New York State House
New York State House
Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz Child Victim Protection Act
En Español aquí The death of 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz—specifically the brutal way the Bronx teen lost any chance at his survival—has since enthralled the nation’s heart. This innocent boy—someone who could have been your son, your grandson, your brother, your cousin, or nephew—was slaughtered on an unbearable display for all to watch. What can be seen from video surveillance is this: The savage acts of five gang members, dragging Junior outside of his neighborhood bodega and stabbing him multiple times with a machete and knives. What can be felt from the video is this: Pure helplessness. Junior continued his struggle for survival after his attackers fled the scene. He yelled to neighbors and onlookers to “dial 911.” Perhaps an unfortunate sign of the times, no one used their phones to call for help, but instead, recorded the scene to post on various social media platforms. Realizing he would not receive the assistance he so desperately needed, Junior struggled through his final moments alone. His strength allowed him to run nearly three blocks towards St. Barnabas hospital where, sadly, he arrived too late and took his last breath on the sidewalk outside of the emergency room doors. When tragedies occur, people often wonder what could have gone differently. Grieving family members and friends struggle with the idea that their loved one would still be alive if the events were altered, even slightly. This is not the case here. Junior’s life could not have been saved. Junior’s live should have been saved. Junior would still be alive if the people around him undertook a minimum degree of civic duty to protect the life of a dying child. Unfortunately, there is no legal “duty to act” in situations like these. Under New York law, the passersby who spectated, recorded, and posted Junior’s death have not committed any crime. By virtue of legislation, we can create a meaningful way to honor Junior’s legacy so that children like him are never abandoned by their communities again. By sharing responsibility for public safety, the citizens of New York need to collectively call upon state lawmakers to enact legislation that would create a legal “duty to act” upon any person, who reasonably believes that a child(ren), under the age of 16, is exposed to, or has suffered, grave physical harm. These witnesses shall be required to immediately report the incident to authorities or assist the victim, under reasonable and safe circumstances. This proposed legislation, the “Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz Child Victim Protection Act,” will impose criminal and civil sanctions against any person, who fails to notify authorities, in situations like the ones highlighted above. Similar laws creating a “duty to act” have been enacted in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Junior fought for his life. For several long minutes he sought help from members of his community—some who have known him for his entire life—to which not one person acted. They failed Junior. We all failed Junior. Let us make sure we don’t fail him again. Junior’s life shall not be lost in vain. We need 100,000 signatures to initiate a change.
Give NYS families the right to seek treatment for loved ones suffering from addiction.
Imagine a deadly disease that twists the brains of its victims, driving them to shun treatment at all costs. Addiction is that horrific disease. Typically, sufferers do not seek treatment until their lives are destroyed and their health severely compromised. New York families need the tools to fight this insidious malady before that level of havoc is reached. By signing this petition, I am urging the NY State Assembly to draft and approve an Addiction Intervention Directive (AID) law that would allow individuals to obtain court-ordered-and-monitored intervention/assessment/stabilization (or detox) and long-term treatment for their addicted loved ones who refuse to seek treatment. This Addiction Intervention Directive should be structured similarly to the Marchman Act that has made such a significant positive impact in Florida. This directive will help NY fight a dangerous and costly epidemic. The prevalence of heroin use alone in New York State exceeded the national rate by 49% in 2013-14 (most recent year figures were available). The US Department of Justice estimated the annual economic impact of substance abuse at $193 billion nationally in 2007. The Washington State institute for Public Policy estimates that evidence-based treatment can return $3.77 in benefits per dollar invested. Evidence has shown that treatment need not be voluntary to be effective. Transforming addicts into productive tax payers makes good economic sense for New York State. Draft and approve this essential legislation NOW. Lives are at stake.
Create more marine protected areas to reduce effect of overfishing on oceanic ecosystems
Overfishing occurs when more fish are caught than the population can replace through natural reproduction and it is a serious issue that is often ignored. It is a problem within the United States but even worse outside of it. Some stocks of large fish have decreased by about 90% in the past 60 years. Overfishing leads to so many deaths of fish (especially large fish) that the oceanic ecosystems are being negatively impacted. By protecting more areas in the ocean and creating more "no fishing" areas across oceans, the effect of overfishing would be reduced and fish populations may begin replenishing themselves. More than 85 percent of the world's fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their biological limits and are in need of strict management plans to restore them. The creation of more "no fishing" zones would only be a step towards stopping overfishing and its harms. Overfishing is an issue that affects everyone, not only fish; it is in everybody's best interest to keep the fish populations healthy.
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!
Prosecute Linda Fairstein
Linda Fairstein oversaw the interrogation of the so-called Central Park Five, the teens who were wrongfully imprisoned for years following the high-profile 1989 rape of a female jogger before their convictions were overturned. Despite there being absolutely no evidence to prove that the terms were involved she continued to pursue the prosecution. This caused a national uproar, even Donald Trump spent $85,000 to run an ad to “Bring Back The Death Penalty” against these innocent teens. While the teens lost valuable years incarcerated for a crime that did not commit, Fairstein was writing several books, which for a few have become movies, she has won awards and been able to maintain a successful life while these teens had to suffer in prison due to her and her teams lies. Many of us around the world have children between the ages of 14-16 just like these 5 (now) men. One could only imagine that obstacles not only did the teens face but also their families. Many of the families couldn’t afford to travel to see their children in prison, they couldn’t afford to put money on their books so that their children could try to be cared for while in there, their families were torn apart after their children were wrongfully convicted and the sad part about it is that these things are still happening 30 years later! A change needs to be made. Justice for the innocent needs to be served not only by releasing these innocent individuals but also punishing those who knowingly and willingly convicted them under false pretenses.
Ban Gay Conversion Therapy
Twelve states have moved to ban "ex-gay therapy" for young people -- dangerous "therapy" that tries to change someone's sexual orientation. "Ex-gay therapy" has been linked to suicide, depression, isolation and anxiety, and has been condemned by nearly every medical and psychological body as dangerous, destructive and something no child should be forced to undergo. And yet in 38 states -- including states like New York, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio -- "ex-gay therapy" remains a practice that's largely legal under the law. But there is national momentum as more and more states move to ban "ex-gay therapy" and protect minors from attempts to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Hawaii just became the 12th state to ban "ex-gay therapy," and New Hampshire and Delaware are close to following suit. They join states like California, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Oregon. That's nearly 25% of the country! But it's not enough. LGBT kids are still facing dangerous "ex-gay therapy" attempts in more than 30 states around the country. All these states have seen bills introduced to ban "ex-gay therapy". New York -- which touts itself as one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the country -- has seen legislation pass the State Assembly three times; Pennsylvania has had a bill introduced several times; Ohio now has a bill as well that legislators are pushing; and activists in Minnesota have been pushing for a ban on "ex-gay therapy" programs for years. Let's build on this national organizing momentum, and work to get these states added to the list of states stepping up to protect LGBT youth, and banning harmful "ex-gay therapy" that tries to "cure" LGBT people and change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Urge New York State DMV to introduce retesting every 2 years once a driver turns 80
Shortly after 10:30am on Monday, June 25th 2018, my wife was walking our 2-year-old son to Willets Point Playground behind P.S. 209 in Whitestone, Queens. She came across the scene of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling south on Utopia Parkway. The young woman was lying unresponsive in the crosswalk and a police officer was attempting to resuscitate her before paramedics had arrived. She did not survive. I later found out that this young woman was a 17-year-old girl named Maddie. Her friends, classmates, and family members created a memorial for her outside of P.S. 209 with candles, flowers, and cards (see photo). 17-year-old Maddie was struck by an 88-year-old driver who drove through a steady red light. Maddie’s death could have been prevented. Unlike many other states, New York State currently does not have specific provisions for older drivers. A person’s driver’s license only needs to be renewed every 8 years with no retesting for older individuals other than passing a vision exam. Simply passing a vision exam is an extremely low standard for a person to maintain their privilege to drive. A person’s memory (i.e. individuals suffering from dementia) and reaction time must also be assessed during the license renewal process. Individuals over 80 must be able to demonstrate that they can continue to remain safe on the road. As the Baby Boomer generation enters their 70s and 80s, we may see an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Please sign this petition if you support mandatory retesting every two years for all drivers age 80 and over. Let’s keep our communities and roads safe and prevent future tragedies from happening.
6 MONTHS IN MENTAL INSTITUTION FOR FATALLY STABBING 6 YR OLD LAUREN SYLVIA BELIUS!!!
SPONSORS MEMO:NEW YORK STATE SENATEINTRODUCER'S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORTsubmitted in accordance with Senate Rule VI. Sec 1BILL NUMBER: S5589SPONSOR: GRIFFOTITLE OF BILL:An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to retention ofcustody of persons found not guilty by reason of mental disease ordefectPURPOSE:Directs court to establish a period of commitment for persons found notresponsible by reason of mental disease or defect.SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:Amends Section 330. 20 of the criminal procedure law to add languagethroughout the necessary subdivisions to create a sentence; examinationorder which would require upon entry of a verdict of not responsible byreason of mental disease or defect, or upon the acceptance of a plea ofnot responsible by reason of mental disease or defect, the court mustimpose a period of confinement in the custody of the commissioner whichis equal to the sentence of imprisonment such defendant would havereceived pursuant to article seventy of the penal law, upon convictionof th