Hawaii State Senate
Hawaii State Senate
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. 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. 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 2017 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 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 struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 now!
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
Call for Blue States to Move On
What happened to make this country the focus of judgment, laughter, and fear from the rest of the world? The industrialized world outside of the United States enjoys a better quality of life and general happiness that most of us can only imagine. First class education, comprehensive health care, clean food/water/air and an overall better relationship with their fellow citizens. And as a country, we have higher mortality rates at younger ages, poorer health, and an impoverished population who can't learn new skills without going deeper into debt. As much as we like to blame Donald Trump for our national problems; these problems were here before him, and they will still be here if Trump is removed from office tomorrow. We have a political system that centralizes power to a consolidated political center in Washington, DC and an economic center in New York City. Our Electoral System will isolate the power to determine the direction of our political system to a very small, easily manipulated portion of the electorate in strategic location. Worst of all, we have a large portion of the population who will empower a mentally unstable man to the highest office in the world; just so they can say “We Won”. This group is constantly complaining about a simple world with plentiful jobs in their communities that are extinct or never really existed. And now, they have the nerve to complain about losing the federal government programs they benefitted from and voted against. It's time we said “ENOUGH” and have Progressive States and Communities band together and share resources and ideas to provide a better quality of life for its people, that the Trump Administration wants to take away. And furthermore, we need to ensure that we only support States and Communities who will change their policies for its people. We can no longer provide assistance to Red States, just so they can abuse and neglect their citizens for business interests. For the future of this nation, we need to explore every legal method possible to protect the people from an extremely dangerous President Trump. A Values Based Alliance of the States (VBAS) is one way of resisting this new reality of government, and the dangerous changes that we all know are inevitable. I understand that the constitution will not allow us to directly stop this monstrosity, but it will allows us to devalue it. A VBAS of certain states with similar values and policy preferences can and will use its population centers and economic influence to co-op, share resources, and implement policies with other co-opted states, while not having to depend on or engage the federal government. Examples: There are certain states with a majority of people that believe single payer healthcare system (CA, MA, VT, NY, WA, OR, IL, HI.). If those states passed laws to provide single payer health care for it’s people, a Single Payer Healthcare VBAS organization of those states can share resources to improve efficiencies, expand medical training/education amongst the co-opted states, negotiate pharmaceutical/treatment, amend needed tax policies and petition the US Government. This would also force neighboring states to decide if they want to change their internal policies to provide single payer, so they can join the Health Care VBAS. A resident of Indiana might ask his state to join the VBAS, because he could literally see his next door neigbor in Illinois fully covered, and using a Doctor that just came back from his training at a medical school in California. Although the VBAS states can not legally sign the Paris accords, they can change their internal policies to abide by its recommendations. There could be an environmental protection VBAS, where the states involved agree to abide by the Paris accords, improve safety protocols within its states, take climate change seriously, and provide economic preference to states and nations that do the same. CA, OR, NY, MA, VT, WA HI, and NV could agree to be a preferred customer of states or nations that voluntarily reduces its carbon emissions and address climate change, instead of LA or TX, which most likely will not. Other issues could include minimum wage, education, trade agreements, gun control and virtually every policy not adjudicated solely to the federal government. As more VBASes are organized and more states agree to join them, Donald Trump and the ignorance of future presidents become less and less relevant. Please sign this petition and pass it on to as many people as possible.
Pass Safe Harbor & End Demand for Prostitution Laws in Hawaii
Currently, Hawaii has no protocol to legally detain juveniles rescued from prostitution without criminalizing them. The Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) is urging the Hawaii State Legislature to pass legislation to help child trafficking victims to proper rehabilitative and healing services rather than to incarceration. PASS is also urging the legislature to pass an End Demand Bill (SB192/HB1066 and SB194) which seek to increase penalties for patrons of prostitution/sex-trafficking, commonly referred to as “johns.” The existing grade of offense for johns is a petty misdemeanor, equivalent to the fine of remaining in a public park after hours. The penalty for the offense of fueling prostitution/sex-trafficking, by providing the demand, has not been updated in Hawaii since the law was created in the early 70s. Please help Hawaii pass these bills because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Help us stop the growth of child-trafficking in America. FACTS: Hawaii’s incarceration rate of juvenile girls exceed the national average. Of these offenses, about 35% are runaways. Hawaii has one of the highest rates of intrafamilial sexual abuse (or incest) and also has one of the highest attempted teen suicide rates in the nation. There are approximately 300 children reported missing in Hawaii per month. There are no law enforcement stats for child sex-trafficking because of the lack of a state sex-trafficking law. Earlier this year, Shared Hope International rated Hawaii second worst in the nation in protecting child victims of sex trafficking by law. // // // //
Stop The Statute of Limitations (SOL) on Sex Crimes - Sexual Assault, Pedophilia, Rape
Lesley Barton’s WWII hero father once said to her, “You should never take advantage of someone that is weak or vulnerable just because you can." Little did he know how much his simple words would one day mean to his beloved daughter as the 1st survivor of 10 (4 in SOL 6 outside of it) known victims to report a 15 yr active and violent serial rapist who continuously got off with slaps on the wrist. The time is NOW to Stop The Statute of Limitations on Sex Crimes for children and adults. Please click the link below to learn more about her and her sisters’ fight against sadistic and emboldened rapist Marc Winner and to really understand the gravity of predators like him who are able to use the statute of limitations against their victims to their advantage. http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2016/Marc-Winner/__________________________________________Lesley’s story... Over 16 years, she’d hoped and prayed this day would actually never come, because although she knew he couldn’t stop-it was her greatest wish that he would, so no one else would be violently raped by him again. Painfully, that was not the case with 4 in the Statute of Limitations and 10 known total in a 15 year period. The continuous promises made to her when they wanted her to be okay with the plea deal, were not kept. Woman after woman reported him only to be disbelieved and disregarded, because of archaic belief systems even within the justice system and Chicagoland Cook County City and Suburbs being on different computer systems. How senseless is that? This has not been an easy road for her and her sisters. It’s actually been harder than any victim survivor could ever be able to explain. Our msister and brother survivors understand why sexual assault is the most under reported crime, because coming forward in order to protect others from a monster has no upsides due to the revictimization of stigma, harassment, a pretty inept and broken system, and those who want to make rape of all things about politics or shaming and blaming the survivor rather than stopping the perp. It’s been a long 16+ years for Lesley Barton who was the first to report Marc Winner for criminal sexual assault. Even after she came to terms with the unthinkable by finding some joy again she was really thrown for a loop that invasion day almost two years ago now when she found out he was back or actually never left. For he remained active and her reporting him, going to all their trial dates, and his slap on the wrist plea deal didn’t keep him from continuing his proclivity to do irreparable and permanent harm. Lesley no lomger feels any of the unfounded shame or blame any longer. She could really careless what the ignorant callous bullies towards survivors of rape think or say either. She does however feel an immense responsibility to her sisters who survived him, all sister and brother survivors, and the community at large to see this through to the end-to finish this-and to help convict him anyway they lawfully can so he never hurts another living soul again. Many confusingly mock and attack survivor activists who put it all on the line to stop criminals by using the term social justice warrior as a negative connotation on the internet and elsewhere. However, what they don’t seem to understand is that this is NOT a political issue and a violent despicable crime such as rape can never be referred to as “social.” It’s a matter of stopping a violent criminal from seriously hurting others in a way that the survivors receive a life sentence. Rape is actually a CRIMINAL JUSTICE issue-always has been, always will be. As a Criminal Justice issue, one way to end the emboldening of predators like Marc Winner, Brock Turner, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis CK, USA Gymnasts Dr. Larry Nassar, Thad Alton, and Denny Hastert (to name only a small few) is to Stop the Statute of Limitations Clock. Predators know very well that they have a time clock they can easily run out during the often decades of time it takes a victim to come forward and be a survivor. The time is NOW to #StopTheStatute of Limitations on Sex Crimes in every state for children and adults, once and for all. There are no statutes in different states on Forgery, types of Fraud, Murder, Manslaughter, Attempted Murder, Arson, types of DUI accidents, and even in a few on Rape, but a few isn’t good enough-Rape is a life sentence, so should be the time period it takes to report it (which remember does not mean the lack of burden of proof) in order to help deter. The system needs to give survivors the time they need to come to terms with the heinous violation to their body and spirit in order to get closure and justice-How can’t everyone have some common sense, reasonably understand, and get behind that? #metoo#Ibelieveyou#stopthestatute
2011 Signatures to Pass Hawaii Anti Human-Trafficking Laws in 2011
With your help, we can pass much-needed state laws in Hawaii defining human-trafficking as a felony offense while recognizing victims. Hawaii is now 1 of 4 states lacking any local anti human-trafficking state laws. According to the Honolulu StarAdvertiser, federal agents report that Hawaii is also one of the handful of states with the worst child-trafficking problem. Whether the victim be a child or an adult, international or U.S. citizen, sex-trafficking should never be tolerated by ignoring the state's opportunity to address the crime on the local level. Sign this petition. United we can stop human-trafficking in Hawaii. Please pass HB141 SD1 (Labor-Trafficking) and HB240 SD1 (Promoting Prostitution). Please do not gut them in Conference!
Require Amazon to Collect and Remit Sales Tax For All FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) Sales
Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Requiring the hundreds of thousands of small businesses to register in every state and collect and remit in all applicable states is not practical -- it is a complex, heavy financial burden on small businesses and it is causing states to lose billions of dollars in tax revenue each year. With E-commerce now playing such a big role in the local economies, and with Amazon being THE major player, it is time for new legislation to be passed so that these matters can be properly addressed, removing any doubt regarding State sales tax liability and nexus -- especially as it relates to Amazon FBA and similar programs. If Amazon FBA was recognized as consignment, from a sales tax perspective, as it should be, then this would solve a lot of the associated issues that we are currently seeing. Laws vary from state-to-state, but most states require that the consignee (the store, or, Amazon in this case) should collect and remit sales tax. Arguments regarding consignment, who the seller really is and who the 'supplier' is: 1. FBA 'Suppliers' (as they should be called, and not FBA 'sellers') do not choose how/where their products are stored/shipped. 2. Commission is paid to Amazon on each unit sold. 3. FBA 'suppliers' must adhere to Amazon policy. Suppliers do not have the right to refuse sale/shipment without consequence and do not collect any money on transactions (all transactions are handled and controlled by Amazon, the store owner, with the supplier having no participation in said transactions). 4. FBA 'suppliers' have no real relationship with the customer as nearly all communication is prohibited as per Amazon (this relationship is owned and controlled by Amazon, the real seller). 5. Amazon provides advertising for products that they sell, including FBA products. Suppliers have no say in that message or how it's presented. 6. Amazon charges a 'monthly, rental fee' (FBA subscription fee) to display FBA products at their property, as well as additional fees for special exposure (e.g. special ad types or brand page vs. window or end-cap at front of store), as well as additional fees for how the product may be presented (e.g. videos on listing vs. in-store display). 7. Product ownership does not transfer to Amazon (the store owner), but sits on Amazon's shelves until a buyer is found...at which point, the buyer should pay the appropriate sales tax (Amazon/the store owner, is responsible for collecting and remitting this, as they handle all transactions with the end-buyer and own the property where all merchandise is stored and sold). 8. et al. Amazon should be charging and then remitting the sales tax to all applicable states -- not the FBA seller. Not only would this eliminate any argument about complexity or what constitutes nexus amid the varying, questionable and ever-changing interpretations that each state has established, but convincing the States to get behind it should be easy if they only had to pursue one entity (Amazon), in lieu of the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that currently operate within the US marketplace. It is estimated that the majority of the FBA sellers that sell on the Amazon-US marketplace are operating on foreign soil, and do not have a legal entity that is locally established inside of the United States. How are the states going to force compliance if a foreign seller, using a foreign bank account, is operating outside of the jurisdiction of local law? This poses serious problems and creates an environment of unfair competition if foreign sellers can offer products 10% cheaper due to not having to collect and remit sales tax. If Amazon were required to collect and remit on all FBA sales, not only would this reduce costs, man hours and complexity etc., but it would be a lot easier to ensure compliance and remittance. States could get the tax dollars that they desperately need, instead of missing out as they do now. If things continue as they are, States will waste tons of money auditing individual sellers and pursuing legal action, all, unnecessarily. Since Amazon has decided to take full custody of its customer base and is essentially acting as consignment, this should put sales tax liability on Amazon's shoulders, not on FBA sellers. Since FBA sellers are currently required to collect and remit for all states where they are deemed to have a substantial nexus, then, in order to do that, they must first register their business in that State, apply for permits etc., and admit to having a substantial nexus. Just having a single box of inventory in one of Amazon's warehouses will be sufficient for establishing nexus for most applicable states. Amazon may move inventory around, however they see fit, and in doing so, will force FBA sellers to have nexus in those states, oftentimes, unknowingly. Once nexus is established for a particular state, it applies to ALL subsequent sales to that State -- so, if a seller wants to sell something on Ebay, and the buyer is located in the nexus state, then that seller would need to collect and remit sales tax, even if that inventory was stored in and shipped from their home. If FBA sellers are required to register in all of the applicable states and admit that they have a substantial nexus, they would then potentially be subject to Corporate/State income taxes for that state, use-tax for all products/services, franchise taxes, non-resident taxes, opportunity taxes and other, associated fees/taxes etc.. If non-local businesses have to admit that they have substantial nexus due to a single box of inventory, and if they have to remit in the same way (or worse) as a local business that is actually operating out of that state, then what other tax implications and responsibilities will they be subjecting themselves to? And wouldn't this put undue burden on FBA sellers? And isn't that illegal? Please require Amazon to collect and remit sales tax for all FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) purchases. Thank you.
Hawaii Animal Quarantine is a Death Camp for our Pets
Yours, mine, our friends and neighbors, even the pets of complete strangers are in harms way with each passing day, and the leadership in charge of the quarantine station does nothing because they know We the People will never stand united and demand change. They sit behind their desks as our 4-legged babies are abused, neglected and all too often pass away while under the care of the AQS and they do nothing because We the People will never stand united and demand change. Mr. Scott Enright, the Chairperson for the Department of Agriculture proclaims his staff of professional caretakers are doing their job in accordance with station protocol. He should know, he is the administrator of the quarantine program for the State of Hawaii. Dr. Wong sits in her air conditioned office at the Animal Quarantine Station while her professional caretakers supposedly check on all 800+ animals at least twice a day. As the acting Director of the Quarantine Station she proclaims that her staff take it personal when something happens to the animals in their care. The professional caretakers have been caught taunting and teasing the animals by hosing them in the face, kicking them, and leaving them to die of heat stroke while they update their Facebook accounts and laugh as your pet gasps for its last breathe of air. My bully was under their professional care and her ashes are out at sea now. Even more pathetic is how they treat the owners, threatening them with harm to their pets in an effort to keep them quiet about the blatant abuse and neglect going on in the State run facility that is supposed to protect the great State of Hawaii from rabies. Sadly most of the owners of these pets are military members transferring to Oahu to serve our country. The staff and facility were responsible for so many recent deaths and animal emergencies, that petitions forced the State politicians to push through House Resolution 35; a proposal to illicit an unbiased party to investigate and recommend changes/upgrades to both the system and the facilities. But in true Aloha political fashion, the Hawaii House of Representatives passed HR 35, but almost immediately penciled a revision that allowed for the Department of Agriculture Chairperson to rely on a USDA inspection from several years earlier. So, in the spirit of Hawaii, the political leadership is doing nothing to change the system nor upgrade the facilities. They have chosen to allow the system to continue as is, with a staff of personnel that are poorly trained, ill equipped, and more often than not behind the abuse that our pets are enduring while in the care of a State run facility meant to maintain a Rabies Free State. We the People still fail to stand united on this, we still fail to demand Change. Say nothing, Do nothing, Change nothing.
Protect Hawaii’s coral reefs: ban toxic chemicals in sunscreen.
CORAL REEFS vs SUNSCREEN: A chemical called oxybenzone which is found in sunscreen and other personal care products is decimating coral reefs, making coral more susceptible to bleaching. Nearly half of Hawaii's coral reefs were bleached during heat waves in 2014 and 2015. Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. While there are a lot of things we can’t do anything about, this is one thing we can do right now for the environment.
Rename the Honolulu International Airport to the Barack H. Obama International Airport
Since the city of Chicago was granted the opportunity to build the President Barack Obama Presidential Library, I believe we should do something here in Hawaii that will honor our 44th president. Our 44th president was born here and represented Hawaii with great passion. I think it will be a great honor to rename the Honolulu International Airport to the Barack H. Obama International Airport! He will go down in history as one of our greatest presidents and our first president who was born and raised here in Hawaii!