Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House
End Child Marriage in Massachusetts
Currently, our state laws allow for children under the age of 18 to be married with parental and court consent. The child does not have to consent. We ask our state legislature to put S.2294, which passed unanimously in the Senate to a vote and vote to end child marriage in Massachusetts. Child marriage is detrimental to women and girls. Nearly 1,231 children as young as 14 were married in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2016 - and 83.7 percent (1,030) of them were girls wed to adult men. For example, a 14-year-old girl married a 23-year-old man in 2003. The oldest person during this time period to marry a minor was a 39-year-old man who married a 17-year-old girl in 2014. Since January of 2020, 9 petitions have been filed for marriages of minors in Massachusetts. Three of those were just filed in the month of July. S.24, now S.2294, passed unanimously in the Senate in July of 2019. Now it is waiting for a vote in the House. It is currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means. A national study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011 estimated that nearly 1.7 million children/women in the U.S. had gotten married at age 15 or younger and over 9.4 million had married at age 16 or younger. Married children, because they are minors, face many obstacles when they try to leave or resist such a marriage including obtaining services from the Department of Children and Families, bringing legal action including filing for divorce, renting, shelter admission, and opening a checking account. Child marriage undermines the child’s health, education and economic opportunities and increases the risk of domestic violence and divorce. Between 70-80% of marriages involving children end in divorce. For teen mothers, getting married and later divorcing can more than double the likelihood for poverty. A 2006 Department of Justice study found that girls and young women aged 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence among all such victims, noting that girls aged 16-19 face victimization rates almost triple the national average. Women who marry in their teens tend to have more children, earlier and more closely spaced, which can prevent them from accessing education and work opportunities, limiting their earning power and ability to be financially independent in the event of domestic violence or divorce. Women who marry before the age of 19 are 50% more likely to drop out of high school and four times less likely to graduate from college. For these reasons and many more, we implore you to vote now to end child marriage.
Disability benefits for Firefighters with Parkinson's Disease from toxins. MA bill H2648
MA bill H2648 A fire can expose firefighters to millions of chemicals and toxins. We have become aware of the massive risks these toxins pose for first responders, who breathe them in, ingest them, and absorb them through the skin while putting their lives on the line. Most states have adopted “cancer presumptive laws,” meaning that if a firefighter gets cancer on the job, they are automatically awarded accidental disability to see them through their illness. The increased rate of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a degenerative brain disorder, in firefighters has emerged. I am a firefighter who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I am not alone -- while the rate of PD in the general population is 3 out of 1000, it is 30 out of 1000 for firefighters. I am young to be experiencing this disease, but that’s often how it works for emergency responders, and there is mounting evidence that our exposure to toxins is the culprit. Four firefighters who all fought a tire fire in Spencer MA in 1986 have all been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. My state of Massachusetts has great presumptive laws for firefighters, not only for cancer, but for heart and lung disease as well. It is now time for our legislators to include Parkinson’s Disease among these illnesses. There is no disputing the connection between toxic chemical exposure and PD anymore. While PD usually develops slowly among the general population, symptoms often hit firefighters fast, seemingly out of nowhere. Research now suggests that toxin-induced PD has a more rapid onset than genetic PD, another indicator that we are, indeed, contracting this illness on the job. For those of us struggling with Parkinson’s, walking, talking, grasping and even blinking become increasingly difficult tasks to accomplish. Needless to say, continuing to work as firefighters while battling this disease is most often not possible. Indiana recently became the first state to include Parkinson’s in its presumptive law. This has provided unimaginable relief to many firefighters, who were running out of sick time, and facing unemployment and massive medical bills due to their debilitating disease. We now must band together and demand that more states recognize the link between firefighting and PD, and include PD among the illnesses covered by their presumptive laws. Please sign this petition to include Parkinson's in Massachusetts’ presumptive law, which would allow firefighters with Parkinson's to retire on full accidental disability. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H2378
Que le devuelvan la Hacienda Santa Monica a los niños pobres de Panamá.
En Panamá hay medio millón de niños pobres, 200,000 niños viven en extrema pobreza. Muchos de estos niños solo tienen una madre que sirve como Madre y Padre a la vez. Estas guerreras Panameñas se levantan todos los días a las 4am con una sonrisa en cara para tomar un pésimo sistema de transporte y llegar a un trabajo donde les pagan mal. Ese es el Panamá que vivimos, el Panamá de dos países, el Panamá de los que tienen dinero y el Panamá de los que no tienen. Se acabo la clase media. Se acabo la justicia, y se acabo la solidaridad. Vivimos en un país donde las leyes se aplican para los pobres y no para los ricos. Pero de vez en cuando llega a Panamá un hombre rico, con un corazón grande. Esa es la historia del Sr. Charles Lucom, un hombre Norte Americano que hizo su plata con mucho esfuerzo y sudor en Panamá. Y cuando murió, decidió dejarle en su testamento a los Niños Pobres de Panamá un regalo. Les regaló la Hacienda Santa Mónica. La Hacienda Santa Mónica queda en Antón y colinda con Buenaventura y Juan Hombrón. La Hacienda tiene alrededor de 700 hectáreas de terreno (que valen más de $800 millones) y se le fue regalada a los niños pobres de Panamá por el Sr Lucom como dice su testamento. Como los niños pobres de Panamá no cuentan con un representante legal, el Sr Alberto Vallarino y su pandilla de abogados deciden asaltar a los 500,000 niños pobres de Panamá y robarles la Hacienda Santa Mónica. El Sr Vallarino con sus secuaces utilizaron el corrupto sistema Judicial Panameño y cambiaron el Testamento del Sr. Lucom y se quedaron con Hacienda Santa Mónica. Queremos que se haga justicia y le devuelvan la Hacienda Santa Mónica a los niños pobres de Panamá como lo quiso el Sr. Lucom en su testamento. Gracias, Los niños pobres de Panamá.
Police Corruption and City Politics will not Silence Moses Harris Life
On the night of December 19, 2020 in Lowell, Massachusetts, police claimed Moses Harris jumped into the Concord River after being confronted by police officers. My family have not seen any body camera footage from the night, we haven’t been given clear answers as to why no one stopped him or protected him after watching him enter the river, and the last council he met with was police. The brief search for his body has been called off, local papers are giving ambiguous details about his case almost as if he is missing, with no Missing signs or Amber Alerts being issued up by the police. Lastly the police department have refused to grant our family the audience to meet with us and discuss his case. We ask for your support to pressure the Lowell Police Department to account for the life they took. We ask all those even if you aren’t from Lowell, Massachusetts to stand with us, this Holiday season because all we want is answers to why our angel went to Heaven so soon. Another black man life could have been taken and we refuse for this case to be swept underneath the rug. With all your support however that won’t happen.
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!
Your local FF's are on the frontlines of COVID-19 and need your help to protect them.
Around Massachusetts, firefighters are exposed to COVID-19 at alarming rates, and almost 250 have tested positive for the virus. Worse yet, firefighters are exposing their families once they return home the firehouse, and many of their family members have also been infected. Some firefighters are even forced to use their own sick and vacation time when they miss work due to being quarantined, testing positive, or showing COVID-19 symptoms. We need a state law that presumes firefighters contracted COVID-19 at work, and their time lost from work is deemed "injured on duty." Firefighters are out on the frontlines of this pandemic and sometimes without the proper PPE to protect themselves adequately. Please consider signing this petition and let your lawmakers know that you support the health and wellness of your local firefighters. Urge them to pass any of the following bills that will make COVID-19 an "injury on duty." Senate Bill 1485 filed by Senator Nick Collins https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1485 House Bill 2261 filed by Rep Denise Garlick https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H2261 Senate Bill 2602 filed by Senator Mike Moore https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2602 House Bill 4611 filed by Rep James Arciero https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H4611 - Thank you from your Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts -
To open and maintain more public ATV/Dirtbike Trails in MA
As of right now I am up to $750 in fines for simply riding an ATV on public town land. The areas in which I and other ATV/Dirtbike enthusiasts use are created by ATVs and Dirtbikes to go in and around areas like landfills and powerlines. These are not beautiful places to hike or walk your dog but they suit us just fine. The problem is our State's strict laws on offroad vehicle use. Basically, if you own an ATV/UTV in MA the only place you are able to ride is Pittsfield MA, which is practically in another state form where I live. Because of this I and many others head to their local spots. Some are old quarries, sandpits and powerlines. However these are all illegal and I can attest to that. Like I stated before I am up to $750 in fines for simply wanting to have fun and not bother anyone. The state is not doing its part in providing enough safe space for outdoor recreational use for all of its residents. In my town alone there are over 70 acres of protected land that are permissible to be used by foot, bicycle or horseback. Some of this army land looks like it was used for nuclear experiments (no growth in forest and all sand). Yet still these sandy areas, perfect for riding ATVs and dirt bikes, is still illegal. As riders and residents of Massachusetts we need to propose the State to do something about this. Riding ATV's, UTV's and dirtbikes should not be considered a crime! There is a need to have more legal places to ride! In order to do this people need to register their machines. If everyone in the state registered their machines the state might be persuaded to take action. Massachusetts should also look to change the rules of legal dirt bike only areas to allow both ATVs UTVs and dirtbikes; for example Freetown State Forest and the Wrentham Trails. This would at least give ATV and UTV riders some other options without traveling 3 hours. Regardless we need to start a conversation with the State!