Steny Hamilton Hoyer is the Democratic Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Maryland's 5th congressional district since 1981.
Steny Hamilton Hoyer is the Democratic Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Maryland's 5th congressional district since 1981.
Ban Child Sex Dolls
Right now, teachers, coaches, babysitters, and neighbors, in every town in America, can purchase lifelike, anatomically correct dolls designed to simulate sex with a child. And it’s perfectly legal. These sick dolls are being imported into the United States and other countries. British police have seized more than 100 already in the UK, and authorities have found that the people buying them usually have child pornography too. Sign this petition to ban the sale and distribution of child sex dolls! These child sex dolls can normalize a pedophile’s behaviors, emboldening them to harm children, as is often the case with those who view child pornography. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 children are sexually abused. One child is too many. Our elected officials need to protect children. That’s why Congressman Dan Donovan from New York is introducing legislation that will ban the distribution and sale of dolls that encourage child abuse. Show your support for this legislation by signing this petition, and help protect America’s children!
Reinstate Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB)
On September 13, 1994, Members of Congress came together and passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). That same day, President Bill Clinton signed it into law - until it expired 10 years later. As a result of this lapse, the legal sale of assault weapons has led to an increase in mass shootings: Virginia Tech (2007), Sandy Hook (2012), Aurora (2012), San Bernardino (2015), Orlando (2016), and Las Vegas (2017). From these tragedies alone, 192 people have died. I think we can all agree that we don't want to take away anyone's rights, but certain weapons should never find civilian hands. At this point, our technology has surpassed the 2nd Amendment. A civilian's right to bear arms is meant to protect and defend, not kill large amounts of people in a short amount of time. If there is anything that a post-AWB world has proven, it's that we're not safe. Colleges, movie theaters, the workplace, nightclubs, concerts, and elementary schools are targets for the mentally ill. America isn't a war zone. We shouldn't have to live in fear. That's not why we're here. I am asking for a bridge of bipartisan support and to reinstate the AWB. Put away the petty politics and address the root of the problem. Mental illness is a major component of all of these tragedies, but we must start by removing military-grade weapons from the hands of people who should never hold them in the first place. The trained men and women of this country who defend us should be the only ones to yield it. Anything else would cheapen their service. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope this opens a concerned and meaningful dialogue among our current representatives. US Mass Shootings (1982 to 2017) - 401 more mass murder fatalities post-AWB (September 2004 to present day) than during (September 1994 - September 2004) EDIT: Since initially starting this petition, 26 lives have been taken in the Texas First Baptist Church massacre in Sutherland Springs, TX and 17 lives have been lost at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Bill Summary This bill will require the creation and installment of a new student reporting system that will be accessed by all agencies that deal with children, create an educational seminar on child abuse incorporated into their early education curriculum and up through high school, add additional changes to the way Child Protective Services operates, and restrict records for deceased children from being redacted Background We have heard many stories of child abuse and neglect as a nationwide, systemic problem, citing case overloads as part of a bigger issue. According to the 26th Child Maltreatment Report created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1575 child fatalities reported in 2011; 1619 child fatalities reported in 2012; 1551 child fatalities reported in 2013; 1583 child fatalities reported in 2014; and 1585 child fatalities reported in 2015, nationwide. In 2015, nationwide, 78.61% of those children were all school age or otherwise, < 2 years old. On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez, DOB February 20, 2005, received emergency response services due to full arrest as a result of approximately 8 months of child abuse and neglect at the hands of Pearl Sinthia Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre. Over the course of 8 months, over 50 reports were phoned into social workers to report abuse that went undocumented and unfounded, along with phone calls made to sheriff’s deputies, in regards to Gabriel. In particular, Gabriel’s teacher, Jennifer Garcia, made numerous phone calls to the social worker on his case, citing his injuries. Gabriel succumbed to his injuries on May 24, 2013, in what we know now as one of the worst cases of child abuse known to the United States of America. On November 15, 2017, Isauro Aguirre was found guilty of 1st-degree murder with special circumstances of torture. A trial for Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and the four social workers involved with Gabriel’s case are still pending. When looking into other child abuse fatalities, it was found that the Department of Child and Family Services began redacting all of their records to prevent the community from researching cases. Transparency is vital to instill confidence in the agencies entrusted to protect children. According to “The economic burden of child maltreatment in the Unites States and implications for prevention” (Child Abuse and Neglect. The International Journal. Fang, Brown, Florence, Mercy 2012), cited by the Center of Disease Control, “The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012 in 2010 dollars, including $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in productivity losses; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs. The estimated average lifetime cost per death is $1,272,900, including $14,100 in medical costs and $1,258,800 in productivity losses. The total lifetime economic burden resulting from new cases of fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment in the United States in 2008 is approximately $124 billion. In sensitivity analysis, the total burden is estimated to be as large as $585 billion. Findings concluded that the cost of living children who suffered maltreatment, in 2008, estimated a lifetime amount of approximately $210,012, while those whose maltreatment resulted in fatality cost an estimated lifetime amount of approximately $1.3 million. Problem There is a systematic failure in communication with regards to the safety and welfare of at-risk children who depend on adults to protect them. Had there been a system in place to allow for all agencies to effectively communicate with one another, and track all reports and documents, in regards to any reported child abuse, that may have helped save Gabriel’s life. Children depend on adults for protection and safeguarding. We are in an era of technology where we have need to improve, exponentially, our ability and duties to safeguard children. Records for child abuse fatalities should be unsealed and social workers who have repeat fatalities need to be investigated and retrained. Solution I. A nationwide system needs to be installed, in all schools, child welfare agencies, law enforcement agencies, doctor’s offices, and district attorney’s office, that help mandated reporters create electronic SCAR (Suspected Child Abuse Report), allow the agencies to track reports and status of child abuse. a. The system shall have an alert for law enforcement and social worker of any extended absence that doesn’t have any parent contact/medical documentation over a 2-day period/as reported by the attending school. b. The system shall have an alert for law enforcement and assigned social workers and their supervisors of any non-enrollment of children within a 2-day period. c. The system shall have an alert for CPS supervisors for a daily review of any child that has repeated reports. d. In conjunction with each agency, especially if a school alert comes in, an immediate action plan is put in place to ensure the safety of the child. e. Doctor’s may flag any injury as possible child abuse which will create an electronic SCAR. f. District Attorney’s office will have the ability to create customizable reports and alerts based on criteria needed to help with cases and decisions made in regards to court cases and as needed. II. A child abuse curriculum needs to be created and implemented starting at early education and moving up through high school. This curriculum needs to be implemented into the foster system and the juvenile hall system as well. The curriculum should include a discussion on all forms of abuse, from sexual harassment/sexual assault to all types of child abuse that can occur within the home. III. Specific changes need to be made within the Child Protective Services to ensure adequate and complete recording. a. Assign nurses to social workers for house visits and documentation of any abuse to any child. b. Social workers assigned to Child Protective Services need to be able to handle the caseloads and demonstrate effective investigative and communicative skills. The requirement is 40 hours of in-service training to advance from CSW II to CSW III. c. If a worker cannot perform their tasks effectively, there needs to be immediate consequences or corrective discipline to ensure the safety of children in their care. d. Supervisor technique training needs to be provided to all current and future supervisors, to help ensure supervisory skills. Additionally, they need to also have all the knowledge of working as a Child Protective Services social worker prior to being a supervisor for that department. e. Computer systems must be well maintained and updated on a 5-year basis, to the most current technology, to keep up with efficiency. f. Any fatalities under a social worker must be thoroughly investigated and the worker must be removed from the Child Protective Services department until uptraining is completed and they can prove themselves capable of the position. g. Mandatory recorded interviews with social worker, nurse, and interviewee. IV. Law Enforcement needs to be accountable and understand that child abuse claims are not only important but need to be documented. a. Any type of child abuse needs to be reported, via the new system, which will generate a SCAR b. Any call to a scene should include an address lookup to see if there are children residing at the residence and if there are any child abuse reports made, to make sure they have a well-rounded understanding of what they are walking into. c. The alert for suspected child abuse reports should be reviewed by Special Victims Unit, or a specific unit, to ensure that follow up. V. Educational institutes should have the ability to have access to the system and file reports based on extended absences, tardiness or signs of abuse. a. Teachers should be able to file a SCAR from their desk in their classroom b. An alert from school should immediately trigger with Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services. VI. Doctor’s office will be able to flag and note a child’s record in ways that will flag agencies depending on the situation. a. Extended absences will be flagged to go directly to school’s attendance office and immediately alert school of extended absence. b. The doctor can flag any abnormalities that appear to be child abuse that will create a SCAR to alert Child Protective Services of injuries and suspicions. VII. All documents pertaining to a deceased child shall be made available, via an amendment to privacy laws, with all redaction markings removed. VIII. Increase Statute of Limitations for felony child abuse should be increased from 3 years to 6 years. In Many cases, children are not aware that they are victims to begin with. Often, it is not a single event, but consecutive instances over a span of time which requires that the statute be extended to the point where the victim first files a report of abuse. IX. Failure to Report Child Abuse should be changed from a straight misdemeanor to a “wobbler” with a 3 or 6-year statute of limitations. Negligence to report abuse is not an acceptable excuse to prevent a child from obtaining criminal action. Purposefully declining or avoiding to file a report of abuse should be met with the more severe penalty. X. Children who are in a coma or dying in manners consistent with murder or suspected foul play must undergo autopsy once deceased. XI. Mandatory Child Abuse Education classes for all new welfare applicants. XII. Adults living in a household, and witnesses to abuse of any minors within that household, who fail to report or try to prevent abuse to minors shall be charged as follows: a. Non-fatal injury to child - Accomplice to Child Abuse – min. 1-year b. Child Abuse resulting in fatal injury – Accomplice to Child Abuse resulting in Fatality – min 10 year.
STOP THE REPEAL OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
The BNR Legislative and Regulatory Committee was created to advocate for the community, healthcare, and healthcare practitioner. Creating collaborative partnerships, we strive to bridge the gap between influential government policies and the communities in which we serve, by supporting healthcare initiative reform that promotes good practice, standards of care and inclusion H.R. 277 Bill- The Affordable Healthcare Act is currently on the table to be mutilated- Creating an opportunity for 18 MILLION Americans to be without healthcare coverage. The bill will also improve the opportunity for health insurance premiums to be increased by and additional 20-25%- Leaving behind a trail of an estimated additional 32 million people within 10 years- And that is only the tip of the iceberg! The blocked amendment that was voted 51-48 by U.S. Senate will aim: 1. To END coverage for preexisting conditions, veterans benefits, and aid to rural hospitals. 2. To remove discrimination protection for women in healthcare. 3. Against the provision allowing children to remain on their parent's insurance till the age of 26. 4. To cut off funding for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 5. Against ACA contraceptive coverage and maternity care provision. 6. To direct committees to send budget legislation to defund and repeal the Affordable Care Act. For those who get health insurance through work, no pre-existing conditions. Lifetime caps for coverage are back for everyone. Real and disastrous actions are being taken that will affect more than just the 20-30 million people who will lose their health care coverage and the 3 million people who will lose their jobs. Despite their assertions of this being an action to "repeal and replace," no viable alternative plan has been proposed. The House voted Friday, on the same measures and passed them 227-198. As of this moment, no replacement exists. Join us as we unite as a collective to reach out to our local and federal legislative partners to hear from us that WE will not support the EPIC tragedy that will occur should our American families go on without healthcare. Let's make sure that your voice is clearly heard- That America will become great and we will be the ones to work towards that. Sign the petition.
Please help prevent this silent attack on Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights.
Sirs, You may or may not be aware of the impending proposed ruling that is set to be deliberated on after January 25 by the BATFE that is being incorrectly disguised as a ruling on bump fire stocks. The ruling aims to address any modification to a firearm that increases the rate of fire based on its recoil or operating system. Because the Las Vegas shooting is so fresh in our minds, people naturally assume that this is only to affect bump fire stocks. Whether one is for or against regulating bump fire stocks, this assumption that that is the only thing affected here is absolutely and provably incorrect. In order to increase the “rate of fire”, there has to be an established “standard” rate of fire. There is currently no such thing as a standard rate of fire for any standard semi automatic firearm or any firearm that can hold more than one round. That is a very subjective thing and no one has yet to even remotely suggest what that definition for rate would be. And who is to fairly decide what that rate is? I happen to be friends with a professional championship shooter by the name of Max Michel who can fire a semi automatic pistol at roughly 180 rounds per minute. So does he set the standard rate of fire? Or do we let a 95-year-old elderly person set it where he is firing at a rate of 10 to 20 rounds per minute? And does the person setting that rate of fire take into account magazine changes? In other words, if the person setting that standard rate of fire is doing so in the state of New York where they can only equip their semi automatic pistols with seven rounds in the magazine, their rate of fire per minute would be much less than mine in the free state of Louisiana because they have to perform magazine changes during that one minute drill and I don’t. Therefore, due to those magazine changes their demonstrated standard rate of fire would be fewer rounds per minute. As you can see, the ambiguity of any such ruling is quite frightening to law abiding citizens like me and every other gun owner that I know. All it takes is an overreaching administration in the White House to take ambiguous wording and use it to their anti-gun advantage. I think we have seen examples of this in the very recent past. Essentially, this type of ruling is an attack on any semi automatic firearm that exists today that is perfectly legal to purchase and owned by millions of people across America. Are you prepared to stand behind a ruling that would make felonies out of millions of your constituents? We can’t vote for you if we are in jail, but we would vote you out before we go in! The BATFE is currently asking the public’s opinion on these bump fire devices and the public is overwhelmingly obliging if you were not aware. (Click HERE to visit the site.) I would recommend you contact their main office and ask about this. The disappointing thing to proud Americans and avid voters like myself is that our elected officials - meaning YOU - are not taking it upon yourself to do your own job and provide legislation that affects Americans and the Constitution. Since when is it the BATFE’s job to institute legislation that affects the Constitution? Isn’t that your job? Are you avoiding your own job and passing that responsibility off to a federal agency that does not possess the power nor authority to make laws? What can millions of voting Americans take from that? As you have seen in the past, Americans take their 2nd Amendment rights much more seriously than petty items such as which bathroom men and women might choose to use. As an American with the same rights as you, I ask that you please take up the fight to protect our Constitution and tell the BATFE that while they can collect all the public comments they like on bump stocks, they are to only provide those comments and recommendations to Congress and the President to legislate any action that is to take place going forward. That is why we Americans elected you. I do not give you permission to jettison that responsibility off to unelected, unaccountable federal employees. As a proud American I am hopeful that you accept this responsibility and stand up for honest, law-abiding citizens who - in most cases - only wish to protect themselves and their families. Respectfully, 2nd Amendment supporter / Voter / Proud American
Congress: The American People Call For Stricter Gun Laws Now
Growing up, the thought of a school shooting was unheard of. It never crossed my mind, nor the mind of my parents. Now, it’s sad to say that it has become the new norm for Americans. Everyday, we hear about a mass shooting, a school incident, a family being murdered or a child being accidentally killed by a firearm. When did it become okay to hear these sort of incidents reported and not even bat an eye? Now, as a parent of two small children, I often find myself thinking of when my kids will start school. And instead of thinking about how much I will probably cry on that first day I drop them off and watch them walk away like proud, independent little men, I find myself thinking about what to tell my kids to do in the case of a shooting. I find myself thinking, what if one of my boys become one of the 2400 children injured or killed by a gunman (credit: Gun Violence Archive)? It’s not something a parent should have to think about. It’s not something a child should have to think about. The NRA campaigns against all forms of gun control strictly for their own benefit. They spend over $3 million dollars per year to influence gun policy (credit: BBC News). They claim it makes the country safer, but I’m sure that’s because of the money stuffed in their overflowing pockets. According to the IRS, the NRA made $20.9 million from selling advertising to industry companies. The firearms industry makes $31.8 billion of the U.S. economy (credit: Business Insider). Most are calling for a ban on assault weapons. However, a study conducted by the FBI shows that most murders are caused by handguns (credit: NIJ). The ban on assault weapons is definitely a must. However, we need to look at the bigger picture and voice the need for stricter gun laws on all weapons. Yes, it will not stop people from getting weapons, but adding that extra step will deter those with bad intentions from simply walking into a shop and slapping down a few dollar bills. An even more radical, and possibly better idea, would be to change the second amendment. The United States Constitution was created on the foundation of our country in 1789. Now, more than 200 years later, I think it’s safe to say that time’s change and people change. It is necessary for us to make certain appropriations in order to regulate that. After all, “a well regulated Militia…” is the only necessary security to our free State. According to the Gun Violence Archive, Americans own an estimated 265 million guns. That is enough for every adult American to own more than one gun each. There is a historic and deep-rooted sense of identity in being able to own a firearm. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say they cannot imagine life without a gun. We are the only civilized country that owns as many guns as there is people and has as many gun related deaths by almost 50% (credit: CNN). The Department of Health and Human Services stated that only 3-5% of violent acts are attributed to individuals with a serious mental illness. We cannot use the excuse of someone being mentally ill for these incidents occurring. Yes, it may be a factor in some cases. But taking that fact into account, it’s not the real problem. The most recent and prominent explanation Americans are giving: bad parenting makes bad people. Is it true? Yes. The age range, however, of these mass shootings are ages 11 to 66. A majority of those incidents were committed by someone over the age of 30. As of 15 February 2018, there have already been 30 mass shootings. How many more are we going to let happen? As a mother, father, wife, husband, partner, son or daughter and a citizen of the United States, stand up. Let your voice be heard. Here are some basic facts to help shed light on gun violence as of late: In 2015 and 2016, there was a school shooting for every month of the year. In 2017, February was the only month that passed without an incident involving a gun (credit: BBC). 56,755 Americans were killed by guns from 2014-2017 (credit: The Week). In 2017, more than 70,000 injuries were attributed to gun violence (credit: The Guardian). A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot, not including the shooter. This happens 9 out of every 10 days (credit: The Guardian). More people have died by gun violence than from the war. Since 1968, there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths. Since the United States was founded, there have been 1,396,733 reported deaths related to the war, as of October 2017 (credit: The Guardian).
Impeach Trump and Pence
By my count, there are now four grounds to impeach Donald Trump. The fifth appears to be on its way. First, in taking the oath of office, a president promises to “faithfully execute the laws & the constitution.” That’s Article II Section 2. But Trump is unfaithfully executing his duties as president by accusing his predecessor, president Obama, of undertaking an illegal and impeachable act, with absolutely no evidence to support the accusation. Second, Article I Section 9 of the Constitution forbids government officials from taking things of value from foreign governments. But Trump is making big money off his Trump International Hotel by steering foreign diplomatic delegations to it, and will make a bundle off China’s recent decision to grant his trademark applications for the Trump brand – decisions Chinese authorities arrived at directly because of decisions Trump has made as president. Third: The 1st Amendment to the Constitution bars any law “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But Trump’s ban on travel into the United States from six Muslim countries – which he initiated, advocated for, and oversees – violates that provision. The Constitution of the United States, Art. 2, S. 4, provides that the president, vice-president, and civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, and/or other high crimes and misdemeanors. We, the undersigned, lobby for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump suspected of treason, in violation of THE USA PATRIOT ACT for conspiring with Russia in tampering with the results of the 2016 election. He and his administration are an immediate threat to national security and his use of intimidation as president presents undeniable challenges in this investigation. Ergo, we petition his immediate removal from office as well as the removal of Vice President Mike Pence and all civil officers appointed under his rule, pending the results of his administration's investigation. Donald J. Trump has violated the Federal law under civil and criminal ordinances with his documented use of libelous and insulting hate speech referencing citizens of color, immigrants, and those of the Muslim faith. His promotion and acceptance of violence towards the above stated has incited violence, discrimination and increased tensions throughout this nation. Furthermore, Donald J. Trump is in violation of state law in the following 34 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois,Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. He is guilty of multiple counts of cyber bullying, before, during and following his election campaign; the most egregious being his statements regarding Mexicans, Muslims, the black community and his continuous taunting of China. Unlawful conduct of any kind, be it past, present or future is unacceptable of any person holding the office of President of the United States of America. He has caused international conflict with our allies and is dangerously close to destroying peaceful foreign relations. Donald J.Trump’s leadership poses a threat to the peace and safety of our nation on both national and international levels. His immoral reputation and misconduct are an embarrassment and threat to the freedoms this country stands for and will not be tolerated by United States citizens.
Waived the Jones Act to allow foreign vessels to support relief efforts to Puerto Rico.
Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die. Many have asked how they can help. This petition focuses on allowing a 12 month relief of cutting through bureaucracy that could cost lives and suffering of millions of Americans in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can't stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired on September 22, 2017. By signing this petition, you are telling the Department of Homeland Security, Senator John McCain, Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Anthony Brown to waive the Jones Act for 12 months to give Puerto Rico the relief it needs to recover and rebuild its infrastructure and economy.
Keep Hookahs & Shisha from getting banned in the USA
You may have already heard that US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced their deeming regulations early in May 2016 and basically, what that means to us hookah lovers is that starting August 8, 2016 FDA will start regulating Hookah tobacco, pipes, and charcoal. Read the 5054 Bill Here The regulations state that any product that wasn’t already on the market before February 15, 2007 must be approved by FDA to continue to be on the market. The predicate date of February 15, 2007 is considered to be an unfair date for 90% of the hookah products on the market today since most of them didn’t exist at that time. In order for these products to continue to be on the market, it is going to cost the companies an estimated amount over 1 million dollars per product. FDA estimates that over 90% of businesses will not be able to afford those humongous fees. FDA ignored calls to change the predicate date, which remains February 15, 2007. The good news is that at the moment there is a proposal in Congress that would change the predicate date from February 15, 2007 to August 8, 2016. This change would significantly lower the regulatory burden faced by hookah companies and would ensure the ability of companies without access to 02/15/2007 data to be able to comply. This petition is in support of Rep Tom Coles amendment to HR 5054 - Which is simply a redate of the original HR 5054, that's more important than it seems! Here's why: The original 5054 used the date of February 15, 2007, which was pulled out of a hat just to fill in the bill! If the Coles-Bishop Amendment to 5054 is not passed then products on the market after February 15, 2007 will not be allowed unless they pay millions to the FDA for approval. Those fees will drive small businesses to a grinding halt. Hurting our economy when it is just beginning to recover. Those fees will artificially inflate the prices of current products on the market to make sure companies just break even. The average hookah, tobacco, and related products user will Not be able to afford a simple luxury. Those in favor of keeping the date at 2007 are saying that anything made after the arbitrary date is less safe than products before it. When in fact, the opposite is true. Due to the growing market producers are able to make safer, more ecologically friendly products in 2016 and well into the future. Keeping HR 5054 unchanged will essentially set innovation in products and in health into the past of 2007 and it will likely never recover. Why you should sign this petition: Signing this petition means that you support industry, small business, and each person's right to choose. Everyone should sign this petition, even if you don't use Hookah or related products. Becuase this is about supporting small businesses, innovation, our economy, and keeping arbitrary dates like this one at bay. This Amendment will enable products to comply with FDA regulations that are safer than those in 2007 and stay current with customer demand. The choice is simple, sign this petition, let your voice be heard. Let's support Rep. Tom Cole in his fight to keep small businesses operating, our economy growing, and allow for innovation to happen!
#SAVEH2B: GET THE FACTS & STOP THE LIES!
Stop The Lies and Get The Facts! The H-2B Program Creates American Jobs • The H-2B program is essential for small and seasonal businesses that are committed to hiring a legal workforce but areunable to fill seasonal jobs with American workers despite extensive recruitment efforts. Seasonal industries that use theH-2B program include seafood processing, horse training, hospitality and amusement parks, forestry, landscaping,circuses, carnivals, food concessionaires, swimming pool maintenance, construction and stone quarries. • The H-2B program is important to workers. For H-2B workers, the program provides well-paying seasonal jobs that allowthem to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries. This program is also importantfor American workers whose year round positions are reliant upon seasonal laborers during peak seasons.• Every H-2B worker is estimated to create and sustain 4.64 American jobs. The H-2B Visa nonimmigrant program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come to the United States and perform temporary nonagricultural services or labor on a one-time, seasonal, peakload or intermittent basis. H-2B workers are not considered immigrants. In order to qualify for an H-2B Visa, an employer must prove that there are not sufficient U.S. Workers who are capable of performing temporary services or labor. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS TAKE JOBS AWAY FROM AMERICANS.FACT: American workers are guaranteed first chance at every job later filled by an H-2B temporary laborer. By law, every open position must be properly advertised in the community and requires employers to hire any able and willing American workers to fill open positions. The fact is that H-2B temporary workers actually support American jobs and the U.S. economy. The H-2B program provides an opportunity for seasonal businesses to operate at a greater capacity, thereby retaining their full-time American workers and contributing more to their local economies. Additionally, temporary foreign seasonal workers help support many upstream and downstream jobs. According to the American Enterprise Institute study on Immigration and American Jobs, every H-2B worker creates or sustains 4.64 American jobs on average. MYTH: EMPLOYERS DON’T EVEN TRY TO HIRE AMERICAN WORKERS TO FILL THESE TEMPORARY HARD LABOR JOBS.FACT: Employers work extremely hard to hire American workers because 1) it is dramatically cheaper to do so, and 2) the law requires that employers demonstrate that every effort has been made to hire Americans before they can start the process of trying to hire a temporary foreign laborer. Again, the fact is that the vast majority of American workers are not interested in temporary seasonal manual labor jobs. Geography is a big obstacle for many employers; for example, many resort communities don’t have a sufficient local labor pool. And, in many cases, these types of seasonal jobs may not be appropriate for high school students due to the hours or labor laws that prohibit the use of heavy machinery by minors. MYTH: PAYING HIGHER WAGES WILL ENTICE AMERICAN WORKERS AND SOLVE THE SEASONAL TEMPORARY LABOR SHORTAGE.FACT: Hourly pay for these types of jobs have gone up significantly over the last few years because employers who use the H-2B program are required to pay their H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premiumwage dictated by the U.S. Department of Labor. These temporary manual labor jobs often pay considerably more than the minimum wage, but American workers still won’t take the positions. Sadly, in many cases, employers who obey the law and use the H-2B program are often competing against businesses that choose to illegally hire undocumented immigrants and pay those workers considerably less. If wages were raised even higher, seasonal employers who use the program would not be able to sustain their businesses or their American workers. MYTH: THE H-2B PROGRAM REPRESSES WAGES FOR AMERICAN WORKERS BY PROVIDING A CHEAPER LABOR SOURCE.FACT: Hiring H-2B workers is a much move expensive and risky option. In addition to the fact employers are required to pay H-2B workers and similarly employed American workers a premium wage that is often well above the federal minimum wage, complying with the H-2B program is extremely costly, complicated and wrought with uncertainty due to an overly restrictive cap and a constantly changing regulatory environment. Employers turn to the H-2B program as a last resort, after extensive efforts to recruit American workers. MYTH: H-2B WORKERS OVERSTAY THEIR VISAS AND EXACERBATE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN AMERICA.FACT: According the U.S. Department of Homeland Security visa overstay in the H-2B program are rare. Workers who do overstay their visas are barred from using the program ever again. The fact is that the vast majority of H-2B workers and their employers are meticulous about compliance. Not following the strict program rules means the end of a well-paying seasonal jobs that allows these workers to provide for their families and still maintain their homes in their native countries – a risk these workers are not willing to take since they generally return to the same employer year after year. Additionally, when approving H-2B visas, the U.S. Consulate confirms workers’ ties to their home countries. Further, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires employers to promptly report any H-2B workers who do not report for work or who complete their work earlier in the season than anticipated. MYTH: THE H-2B RETURNING WORKER EXEMPTION IS UNNECESSARY.FACT: The H-2B program’s annual 66,000 cap (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) is not adequate to meet the demands of a growing economy. The cap for the first half of the fiscal 2016 was reached on March 15. The second-half cap was reached on May 12, leaving many seasonal employers shut out of the program with no access to legal seasonal laborers. Without the returning worker exemption passed by Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the President of December 18, 2015, many companies would have had to close their businesses, lay off American workers or turn away customers.This provision is essential to the survival of small and seasonal businesses across the country and should be made permanent. An H-2B returning worker exemption is a narrow solution to a seasonal workforce shortage that focuses on workers who are valuable to their seasonal employers and who have never violate the terms of their past visas or other U.S. laws. These workers do not pose a security risk and they are not taking away jobs from Americans. The H-2B returning worker exemption in the omnibus appropriations bills simply provides that if an H-2B worker has been counted against the cap in one of the three prior years, that worker can return to work in the H-2B program in the current year without being counted against this year's cap. For more information please visit: https://www.SaveH2b.orghttps://www.facebook.com/SaveH2B/https://twitter.com/SaveH_2B https://youtu.be/UTYVEirlu3o To contribute further, please contact your Congressmen/women and tweet using the hashtag: #SAVEH2B.