Florida State Senate
Florida State Senate
Prison for the men who laughed as they tortured a shark in Florida
This is regarding a video circulating the internet, where a group of individuals traveling at high speed on the water dragged a shark around and laughed at its distress. This sociopathic behavior demands attention and prevention. This act of violence was in fact a criminal act. We as the people summon Palmetto, FL man Michael Robert Wenzel, born June 07, 1996, and his accomplices in this video to 1,000 community service hours. These 1,000 community service hours will be held under the supervision of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They will use that time to teach these men to treat our Florida wildlife with respect. Scheduling may involve either 125 days lasting 8 hours long, or as determined the FWC, given that it equals 1,000 hours and is completed within a year. Wenzel and his accomplices will pay for any costs associated. This may include hiring outside trainers and educators, on-the-clock hours, gasoline expenses, etc. We also demand that everyone in this video has their fishing licenses revoked permanently. We the people also request that Florida lawmakers pass a bill making this kind of animal torture a second-degree felony. We also demand that these people be punished for their crimes of animal abuse. This punishment should consist of jail time in addition to community service. [ Updates - 28 July, 2017 ] This act of violence is criminal per the Florida statute Chapter 828. We expect charges to be pressed as per law. The public is growing more concerned as no charges have been pressed yet. 828.12 section 2 states that a person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. s. 775.082 covers a wide variety of punishments, including imprisonment. We the people demand that Michael Wenzel and his accomplices be charged with animal abuse and arrested. The delay in action is causing the public to lose faith in the justice system. We expect to see these men arrested for crimes they have committed. Hyperlink - reference to story: http://wtfflorida.com/news-articles/boaters-drag-tormented-shark-around-laughing/
Ban inhumane veal crates in Florida
Veal, the name given to meat from a baby cow, has gained a lot of negative attention over the years. One of the main reasons for this is veal crates, small enclosures that calves are forced to dwell in for the entirety of their 16-week lives. These crates are so narrow that the calves cannot even turn around. If that isn't bad enough, calves in Florida are often kept in crates outside, under the blistering sun. Veal crates are inhumane and should be banned. Many organizations have recommend that the entire veal industry should convert to the group housing methodology -- keeping calves together for their short lives. Even Randy Strauss, the CEO of the nation's largest veal producer, calls veal crates "inhumane and archaic," acknowledging that they "do nothing more than subject a calf to stress, fear, physical harm and pain." Too many states still allow veal crates, and Florida is one of the biggest. Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, and Rhode Island have already stepped up and banned veal crates. Let's tell Florida it’s time to do the same. Help put an end to this inhumane practice by signing this petition to ban veal crates in Florida.
Repeal the law requiring Florida gambling facilities to offer greyhound racing.
More than half of the greyhound races held in the US are in the state of Florida. Since May 2013, nearly 400 dogs have died at Florida tracks — some had their necks broken, some died of heat stroke, and still others were electrocuted to death. I’ve spent decades working to bring racing dogs back to health after they have been subjected to horrifying treatment like being kept in cramped, solitary cages for twenty or more hours a day, and even being dosed with illegal drugs like cocaine. Here’s the thing: Florida gambling facilities don’t even want to hold greyhound races in the first place — but they’re required to by a state law that mandates dog racing. If this harmful state dog racing mandate is repealed, greyhound racing will slowly phase out and end in the Sunshine State. I’ve spent 20 years working to help injured, worn-out greyhounds rescued from the racing industry. Adoption groups like mine are doing all we can, but there are far more of these amazing animals who need help than we are ever able to bring back to health. Until this law changes, we’re facing an unwinnable battle. Tell the Florida legislature that it’s time to repeal the law that requires gambling facilities to conduct greyhound racing. There is no reason for this animal cruelty to continue, especially when the businesses operating the race tracks don’t want to keep them going in the first place. Greyhound racing hasn’t been profitable in Florida for years. Last year alone, Florida tracks lost $32 million holding greyhound races. Even the state is losing money on dog racing, because the costs of regulating the races exceed revenues. The state dog racing mandate is a loser for everyone. The tracks are losing money, taxpayers are taking a loss, and the greyhounds are losing their lives. Tell the Florida State Legislature to stop keeping greyhound racing alive, and to repeal the law requiring that tens of thousands of greyhound races take place in the state each year.
Add a need-based component to Medicaid
My four-year-old daughter Avery has medical conditions so severe that she will need assistance for the rest of her life. When Avery is sick, I quickly find myself drowning in debt and struggling to afford the care she needs. Unfortunately, I make too much to qualify for Medicaid, even though I wouldn’t be able to afford her bills if I made double what I was making now. I am asking the state of Florida to add a need-based component to Medicaid, so that families of loved ones with severe and extremely costly medical conditions can get the healthcare they need without sacrificing their family’s financial security. Families like mine aren’t asking for handouts. Many of us are fortunate enough to have insurance, which covers some of our loved ones’ medical bills. But because we make more than the annual Medicaid income threshold of around $26,000, we are prohibited from getting state assistance, something crucial for families of debilitated children. We are left with two primary choices – hope that our child’s affliction qualifies for the Medicaid Waiver (my daughter does not because her disease is rare) and enter the seven-year long waitlist; or quit working, sacrifice our annual income and family’s well-being in order to qualify for Medicaid. As a single father of three children, I have a responsibility to provide my kids with the best life possible. I cannot do that now, because Florida’s Medicaid program refuses to help me afford Avery’s care for bills that well-exceed the scope of my insurance coverage. How can I keep a roof over my kids’ head, food on the table, and find a way to save for their education if the majority of my income is going towards her medical bills? Sadly, my children are the real victims here. I agree that low-income families need help in receiving healthcare, but families who have loved ones with severe and costly disabilities should also be able to get the necessary assistance from Medicaid. I shouldn’t have to quit my job so my daughter can qualify for Medicaid. I shouldn’t be penalized for trying to be a contributor. That doesn’t help anyone -- not my daughter, my family or society at large. Please help me change Florida’s Medicaid for the better and ask for a need-based component, so families like mine can take care of their loved ones without sacrificing their family's security.
Outlaw hog vs. dog hunting/fighting in the wild
Goal: To outlaw the cruel and inhumane practice of using dogs to hunt wild boar in Florida, as well as in the 31 others states it's currently legal. Florida (as well as other states) has a wild boar problem. Hogs are numerous, omnivorous and have no natural predators, making them one of the largest nuisance pests in the state. There are many humane options for dealing with the pigs, which do not need to involve brutally killing the pigs or putting domesticated dogs in harm’s way. However, despite the existence of alternatives, Florida and other states have exempted the use of "bait-dogs" in boar hunting. This practice is incredibly dangerous and very inhumane for the dogs and boars involved. Each of the 32 states that allow this practice laws differ, but Florida animal cruelty statutes states: FLORIDA ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0828/Sections/0828.122.html 828.122 Fighting or baiting animals; offenses; penalties.—(1) This act may be cited as “The Animal Fighting Act.”(2) As used in this section, the term:(a) “Animal fighting” means fighting between roosters or other birds or between dogs, bears, or other animals.(b) “Baiting” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals. In addition, “baiting” means the use of live animals in the training of racing greyhounds.(c) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.(3) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following acts commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:Baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting; (9) This section shall not apply to:.....(e) Any person using dogs to hunt wild hogs or to retrieve domestic hogs pursuant to customary hunting or agricultural practices." The exception (e) makes NO logical sense, because dogs are trained to "hunt" by chasing, cornering, attacking and fighting. So, why is it illegal to cause a dog to fight another dog, or a pig in an enclosure, but it is legal to use dogs to chase and viciously attack pigs while being trained and in the wild? Boar hunting with dogs is exactly what it sounds like: dogs trained to track and attack. They are taken out into the country, or wherever wild hogs are plentiful, and set loose to sniff out hogs. Once a hog is found the dogs will chase it down, corner, bay and attack it, usually leaving it badly injured, but normally still alive. Hunters (when they catch up) will kill the pig, usually by "sticking," which is a prolonged death vs. the use of a proper gun. Wild hogs are incredibly difficult to kill and will put up a fight until the end. Many dogs involved are wounded by tusks, bitten, trampled and sometimes killed. This is basically animal fighting, in the wild. Putting dogs in such a dangerous situation is inhumane and should not be legal. PETITION LETTER: Wild boars are a major problem in Florida and in other states. The species has no natural predators, is omnivorous and repopulates very quickly: it is because of these traits that wild boars are a force hard to reckon with. There are many control methods used, some of them very inhumane. Currently it is legal for dogs to be used in wild hog hunting: this is extremely dangerous for the dogs involved and leads to inappropriate practices elsewhere. Dogs involved in hunting are likely to be seriously injured by the hogs. Dogs get trampled, bitten, pierced by tusks and may be infected with diseases that pigs carry. The hogs are frightened, outnumbered and suffer a painful death. I urge you to propose a ban on hunting wild pigs with dogs in order to put a stop to these inappropriate behaviors. Please consider other methods of wild pig population control, such as designating land for hogs to be displaced to, and controlling breeding of the species. Allowing dogs to hunt them is inhumane and unnecessary. Sincerely, [Your Name Here]
Take preventive measures to decrease the amount of victims who drown in submerged vehicles.
More accident victims drown in submerged vehicles in Florida than in any other state in the nation. Last month, this statistic grew to include my best friend Chloe Nicole Arenas. On June 28th, Chloe was traveling on State road 408 when she lost control of her vehicle and proceeded off the Alafaya Trail ramp exit into a retention pond, where she died. There are no barriers in front of this retention pond. In fact, there are no guardrails, barriers, or traffic control devices along many bodies of water in Florida. I want to change that. Federal crash data shows that between 2008 and 2012, Florida had 49 drownings. The runner up? Texas, with 18 drownings. The tremendous gap between these two leading states demonstrates the severity of the issue in Florida. Wherever you live (especially if you live in or have visited Florida), pay attention the next time you get into your car. Look at bodies of water that you come across and see if they have a protective barrier to prevent deadly accidents. Guardrails would save lives and decrease the number of drownings in submerged vehicles. Getting them installed will be an uphill battle, but I am willing to do whatever it takes, and this is why I’m working with Florida lawmakers and influential people to pass Chloe’s Law, to mandate protective barriers on all bodies of water located near highways. I am confident that Chloe's Law will save many lives, though it would be successful if we could save even one. Please sign this petition in support of Chloe's Law. Share with your friends and family. Florida can set the standard for other states in need of similar prevention. Anyone who would be of substantial help to our cause is encouraged to contact me at : ChloeArenasLaw@gmail.com We are so very thankful for the donations to the "Go Fund Me" account to help cover the cost of Chloe's services. We are keeping this account open until her foundation is created, to help cover the cost of traveling and funding the push for legislation. Any donation is much appreciated. http://www.gofundme.com/y3m7fba2
Help families of murdered children pass Curtis’s Law
I will never forget the day those policeman came to my door to tell my that my son Curtis was dead. Your world is immediately flipped upside down and the pain grips you like nothing else you can imagine. After the initial shock wears off, you want answers. As a parent, you need basic answers. Answers to questions like: Who is investigating my child’s case, and where are their belongings? As if the pain of losing my child wasn’t enough, I had to take on the additional stress and frustration of attempting to pry these very basic details out of the law enforcement agency investigating my son’s death. In Florida, law enforcement agencies are not required to release any information about on-going murder investigations to anyone. My son’s investigation has been on-going for almost 20 years now. I had to get a lawyer to simply find out who was working on my son’s case! I would later learn that my experience was not unique. Other parents were struggling through the same process. Those who can’t afford legal counsel often give up. This is why I am working with other parents of murdered children to create a law in Florida that would require law enforcement agencies to send a letter to the parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin within 30 days of notifying them of their child’s death. The letter would include information about: Onsite police and paramedics, assigned investigators, coroner’s name, where child’s property and belongings are stored, and any available photos This would NOT be required if the child’s parent, legal guardian, or next-of-kin is a suspect or person-of-interest in the child’s murder investigation. When a family faces the unthinkable, all they want is some type of closure. They shouldn’t have to spend weeks or months, or even retain legal counsel to get the basic information about their child’s case that can help our families begin to heal. Please sign this petition today and help families like mine pass Curtis’s Law today.
Make Texting & Driving a Primary Offense in Florida Now!
Please sign our petition to make texting and driving a primary offense in the state of Florida. Together, we can influence Florida legislation to save more lives and make our roads a safer place for everyone. On November 7th, 2014, a distracted driver killed my son, Anthony Branca. Anthony was only 19 years old. He was killed because someone else chose to make driving less than important. In an instant, Anthony was gone. Distracted driving is the leading cause of death among teenagers (surpassing drunk driving) and the numbers are trending upward. Distracted driving crashes made up more than 12 percent of all crashes in Florida in 2015. Drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014. Currently, it is only a secondary offense to text & drive in the state of Florida. Meaning, you must be doing something else illegal (like speeding or running a red light) for a law enforcement officer to pull you over for texting & driving. We need help from our elected officials to enact a primary offense law that prevents senseless road tragedies from occurring to other families. The Anthony Phoenix Branca Foundation was created in memory of Anthony. We’re starting a revolution to end distracted driving… We’re waging war and building a #BandanaArmy of citizens to help us end distracted driving, #BecauseAnthony. Join the fight, visit our website.
STOP the Deportation of Yamileth Hoffman -- a young mother & wife.
Yamileth, a lawful permanent resident and mother of a beautiful five (5) year old boy, faces removal from the United States for an innocent mistake. Yamileth entered the United States from Colombia in 2005 as the wife of a U.S. citizen. Together, Yamileth and her husband have raised their U.S. citizen son and built their business. Yamileth, a woman who came to this country speaking very little English and with limited understanding of our laws, was completely dependent on the support and guidance of her husband. Once Yamileth became a lawful permanent resident, she received a voter registration card in the mail, issued by her husband’s political party. Despite his little knowledge of voting requirements and election laws of the United States, Yamileth’s husband, a United States citizen, born and raised in Michigan, encouraged her to register – in fact, he often stated that it was her duty and obligation to do so. Neither Yamileth nor her husband knew of the immigration consequences Yamileth would soon face. In 2009, Yamileth filed her application for U.S. citizenship. It is and always has been her dream to be a U.S. citizen. Throughout her whole time in the United States, she has never committed a crime or been arrested. She has dutifully filed her taxes jointly with her husband and has cared for their son, taking him to school and teaching him right from wrong. She has also continued her education and enrolled in school at Palm Beach State College. But unfortunately, despite her good moral character, her application for citizenship was denied and she was placed in removal proceedings solely because she “claimed to be a U.S. citizen” when she mistakenly registered to vote. Yamileth, like many other non-citizens during this past presidential election, received a voter registration application through the mail and believed she was eligible to vote. Why else would she receive a voter registration application in the mail – addressed to her? Yamileth believed that if this voter registration application was sent to her after she became a legal permanent resident, then it was because she was allowed to register with her newfound legal status. Her belief was further confirmed when she received a voting registration card. At no point during the voting registration process did Yamileth or her husband receive any instruction that she had to be a citizen of the United States to vote. She was never questioned by any poll worker about her legal status or her eligibility. She never received anything in the mail explaining what the eligibility requirements were or whether she was in violation of any of these. In fact, the first time she ever learned that she was not allowed to vote was when her application for citizenship was denied due to the issue of her registering to vote. Yamileth currently faces imminent removal. She faces returning to a country she has not called home in many years; a country she has no family ties to. Rather than exercising their discretion and simply denying her application for citizenship, USCIS and/or USDHS/ICE has taken the additional step and decided that it is worth the time, work, and resources to place this young wife and mother in removal proceedings for an innocent mistake – a lack of judgment. After you have signed, please take a Moment to Call DHS Office of Chief Counsel in Miami, FL, Chief Counsel, Howard Marbury, (305) 400-6160; Director of ICE: John Morton, (202) 732-3000; Internal Affairs, Nicole Nava, (786) 387-8230. Say: "Hi, I am calling to ask you to exercise discretion under the John Morton memo and terminate Yamileth Hoffman's removal proceedings. Her A# is A098-444-750. Thank you very much."
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members reunite with their families
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served for 10 years mostly in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand, that I first encountered Amerasian children (and descendants) of U.S. sailors and military contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. Many Amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. sailors who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to reunite 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 reunited 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 reunite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2016 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to 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 reunite with her dad. You can find them in the Amerasian group pages on Facebook. Search angel services are available to both sides.There is a PBS documentary called "Left by the Ship" (2010), the video above, documenting everyday life and their personal struggles as a Filipino Amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers, to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2016 now!