Petition Round Up: Week of 10/9

francois schnell, flickr
Written by Ethan M. Long

Improve background checks to reduce gun violence

The influx of mass shootings in America, including one this morning at a school in Arizona, has brought gun control to the forefront of public consciousness. While the gun debate is seemingly raging on, it seems like nothing has changed. Students UNITE, out of Alabama, launched a petition telling petitioning Congress to pass legislation that would improve background checks on individuals purchasing guns.

“States do not have to submit information identifying people who would be ineligible to possess firearms, like those with a violent criminal record or mental illness, into the federal gun database and they have no incentive to do so,” the petition states.

They write that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has proposed legislation that would give states incentives if they were to participate in a federal background check system. They state that this bill would focus on those with mental health issues.

“From Charleston to Oregon, everyone is affected by these mass shootings. Whether you are black, white, Latino, Asian American, Indian American, the failure of Congress to pass legislation on simple gun control laws will eventually affect all of us. For some people, it already has. Every day, 88 Americans are killed with guns,” they write.

Support the Affordable College Textbook Act

College textbooks are too damn expensive. Hundreds of dollars should be going towards room and board rather than “new editions” of books that haven’t changed much in the past decade. The industry inflates the prices of these new editions over a new chapter or two. While the outdated versions have prices far lower, those required by schools are usually the latest. Why does the industry exploit college students for greater profit?

This petition, launched by Student PIRGs states that “The Affordable College Textbook Act creates a new program that incentivizes campuses to use open textbooks – an innovative alternative to the traditional model that can save students hundreds of dollars every semester.”

Publicly affirm your support for strong encryption

While FBI Director Comey has been criticized as coming out against strong encryption, President Obama’s administration hasn’t made their platform clear.

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“The government should not erode the security of our devices or applications, pressure companies to keep and allow government access to our data, mandate implementation of vulnerabilities or backdoors into products, or have disproportionate access to the keys to private data,” says the petition.

While those in the government feel like strong encryption would hurt their investigations into terrorist organizations, it is the public’s privacy that is really at risk.

“As a public, we should be confident that the services we use haven’t been weakened or compromised by government mandate or pressure. No legislation, executive order, or private agreement with the government should undermine our rights,” they write.

Tell Hillary Clinton: Drop Prison Money!

“Private Prisons are raising tons of money for Hillary Clinton’s campaign – $133,246 to be exact.” That’s this petition’s introduction.

“Hillary Clinton says she supports immigrant families yet still receives large campaign contributions from lobbyists for private prison corporations that profit off of the mass incarceration of people of color. You have to be pretty dirty to be in the kind of business that makes money by keeping people locked up.” As they point out, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America are very, very dirty.

The petition very much links Hillary’s campaign to the private prison industry, noting that one of her top donors is a professional lobbyist for them. The exploitation of prisoners raises money for the rich, while penalizing humans by putting them in harsh conditions and limiting their freedoms.

“They’re part of Hillary’s elite group of “bundlers”: lobbyists who collect contributions on behalf of a campaign. In return for their work, they’re rewarded with special favors, like access to the candidate. So while she makes pro-immigrant promises on the campaign trail, we can only imagine the promises being made between Hillary and her prison bundlers behind closed doors!”

Bring Back Bianca!

The AFL-CIO launched a petition through Action Network telling Verizon that their firing of an employee was unfair. According to the petition, the worker, Bianca Cunningham helped organize her colleagues to join the Communication Workers of America, a union which would help them fight for better benefits and pay. Of course, they fired her.

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“Verizon Wireless claims that Bianca engaged in conduct that warranted her dismissal and fired her,” the petition states. “But Bianca says the truth is that Verizon Wireless fired her for speaking up.”

It is unfair to fire someone for demanding their work receive equal benefit. It is wrong for a corporation to refuse to give their workers a living wage. Sign this petition to help right a wrong.

About the author

Ethan M. Long

Ethan Long is a journalist based out of Boston, MA.

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Petition Round Up: Week of 10/9

by Ethan M. Long
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