Decision Maker

Ralph Norman

  • SC05
  • Representative

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Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives, John R. Curtis, Kurt Schrader, Ralph Norman

Dock Congressional Pay When Government Shuts Down

My oldest daughter came to visit on Christmas day with the expectation that she would be receiving a furlough notice after the holidays. I am a retired transportation executive and a former Marine in my early 70's. Katie has worked for the federal government for almost 27 years. We disagree on most domestic political issues, and we vote for different parties. But we found common ground when we started talking about the current partial government shutdown. Our country is in a difficult place. We are divided on so many issues, even within our families. But we can all agree that when the government shuts down, the wrong people pay for it. It’s time for Members of Congress and their highest-paid staff members to be docked salary when they don’t decide on annual budgets before the start of a new fiscal year. Continuing resolutions and government shutdowns waste taxpayer dollars year after year. Congress should be making tough decisions about how much the government should spend and for what. When they refuse to make decisions about the annual budgets of federal agencies, they create waste and chaos - without facing any consequences. Members of Congress and their senior staff are receiving their salaries during the shutdown even though they created it. Federal workers did their jobs, but they are not. When we were together over the holidays, Katie shared some frustration about working under Continuing Resolutions year after year, regardless of which party has a majority in Congress. In the 26+ years that she has worked for the government, it has been shut down six times. Every time it looks like federal employees might be furloughed because of lapses in federal appropriations, agencies have to prepare furlough notices for thousands of employees and develop shutdown plans. This wastes millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours. While the things we want Congress to fund and tax are different, my daughter and I agree that Congress's failure to make decisions is seriously bad for the health of our democracy. This is not the first time Katie has been furloughed, but when it happened in 1995 she was single and had no children. Twenty-three years later, she and her husband have three kids, two of whom are still at home. He is also a federal employee. It's scary not knowing when the next paycheck is coming, even when you are pretty sure that the money will come eventually. Wherever you stand on the policies and funding that are being debated during this shutdown, please join us to make sure every Member of Congress, every Senator and every senior member of the Administration knows that We the People expect them to do their job. And if they're not going to do it, then they shouldn't be paid. The House of Representatives should introduce a bill to change Congressional pay regulations so future Members of Congress and their highest-paid staff members will face direct financial consequences when they cause a government shutdown.

Thomas Howard
445,330 supporters
Petitioning Kevin Bryant, Henry McMaster, Mark Hammond, Hugh Leatherman, A. Shane Massey, Nikki Setzler, J. Gary Simrill, J. Todd Rutherford, Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, T...

Stricter laws and definitions of animal abuse in South Carolina.

Yet another attempt to implement more strict animal abuse laws in South Carolina (LONG overdue). To provide definitive definitions of animal abuse and all possible variations thereof and requirement of law enforcement agencies to implement and enforce these laws. There was a petition like this one a few years ago and didn't gain the steam it deserved. I intend to see this through. We need BIG numbers or nothing will happen. Therefore, this petition must make the rounds (shared) to be seen and signed. While it might sound a bit harsh, the truth is that this responsibility falls on you. Only you can make this a reality. Amendment: Some have informed me that they are hesitant to sign this because it's not specific enough. Let me clarify. This petition is the first step of many. Do I have new laws ready to go? No. I will need to raise money to cover attorney's fees to write proposed laws. We aren't there yet. Right now, I need to know how many people are interested in seeing our State Laws regarding animal cruelty improved upon. There are variations of abuse from kicking a dog to drowning one in a bath tub. Shooting a cat with a BB Gun to hanging them from a tree limb, upside-down. What can the public legally do if they see a dog in distress in a hot car? Right now, not much. And, of course, animal hoarding. There is much to discover. This petition is the springboard to address these scenarios, and more, and define PROPER punishment for those found guilty of committing said acts. 

Stuart Campagna
5,111 supporters
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate, Lindsey Graham, Trey Gowdy, South Carolina State House, South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster, Jeff Duncan, Chris Murphy, Mike Rounds, Karl B. Allen, Beth E. Bernstei...

We Support the opening of Victory Village USA in South Carolina!

We should all support the opening of Victory Village USA in South Carolina. This organization is near and dear to my heart as I went through Freedom Village USA in the 90’s, which is now moving under the name Victory Village USA. If it hadn’t been for Freedom Village USA, I would not be the person I am today and could easily be dead! Just like any other organization, there are rules. If you break them, there are consequences. I was in trouble there quite often and I survived. I don’t want to get to too personal, but I left there a changed person. I joined the military and eventually retired from it. I am also a current member of the law enforcement career field. Freedom Village USA taught me morals and how to be a man. It also taught be how to be accountable for my actions.Church was a big part of Freedom Village USA. We went to church twice a week and sometimes three times a week. Victory Village USA is a Christian based establishment therefore it makes sense to talk about God and teach about the bible. The people or organizations that are against the opening of Victory Village USA should be asked why are they so against it? Why are they so disgruntle about this program? The cost to run Freedom/Victory Village USA per day is extremely high, so yes, they asked for donations to help. If you can’t afford to send your child there, guess what, your child can still go as Freedom/Victory Village USA will still accept them without payment or payments. The food there wasn’t the best, but it was still food and they fed us. They fed us 3 times a day. The programs there are great. I was a basketball player, football player and even a soccer player. I rode horses and learned how to take care of them. I learned so much there and will never forget what I learned there. They provided me with multiple opportunities to learn about life and how to make good choices in life. I met so many great people there and I still talk to a lot of them. The friends you meet there become friends for life!I am positive there are so many people that went through the program and have become a better person. It saved so many lives. It is truly a place of second chances!Please do everything in your power to allow this great organization to open in South Carolina. Victory Village USA changes lives for the better and it all starts with signing this petition.

Richard Kral
1,475 supporters
Petitioning Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, Joe Cunningham, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, William Timmons, Ralph Norman, Tom Rice

Shut down Victory Village USA

Freedom Village USA, located in Lakemont, NY, was founded by Fletcher Brothers in 1981. Freedom Village presents themselves as "North America’s premier home for at risk youth”, targeting parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse as well as psychological problems stemming from sexual, physical and/or mental abuse. Fletcher Brothers has drawn supporters, staff, and parents in with his charismatic personality for nearly 40 years. Yet, behind the scenes, he uses fear, intimidation and scripture to mentally abuse the character of these teens that have been entrusted into his care. Furthermore, the ideologies backing the beliefs of the founder and his family are appalling. Not only do they fully support the Confederate Flag but they still believe in conversion therapy as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community. It is not a place that supports minorities (including people of color, LGBTQ+ and Disabled people) in any way, shape or form. Staff members (who often graduate from the program) are put in leadership roles (without proper training or credentials) to take care of and counsel people dealing with Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, PTSD, Self Harm & Addiction. Students are subjected to write-ups that are read from the pulpit & are then are publicly punished in front of their peers. Which degraded many, making them feel worthless by singling them out for even the slightest mistakes. The staff often made decisions that were bias and discriminatory. Many times, boys and girls alike were accused of being gay without any proof and were subjected to questioning and punishment for something they did not identify with. Different races were not allowed dating privileges or to marry unless it was approved by Fletcher Brothers. Which 99.99% of the time, he never did. He would talk avidly about how God says “different Races should not mix”. The associated trauma in regards to racism & homophobia had a negative impact on many. Instead of sailing, camping and riding horses, like the Freedom Village pamphlet promotes, most of the students’ time spent was cleaning various places around the FV campus including: cockroach infested kitchens and moldy bathrooms. Every week there would be a truck that would come with donations or food (that was usually expired). We were made to move heavy boxes and equipment without proper training. Students were not allowed to use the bathroom unless given permission and often were forced to hold it for long periods of time. Students were forced to eat moldy, expired food and would be punished for refusing to eat it. There were levels, with different privileges and they would use this system to control and subdue staff and students. If they complied they got more privileges, if not they got little to none. With a bias staff you can imagine the unfair ranks given. While the dormitories and staff homes were constantly in need of repair because of old infrastructure, massive rodent & black mold infestation, Fletcher Brothers did not want for anything. Brothers lives in a beautiful home with an expensive car, owned a private plane and always had enough for private security. Essentially, he was living a lifestyle of luxury with the money he made off extorting the misfortunes of others.   It isn’t only students who suffer either: Freedom Village has recently had a class action lawsuit against them for the back pay of underpaid staff members along with missing and misused funds donated with the promise of repayment in the 1980's. Since the beginning, Freedom Village has relied on donations to pay for their day to day expenses. They have a program called Adopt-a-teen, where students shared their stories and were sent donations by someone who wanted to sponsor them. The problem is that they almost never received a penny of these donations. There is also a founders program that calls for supporters to pay 1,000-10,000+ as well as donation emails that are sent through constant contact almost daily. There were many families who paid up to 5,000 a month whose children were still sent to give their testimonies on Freedom Village’s radio station: Victory Today Radio, in order to obtain more donations. Essentially exploiting children for monetary gain.   Regardless of the vast amounts of untraced donations, Freedom Village has filed for bankruptcy multiple times in their 38 years of operation, despite records showing that donations far outweighed the actual costs. The result of this lawsuit ordered Freedom Village to pay 1.5 million in restitution, which is only a fraction of the debt they owe. They made yet another attempt to file bankruptcy but were once again denied. After all this time, the years of bad press have finally caught up with Fletcher Brothers who has now moved his program to Sunset, South Carolina. They will be occupying a new facility under the name Hannah Grace Homes at Victory Village USA. By changing their name they are attempting to erase the fact that detrimental actions have been taken by Fletcher & his staff. Please do not allow them to start another vicious streak of abuse. We are asking that you do everything in your power to stop Fletcher Brothers and his organization from operating in SC which is detrimental to future generations and that starts by signing this petition. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/christian-teen-home-relocating-to-sc-mountains-punishes-students-on/article_990f2aa8-5166-11e9-947d-2bc190c60cb4.html https://www.sentinelprogress.com/top-stories/12387/at-risk-youth-home-moving-to-upstate https://amp.greenvilleonline.com/amp/3587767002?fbclid=IwAR0Frf2z45ZELFrtKDyskeoMCH7nZpaTQWe-VJhHDIbzpAc3uQ0oNBGXmUg

Tiffani Flowers
877 supporters
Closed
Petitioning South Carolina State Senate, South Carolina State House, Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, James Clyburn, Trey Gowdy, Tom Rice, Ralph Norman, Jeff Duncan, Joe Wilson, Mark Sanford

Add South Carolina to the list of states suing to restore Net Neutrality

Net neutrality allows for the internet and its abundance of resources to be utilized by all who have access to the internet. It allows for diverse groups of  people, communities and groups to all be able to connect together in ways not previously possible. Without net neutrality affordability and even more important access is threatened by the possibility of cost becoming a barrier to many. While it is stated that net neutrality opens up access to the internet by encouraging competition that competition does not necessarily benefit all consumers, particularly those of lower income and rural communities which make up a significant portion of the state of SC. In the 21st century access to information is a vital part of the knowledge based economy and eliminating net neutrality places thousands of people in the state of South Carolina at risk for being left behind in an ever changing world. In addition to individual consumers public organizations such as public schools, libraries, colleges and universities are potentially at risk as well. As a state that currently ranks 50th in education South Carolina can not afford to fall further behind due to obstructed access to the internet and all of its resources.

Aj Davis
150 supporters
Petitioning Nancy Pelosi, Thomas Massie, Rick W. Allen, Tom McClintock, Scott Perry, Paul A. Gosar, Mo Brooks, Jeff Duncan, Randy K. Weber Sr., Bill Posey, Ralph Norman, Brian Babin, Bradley Byrne, Bob Gibbs, ...

Protect First-Amendment Rights and Fight Linguistic Discrimination

     Currently, the United States does not have an official language. While English is the most widely spoken language in the U.S. and basic comprehension is required to become an American citizen, the government does not expect that all citizens and residents understand English as opposed to their native languages. It is presently mandated that the United States government provide documents and services in languages other than English for people who need them, allowing all US residents and citizens to be involved in American society, regardless of their language. This also permits the US to continue to be a place of cultural, ideological, ethnic, and linguistic diversity.       Groups advocating for English to become the official language of the United States have been around since the birth of the country, including movements such as the English Language Unity Act which was proposed in 2005, and has continued to be introduced with each Congressional Session. In the House of Representatives, this bill is introduced as H.R. 997, and in the Senate, it is called S. 678. Both bills were introduced earlier this year for the 116th Congress to vote on. If this act was to pass by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, it would hurt the American people in by undermining their First Amendment Rights, preventing people from accessing the services and documents they need, and increasing discrimination based on language.      31 out of the 50 states have already adopted English as the official state language, even though there have been various lawsuits defending the rights of speakers of other languages. These court cases have determined that such an act is an infringement on the freedom of speech, which contradicts the First Amendment because it limits their ability to speak and be understood by others.      The current language status forces official and public institutions to provide documents, information, and even education in languages other than English. In the context of education, courses such as “English as a Second Language”, which are designed for non-native English speakers to catch up to their peers would be the victims of this law. If this policy was passed, programs like “ESL” would no longer be available. Other than documents regarding public safety or national security that require the public’s immediate understanding, official documents and information would be available only in English if this policy is enacted. The 20% of the American population that speaks a language other than English at home would be hurt. Local institutions would not be required to provide documents in any other language, inhibiting non-native English speakers from accessing the resources they need.       Furthermore, these bills would increase existing linguistic discrimination. People currently report their employers prevent them from speaking their native languages at work, including free time or breaks, with colleagues, customers, etc. Incidents of people being told their accent or use of a language other than English makes them “less of an American” occur regularly. If the government was to encourage these opinions by declaring English as the official language, discrimination on the basis of language would dramatically increase. People in both the public and private sectors of the country would create atmospheres where only English is allowed after the government deems this practice both legal and appropriate. People with non-American accents or who aren’t fluent in English would have an even more difficult time accessing the resources they need, finding jobs, and participating in American society. Affected groups would mostly consist of immigrants, families of immigrants, and Indigenous peoples.       It is our job to encourage our Representatives and Senators to act on behalf of all American people and reject H.R. 997 and S. 678. While English is the predominant language of the US, it is not necessary to establish it as the official language of the United States.

Gabrielle Morrison
69 supporters
Dock Congressional Pay When Government Shuts Down

Two weeks ago, Congress managed to finally pass a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. This bill was 3 months overdue, and we cannot wait for the next shutdown to hold Congress accountable. Every Member of Congress, “Solemnly swears [to] support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states that “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of Appropriations made by law.” This means that when each Member of Congress takes the oath of office, it is their Constitutional duty to ensure the government is open, funded, and running. So, when the government is shutdown in any manner, it means Congress is not doing their jobs. (Disclaimer: Congress has fully funded the government on time only four times since 1974!) The fact that Congress continuously has the same issue every year is shocking. Where else in America do employees get paid for not doing their job? The answer is easy – nowhere. If this is the standard across America, then it should also apply to Members of Congress. As it stands now, Members receive regular pay when federal workers, and thousands of Americans, have their pay withheld during a government shutdown. This is ridiculous. It is appalling that Members get paid when the government shuts down, and now is the time to bring a dose of reality to Washington. If we cannot do our jobs we have failed the American people and therefore have not earned our pay – plain and simple. There is bipartisan consensus that Congress should not be paid during a government shutdown, and now is the time to bring common-sense back to the legislative branch of government. Without common-sense and proper accountability, Congress will continue to fail to do its job and will always fail the American people.

4 months ago
Dock Congressional Pay When Government Shuts Down

Two weeks ago, Congress managed to finally pass a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. This bill was 3 months overdue, and we cannot wait for the next shutdown to hold Congress accountable. Every Member of Congress, “Solemnly swears [to] support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution states that “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of Appropriations made by law.” This means that when each Member of Congress takes the oath of office, it is their Constitutional duty to ensure the government is open, funded, and running. So, when the government is shutdown in any manner, it means Congress is not doing their jobs. (Disclaimer: Congress has fully funded the government on time only four times since 1974!) The fact that Congress continuously has the same issue every year is shocking. Where else in America do employees get paid for not doing their job? The answer is easy – nowhere. If this is the standard across America, then it should also apply to Members of Congress. As it stands now, Members receive regular pay when federal workers, and thousands of Americans, have their pay withheld during a government shutdown. This is ridiculous. It is appalling that Members get paid when the government shuts down, and now is the time to bring a dose of reality to Washington. If we cannot do our jobs we have failed the American people and therefore have not earned our pay – plain and simple. There is bipartisan consensus that Congress should not be paid during a government shutdown, and now is the time to bring common-sense back to the legislative branch of government. Without common-sense and proper accountability, Congress will continue to fail to do its job and will always fail the American people.

4 months ago