North Carolina State Senate
North Carolina State Senate
Hold Military Moving Companies Accountable
An Open Letter To Our Elected Officials - UPDATE 1 to the petition: https://militaryspousechronicles.com/2018/10/02/pcs-petition-brings-change/ Every year thousands of military service members and their families pack up and move on military orders. All of their memories, heirlooms, worldly processions, keepsakes, pro-gear, kids toys, and some useless stuff, otherwise known as household goods (HHGs) gets packed up by contracted strangers, loaded onto a truck and driven across country. If you are on the lucky side of things, your HHGs will arrive with a few scratches and maybe a broken bowl. However, most everyone ends up on the other side. Boxes will be unloaded smashed and torn, furniture will come off broken in multiple pieces, and other items will just go missing. It will be brushed off as “don’t worry, you can just file a claim”, and while that might be true, there are things that money just can’t fix. Money can’t replace the broken hutch inherited from my grandmother. Money can’t fix the missing foot board from the custom made bed. Money can’t fix my discontinued, now smashed in to pieces wedding china. And money can’t fix the box of my children’s baby memories box that never arrived. I know, we should just leave these things with family! While that is a good thought, it’s not always possible. Some service members just don’t have the family available to leave these things! Every year, thousands of service members file claims with moving companies. Within the last 2 years the average claim has been around $10,000, with an average of only 50-60% of that being paid out. Over the last 5 years, the PCS season has become more and more horrendous to deal with. The major moving companies being awarded the contracts, often sub contract out to smaller, local companies. Many of these companies do not understand how military bases work- usually sending drivers or crews who have a felony background, can’t access post, or a truck that has expired registration. These companies also do a poor job in packing and handling of the HHGs. Many times the crew will pack as quickly as possible to get to the next job to make more money. In doing so, things are usually packed improperly, allowing for damage to occur. When loaded into the truck or unloaded at the storage facility or destination, everything is usually just thrown around without a care. When Service members and families speak up about how things are being handled, we are usually scolded, degraded, and told to just let them do their job. In one of our recent moves we had a mattress come off the truck soaking wet. When I questioned it and ask what my son was suppose to sleep on, the driver took a furniture pad off the dresser and said he could sleep on that. When we moved to our current location, I questioned the driver about my high value list, and the markings on the inventory about the furniture. The response I received was “this is just how we do it.” Then when we arrived, our range bags complete with range equipment were missing. Our military service members and their families already sacrifice so much for this country. The deployments, holidays missed, birthdays not celebrated, their children’s firsts moments, training time, and sometimes even their life. Is it so much to ask that moving companies take a little more care in handling our memories? Is it so much to ask our elected officials to step in and protect our service members from the headache and heartache during a PCS? I challenge you to start holding these companies accountable. I challenge you to step up your game and ease the worry burden on our military families. MilitarySpouseChronicles #PCSChronicles #MemoriesSmashed
Change Outdated NC Law That Does Not Allow Consent to be Withdrawn After Sex Begins
Late last year, my estranged husband brutally raped me. When he came to my house -- angry and belligerent -- I initially consented to having sex with him because I thought it was safest to say yes. But he grew more and more violent, and I became more and more scared and uncomfortable. I begged and pleaded for him to stop, but he refused. He attacked me for more than an hour and a half. It was horrific, and no one should have to endure that. Soon after, I pressed charges against him. But because of a North Carolina legal case in 1979 that says a victim can’t revoke consent after sex has begun, even if it turns violent, he wasn’t charged with rape. He merely pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor assault on a female, which resulted in roughly 10 months in prison. North Carolina is the only state where ‘no’ doesn’t actually mean ‘no’ -- and this loophole remains. If this happened in Virginia or South Carolina, he would’ve been tried with rape, and he would’ve served a much longer sentence. This is not acceptable. It’s not okay for me or the many others who have been or will be sexually assaulted in the future. It is not justice, plain and simple. That’s why I’m asking you to help me, my attorney, Kris Hilscher, and Sen. Jeff Jackson hold rapists accountable. Please sign this petition in support of a legislative bill in North Carolina that will reverse this horrible law and will lead to a new one that says ‘no’ actually means ‘no’ at every single point. Unfortunately, I won’t benefit from this bill. But other women could, and you can help them get the protection they need by changing this law. North Carolina cannot wait any longer.
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!
Wake County Walkout to End Gun Violence
"We are the students, we are the victims, we are change, fight gun violence now! High School students across the U.S.A., the way to fight back is here. Ther has been too much complacency on the part of politicians when it comes to gun violence. The time to act is now!" - The National School Walkout Change.org petition. On February 14th, a high school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida and resulted in the premature deaths of 17 innocent teachers and students. Still, the government has failed to act and to adequately protect our generation. The National Student Walkout is meant to empower the voice of teenagers. Most of us cannot vote and so our voice is silenced and marked off. Yet, we are the victims of these awful and mindless crimes. Enough is enough. It is time for us to speak out and take matters into our own hands. We as Wake County students are protesting the violence in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters across the nation. We are protesting the same violence that occurs at the places where we are supposed to learn and grow. We are protesting the same violence that results in the average of seven children and teens in America being killed with guns every day (https://eveyrtownresearch.org We are protesting the same violence that has not had any laws put in place to address it. We are protesting gun violence. The Plan: Wednesday, March 14th: On the one-month anniversary of the Parkland Shooting we the students of Wake County are going to join in the National High School Student Walk Out. We are going to walk out of school at 10:00 AM promptly and voice our opinions for 17 minutes. We will wear orange to symbolize our unity and protest online and in our communities. Sign this pledge if you are willing to support the cause to protect your life and the lives of those you love.
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
Revoke the statute protecting hunting dogs from citation for aggressive and dangerous behavior toward people, livestock, and pets while engaged in a hunt.
On October 13, 2014, my dogs and I were viciously attacked by a large pack of out of control hunting dogs while backpacking in the mountains of North Carolina. The hunters took 45 minutes to arrive and pull their dogs off of me (12 dogs in total). During the fight to protect the lives of my dogs, I was bitten badly several times in my hands and legs. My dogs were nearly killed and suffered serious wounds. I have no doubt my dogs would have been killed if I had not defended them. The hunters took no ownership of the damages their dogs inflicted (totaling ~$1800 in damages) and continue to hide from authorities. During the process of this traumatic event, I was told that the owners of hunting dogs are exempt from being cited for aggressive and dangerous behavior (including killing of pets or livestock) while engaged in a lawful hunt. Hunting dogs need to be on equal footing with other dogs. There is no excuse for allowing such behavior to occur nor for no laws being present to hold hunters accountable for poorly trained and dangerous dogs. Dogs acting in a pack are capable of killing not only family pets and livestock, but also people. Please sign the petition to ask that legislators remove language granting hunting dogs protection from being cited for their dangerous behavior. Please note: these dogs are allowed to train in the woods for 8 months out of the year. Avoiding hunting season does not mean you will not run into them. http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/10/20/charges-hunting-dog-attack-graham-forest/17623053/