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
445,306 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
5,109 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
2,696 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 exploit and mentally abuse the character of teens that have been entrusted into his care.  Upon arrival, you are strip searched by a staff person you’ve barely met, without a parent present. Many of the items you have brought with you, including clothing, will be deemed unapproved. After your parents sign both theirs & your rights away- you are closed off from any physical contact with family for 3 months, meaning no visits are permitted. One 10 min phone call is allowed after the first 2 weeks. Unless of course your put on No-Level which will disqualify you from making any phone calls. You are required to write a letter to your parents specifically stating that you are happy and that this place is a great place. If you said anything about the realities of what was going on they would throw your letter away and make you write it right in front of them to make sure it is to their standards. They also monitor and edited all letters received.  Some of the program rules include the following: You’re not to allowed to have any contact with the outside world. You cannot watch regular tv (such as the news), read the newspapers, listen to the radio or have any contact with the outside world. You are immediately weaned off medications because they do not believe in medication. Which meant that many times when anyone came with prescriptions or were prescribed medication during their stay, they were not allowed to take it. As you can imagine, that made medical conditions worse than they needed to be. You are not allowed to talk to or look at the opposite sex under any circumstances. Women had to wear extremely loose fitting clothing. We were taught that the outside world was a deadly place and that we would die if we left Freedom Village USA. The emotional abuse and manipulation caused many to be diagnosed with PTSD and various other mental health conditions after leaving. The negative impacts of it still have a stronghold on us to this day.  Up until 2013, schooling was provided through the ACE program. Students were told that the diploma they obtained through this program could be used to get them into college. Yet, upon leaving the program, many learned that their "diploma" or completed credits were not accepted at other high schools & major colleges. Which set people back YEARS in the educational aspect.  Instead of sailing, swimming, camping and riding horses (like the Freedom Village USA pamphlet promotes) students’ time was spent cleaning various places around the FV campus including: cockroach infested kitchens and moldy bathrooms as well as staff peoples homes and offices. We were also made to clean every building including the off campus chapel, from top to bottom. We were made to move heavy boxes and operate equipment without proper training. Every week there would be a truck that would come with food donations that were the expired items the grocery stores could no longer sell. Students were forced to eat moldy, expired food and would be punished for refusing to eat it. Students were 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 often singling them out. Punishments ranged from hauling wood, shoveling snow, cleaning filthy places or writing scripture four up to 4-10 hours in extreme weather.  There are levels, with different privileges and they would use this system to control and subdue staff and students. If they complied they’d receive more privileges, if not they receive little to none. With a bias staff you can imagine the amount of unfair ranks given. Staff members, who often graduate from the program, are put in leadership roles (without proper educational backing, training or credentials) to take care of and counsel people dealing with Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, PTSD, Self Harm & Addiction. Many were subjected to blatant discrimination by staff based on ability, race and sexual orientation. Nothing about their system is backed by anyone who is educated or had credentials which became a breeding ground for misconduct on both the staff’s and high ups behalf. It was known that many times these decisions were bias and discriminatory yet it was allowed to continue under the leadership of Fletcher and Jeremy Brothers.  The ideologies backing the beliefs of the founder and his family explain why many of these things were allowed to happen. 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 women, people of color, LGBTQ+ and Disabled people) in any way, shape or form. 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”. Decades later, the associated trauma in regards to racism & homophobia continue to have a negative impact on many. Furthermore, there were instances that program kids were left unsupervised with Fletcher in his home. There were kids who were already vulnerable who were left in even more vulnerable positions during their stay at Freedom Village. Grooming did occur by certain staff and higher ups. There are also a number of sexual abuse allegations and attempts to not only cover up the truth but silence those who choose to speak- both by bribes & threats.  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 testimony, on Freedom Village’s radio station: Victory Today Radio, in order to obtain more donations.  Fletcher Brothers often states that without these donations students would not be able to attend Freedom Village. Yet, many students who had no financial support from parents were left without necessities which included: warm clothing, thick coats, blankets (for the icy winters), feminine products, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. Not have these items lowered our quality of life. There would also be clothing and other items donated that we never were allowed the privilege of using. Students who would request $100 vouchers were often denied, unless of course they were personal favorite of staff or the Brothers themselves.   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. 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, we as a collective will no longer remain silent about the negative experiences we endured at Freedom Village USA.  It seems as if the years of bad press have finally caught up with Fletcher Brothers who is now moving his program to Sunset, South Carolina. They will be starting a partnership with Hannah Grace Homes in hopes of operating under them as Victory Village USA. By changing their name they are attempting to erase the fact that detrimental actions have been taken by the Brothers and staff during the operation of Freedom Village USA. We are asking that you help us stop Fletcher Brothers, Jeremy Brothers and any organization they partner with from opening and operating in SC. By signing this, you are helping us make it known that we do not support any organization that is ran by or supports The Brothers. Children should not be subjected to being under the authority and care of any organization that accepts Jeremy and/or Fletcher Brothers and their unlicensed staff.  By Signing this you are helping us set the standard for all religious-exempt, church based institutions, by taking action to make sure that legislation is passed to help prevent any others from being subjected to abuse and exploitation from institutions that lack the proper education, training and licensing to run and operate a program aimed at children, teens and young adults.  For More Information and ways to help email: TheFreedomVillageExperience@gmail.com  Articles: 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

The Freedom Village Experience
1,117 supporters
Petitioning U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Charles E. Schumer, Marco Rubio, Florida State Senate, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Rand Paul, Tex...

Legalize Cannabis/Industrial Hemp Federally and in ALL 50 States

FREE THE GREEN: RESPONSIBLE ADULT USE (if you'd rather not read all this just click here to watch a short YouTube video that summarizes the issue.) https://youtu.be/4uIwIZ6Nw-4 EDUCATING THE PUBLIC IS MORE VITAL THAN JUST HAVING REGULATIONS. Legalize it. Educate folks about it. Research it freely. I was inspired to create this petition because, despite the 2018 Farm bill which removed Hemp from the schedule 1 list of controlled substances, North Carolina lawmakers are now trying to pass a ban on all Hemp farming (NC Senate House Bill 315). I posted a video regarding this fight which is posted below. The only role government should play is reasonable, responsible age restrictions on all sales. Otherwise, any legislation regarding Cannabis is a fundamental interference in the affairs of adults who use it responsibly. Just because a sizeable profit can be made by something doesn't mean the government has the right to infringe upon the people and get loads of money from it. If our government wants to make a ton of money from taxing Cannabis why don't they just grow it themselves and sell it, and leave it up to the people whether or not they want to buy it? It's fine if they still want to tax it, but that shouldn't be the only focus. Simply stated, the deeper issue is personal freedom. The overall message here: "DEAR U.S. GOVERNMENT,  MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!" I would suggest the government focus on more important issues like drug overdose prevention, infrastructure, Healthcare, education, etc. and honestly representing the best interests of "we the people"! Law enforcement says they can't tell the difference between smokable hemp flower and marijuana; my response is simple - leave them both alone and stop harassing the American people over this! The whole War on Drugs is one of the most destructive institutions because we are, and have been for decades, literally destroying ourselves from within by treating it like a criminal problem when it really is a public health issue. Educating the public is one of the most powerful tools to promote responsible and ethical policy. Personally, CBD has literally replaced numerous prescription anti-depressents with no harmful side-effects. The benefits I have reaped from smokable hemp flower go beyond the power of words. Generally speaking, government overreach is absolutely out of control. Laws rarely in and of themselves are a strong deterrent, most especially when, as in this case, they are hideously unjust. Are our state and federal governments incapable of just allowing adults choose for themselves what is best for them without constant interference and unnecessary regulation? Let's stop fining people, giving them criminal records, locking them up, and seizing their personal property over a plant! Cannabis and Hemp are beneficial plants that should no longer be criminalized. The majority of Americans want this plant to be 100% legal just like alcohol and tobacco (both of which are highly more dangerous and proven fatal - unlike Cannabis and Industrial Hemp(Cannabadiol - CBD)). If history has taught us anything,  it is that prohibition simply doesn't work! Many people can benefit medicinally from Cannabis and hemp as well. Cannabis plants can be a safe alternative to conventional prescription drugs, which often cause numerous unwanted side-effects, to treat PTSD, anxiety disorders, insomnia, pain, loss of appetite, opioid addiction, alcoholism, seizures, and chronic depression - just to name a few. Some would argue we don't know enough about the long-term effects of using this plant. I would argue that this plant is as old as dirt and if there were detrimental long term consequences to its use we would know by now! VIDEOS: This video is a woman with Parkinson's disease using Cannabis, AMAZING!!!! https://www.facebook.com/uniladmag/videos/273021966970965/ NC House Senate Bill 315 https://vimeo.com/349589459 Grass (Historical Documentary) https://youtu.be/idgMIglP8j4 Is Marijuana Medicine? Debate(Joe Rogan) https://youtu.be/t_FOCvdVML8 Mason Tvert on Tucker Carlson Show https://youtu.be/oDvQsfQvS4Y #cannabis #hemp #marijuana #herb #cbd #weed #bud #pot #cannabidiol #medical #therapy #legalize

Justin Burton
432 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
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.

8 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.

8 months ago