry from New Zealand's House of Representatives mentions one in 1877. And turning the clock back three more centuries, a "Committee of Grievances, to which it was the practice to refer Petitions," was appointed by the English Parliament in 1571.

E-petitions systems naturally don't date back so far, with the Scottish Parliament claiming the title of "the first legislature in the world to accept e-petitions" just 16 years ago. Nonetheless, it's still hard to understand why the national legislature of the country that produced technology giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft has yet to seriously consider installing a similar system. And it's even harder to understand why Congress hasn't done so since 2011, when the White House led the way by creating its own e-petitions system.

6. Now that the existence of the White House e-petitions system has been mentioned, it's a good time to explain why we need to have a separate congressional one. And it's also a good time to explain why we still need to have a congressional petitions committee. That's because, as you can see in this video, members of the White House staff have already been performing many of the functions of other public petitions committees. So here are three of the most important reasons why it's in our best interests to have a public petitions committee and e-petitions system in Congress, whether or not there is one in the White House:

If they are worth having at all, it is best to have them situated where they are most likely to become permanent fixtures of our government. And whereas the White House system was established voluntarily and can be terminated by President Obama or any of his successors whenever they wish, a congressional system would almost surely be mandated and funded by legislation—and therefore much more difficult to eliminate once we the people grew accustomed to its availability. Once again, the Federal Republic of Germany provides a good example. Its Basic Law (which became effective in 1949, and is the equivalent of our country's Constitution) not only guaranteed the right of petition, but also required the establishment of a Petitions Committee:

(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a Petitions Committee to deal with requests and complaints addressed to the Bundestag pursuant to Article 17.

(2) The powers of the Committee to consider complaints shall be regulated by a federal law.

And in case anyone thinks it's highly unlikely that the White House system will ever be removed, consider what happened not too long ago in the United Kingdom. Their Prime Minister's office launched an impressive e-petitions system in 2006, only to have it discontinued following the election of another Prime Minister in 2010. And guess what? It hasn't been reinstated since then, but has been replaced by the one the UK Parliament established in 2011. And that system is obviously here to stay, as evidenced by the extensive improvements being made to it that were described earlier.

Presidents have always tended to be polarizing figures, and it's gotten decidedly worse in recent years. Another example is that the votes of 52% of those of us who took part in the 2014 midterm election were meant to "send a message" of opposition or support for Obama, despite the fact that his name wasn't even on the ballot! This polarization inevitably turns any White House petition site into a lightning rod for attracting political extremists, as well as just about anybody else with an axe to grind.

The resulting petitions are often very personal, such as this one submitted one year after the site was launched—right after President Obama won election for his second term. The same sort of thing happened during the UK's 4-year experiment with the petition site run by their Prime Minister's office, as can be seen by the over 72,000 signatures on a petition calling for Prime Minister Gordon Brown to resign. And the situation doesn't seem to get any better the longer a president serves in office, as evidenced by the one accusing him of treason that was submitted in March, 2015. The threshold for requiring a response had been raised to 100,000 since the first example, so this one's 31,356 signature total meant the White House could ignore it. However, it was still prominently featured for a month, discouraging political independents and moderates in both major parties from having anything to do with the petition site. And because those that accrue enough signatures to require a response are normally featured for a much longer period of time, their tendency to alienate and drive away political independents and moderates is much greater.

Add to this the fact that a disproportionate number of the most popular active petitions deal with legal and foreign affairs issues that are of little interest to the general public, which is a direct result of the President being the head of our federal government's executive branch. This gives most newcomers to the site little reason to ever make a return visit. The end result is that such petition sites tend to be very poor indicators of public opinion because they represent the views of very narrow segments of the population—much more so than nonpartisan sites run by legislative branches have proven themselves capable of doing.

That narrowness also detracts from the potential impact of executive branch petitions because of the relatively small number of signatures they acquire. After nearly 4 full years of operation, for example, the top two White House petitions (1, 2) have both fallen short of 400,000 signatures. Now compare that to the 2,8 million who signed the Anti-ACTA petition that was featured in the 2012 video shown earlier, or the over 16,000 in Wales (with a population that's only 1% of our own) who were acclaimed in this 2009 video for signing a petition to their Parliament.

Because Presidents must oversee the operation of so many Government Departments and Agencies, there is a natural tendency for the maintenance and operation of a voluntarily created e-petition system to become a very low priority. And that tendency has revealed itself in a number of ways during the White House petition site's 4 years of operation. Some are simply annoying, such as seeing signature totals for some petitions get drastically reduced overnight and having no explanations posted. Several others have been so discouraging and downright insulting to hundreds of thousands of petitioners, however, that they have largely negated all the positive effects of providing the petition site. And the worst part is that they are still occurring now, almost 4 full years after the first e-petitions were received by the White House.

[10-30-15 UPDATE: It turns out that just two weeks after this petition was launched, major improvements were made to the White House's petition site. And although minor problems still persist, such as this petition's signature total being inexplicably reduced from well over 2,000 to just 4 sometime during 5 or 6 October, the two major problems addressed below appear to have been just about eliminated. Most importantly, the White House responded to "every petition in our We the People backlog  —  20 in all —  re-affirming its commitment to the petitions platform," and made the following commitment for the future: "if a petition meets the signature goal within a designated period of time, we will aim to respond to it  —  with an update or policy statement — within 60 days wherever possible."]

First off, numerous petitions have accrued signatures for days or weeks on end, only to be officially "removed from the site under our Moderation Policy because it is in violation of our Terms of Participation." And the latest one had already qualified for a response with over 105,000 signatures before it was removed on July 13, 2015! (For some strange reason, it subsequently was listed as "archived because it did not meet the signature requirements," and had its signature total reduced to 34,009.)

Secondly, there are the incredible waiting times for responses to many petitions, in spite of the fact that the site's main attraction since the day it was launched has been the pledge that, "if a petition gathers enough online signatures, it will be reviewed by policy experts and you’ll receive an official response." And although the size of the backlog has been reduced since last year's analysis, there were still six petitions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) that had been waiting over two years for a response at the time of this writing. And the petition in that group with the longest waiting time had been submitted just one day after the White House petition site was launched on September 22, 2011!

It's unimaginable that members of a petitions committee in Congress would ever allow such things to happen. Even if common decency and respect for their fellow citizens weren't enough to preclude it, then their instinct for political survival would. After all, unlike Presidents who are limited to 2 terms in office, most of them would be running for reelection every 2 years (House of Representatives) or 6 years (Senate). The majority of them therefore have a strong incentive to avoid offending any large bloc of voters, especially with recurring problems that never should have occurred in the first place.

7. As to whether or not petitions ever actually accomplish anything, take a look at the successful examples in this 2012 article. Unfortunately, getting members of Congress to act is rarely so simple as using a petition to shame them, "with the online equivalent of a tarring and feathering." This White House petition to "Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal" provides a good example. It got the ball rolling when it was submitted in January, 2012, but it took 2 years of intense lobbying by a group of dedicated "citizen lobbyists" before legislation was passed and signed into law.

The point is that we shouldn't expect miracles from a petitions committee and congressional e-petitions system. Their main purpose is to give us a quick and relatively easy way to temporarily put issues on the agenda in our nation's capital, but that will probably only be enough (by itself) to have a lasting impact on rare occasions. In spite of that, it will still be a heck of a lot better system than what we've had in the past!

I don't know about you, but I'd consider this new petitioning system to be a resounding success if 10 or 15 years from now a congressional leaflet on petitioning could say, "Petitions have brought about changes in the law, in government policy, the production of revised guidelines on an issue, a change in a decision. Even just raising awareness of the issue in Congress can be a success." With the exception of my having substituted "Congress" for "the Parliament," that's a direct quote from this leaflet on petitioning Scotland's Parliament—whose members can proudly boast that 16 years ago they became "the first legislature in the world to accept e-petitions." Another very important gauge of success for such a petitioning system, especially one that has been around for so many years, is how effective it has been in bridging the seemingly intractable divide/disconnect (1, 2) that has developed between most citizens and those elected to represent them. And judging by how pleased the Scottish petitioners in the following 2013 video obviously have been, I'm confident that helping to bridge that divide is one area in which a congressional petitions committee will be virtually guaranteed of success. (Notes: 1. This video's volume is annoyingly low at certain points, so don't blame your speaker(s) if you have a hard time hearing something. 2. Because Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, its legislature is limited to dealing with issues that tend to be more similar to those addressed by our state and local governments than to those that fall under the authority of Congress.)



8. Before making a final decision on whether or not establishing a congressional petitions committee and e-petitions system will be worth the effort, it might be useful to consider how recent history could have been significantly changed if we had successfully petitioned Congress to establish both of them 16 years ago when Scotland led the way. For instance, might the votes on 10 & 11 October, 2002 (House, Senate) for and against H J RES 114 (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002) have turned out differently if an e-petition similar to the following fictitious one had been submitted on a congressional e-petitions system 3 weeks earlier, on September 21, 2002?

Petition to the United States Congress

According to a September 20th NY Times editorial, "Congress seems all but ready to sign off on an omnibus resolution proposed yesterday by President Bush that would authorize the use of force against Iraq, even in the absence of United Nations support."

We firmly believe that votes for legislation that could have a major impact on the lives of your fellow citizens, especially regarding matters of war and peace, should never be rushed into unless it's absolutely necessary. And the evidence that has been made available to the public in this case certainly doesn't justify a hasty debate and vote.

We also believe that in order to prevent political considerations from overwhelming reason and common sense regarding such important matters, members of Congress should avoid scheduling votes on them this close to a federal election. And judging by the following excerpt from the same NY Times' editorial, this legislation has already become overly politicized:

"The newly bellicose mood on Capitol Hill materialized almost overnight. Last week, Democrats wanted the Security Council to act first and were calling for measured consideration of the political and military issues involved in going to war. The haste is unfortunate, all the more so because it is clearly motivated by campaign politics. Republicans are already running attack ads against Democrats on Iraq. Democrats favor fast approval of a resolution so they can change the subject to domestic economic problems."

We therefore urge you not to schedule a vote on authorizing the use of force against Iraq until after the upcoming November 5th, 2002 election.

(End of Sample Petition)


You don't have to be a political scientist to know that the biggest mistake members of Congress want to avoid making shortly before an election is to antagonize any voters unnecessarily. And because postponing the vote for 4 weeks was by no means an unreasonable request, the odds are that an e-petition like this one would have been successful—especially if it had amassed millions of signatures during the 3 weeks before Congress actually voted on the legislation. There's no way to know for sure if delaying the vote until after the election would have changed any of the votes cast. However, it could very well have encouraged other concerned citizens to write and/or support petitions aimed at slowing down the rush to war in other ways, or even derailing it altogether.

Now take a look at the following October 10, 2002 video of the weary-looking leader of the opposition in the Senate (Robert Byrd), trying one last time to convince his fellow senators to vote against the Iraq War Resolution that a bipartisan majority of them ended up passing the following day. I can't help but think that if Congress had created an e-petitions system 2 years earlier when Scotland did, Senator Byrd would almost surely have had millions of petition signatures (as well as testimony from petitioners and expert witnesses) to back him up. That alone would probably have been enough to convince members of the Senate to at least postpone their rushed and highly politicized vote until after that year's congressional election, which would take place in less than a month. How might their vote on that legislation have turned out then—especially if like-minded members of a petitions committee had been available to speak out against it as well, both publicly and in Congress? And what if one of those committee members had been as skilled and persuasive as Elizabeth Warren, who has been described as having, "the unique ability, especially for a non-presidential candidate, to put an issue on the map!"

END OF BACKGROUND SECTION

4. Help Change NOLA HDLC

This petition is for the purpose of administering a special public hearing to hear ideas by both city government officials and citizens with the directive for implementing a streamline review process for all properties that are with-in the historic landmark designated areas that must be reviewed for historic preservation purposes by the city division Historic District Landmark Commission.

The special meeting that this petition is aimed at will initiate a special hearing to come to a definite conclusion of new polices, procedures and or criteria for shortening the HDLC review process with immediate action to be made to shorten the HDLC review process as to the same average processing time of HDLC counterpart City of New Orleans safety and permits which reviews for zoning and building code.

5. Chairman is OUR decision

As per this thread;

"As many of you have seen Obie's thread, I think we, as OS, COS and famed members have the right to decide who shall be our Chairman, Because we don't just want some random guy who gets it without even doing nothing, Let's face it, Obie Jones had done so much for all of you guys, He always helped you when you were still applying for OS and answered all your questions, He also helped you after you got it. Besides all that, He is trusted and very loyal guy to this community, He had never done anything that may effect the community badly like many other people who did rage quits and fucked up the server, and he worked hard and improved this section to the maximum.

So in my opinion we have the right to vote on who we want ! and not just get admin to pick his friend or some random guy, So vote for Obie if you really think he had done a great job and he deserves it. no matter who is coming next for the Chairman, WE WANT OBIE!!"

6. Vote of no confidence in the AFL commission

Following a lack of direction and decisiveness in dealing correctly with the plethora of scandals plaguing the AFL in the past 12 months, we, the supporters, have decided that enough is enough and we no longer have the confidence in the AFL commission to guide our game in a satisfactory manner.

7. Save Natural Healthcare

This petition aims to positively influence the approach the European Commission is taking in its efforts to regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine across the 27 Member States of Europe.

Disproportionate, poorly thought-through legislation represents the single greatest threat to natural health care in the European Union.

Standards of education and training being proposed.
by the European Commission in its efforts to regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine across the 27 Member States of Europe

The threshold entry route to the register will be through a Bachelor degree with Honours which is comparable to the majority of other medical professions.

Entry to the register may also be possible through possession of an appropriate Masters degree; this is consistent with other professions including physiotherapy, radiography and occupational therapy.
Overseas qualifications will need to be considered separately

We agree that some standards of training and practice should be applied, but to demand that a hairdresser, who is giving an Indian Head Massage must have Bachelor degree with Honours as a minimum qualification to do so is ludicrous.

EU Medicines Directive

“The loaded gun that can turn foods and supplements into illegal drugs”

Official reference: Directive 2001/83/EC, as amended, including Directive 2004/27/EC
30 April 2011, the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) came into force

EU Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation
“The greatest infringement on freedom of speech on foods - ever?”
Official reference: Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006, and amending acts

This is a legal framework for health claims that bans all general function claims on commercial foods. Covers claims in all media, including the written and spoken word, websites, pictorial representations and video
other than those approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

There has never been a more important time for you to let your elected representatives,
both in the European Parliament and your own local politicians, know just how you feel.

Together We Can Save Natural Healthcare

Sign the petition now so that the Irish Government, European Commission and the European governments, are able to Hear how you feel about your rights to natural healthcare.

8. Stop Dog-killer from Creating Sculpture for NY Public Library

Artist Tom Otterness has been commissioned by an unnamed donor to sculpt bronze lions at the Battery Park Branch of New York Public Library for $750,000. In 1977, Otterness was involved in another art project. He bought a shelter dog, chained it to a fence, shot it to death and filmed the murder in a movie he called 'Shot Dog Film.'

This crime has tainted any work he shows, publicly, and it would be a disgrace for the NY Public Library to let this project proceed.

9. EUC bill against old-version blockings

This aims to get 1.000.000 EU citizens to sign a petition to have the EUC - EU Commission - make a Bill that demands for old versions, to be used on new versions, technology from the same company or carrying the same business name.

In expression, most users in the modern day world, have experienced, that things they bought not very long ago, are no longer functioning, either because it is an old version of a renewed item or because it cannot read the Data

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO YOUR FELLOW FRIENDS AND FAMILY - WE NEED TO GET THE CONSUMERS POWER BACK AGAIN - regarding our right to use our bought products.

10. Abolish FCC Censorship Regulation

"The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions."

The above is taken from the FCC's government website.

The FCC was originally used to monitor radio and television signals. We believe it has outgrown that and began it's catering toward special interest groups such as the Parents Television Council.

The PTC was founded by L. Brent Bozell III in 1995 in response to negative criticism towards the significant increase of sex, violence and profanity on primetime television.

We believe that FCC censorship has outlived it's purpose and call on parents to take action if you want to see freedom of speech thrive.

11. Independent Rugby League Commission Now!

Want a game the fans own? A game that will be owned and administered by a non-profit company? A game where all profits in the future are retained for rugby league? Well sign the petition.

Independent Rugby League Commission Now Believes:
- That the word Independent is the key.
- That any jobs for mate’s scenario in the Commission - will be detrimental to the future of rugby league.
- That each authority needs to have an evenly weighted representation.
- That the focus is not only on the NRL but on continued game development and the survival of country rugby league.
- That the lesser state leagues in SA, WA, Vic, NT and Tas be heard.

Key people in Rugby League circles have for too long been saying “we have a great product” or “we are the best TV sport”. This means nothing if from the grass roots level to the elite level we don’t have a strategic plan. A plan to encourage kids to play, keep them in the game and show them that there is a path to professionalism that is not farcical and worth taking, a plan that shows a future and builds immunity from other sports. A great product and TV sport also means nothing if the games organisational structure and major bodies look like and work together like water and oil…. they just don’t mix. There’s the NRL, ARL, NSWRL, CRL, QRL, VRL, TRL, SARL, NTRL and WARL all pulling against each other in different directions up against entities like the “AFL Commission” who are heading full steam down their own strategic paths.

Rugby league supporters should not only be worried about their own clubs survival in today’s tough market but should be even more concerned about their games future. Rugby League and the NRL in particular are not just names or brands to us they are our social, sporting and daily grind/mental relief on life. I watched a great interview of the famous Australian surfer Mark Occhilupo. He said that Jack McCoy once told him that in life "You only need three things," he said, "someone to love, something to look forward to something to do." I bet those words sit true for Rugby League fans and their feeling about the game.

Before the 2010 NRL season all NRL clubs and Rugby League bodies agreed in principle to form an Independent Commission. It is now mid season and talk of an Independent Commission has stalled, gone silent, mouths shut etc and the silence is deafening.

I say lets get off our behinds and let the current bodies of our great game know that we as their customers are not happy. Let’s tell them that we want action, we want change and that we want the sleeping giant that is Rugby League to once again wake up and stand proud and tall. Let them know that we want an Independent Rugby League Commission!

12. Stop Rezoning in Harmony Ridge

The City of Cottleville Planning and Zoning Commission is conducting a public hearing on April 7, 2010 at 7:00pm to review a request from Twin Eagles, LLC to rezone Lots M7 through M11 of "The Courtyards at Harmony Ridge" and the Future Development Parcel on plat “The Lofts at Harmony Ridge, a Condominium” recorded under PB 45 PG 303 for use as multi-family residential development and commercial development.

If approved, this will allow Twin Eagles, LLC to build a multi-story apartment/condo complex in the same area as the courtyards, adjacent to current homeowners.

This land was intended for courtyard homes, not a multi-story building, and goes against everything we were told this community would be when we bought our homes. Rezoning this land would have an immensely negative effect on the quality of life in the neighborhood.

13. PETITION of The Residents of the City of Rutland, VT.

 Repeated pornography issues in & among the Rutland City Police Department.

 Lack of leadership & morale of/in the Rutland City Police Department.

 Lack of action as is required to do “on behalf of the City and betterment of the community,” by the Police Commission.

 Lack of transparency within the City government & offices.

14. Ban Plastic Bags in FL and U.S.A.

“Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.”

-National Geographic News September 2, 2003

“Plastic bags account for over 10 percent of the debris washed up on the U.S. coastline.”

-National Marine Debris Monitoring Program

If just 1 out of 5 people in our country used a Bio bag we would save 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our life time.

A study in 1975, showed oceangoing vessels together dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually. The real reason that the world's landfills weren't overflowing with plastic was because most of it ended up in an ocean-fill.

Ireland took the lead in Europe, taxing plastic bags in 2002 and have now reduced plastic bag consumption by 90%

- BBC News August 20, 2002

China will save 37 million barrels of oil each year due to their ban of free plastic bags

- CNN.com/asia January 9, 2008

Reducing plastic bags will decrease foreign oil dependency.

Bangladesh, China, Ireland, Rwanda, Israel, western India, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan, and Singapore have also banned or are moving toward banning the plastic bag.

- PlanetSave.com February 16, 2008

15. Stop the London Transit Strike

On Monday, November 16 at 12:01 AM, the London Transit Strike commenced and plagues the residents of the City of London and students of the University of Western Ontario with a lack of transportation options.

16. Abolish/Repeal The Felony Murder Rule

Jusin 5yrs 001

What’s Wrong With The Felony Murder Rule - Common Sense:

1. It is fundamentally unfair and in violation of basic principles of individual criminal culpability to hold one felon liable for the unseen and unagreed-to results of another felon’s action.

2. The felony murder rule operates as a matter of law upon proof of the intent to commit a felony to relieve the prosecution of its burden of proving intent to kill, which is a necessary element of murder.

3. The intention to commit a felony does not equal the intention to kill, nor is the intention to commit a felony, by itself, sufficient to establish a charge of murder.

4. The felony murder rule violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process, more specifically, equal protection of the law, because no defense is allowed on the charge of first-degree murder, only the underlying felony.

5. The purpose of creating degrees of murder is to punish with increased severity the more culpable forms of murder, but an accidental or unknown killing during the commission or attempted commission of a felony is punished more severely than all other murder charges with exception to first degree murder.

6. The felony murder rule erodes the relation between criminal liability and moral culpability in that it punishes all homicides in the commission, or attempted commission, of the proscribed felonies, whether intentional, unintentional, or accidental, without proving the relation between the homicide and the perpetrator’s state of mind.

7. Holding one or many criminally liable for the bad results of an act which differs greatly from the intended results is based on a concept of culpability which is totally at odds with the general principles of jurisprudence.

8. The basic rule of culpability is further violated when felony murder is categorized as first-degree murder because all other first-degree murders (carrying equal punishment) require a showing of premeditation, deliberation, and willfulness, while felony murder only requires a showing of intent to do the underlying felony.

9. While the felony murder rule survives in California, and other states, the numerous modifications and restrictions of it by some states courts and legislatures throughout the United States reflect dissatisfaction with the basic harshness and injustice of the doctrine and call into question its continued existence.

10. The felony murder rule can be used by prosecutors in a manner so as to cause grossly disproportionate sentencing, depending on the circumstances of each individual case.

11. The felony murder rule is unconstitutional because the presumption of innocence is thrown out. The prosecutor must only prove intent to commit the original felony; once done, first degree murder attaches to the underlying felony even though intent, (mens rea,) to commit murder does not have to be proved.

12. The felony murder rule is unconstitutional because it violates the Eighth Amendment: cruel and unusual punishment, grossly disproportionate sentencing to the crime(s) actually committed.

13. The felony murder rule bears no rational relationship or equity in its two penalties, with the penalties of other California murder laws, including, at times, the charge of first-degree murder.

17. Open letter on the Equal Opportunities Commission Bill

Dear friends,

We are writing to draw your attention to the Equal Opportunities Commission, Bill to be introduced by the Government, shortly. An important recommendation of the Sachar Committee Report (Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India), 2006 was the setting up of an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in India. The Ministry of Minority Affairs set up a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Menon to examine and determine the structure of an Equal Opportunity Commission. The Committee submitted its report in 2008, which proposed a draft Equal Opportunity Commission Bill (EOC Bill). The Government also set up an expert committee headed by Dr. Kundu to recommend an appropriate diversity index in living, education and work spaces.

We have drafted an open letter to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, highlighting some of the key concerns with the draft bill and demanding a wider public debate before it is introduced in Parliament. Once, endorsed, we will mail copies of the letter to the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Prime Minister. We also hope to publish the text of the Open letter in atleast two national newspapers.

Do forward it to other organisations and individuals who would wish to sign the petition.

In Solidarity,

Centre for Study of Social Exclusion,
National Law School of India, Bangalore

18. Preserve Bay Ridge Neighborhood

BCJ HOLDS, L.L.C. (Allen Edwin Homes) has applied to the Charter Township of Texas Planning Commission for approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD). This proposal includes a request for rezoning (currently zoned R-2) due to substantial reductions in lot size. The reduction in lot size is due to their proposed 38.3 acres of preserved open space, including a perimeter trail that may provide beneficial neighborhood transition zones, and help retain access to open space recreation that Bay Ridge families currently enjoy in the undeveloped lot/field. Without the rezoning, the development would not include preserved open space, and would include a 216-lot subdivision (Comparison Plan), as opposed to a 237-lot subdivision (Preliminary Concept Development Plan). The Concept Plan, which includes the preserved open space, also calls for retaining the Bay Ridge Road and Bentley Drive cul-de-sacs.

However, the Township, County Road Commission, and Fire Department may or may not approve the retention of the two cul-de-sacs, in part based on Section 16-82(a)(1)b of the Zoning Ordinance under Subdivision Control, which requires that “the arrangement of streets shall provide for a continuation of existing streets from adjoining areas in the new subdivision.”

This Preserve Bay Ridge Neighborhood petition seeks approval from the Charter Township of Texas Planning Commission not to extend Bay Ridge Road and Bentley Drive into the new Concept Plan development, and to upgrade the existing cul-de-sacs as per recommendations provided by Thomas C. Wheat in his April 13, 2009 memorandum to the Planning Commission. This request is based on three important factors:

1. Concern that extending Bay Ridge Road and Bentley Drive as through-streets would degrade the quality of life, and decrease the safety of residents and children in the Bay Ridge neighborhood by increasing the speed and frequency of traffic to and from the new Rudgate Trails development.

2. Despite the lot size variance for the Concept Plan, we believe that integrating open space, or “green infrastructure,” in subdivision developments provides substantial quality of life and environmental benefits, including, but not limited to access to recreation lands; natural storm water runoff filtration and retention; wildlife habitat; and scenic beauty.

3. An adequate transition zone would help preserve the character and identity of the respective neighborhoods.

19. Condemnation for the Brutal Killing of Mrs. Lilia de Vera's Family

We, the Filipinos residing in the Philippines and overseas, strongly condemn the brutal killing of Mrs. Lilia de Villa's husband and 7-year old daughter by policemen pursuing a robbery gang on Dec. 5, 2008 in Paranaque City. This wanton act of savagery and blatant disregard for "Rules of Engagement" by the very same policemen who are supposed to be the guardians of public safety show the ineptitude of our law enforcers and their utter disregard for human life.

According to the account of Mrs. de Vera "my husband's face was unrecognizable because he was shot in the head at close range while he was kneeling with his head bowed down. My daughter's young body was riddled with bullets, one hit her head, blowing her brains out, all from powerful guns and ammunition fired by the men in uniform on two innocent and defenseless persons." What was the only crime of the victims? They were mistaken for robbers while driving their SUV Crosswind in the vicinity of the shoot-out. Based on some eyewitness accounts, the police sprayed bullets on the van, despite the absence of any provocation from the van and in an effort to save their lives, Mr. De Vera grabbed his already bloodied daughter and run away from the van to seek cover from a parked jeepney. Nonetheless, he was shot at close range. How can one mistake a man clutching a bloodied girl for a robbery suspect? Or was this a case of eliminating the only witness who could pinpoint the killers of the girl?

As usual, after a few days in the news and as the victims are not well-known or influential persons in Philippine society, media stopped news coverage and the public is not aware whether the perpetrators of the crime have been brought to the bar of justice.

20. L'IRTS de Reims peut discriminer au vu et au su de tous sans être inquiété

Mme Jadouy a été écartée par l'IRTS sans aucune raison valable de ses chances à un concours, les tribunaux ne veulent pas voir l'évidence !

21. 230kV Transmission Line Golden Valley, Arizona

This petition is to the Arizona Corporation Commission regarding Unisource's proposed 230kV Transmission Line through Golden Valley, Arizona.

We are asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to look at alternative routes to the ones proposed by Unisource and Transcon.

22. Aqua Missouri water & sewer proposed rate increase

Aqua Missouri, Inc. submitted a request to the Public Service Commission on December 7, 2007, to increase our water rate by 50.45% and sewer by 35.74%.

To our knowledge there have been no substantial renovations, repairs or modifications to our systems to constitute this type of rate increase.

Furthermore, this proposed increase would be financially devastating on our residents who are on fixed income and other low income families.

23. Criminalize Begging and Panhandling in Malaysia

Dear Friends,

I would like to put an end to begging. I always wonder who these people are and how my money is going to be spent: Will it be used to pay for administration or directly in the helping of the needy? How will I know that this person is legitimate? As I ponder these questions, I feel pressured to give and when you give in doubt, you are insincere. Thus making the donation less altruistic than it should be.

I hate stealing of any kind, it robs you not only of material possessions but casts a shadowy cloud over humanity. It taketh away the sense of justice and mercy that the virtuous act of giving is supposed to uphold.

I have heard rumours of syndicates who use the disabled to arouse sympathy, of miscreants who feign incapacity to collect donations and of organisations who are fronts of criminal activity under the guise of religiousity and charity that fool the public. I have personally experienced individuals seeking donations who have been ‘endorsed’ by a letter from some authority. I often wondered why the government issue out such letters claiming the authenticity of these fund raisers, when tax payers have already contributed precisely to manage their welfare.

Therefore, I would like to put forward a programme to eliminate this potential menace by requesting:

1. The government to publicise its welfare programmes and encourage those who wish to help the needy nominate the candidate through proper channels.

2. The establishment of a Charities Commission to oversee the management of charity organisation and those seeking to solicit funds from the public.

3. To make public the names of all tax-exempt charity organisations and their Board of Directors. This task should be handled by a separate organisation (I dub it Charities Exchange) under the purview of the Home Ministry. Its function is to mirror Bursa Malaysia of maintaining adequate disclosure and accountability of the highest order.

4. To cease and desist of issuing of letters on government stationery purporting to allow and support individuals to collect funds from the public.

5. The establishment of policies and rules for soliciting donations.

6. To criminalise panhandling and begging.

I believe this is an issue of great concern to our national security. If you support the same, please sign the attached petition.

24. Fair Sentencing for Crack Offenses

In an annual report sent to Congress Monday, the US Sentencing Commission announced it had amended federal sentencing guidelines to lower the sentences imposed on people convicted of federal crack cocaine offenses.

Unless Congress takes affirmative action to block the move, it will go into effect on November 1. The report also urged Congress to address the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

Under the controversial crack laws, people convicted of distribution offenses involving five grams of the drug face five-year mandatory minimum prison sentences, while it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger the same penalty. Similarly, someone convicted of distributing more than 50 grams of crack faces a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, while it would take five kilograms of powder cocaine to get the 10 years.

25. Stop state repression of human rights defenders in India

"No one is going to give them their rights to live with dignity on a silver platter. They have to be extracted with force... We will have to strengthen ourselves to stop those who find it profitable to misuse authority and public funds. Perhaps the courts and the NGOs are the only solution", said Justice Venkatachaliah, former Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India and former Chief Justice of India at a workshop on Human Rights of Marginalised and Tribal Communities.

This statement and the hope put in non-governmental organizations come as a surprise if one looks at the recent developments in different states of India. There are various non-governmental human rights organizations active India and many of them recently faced serious threats by the police and the political powers. Activists were arrested and false charges were filed.

Examples:
The most recent example is that of Subash Mohapatra, the director of the Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy. He was arrested from the office of the Chhattisgarh State Human Rights Commission when submitting the reply asked by the Commission regarding a case of Dalit exploitation on July 17, 2007. Human Rights Commissions are meant to protect human rights and are not meant to be the site of its violation. False charges were filed under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Just a few days before his arrest, Amarnath Pandey, advocate and human rights defender from Chhattisgarh was charged with a false case on atrocities against the tribes (for whom he is providing legal service in courts). His life has been threatened many times by the police and he travels with a sign on the rear of his vehicle saying "Chhattisgarh Government may kill me in a fake encounter (extrajudicial killing)”.

Around the same date, on Saturday, 14 July 2007 Saroj Mohanty, poet and long-time activist with Prakrutik Sampad Surakhya Parishad (PSSP), which has been opposing the entry of large bauxite mining companies in Kashipur for over 15 years, has been arrested. Saroj was taken into custody at a railway station in Rayagada District. He is currently in judicial custody in Rayagada district jail. The charges against him are completely fabricated but serious. They include section 395 of the IPC (Dacoity), section 397 (Robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), and section 450 (House trespass with intention to commit offence that is punishable with imprisonment for life).

Brijesh Bilathare, advocate and human rights defender from Madhya Pradesh, had false charges filed against him on 6 June 2007 stating he was obstructing a public servant discharging his duty.

Dr. Binayak Sen, senior human rights activist, was arrested on May 14, 2007 by Chattisgarh police. He is General Secretary, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Chattisgarh and its national vice president. He was detained under the provisions of two highly controversial laws: The Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2004. The allegations are based on assumed connections with Maoist rebels.

26. Stop ruthless Insurance Law

Insurance agents are given dreams by the insurance companies. More than 95 % lose their agency before the expiry of the 5 years mandatory service as an agent. And there is no renewal commission for these 95%.

There is a simple strategy being adopted by the insurance companies of "Hire and Fire" and get business and make huge profits by not paying the renewal commission.

No one seems to take notice.

Is it justice??

27. New Housing Director for Highland Park Housing Commission

Each tenants rights have been violated by the Highland Park Housing Commission. Due to the fact that the Comission itself made a decision without tenants approval.

Thereforth it is our rights to block the decision of the Commission on the grounds that (We the Tenants) do not feel that the election Director is qualified to serve in the directors position.

28. Del Norte County Law Enforcement Review and Oversight Commission

We, the undersigned, call for the immediate formation of a law enforcement oversight and review commission, comprised of private citizens, in Del Norte County.

29. Stop Lafayette From Polluting Our Seas

August 4, 2006

In many places, pollution from mining operations damages marine habitats and contaminates seafood consumed by local people, threatening our oceans and ultimately ourselves and our future.

In the Philippines, Bicol's immensely beautiful marine environment and its fragile sea creatures face a grave threat—toxic pollution and siltation caused by mining operations in Rapu Rapu Island in Albay.

The pristine waters of the Bicol region are acknowledged as the feeding grounds and migratory route of the whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. It is also home to five of the seven known marine turtles in the world, and its rich seagrass beds and mangroves, which make for a high marine biodiversity index, have turned the area into exceptionally rich fishing grounds for the region's fishermen.

The Philippine government allowed Australian firm Lafayette Philippines Inc to start the extraction of gold, silver, copper and zinc within Rapu Rapu in April 2005 despite strong opposition from local and national groups concerned that toxic mine tailings will be released into the sea. Clearly, the island is a dangerous place for a mine: not only is it situated along the country's typhoon belt, but also along a major fault, making it a high-risk area for mining catastrophes. During its few - months of operation, the mining company showed negligence and government agencies, such as the Environmental Management Bureau and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, failed to act on behalf of the people and environment. In October and November 2005, cyanide and other contaminants from the mine spilled into the sea and around the island, resulting in massive fish kills.

On May 19, 2006, a government-commissioned report recommended canceling the license of Lafayette in Rapu Rapu and a moratorium on all mining at Rapu Rapu. Greenpeace is running a petition to President Gloria Arroyo to follow the recommendations of the Rapu Rapu Factfinding Commission.

The Greenpeace petition calls for permanent closure of the mine and obligation or Lafayette to clean and rehabilitate the mine site so that further damage can be avoided.

30. Childcare for a Community (Dewey, AZ) With No Childcare Options

June 8, 2006

We, the undersigned, agree that the lack of childcare in the Dewey/Humboldt Arizona community is of great concern.

Families desiring to utilize childcare services must drive 25+ minutes to towns outside the community. In recognizing uprising gas prices, this places an unwelcome burden on many single parent families. Due to lack of commercial properties available, currently there are no options for placing a childcare facility in the Dewey/Humboldt town.

LadyBug Child Care Center would like to rezone 1851 E Prescott Dells Road, to a Residential Service Zone, which would allow for a small child care center to be placed in a residential home. This home is positioned in an area with little housing and many vacant lots. Only two surrounding homes are inhabited. The Zoning Commission has the ability to remove this critical burden by simply rezoning this property.

Not only would this offer childcare to the town of Dewey/Humboldt, but also the towns of Mayer and Cherry, which currently lack in childcare services as well. Please help us lift this burden to so many families.

Though this sounds like a relatively small request to support, many families are affected by this small petition. Your signatures and support are greatly appreciated.