Nebraska State Senate
Nebraska 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. 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!
Protect children from sex abuse
Every 8 minutes a child is a victim of sexual abuse. The majority of the victims are between the ages of 7 and 13. Children who do not live with both biological parents have a 30% higher risk of being sexually abused than children who live with both biological parents. Nearly 90% of child sexual abuse cases were committed by someone well known by the child. (A step-parent, relative or in-home caregiver) Nebraska children are neglected and abused at a higher rate than is occurring nationally, according to reports evaluated by Kids Count, an annual assessment of child welfare. An investigation by the Inspector General, Julie Rogers and her staff verified that there were at least 50 victims of sexual abuse in 3 years just in the Nebraska child welfare and juvenile justice systems alone. Delinquency and crime, often stemming from substance abuse, are more prevalent in adolescents with a history of child sexual abuse. The total estimated financial costs associated with long term effects of child sexual abuse and neglect costs the U.S. nearly $300 billion each year. 34% of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported being sexually abused before leaving home. Many do not report the abuse because even when a perpetrator of child sexual abuse is convicted, most judges allow them to plead guilty of a lessor offense, sentence them to probation and require them to register as a sex offender. Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. It does not prevent a child sex offender from attending children’s events, limit employment, restrict an offender from entering facilities where children congregate, or refrain them from living with or socializing with vulnerable children. The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff's office within the required time. Nebraska Senators have obligations that include: contacting constituents, conducting interim studies with committees, and developing and researching bills they plan to sponsor in the upcoming session. A senator is also called to: “Establish state policy by introducing bills to create new programs, modify existing programs, and repeal laws which are no longer needed.” http://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senators.php Nebraska senators need to modify the existing Nebraska Sex Registration Law so that more restrictions can be placed on sex offenders who have been convicted of sexually abusing a child under the age of 16 so that they are no longer allowed to freely interact with vulnerable children who are now at risk from them.
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
Improve Roads to Norris Public Schools
Ryan was 13 years old. She was a dedicated cheerleader; daughter; sister; niece; granddaughter and friend. Ryan took on the world with wide eyes and a big smile. There was nothing that could stand in her way or deter her from something new and challenging. She was a leader among her peers and welcomed any new face with open arms, becoming a friend to anyone she encountered. Ryan excelled at cheering and was always there for her teammates. More than that she was an amazing girl who loved life. She was bubbly, fun and smart with a bright future. Her laugh was contagious, and her dimples would melt your heart! On October 25, 2017, Ryan was killed on her way home from school. There had been an accident at 68th and Olive Creek Rd. Due to the road being two lanes with no shoulder it caused dozens of cars to become backed up a mile. My oldest daughter Riley was driving home and came over a hill and had stopped just in time to tap a car in front of her. Unfortunately the next car that came over the hill was not as lucky and slammed in to Riley's car. Ryan was crushed in the back seat and died on impact. We we're fortunate that we were able to donate her organs and she was able to save five lives with her donation. Collisions on this road happen way too often and precautionary measures such as stop lights, reduced speeds, or widening the roads to add shoulders need to happen immediately to ensure that no more children area killed. Not one more family should have to bury their family. Please help protect our children. https://www.google.com/amp/journalstar.com/news/local/911/norris-student-dies-after-being-injured-in-chain-reaction-crash/article_29b4c7c1-96d4-512a-9088-2b05bc7bd699.amp.html
Pardon petition for my husband Earnest D. Jackson who was wrongly convicted of murder.
Earnest Jackson was 17 yrs old when he was arrested of murdering Larry Perry in Omaha, NE in 1999. Earnest was arrested last after 2 of his friends; Shalomar Cooperrider & Daunte Chillous was arrested for the Murder. The prosecution’s key witness identified Jackson only after seeing him with the other two defendants at an initial court hearing. The witness’s identification of Jackson appeared to combine the physical characteristics of two other men who were at the scene of the crime. In 2000, a jury found my husband, Earnest D. Jackson guilty of first degree murder but acquitted him of the use of a deadly weapon charge. The court sentenced Earnest Jackson to life imprisonment for the first degree murder conviction. Jackson was convicted only of the murder charge, not the accompanying gun charge, leading people to believe that Jackson’s jury found him guilty of murder under an accomplice theory aka aiding and abetting. At Cooperrider’s own trial, he testified that he fired his handgun several times in self-defense, Earnest Jackson was not at the scene. Cooperrider also testified that Earnest Jackson was not one of the people who shot Perry. At Chillous’ trial, Cooperrider again testified that he did not see Earnest Jackson at the scene. Cooperrider and Chillous were both acquitted of Murdering Larry Perry. My husband, Earnest Jackson filed a motion for new trial, alleging that Cooperrider’s testimony from Cooperrider’s and Chillous’ trials provided new evidence that would have changed the jury’s verdict in Jackson’s trial. The district court overruled Jackson’s motion for new trial, finding that Cooperrider’s testimony was not newly discovered, but only newly available. Earnest sentence was vacated because of the U.S. Supreme court said that any juvenile convicted of murder must be given an opportunity for parole. So in April 2016 my husband, Earnest Jackson was resentenced to 60 to 80 years imprisonment with credit for the 6,044 days. The court calculated that Earnest would be eligible for parole in about 13 1/2 years. Even though my husband, Earnest Jackson did get relief from a life sentence. It's still not good enough due to the fact my husband is innocent of the crime. My husband has claimed his innocence since day one when he was arrested and nothing has changed. My husband & I have been married almost a year. Earnest is going to be 36 yrs old in October and he deserves to have a real life with his wife & his family that has stood by his side this entire time. Unfortunately the innocence project won't help us because its not a DNA case. Earnest has also filled out paperwork to get commutation, but the Nebraska Pardon Board told him not to contact them for atleast 2 yrs. My husband has been locked up half of his life, hes already served 18 yrs for a crime he didn't commit. Earnest having to serve another 13 1/2 yrs just to get parole is unfair. The Nebraska justice system has failed my husband & so many others. **How can there be a conviction for aiding and abetting murder when the alleged principals are found not guilty?** Synopsis of the key points of my husband's case: The victim in this case was armed with a gun — and two of Jackson’s co-defendants claimed self-defense. Earnest Jackson was convicted only of the murder charge, not the accompanying gun charge, leading people to believe that Jackson’s jury found him guilty of murder under an accomplice theory. The only man convicted in this case was my husband, Earnest Jackson — a man whom jurors believed didn’t fire a gun. Cooperrider was acquitted; Chillous was acquitted. My husband, Earnest Jackson would have been acquitted if he had gone to trial after Cooperrider and Chillous especially if Cooperrider had testified at Jackson’s trial that he acted in self-defense. Please share & sign this petition, be a voice for my husband and lets get him the justice that the Nebraska Criminal Justice System failed to do for him. Thanks in advance for your support. Mrs. Earnest D. Jackson, aka Tracy Jackson
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.