Oregon State Senate
Oregon 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!
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
Put in a stop light at 140 and Kershaw
On Tuesday, May 9th 2017, a young man, soldier, wrestling champ, well-known and loved community member 21-year-old Hunter Hoeptner was killed in a fatal accident while riding his motorcycle on highway 140 where it meets with Kershaw in White City, Oregon. Hunter was a good man. He volunteered 100 of his own hours in high school to help others in the community. He was a hard-working wrestling champion for Eagle Point High School, and a leader for others. He also joined the National Guard to help others. He wasn't just any regular guy; he impacted people's lives deeply every day he had on this Earth. He inspired us to follow in his footsteps and make a greater change for our lives. Just being around Hunter made people happy. He didn't have to tell you he loved you or cared about you because you could see it in his actions, you knew he did. Many people of this community are hurt right now because of this tragedy. His death was unexpected and unfortunate, but I don't want it to go down as just another death on this road. There needs to be something done on this highway where Kershaw meets. A little orange light is not enough. Too many people have been in accidents and hurt here to not take action. The safety of other loved community members is on the line. I would like to propose a speed limit change as well as a traffic light. A simple change could save lives as well as heart ache for this community. -Tristan Watson & Taylor Thompson
Oregon Carbon Tax
Climate change is a very pressing issue in the world today. Everyone will experience the effects of climate change, and many people already have. Glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising causing the destruction of homes on many islands and in many coastal communities. Weather patterns are changing leading to an adaptation in where certain crops can be grown. This means many farms will have to switch the crops they produce, and some areas will no longer be able to grow crops at all. If we allow the fossil fuel industries to continue to wield their financial power in order to exercise control over governments and politicians, it will only get worse. Your children and grandchildren are likely to live in a world in which devastating natural disasters occur often and the only living animals are those that humans made sure would not go extinct. It is not too late to do our part, to make a difference, and to fight for a better future. One way a number of communities are fighting is by paying a carbon tax. If everyone, individuals and businesses alike, are legally required to pay a tax on the greenhouse gases they put into the atmosphere they will be motivated to reduce the pollution they produce. We, the undersigned, want our state, Oregon, to start paying a carbon tax and leading the rest of our country and the world toward a future in which we can live in peace with the environment and no longer have to fear the effects of climate change.
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.
Child abuse needs stronger penalties and laws need to be enforced. Ezra deserves justice
This is Ezra’s Story that started when he was 2 1/2 On November 19, 2017 the nightmare began. Ezra was taken to ER with what my daughters now ex boyfriend said was from a fall. He was airlifted to Portland and there is where we were told they had to perform immediate brain surgery or he will die. Surgery was performed and even then we were told he’d most likely not make it through the night. Then fourteen hours after this nightmare began I was pulled out of his room where I was sitting, crying and praying, begging to God to please save my grandsons life, we were told it wasn’t an accident. I would have never fathomed that another human being would do such an horrific act to an innocent child. Not my grandson. This doesn’t happen to people like me...Right??? I chose to put the hate behind me and channel all my energy into Ezra’s recovery. I knew the enemy that did this to Ezra would pay for this and I would fight for that but not that day. That day Ezra needed all the love and support just to make it through the night. Ezra did survive that night only face more challenges. He had what doctors referred to as Shaken Baby Syndrome. His brain was severely injured. Traumatic brain injury, is what they said and now that he survived the three nights that the doctors told us he wouldn’t, they wanted us to take him off life support because he would most likely live in a vegetative state the rest of his life. His brain was so damaged that they said he’d most likely not see or hear or even open his eyes. However, Ezra did open his eyes and he can hear. Ezra is along way from the rambunctious little boy he once was and he has a long road ahead of him but we have faith he will continue to improve. Nine months later we are battling the judicial system. The man that did this isn’t going to get the life sentence he gave Ezra. In fact he is looking at 60-90 months. I was told that improvements in Ezra could lessen that sentence. The man is only 21 years old and will have the chance to attract young vulnerable women with small children to do this again. He has to be stopped! NO CHILD should EVER endure the pain and suffering that Ezra deals with almost on a daily basis. Almost five children a day die from child abuse. We have to stop this. Get these people off the streets and out of the homes of children. Let’s get them registered as child abusers and make others be aware of what they are capable of. Let’s get stricter penalties longer sentencing. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A CHILDS LIFE. Please support me in fighting child abuse and getting these perpetrators in jail for longer periods of time. Put yourself in my shoes when you read my story...it could happen and it did.