California State Senate
California State Senate
Stop Internet Service Providers from Selling Our Private Online Data
On April 3rd, 2017 President Donald Trump signed legislation allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to save and sell your private online search data. The legislation was authored by Senator Jeff Flake, R-AZ. This means ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon will have access to anything you have searched for, even in private browsing mode, and can sell that information to the highest bidder. The ISP lobbyists and their cronies in Congress successfully argued that it was unfair to restrict service providers from spying on your browsing habits because online companies like Facebook can already legally use browsing data to advertise to you. But companies like Facebook are opt-in and can be blocked from accessing your data by using private browsing modes or connecting via a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. Your ISP can see what you've looked at online no matter what security measures you take. ISPs also typically have monopoly power over entire areas of the country, all while collecting federal subsidies to expand their broadband capacity. This means consumers have no choice but to be automatically "opted-in" to being actively monitored online by their monopoly-holding ISPs if they want to connect to the internet. It's time to stand up for basic consumer rights and stop the for-profit collusion of our elected officials and greedy, privacy-invading internet service providers. We're calling on our representatives to take the lead by introducing legislation to restore FCC privacy rules.
Justice for Krystil & Avalynn Kincaid
On September 9, 2018 a man chose to drink and drive. In this choice he ended up speeding into an 8-month-pregnant woman who lost her life and her daughter's life in this accident. Since Avalynn was killed prior to being born she is not considered a victim of this accident. So now the drunk driver, whose name I am choosing not to mention because he does not deserve to be known, will only face 10 years MAXIMUM for killing Krystil and her daughter Avalynn. A 29-year-old woman will miss the rest of her life and the lives of her 2 sons, her daughter, and step daughter, and Avalynn will miss any opportunity at life. Ten years would not be enough to bring justice to this family when the man walked away from this crash uninjured, he posted video on Facebook live after the accident where he blamed Krystil, and never once did he go to check on her or see if he could help her. Why should the system not have a reasonable opportunity to charge this man with a sentence that would bring this family some justice since they no longer have their wife, mother, daughter, and friend? Words from Krystil’s husband and Avalynn’s father: "A drunk driver speeding down a two lane highway at 85+mph in the wrong lane around a blind corner destroyed my family. The max sentence for killing my wife and daughter is 10 years. The state of California doesn't think there was intent, but I know driving recklessly in that manner, he didn't intend anything good.... my daughter's due date was October 9th, a 36-week-old fully developed baby isn't considered a person in the state of California. How do I explain to my children this injustice. My children and I have never felt so disposable... Look at the devastation left behind that is my family and tell me it isn't time for change....imagine if this was your family... Who will fight with me for change? Who will spread this like wild fire? Who will write their representatives and demand change?? We cannot as a society look the other way any longer. Driving drunk is intent."
Stop insurance breed discrimination to keep pets out of shelters and in homes
Up to 99% of pit bulls that enter a shelter are killed. Part of the problem is homeowners are finding it more and more difficult to obtain homeowners’ insurance that accept their breed of dogs. In recent years, several insurance companies have blacklisted dog breeds they consider dangerous, making it all but impossible for dog owners to get the insurance they need to protect their home. Now Pit Bulls and similar dogs are filling up California shelters, breaking up families and costing the state millions of dollars. It is time that California joined Pennsylvania and Michigan and prohibit breed specific insurance exclusions so we can stop the needless separation of families and the eventual euthanasia of innocent dogs. I’m Dawn, a volunteer at Chako Pit bull Rescue in Sacramento, California. Every year we take in homeless pit bulls in danger of being euthanized at shelters. Many of these dogs were surrendered when their owners faced the heart-breaking decision of giving up a beloved family member in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads. Too many children have cried, heartbroken, as their parents rip them away from their favorite companions, and even grown men have broken down because they can no longer keep their best friend. The worst part is knowing that in most of these cases, these dogs will never find another home and will unfortunately be put to sleep. In fact, having to move and being unable to find a place to rent that will accept their dog is the top reason people give for surrendering their dogs to a shelter. These pet unfriendly lists can hurt Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers, among other breeds, even though study after study has proven that there are no dangerous dog breeds. There are just irresponsible owners who haven’t properly trained or managed their dogs. Insurance company breed blacklists are not only wrong and unfair, but they are also misguided. If insurance companies want to reduce risk they should require dog owners and their pets to go through obedience training or provide proof of Canine Good Citizen certification. Requiring homeowners to show such proof, rather than denying them coverage outright, reduces the chance of dog bites and liability for all parties involved while keeping dog owners in their homes and dogs out of shelters. There are better ways to minimize insurance risk than forcing families to give up their dogs. Pennsylvania and Michigan have protected homeowners and their dogs from discrimination while also ensuring that insurance companies don’t face an unfair burden. It is time California does the same by creating legislation that prohibits breed specific insurance blacklists. Help us at Chako Pit Bull Rescue keep families in their homes and dogs from being euthanized and tell the California Legislature to ban breed-specific insurance policies.
Reduce Sentences for Prisoners Fighting California Fires.
As fires ripped through Northern California burning down over 8,000 homes and other buildings, and killing over 40 people, 1,700 of those fighting fires on the front lines have been California state prisoners. In fact, 30% of California’s forest firefighters, nearly 4,000, are prisoners. While it’s a long standing practice for prisoners to work while incarcerated as a form of rehabilitation, we would be better served by rewarding prisoners who have demonstrated exceptional conduct in prison with a sentence reduction. I was a first time nonviolent drug offender who served 9 years of a 24 year sentence before President Clinton granted me clemency. I can think of no group that deserves a second chance more than those who, serving time for minor crimes, choose to risk their lives to save others by fighting fires. In February 2016, 22-year-old Shawna Lynn Jones, was killed when she was struck in the head by a falling rock while fighting fires in Malibu. She was serving time for violating probation for a drug offense and was scheduled to be released just two months later. Over the last year, at least two other prisoners have died while performing firefighting duty. One man was crushed by a tree, another accidentally cut a femoral artery with a chainsaw. Prisoners earn approximately $2 a day, or up to $1 an hour if fighting an active fire, through a program with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. There are 43 conservation camps in California where adult offenders work. These prisoners are screened and anyone with violent tendencies or attitude problems is not allowed into the program. Around 30 to 40 percent work 24-hour shifts, then get 24 hours of rest. At most, prisoners can earn up to two days off for each day they’re in the conservation camps. This program is estimated to save the state $124 million a year, amounting to 3 million hours of labor to fight or prevent fires. We can do better for people who clearly pose no threat to society. Please sign my petition asking California Governor Jerry Brown to exercise his clemency privilege toward prisoners who have risked life and limb to save the homes and lives of countless California citizens, animals, and hundreds of thousand of acres of forestry. Thank you, Amy PovahCAN-DO Foundation
Allow California's Prisoner Firefighters to Work Professionally After Release
This year California saw its largest fire in state history, and more than 2,000 state prisoners volunteered to fight the flames. Paid just $1 an hour, the state encourages low-level prisoners to risk their lives and serve alongside professional firefighters. But once inmates leave prison, they often can’t work as firefighters because of their criminal records. Despite their frontline experience, most counties in California require firefighters to become licensed emergency medical technician (EMTs) — and that credential is often denied to anyone with a criminal record. Nearly 4,000 of California’s firefighters are state inmates, carefully selected to participate in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation CAL FIRE program. At least three inmates have died fighting these fires. It’s simply wrong to deny these men and women the ability to become firefighters after they have served their time. A steady job is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. Restoring the right to earn an honest living is crucial for ex-offenders to regain a sense of hope and a new chance at redemption. Since 2015, at least 16 states that have already eased or eliminated licensing barriers for Americans with criminal records. Sign our petition asking California to join them and make it easier for formerly incarcerated people to become firefighters and EMTs after serving their time.
Do not repeal any provisions of the Hayden Law
The Hayden Law was passed in California in 1998 and provides the nation's most comprehensive laws to protect shelter animals. Governor Jerry Brown is considering a repeal of a number of provisions of the Hayden Law citing budget concerns. With the Hayden Law, California was at the forefront of animal shelter regulation and many states have been following that lead ever since. Some of the provisions that are subject to repeal would mean permanently reducing the required holding period for animals to 72 hours prior to euthanasia, eliminating the requirement to provide veterinary treatment for shelter animals, and eliminating the requirement to keep records for animals impounded by shelter personnel, which would only make it more difficult to locate lost animals or those available for adoption. The situation for shelter animals is bad enough now. Why ensure that it remains that way in the future as well? There is no justification, budgetary or otherwise, for making these changes permanent. The provisions in question have already been suspended since July 2009, and are currently not imposing additional costs on the state. California's homeless animals deserve better. Repeal of any of the provisions of the Hayden Law would be a giant step backward for the animals of California when other states are continuing forward with animal protection laws. Further information is available here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/14/4186863/jerry-browns-budget-plan-would.html The bill is already being re-written and the Hayden Law provisions in question have been revised or stricken entirely: http://www.dof.ca.gov/budgeting/trailer_bill_language/corrections_and_general_government/documents/%5b301%5d%20Repeal%20Make%20Permissive%20Specified%20Mandates.pdf
Protect the California Plastic Bag Ban for the Sake of Ocean Wildlife
California is endowed with the nation’s largest network of marine protected areas (MPAs) off its coast, including the Gulf of the Farallones Hope Spot. These underwater parks are critical in giving ocean wildlife refuge from exploitative practices including commercial fishing. However, other environmental stressors still continue to pervade the boundaries of California’s MPAs and harm these precious ecosystems. One such scourge is plastic bag pollution. Luckily, Californians have the chance to deal plastic bag pollution a deathblow on November 8th, 2016. Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance / Mission Blue and Explorer-in-Residence of the National Geographic Society, urges everyone to learn about plastic pollution and act to stop it: "The amount of plastic that washed ashore in the year 2010 alone was enough to cover every inch of coastline on Earth. That doesn’t even include 99 percent of the plastic that ends up in the ocean every year. Now we know. Ignorance is the biggest problem of all for the ocean – and many other things as well. Now that we know the astonishing amount of plastic that enters the ocean each year, we can act. People around the globe can stand up, armed with knowledge, and demand an end to disposable plastic and mismanaged waste. All countries around the globe have a responsibility to contain whatever plastic they create and consume. It’s up to individuals – scientists, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, kids! – to find creative solutions to plastic pollution and ignite that sense of urgency to cause change." You may remember that in 2014 the California State Legislature passed a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags known as Senate Bill 270 (SB 270). That crucial ban is prevented from taking effect – thanks to millions of dollars in out-of-state funding from plastic manufacturers – until California voters weigh in on a ballot referendum this November 8th, 2016. A “YES” vote means upholding the bag ban. A “NO” vote would overturn it. Mission Blue believes a “YES” vote is the right path forward to a healthier ocean, healthier planet and healthier people. Especially considering that every day California’s statewide plastic bag ban is delayed 17 million more plastic bags are sold in the state, the time to act is now.
Save Youth Football in California
California Assembly members Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) are sponsoring the “Safe Youth Football Act” which will establish a minimum age to play in organized tackle football programs in California. Youth athletes (ages 5-14) will NOT be able to participate in any form of organized tackle football until the 9th grade. The impetus behind this bill is to prevent young athletes from sustaining long-term brain damage caused by repetitive tackling, hitting and blocking; however, no research has definitively linked long-term brain damage or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) to participation in youth tackle football. Young athletes who are prevented from participating in youth tackle football programs are placed at a much greater risk for future injuries of all types, especially concussions, brain damage and CTE, as they would be prevented from years of training and instruction in proper tackling and blocking techniques that are provided at the youth level. Youth athletes are slower and smaller in weight & stature then their high school counterparts, which results in collisions and impact forces substantially less in youth tackle football then those associated with high school football. Youth athletes are therefore less likely to experience long-term brain injuries when participating in youth tackle football while learning and executing basic tackling and blocking techniques; however, as athletes progress into high school, the increased body mass and speed of high school athletes can result in collisions and impact forces which have the potential of injury on any given play, especially when the athlete does not have the benefit of years of prior training in the safe execution of these techniques. Additionally, under AB 2127 signed into law in 2014, high school football programs are now limited to no more then 90 minutes of full-contact practice per day, and limits the number of full-contact practices during the season to only (2) per week. With a maximum of (3) hours per week of full-contact drills, the ability of high school coaches to teach the basic fundamentals of full-contact blocking and tackling is severely limited, especially when coaches have also been limited by the California Interscholastic Foundation (CIF) to a maximum of (18) hours per week of total practice, to include "any school or team or individual activity organized by the coach intended to maintain or improve a student-athlete’s skill proficiency in a sport. This includes skill drills, game situation drills, intrasquad scrimmages or games, weight training, chalk talks, film review, meetings outside of school time that are implicitly or explicitly required by the coach." Three hours for game time is also factored into this rule, reducing the total weekly practice time to only (15) hours per week, simply not enough time for high school football programs to adequately teach basic blocking and tackling skills that youth athletes are traditionally taught from ages 5-14. Finally, the importance of organized youth football participation in the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth throughout California each year cannot be overlooked. Many youth athletes use football as a means to escape communities overwhelmed with poverty, crime, drug abuse and minimal family structure. The bonds built within youth football programs between players can last a lifetime and the mentoring relationship between players and coaches can ultimately assist players to rise beyond their surrounds to excel in society and life. By denying youth athletes access to such positive influences during their most formative years of emotional and social development is more traumatic they any possible injury that may suffered on the field of play. Please join myself and youth athletes, coaches and parents throughout California in preventing the passage of this proposal and keeping youth contact football an option for all youth athletes in our great State!
Caltrans, USFWS, California Department of Fish & Wildlife: Take down the bird-killing netting under the Petaluma River Bridge
Click here for wildlife photographer George Eade's documentation of trapped and dying birds. KTVU's news coverage showing trapped birds. The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has placed exclusion netting underneath the Petaluma River Bridge. The purpose of the netting is to stop migratory Cliff Swallows from nesting at a site they have flown 6000 miles to reach. A site where they have nested for generations. The birds become caught in the netting and die a slow death as they struggle to get free. The subcontractor, C.C. Myers, Inc., who put up the netting, and CALTRANS, are violating the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty which forbids the killing of migratory birds. Sadly, the agencies tasked with enforcing this law have chosen to "look into it" instead of requiring the removal of the netting while a new solution is worked on. Over 100 birds are known dead, as of April 29, 2013. Many more have died and not been counted because every night the C.C. Myers company uses a "snooper" truck to send its workers out over the Petaluma River, up 100', to remove the bodies and reattach the netting. This is destruction of evidence in a criminal case that they should be charged with. We demand that CALTRANS TAKE DOWN THE NETS NOW! Watching a bird struggling in a net, while surrounded by its dead flock mates, is a heart wrenching sight, and an act of animal cruelty, in addition to the violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty. All attempts to contact CALTRANS have been met with a wall of silence, our enforcement agencies, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and US Fish & Wildlife Service have the power to make this stop and have chosen not to do so. We demand an end to the killing of these beautiful birds who benefit all of us by their copious consumption of flying insects, such as mosquitoes. A lawsuit has now been filed by a coalition of groups as Caltrans has refused to budge on this issue. The document can be reviewed at www.nativesongbirdcare.org. It is the wrong material for the wrong structure in the wrong environment for the wrong purpose. Do something right, remove the netting!
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!