Maryland State House
Maryland State House
Keep car buyers and drivers safe
On July 29th, 2005, I lost my birth daughter, Amber Rose. She was one of the first victims of General Motors’ faulty ignition switch, which prevented her airbag from deploying. Amber Rose was one of 153 known deaths caused by the defective part. General Motors became aware of the issue of the ignition switch back in 2004, but instead of warning consumers, they tried to cover it up. Carmakers like General Motors often try to silence dealers from telling buyers about potential defects unless there is an actual recall. But as General Motors proved, they also often make great efforts to prevent a recall from happening, putting profits before lives. I often wonder how many dealers knew about the faulty ignition switch. Could the person who have sold Amber Rose her vehicle warned her about the issue? This is why I’m working with Maryland lawmakers to pass the Amber Rose Bill, which would give free speech protections to Maryland dealers who wish to disclose potential issues to consumers. Dealers constantly receive technical bulletins from car companies about issues. They should be allowed to share what they know with potential buyers. Amber and I shared a close relationship. Even though she had been adopted by another family, good fortune reunited us and we saw each other daily. She brought happiness to all who knew her. That is why I won’t let Amber’s, or the other 153 victims’ deaths, be in vain. The Amber Rose Bill is just one way to keep their memory alive. Consumers need to have better access to important safety and product information about their cars. It’s time to curb abusive practices by the big automakers, including retaliation, audits, limits on ability to disclose information, that make it difficult for local auto dealers to do the right thing for their customers. This legislation will do just that. Let the Maryland legislature and Governor Hogan know you support the Amber Rose bill.
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!
Marylanders: Please Help Bring Human Trafficking to an End in Maryland!
The 2011 Maryland Legislative Session ends on April 11th and your help is needed to help move several important human trafficking bills before it is too late! These important bills will clamp down on the brutal crime of human trafficking, help victims, provide new investigative tools to law enforcement and increase the penalties for human traffickers. But your help is needed to urge the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to move these bills forward! There are several ways to help. In fact, a 30 second phone call to your legislators can make an incredible difference. You can find out who your legislators are HERE (be sure to click the box for House of Delegates and State Senate). The names of your senator and your 2-3 delegates will appear on the left hand side. Here are the bills: - SB 247 and HB 418: Asset Forfeiture for Convicted Human Traffickers Human trafficking is committed for one reason: profit. This legislation provides for the forfeiture of assets derived from or used in connection with human trafficking activity. Proceeds from the assets are directed into the newly created Anti-Human Trafficking Fund, for grants to law enforcement and victim service organizations to respond to human trafficking. In 2010 and in 2011 this bill passed the full Senate unanimously. In the House, however, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee refused to bring it to a vote in 2010, and without strong support from the public he may do the same this year. - SB 299 and HB 345 - Human Trafficking – InvestigationsThis bill will add human trafficking to the list of exceptions to the one party consent law to allow wiretapping and electronic surveillance during a human trafficking investigation. Crimes now excluded from the ban on wiretapping include child pornography, rape, and murder, among others. - SB 327 and HB 266 - Human Trafficking Victims Support Act (2 parts)Vacating Convictions would provide for the removal of any convictions for commercial sex for anyone later found to be a victim of human trafficking under state or federal law. Restitution to provide courts with the authority to order that a defendant pay out his gains from labor or sex trafficking to the victim, or compensate the claimant for his or her losses. - HB 674 - Education - Human Trafficking - Awareness, Training, and Distribution of Materials This bill will require the State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to provide awareness and training for the Directors of Student Services in local education agencies on human trafficking. This important bill will help educators and school employees to better recognize the signs of human trafficking. - HN 1304 - Human Trafficking in Truckstops This legislation will require rest areas and truck stops in Maryland, key locations for sex trafficking crimes, to post the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (888-3737-888) in bathrooms, so victims may access help and tipsters can report anything they find, confidentially, 24 hours a day. Click here to visit our action alert. Photo Credit: M.V. Jantzen
Adverse effect of GOP tax bill on Graduate students in the US
Graduate students in the US are already living at the survival line. They are working hard to push forward the frontiers of science in all directions and trying to make a better tomorrow than today. Their disposable income is barely reaches 20k per year ( stipend for being TA or RA) and this money goes all to their consumption needs with almost nothing left to save. The new GOP tax bill is going to make the tuition waiver taxable which is estimated to cost each graduate student about $2000 a year and this will push most of the graduate students even lower the survival level. As a result, they should cut down their daily expenses to get along with the new budget and this means they will buy and consume less necessary stuff. On the other side, local businesses will suffer as well because students will spend less money in local restaurants, bars, games and etc. In all, this bill is going to put more financial pressure on graduate students and also hurt local businesses across the US. Please sign and share this petition to support all graduate students in the US and also opposing this unfair tax bill.
Plastic Polluting our Planet
Hello, everybody. My name is Amanda, and I'm 15 years old. I used to use a plastic straw every single day until I learned some facts about them. In the Los Angeles area alone, ten metric tons of plastic fragments—like grocery bags, straws, and soda bottles—are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day. Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the previous century. 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away. Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce. Why is that so bad? Well for starters 46 percent of plastics float (EPA 2006), and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres. It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. The body can absorb plastic chemicals—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a synthetic chemical) Much more information can be found at https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html http://www.choosetogostrawless.com/ https://thelastplasticstraw.org/about-us/ http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/no-straw-please https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/its-not-just-the-bottle-the-ubiquity-of-the-plastic-straw/ Unfortunately, we can't reverse some of the things we've already done to this beautiful planet. What we can do is make some changes. Anything from asking for no straw, bring a reusable bag, use your own utensils (rather than disposable), buying from farmers markets, use a refillable cup/bottle, to making your staples yourself to avoid plastic can make a world (no pun intended) of difference. What I'm asking today, is that you sign this petition. Not that hard, right? :D I will be sending this request to places like Panera, Starbucks, Safeway, Dunkin Donuts, and more. What I'm asking of them is to use less plastic and styrofoam. To incorporate more recycling cans into their locations. To only give plastic bags to those who ask for them. To use paper straws rather than plastic. To find an alternative to Styrofoam takeout containers. To stop putting things in plastic that doesn't need to be. Have you ever seen the movie Wall-e? It stars a cute little robot who picks up trash. Remember how awful Earth looked? The whole time I was watching that movie I just wanted to go hug a tree (I didn't actually hug a tree). I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad about their choices, I'm just trying to inform! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope we can work together to make 2018 a much friendlier place (for the people and the planet). <3
Call for Mary Ann Lisanti to RESIGN After Calling Prince George “N***** District”
Del. Mary Ann Lisanti (D-Harford), who is white, allegedly told a white colleague late last month at an Annapolis cigar bar that campaigning in Prince George’s County on behalf of another candidate amounted to door-knocking in a “n***** district,” reported The Washington Post. Prince George’s County, with a population that is 65 percent black, is one of the most affluent majority-black counties in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. Harford is 80 percent white. “I am sickened that a word that is not in my vocabulary came out of my mouth,” she said in a statement. “It does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what is my heart.” (Source: Yahoo!) THIS BEHAVIOR IS NOT ACCEPTABLE from people we trust to make our laws on the state and federal level. You’re not sickened that it came out of your mouth, you’re sick because you were CAUGHT. This is a new day and age, racism will not be tolerated on any front. The people of Prince George, Harford & surrounding areas in Maryland are calling for her to STEP DOWN COMPLETELY as a lawmaker, until she learns a more PROFESSIONAL vocabulary, or purges the racism out of her blood, whichever is easier.
Help the SS JOHN W BROWN find a berth
The Liberty Ship S.S. JOHN W. BROWN, the only surviving troopship from World War II, faces an imminent deadline due to the expiration of its pier lease and may have to leave its homeport in Baltimore, Maryland. Project Libertyship brought this ship back to Baltimore (where she was built), restored and maintained her over the last 30+ years. The primary mission of Project Liberty Ship is to educate people of all ages about the vital role of the wartime American Merchant Marine, Naval Armed Guard and shipbuilders, three largely unheralded groups that were instrumental in the Allied victory in World War II, as well as to world-wide sealift operations during all past and current conflicts by presenting living history aboard an authentically restored Liberty Ship. The aim of the organization is to honor the legacy of all American veterans.We’ve been looking for a berth for years without success. Starting January 1st we will have to pay to stay at our current pier. We need to find a berth that has deep water, is accessible to the public, and which allows us to be open to the public. We need assistance from politicians to help keep this educational, historic gem in Baltimore. We’ve had advocacy from politicians in the past. The late Helen Bentley along with many others helped Project Liberty Ship bring SS JOHN W BROWN back to Baltimore and now we need advocates to help KEEP her here. Thanks for helping us.
Support Laura and Reid's Law #Reidtoo
Beloved Howard County, MD high school teacher Laura Wallen was killed September 3, 2017 by her boyfriend of 10 years, Tyler Tessier. Laura was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her murder with a Baby Boy named Reid. Under current Maryland Law, the State is unable to prosecute Tyler Tessier for the death of Reid based on Baby Reid's gestational age. Currently, if a pregnant woman is attacked and the child within her is killed as a result, the perpetrator will either: (1) be charged with manslaughter/murder (if the fetus is viable), or (2) be charged with no crime at all with respect to the fetus if it is less than 24 weeks old. This bill makes it murder or manslaughter when a person (i) intends to cause the death of the fetus, (ii) intends to cause serious physical injury to the fetus, or (iii) recklessly disregards the likelihood that the person's action would cause serious injury or death to the fetus. The bill also clarifies that NOTHING in the section applies to a woman's right to act, fail to act, or choose to terminate her pregnancy, nor does it apply to a licensed medical professional if a fetal death occurs in the course of administering lawful medical care. The bill specifically states that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to confer personhood or any rights on the unborn child." THIS BILL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE OR ANY PART OF ABORTION LAW. Laura and Reid's Law is extremely important to pass in Maryland as it is a major hole in the current law that doesn't protect pregnant women when they are most vunerable....their first trimester. 38 states have fetal homicide laws and at least 23 of these states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy, including the state of California. Please help protect women in Maryland for the future, in the name of Laura Wallen and son Reid. Like our Facebook Page for the latest up to date info: https://www.facebook.com/LauraAndReidsLaw