Missouri State House
Missouri State House
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!
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
End "Eviction Ordinances" that Remove Domestic Violence Victims from their Homes
Did you know that more than 2,000 cities in the country have local ordinances that actually can lead to victims of domestic violence being kicked out of their homes and apartments? They're called "nuisance ordinances" and they've been used in cities around the country to evict people when law enforcement officers are called multiple times to a property. But while their intent might be to deter crime, their practical effect has a terrible impact on survivors of domestic violence. The ACLU has filed several lawsuits on these ordinances, including one in Missouri after a woman named Rosetta Watson was evicted from her apartment after calling police on an ex-boyfriend who broke into her apartment. In one incident he attacked her in her bed and punched her in the face, and again broken in and stabbed her in the legs. Missouri should follow the lead of other states and work to end how these "nuisance ordinances" punish victims of domestic violence. These laws vary by city, but an example is Maplewood, Missouri where Rosetta lived. There, residents can be evicted for calling the police to a property more than two times in a 6 month period. States like Illinois, right next door to Missouri, have tried to address the impact these laws have on survivors of domestic violence. In November 2015, state legislation was enacted that prevented local communities from using "nuisance" laws to evict survivors of domestic violence. But in thousands of communities around the country, the real effect of these laws is that people can be evicted just for calling the police on their abusers. In the Missouri lawsuit, the ACLU stated that cities like the one Rosetta Watson lived in "designate certain residents to be nuisances simply because they have been the subject of multiple police calls, regardless of whether they did anything wrong." That kind of policy fails victims of domestic violence. Demand that the Missouri state government, as well as Missouri's two U.S. Senators, take a firm stand against nuisance laws in the state, and stand with domestic violence survivors who deserve protection and safety from their landlords and law enforcement officers, not eviction.
Petition For PA To Re-Open Investigation on Missing Pregnant Mother, Amanda Jones
In The Summer Of 2005: In Hillsboro, Missouri, A 9 Month Pregnant Woman, Disappeared from the Hillsboro Civic Center Fairgrounds. She went there to meet the Father of her Unborn Baby, to see if he would be interested in being a part of his child's life. Amanda Jones met Bryan Westfall at a Company Party. The two had an evening together and went on about their lives until, Amanda finds out she is pregnant. She then informs Bryan Westfall who at first denies the child. Throughout the pregnancy, Amanda made a few attempts to contact Westfall in regards to the unborn child. It wasn't until August, when Amanda was almost ready to deliver, that Bryan called her out of the blue and said that he wanted to talk about the baby. That was the last time Amanda's Family & Daughter, got to see her. Amanda has not been seen or heard from since that dreadful day in 2005. Her Family has not been given any answers as well as been able to rely on any kind of help from their local PA or Sheriff's Department. The day the Sheriff's Office contacted Bryan Westfall about Amanda's disappearance, He immediately retained a lawyer. Along with his long-time girlfriend, Stephanie Votrain, who, at the time, was never a suspect in the case, or, wanted for questioning! As of Just the end of this year in December, 2018, The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department admitted during an interview with News Channel 5, (That video you can see in the Updates to this petition), that they ONLY searched Bryan Westfalls Property ONE TIME AND IT WAS A LIMITED SEARCH LED BY MR. WESTFALL AND HIS ATTORNEY!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! This Guy has OVER 600 ACRES OF LAND... And when have you really ever seen a search being done on someone's property that is so limited??? HELLO, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A MISSING PERSON HERE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SITUATION? The Sheriff's Department also said in the interview that, "They do not have a warrant to search westfalls property." THEN GET ONE! NOT ONE OF THEM HAVE EVEN SUBMITTED AN AFFIDAVIT TO A JUDGE TO OBTAIN A WARRANT!!!! This is absurd! Is this really what citizens of this county have to deal with? Especially the parents of this missing woman? Amanda's Father served this fine Country we live in, is this how we Thank Him? By not even offering a hand of help or just a answer to SOMETHING?? Still to this day, the Sheriff's Department says that they still have some questions for Westfall, who, still has the same attorney 13 years later, But, has made no effort to bring him in for questioning. The amount of Circumstantial Evidence on the Case, as well as, enough eye-witnesses to the character of Bryan Westfall, his family, and his long-time girlfriend, Stephanie Votrain, is enough to prove a Pre-Meditated Murder but, neither the Sheriff's Office nor PA will do anything to pursue this case. When Amanda's family calls their Sheriff's Office to get answers on their daughters disappearance, The Sheriff's Department either doesn't answer, calls back and tells them their is no new information on the case, or simply, don't return the phone call at all. They have also told the family that they should have some "compassion for them." Yet, Not once, have they offered "compassion" to this Family. Not only that but, How can they even dare to ask the Family of a Missing Pregnant Woman to have compassion for them? This is a 13 year old case that has gone cold for no reason,and the community is outraged and wants Justice To Be Served as well as the same for her Family. 13 Years a Suspect has never given answers, has never been arrested, but, gets to sleep every night in a warm bed. Please Help Us By Signing This Petition, So, We Can Present This To The Prosecuting Attorney, As Well As, Sheriff's Department, To Re-Open & Investigate The Case On Amanda Jones, And Get Some Answers For Her Family! You can Find Videos on Crime Watch Daily on Amanda Jones as well as stories on Fox2now.com and many other news-stations as well as news articles in local media. We also have a Go Fund Me page open for the family. This is to help them with any Fees that might help in finding out information on their daughter. The link to that is also posted on a Update to this Petition. We ask for any help we can get to help this family find their daughter. We ask for any lawyer/attorney/civil rights activist, anyone, who can maybe help us or guide us in the direction of someone that could be of assistance to us or this case. You truly will never know what it would mean to this family, as well as this community. Thank You For Any And All Help Because It Is Well Appreciated! #FINDAMANDAJONES
Remove Judge Calvin Holden from Bench for his Decision in the Ted Amberg child molestation
We the people would like to petition that Judge Calvin Holden of the Greene County, Missouri 31st Judicial Circuit be removed from his Judicial position for the questionable sentences passed on many of the child molestation cases that have come across his desk. Joseph Presley, despite admission of guilt to one count of premeditated child molestation of an 8-year-old boy during Presley's role as a babysitter, Judge Calvin Holden sentenced Presley to 30 days in county jail and 5 years probation. Also, most recently is the Ted Amberg case where he was given the exact same sentence, and allowing him to only serve 30 days "shock" by using the Alford Plea. Which allows him to "maintain" his innocence, but admits there is enough evidence to convict him. It is clear this "man" doesn't have the best interest of the people or justice at heart as he lets money and social standing dictate his decisions. Judge Holden has failed on multiple occasions to send the message that child molestation is morally wrong and against the law. His rulings also show leniency to convicted assailants against our law enforcement and other atrocious acts. Please help correct this injustice by removing Judge Calvin Holden from his Judicial position.