Georgia State Senate
Georgia State Senate
Make upskirting illegal!
In Georgia, it is legal to take pictures up a woman’s skirt. Recently, in a case of a grocery store employee taking pictures up a customer’s skirt while she shopped, a Georgia court ruled in favor of the photographer. This reprehensible act highlights a major lapse in women’s rights and criminal law that must change, immediately. The Georgia Court of Appeals said the grocery story incident wasn’t an invasion of privacy. Seriously. How in the world can taking pictures up a woman’s skirt, or “upskirting,” not be considered an invasive act? It pains me to think that one day my daughter might be disrespected and humiliated by such actions. For her and for all women, I am demanding legal ramifications for upskirting. Please join me in asking Georgia lawmakers to pass legislation that makes taking pictures or videos up a woman’s skirt illegal! Help me in speaking out against this injustice and fight with me to protect ourselves from gross invasions of privacy.
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]
Protect Stone Mountain, and the history it holds.
There is a movement to remove the Confederate Faces from Stone Mountain. With all of the violence that has come about in recent days we must move to nonviolently protect these monuments and prosecute vandals who believe in defacing them. It is important to not be blinded by the politics and remember that HISTORY cannot be racist or a bigot but only can state facts. If we destroy part of the facts is it even history anymore? Do we wanna forget about the men and women who died. Do we wanna forget about the slaves or the Confederacy? I believe once we forget it makes it far easier to repeat our mistakes? Will you stand with me to protect this Monument, not as Republican or Democrat but as an american who is proud of what we have become considering where we have come from. We are asking that you will ensure state law enforcement resources if it becomes necessary to protect this landmark. I grew up with this Monument and would hate to see it destroyed. Thank you!
Ban shark fins in Georgia!
Shark finning is the abhorrent practice of cutting only the fins of a shark off, all while the shark is still very much alive, and then dumping it back into the water. Because most sharks need to keep moving to breathe, they sink down to the bottom and die a slow and agonizing death. Studies have long confirmed that fish feel pain. This is done because generally, the only good part of the shark is the fins. They are used in a Chinese delicacy called shark fin soup and fetch a high price globally. Since the popularization of shark fin soup, shark populations have been absolutely decimated by this truly sinister practice. Most people think of sharks as powerful and frightening predators, not vulnerable or in trouble, but the truth is that the ocean's sharks are being driven to the brink of extinction due to the global demand for their fins. Unlike other fish that have hundreds of babies at a time, sharks only give birth to a few babies each year. They are very slow-growing and do not reach reproductive age until they are as old as 10. Because of this, they are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation, and in many places, shark populations have decreased by 90% in the last 20 years. Although many people view sharks as a danger, only 12 people per year are fatally wounded by sharks, where as humans kill over 100 million sharks a year for their fins. The truth is that we need sharks. Sharks are vital to the health of our oceans. As top predators, they play the important role of keeping the populations of everything else below them balanced. When sharks start to disappear, we see entire ecosystem collapse. This leads to a trickle-down effect that studies have proved negatively impacts human lives and local/regional economies. We are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction event that our Earth has seen and in the next 100 years, 50% of the planet's biodiversity could be gone. Species are going extinct at a rate 1000 times faster than that of the natural extinction rate, and this is due to humans. We have a responsibility to protect what is left and to be stewards to the ocean that we rely on for everything from the oxygen that we breathe to the weather that impacts our lives. Our oceans need sharks to be healthy, and so that means that all of us need sharks. In the United States, only 10 of the 50 states prohibit the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins within state borders: Texas, Hawaii, California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts. I recently moved from MA to Georgia, and after walking into a Chinese Restaurant in Atlanta and seeing shark fins displayed right at the door I knew I needed to take action to press for my state to follow in the footsteps of the other 10 ocean steward states that have banned the trade of fins thus far, bringing our country 1 step closer to a fin-free society!
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!
Georgians Against Campus Carry
Nathan Deal has signed House Bill 280, which allows anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except inside dormitories, fraternities and sorority houses, daycare facilities, and at athletic events. HB 280 Was Signed. Now What? The Georgia Board of Regents controls the implementation of Georgia university policy, so it is now up to them to decide on the policy that universities will enact in response to the passing of this bill. HB 280 has many flaws and its implementation is so flawed that it is frowned upon by those on both sides of the issue. It is imperative that we contact the Board of Regents with our concerns and to voice our opinion that we believe that this law is too flawed to implement while also preserving the safety needs of our college campuses and surrounding communities. Calls to action: Write the board of regents, their correspondence addresses can be found here: http://www.usg.edu/regents/members Attend the May 16, 2017 Board of Regents meeting in the Atlanta Office: Room 8003 270 Washington Street, SW Atlanta, GA 30334 Note: The meeting is open to the public, but no comments/concerns will be taken during the meeting. Call the Board of Regents at 404-962-3049 and voice your concerns as a student, parent, faculty member, staff, community member, Georgian, etc. for the implementation of HB 280. Write letters/emails to Georgia university administrators; presidents, provosts, and deans of students. (cc the Board of regents members). Please Join me in Opposition to HB 280 Special Thanks to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Evan Gillon, and Ayo Aladesanmi
Stand with Survivors & Stop Georgia House Bill 51
When I was a sophomore in college, I was sexually assaulted by a student. While this was the most traumatic experience of my entire life, I was able to graduate college thanks to counseling and the academic accommodations I needed to stay in school. Because of my school and the accommodations I was afforded, I’m now attending Georgia State University College of Law where I continue to fight for survivors’ rights. But I’m afraid that student survivors in Georgia today won’t be able to thrive and graduate if the Georgia legislature passes House Bill 51. H.B. 51 would make Georgia universities less safe for students who have been raped. By stripping universities of their role in responding to sexual misconduct -- including disciplining offenders -- student victims like myself will lose access to the support we need to remain in school and to heal from our assaults. This law would mandate that professors and administration report assaults to law enforcement without the victims’ consent, leaving many students afraid to seek support. Other students will be forced to spend months and years attending classes with the people who raped them. Still others, who fear police involvement or deportation, will be discouraged from reporting at all. Reporting rates will undoubtedly plummet, and campuses like mine will no longer be safe. Additionally, members of minority communities, notably LGBTQ+ and women of color, are assaulted at the highest rates. These groups are even more reticent to report to the police and will be further denied access to education. Sign this petition to protect student survivors of sexual assault from Georgia H.B. 51. Not only is House Bill 51 dangerous, it’s also illegal. It violates long-standing protections of civil rights for women and other survivors of gender-based violence. These protections mandate schools to respond to acts of sexual misconduct, regardless of whether law enforcement is involved. If passed, H.B. 51 would fly in the face of decades of national precedent – and rape survivors will pay the price. Stand with Georgia students like myself in demanding that our legislators oppose H.B. 51. In solidarity, Grace You can stay up to date on our local efforts here: https://www.facebook.com/studentsagainstHB51
Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!
When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities
Expand Medicaid in Georgia
Nearly 500,000 Georgians are living without healthcare because our elected officials refuse to expand Medicaid in our state. Failure to act hurts all Georgians, even those with insurance. Hospitals are shutting down throughout the state and costing our economy good paying jobs. Republican and Democratic-led states have already accepted billions in Medicaid dollars to grow new jobs, but Georgia is being left behind. Join thousands of Georgians and demand that the General Assembly support Medicaid expansion TODAY.
Pass Georgia Firefighters Cancer Bill HB 216
The passage of Georgia House Bill 216 will allow firefighters to present evidence that they contracted cancer in the line of duty. It is not a presumptive bill, which would mean that firefighter automatically got cancer in the line of duty till proven otherwise. That has been changed. The current law does not allow for any employee/firefighter to petition for relief and coverage under workers compensation due to cancer that they contracted in the line of duty. HB 216 will allow a firefighter to present evidence that he contracted cancer due to his exposure to chemicals and other toxins in the line of duty. The city/county that the firefighter works for can also present evidence that the firefighter did not contract cancer in the line of duty. The firefighter must present a preponderance of evidence to show that they did contract cancer in the line of duty. Firefighters are continually exposed to diesel smoke due from the fire trucks. One of the by-products of the diesel engine is benzene. This is a known carcinogen. A lot of fire station's do not have smoke removal systems in the bay which prevents the build up of smoke and soot in the bay area. This also keeps it from filtering into the living area of the station. When firefighters fight fire, the by products released by the combustion of the fire contains multitudes of chemicals that contaminate the firefighting gear they are wearing that protects them. These chemicals include phosgene, cyanide, carbon monoxide and numerous other toxin's. These toxins are then absorbed in the firefighters system usually from the neck area and other exposed skin. Over time this chronic exposure to chemical's causes cancer's. Fire departments do not always have the means/money to properly clean and/or change a firefighters gear out after every fire. This gear can cost over $600 a set at a minimum. Firefighters are taking steps to be healthier by regular exercise, eating healthier, not smoking, not bringing dirty gear into the station and cleaning up as soon as possible to remove the chemical's before they are absorbed into the firefighters system. While people that are not firefighters get cancer, firefighters get cancer at a higher rate than the general public. What makes this worse is a factor called the healthy worker effect. This states that firefighters are hired with testing to ensure that they are healthy enough to do the job and should therefore be in better physical shape than the general public. While this should be the case, firefighters are showing higher cancer rates along with heart disease and respiratory diseases than the general population due to many factors and exposures on the job. On behalf of all firefighter's in the State of Georgia, I ask that you sign the petition for the passage of HB 216, which just passed the Georgia House with a vote of 148-19. This bill now moves to the Georgia Senate for passage into law. The primary sponsor is Republican Micah Gravley from Douglasville. Thanks from all firefighter's in Georgia for your support of your local firefighters.