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.
Pass H.R. 2737: Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015
On June 11, 2015, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono introduced HR 2737 & S 1555 respectively as the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015. The pending legislation, “directs the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to make appropriate arrangements for the award of a single Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino Veterans in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.” Other groups have been formally recognized by the United States with the Congressional Gold Medal for World War II service; they include the Tuskegee Airmen, Montford Point Marines, Navajo Code Talkers, Women Air Service Pilots, Japanese American Nisei Soldiers and Puerto Rican Soldiers. Filipino World War II Veterans are equally deserving of this honor. In order to pass HR 2737, the bill requires sponsorship from 218 congressional representatives, S 1555 needs 67 senators. Today, HR 2737 has 152 cosponsors, S 1555 has 68. I would like to ask your assistance in reaching out to your congressional representative to get their support as a sponsor for the pending legislation. Time is not on our side; the number of remaining Filipino Veterans is fast decreasing. We need to pass these bills before the 114th Congress come to a close at the end of the year.
Save the Sumatran rhinoceros from its impending extinction
Representatives of the United States of America, In recent weeks, the White House and the federal government have engaged in efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of climate change, while advocating for new federal policies. In a similar span of time, public outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion garnered widespread attention, dominating headlines for weeks and spurring UK Ambassador Peter Wilson to speak to the UN General Assembly in late July regarding the illegal trafficking of wildlife. On August 19, 2015, an international team of scientists published a study concluding that the Sumatran rhinoceros is now extinct in Malaysia. Its survival as a species depends upon the fewer than 100 individuals remaining in Indonesia. With the President calling attention to the strategic, economic, and moral dimensions of environmental issues like climate change, the international community demonstrating ardent concern for wildlife, and scientists declaring that only quick action will save the Sumatran rhino and other critically endangered species, there has never been a more appropriate time to discuss this important conservation issue. I. Purpose The purpose of this message is to call on you, a representative of the interests of United States citizens, to support policies that will affirm our national commitment to the protection of critically endangered wildlife. In particular, we urge you to support and produce policy that will increase America’s contribution to wildlife conservation efforts in Indonesia and the Southeast Pacific, particularly efforts that will protect the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. II. Recommendations Many Americans are frustrated by the perception that they cannot make a difference in conservation, especially at the international level. Opponents of conservation use these frustrations to discourage elected officials from meaningfully supporting conservation causes with clear and urgent status. But recent history contradicts cynicism. In 2014, the U.S. negotiated a deal to reduce debt payments owed by Indonesia in exchange for a $12.7 million commitment toward the conservation of critically endangered species in Indonesia. The deal, part of the Tropical Forest Conservation Act’s “debt for nature” strategy, clearly demonstrates that Congress and diplomatic officials have the power to directly support and advocate for the protection of treasured species, such as the Sumatran rhinoceros. Here are seven clear ways that the U.S. could increase its support for the Sumatran rhino and other species, through legislation and diplomatic action: · Craft and pass a bill offering greater debt relief to Indonesia in exchange for protection of more tropical forest acreage. · Appropriate more money to the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, which seeks to protect rhinos along with a handful of other species. · Strengthen bureaucratic cooperation with groups aiming to protect the Sumatran rhino, such as the Cincinnati Zoo. · Pressure U.S. Fish & Wildlife to approve the export of the last rhino kept in captivity in the U.S. (at the Cincinnati Zoo) to Indonesia. · Partner with the Indonesian government to increase funding for anti-poaching efforts. · Negotiate further financial incentives (i.e. beyond debt relief) for Indonesia to preserve forests. · Strengthen U.S. diplomatic ties to Indonesia and partner with the Indonesian government on bilateral conservation efforts. III. Conservation Issues The Sumatran rhinoceros is a topical example of a species whose future existence is dependent on the actions of governments. A recent article in Newsweek draws attention to what scientists and conservationists have known for years: our current efforts—including the 2014 deal—are not enough to save this species. Most experts agree that there are fewer than 100 individual Sumatran rhinos left in the wild. U.S. groups like the Cincinnati Zoo are attempting to save the relocate the last captive breeding individual to the Indonesian wild, but they face bureaucratic and financial hurdles in their efforts. Habitat destruction also prevents the species from reproducing: ranges that are separated by infrastructure and development potentially leave breeding individuals isolated in perpetuity. Meanwhile, current anti-poaching efforts have not satisfactorily combated trade in illegal rhino horns. The massive decline in the wild rhino population illustrates this. Alarmingly, the study reported in Newsweek confirms that the species is now extinct in Malaysia. This tragedy is an international failure, but it also sounds an alarm. There is no time to delay, and action in Indonesia needs to be backed up by commitment to protecting the Sumatran rhino internationally. Malaysia is a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which—according to the White House’s website—promises “establishment of a means for the public to raise concerns directly with TPP governments if they believe a TPP member is not meeting its environmental commitments, and requirements that governments consider and respond to those concerns.” This message is intended as just such a means of raising concerns, and it is the responsibility of public officials to follow through with the promise above, ensuring that it is read and considered. What affects Indonesia will affect neighboring nations. This new partnership, if it is realized in the coming months, carries with it a responsibility to coordinate internationally on issues like conservation. Other Pacific nations may be willing to contribute to efforts to protect the region’s important wildlife if the U.S. steps up to lead the initiative. IV. Public Interest You may ask why citizens or public servants in the U.S. should care about protecting foreign endangered species. The answer is simple: Americans already do care. It has long been acknowledged that wildlife is a cultural treasure worthy of protection. The Endangered Species Act, the National Parks system, and the Tropical Forest Protection Act are all examples of American leadership in conservation. The reintroduction of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies, though not without its critics, proved that some species are able to resurge. Theodore Roosevelt said, “While my interest in natural history has added very little to my sum of achievement, it has added immeasurably to my sum of enjoyment in life.” Roosevelt’s words are not simply about ecotourism, bird watching, or other forms of “enjoyment.” They are indicative of the American spirit. Being an American has always been about more than pursuing one’s own self-interest. Americans feel a responsibility to preserve and extend our values across the world. The American sense of shared responsibility is why we engage in international aid, use military force to promote democracy, and ally ourselves with other free nations. This principle also extends to wildlife. Roosevelt’s statement about natural history adding to “enjoyment in life” is symbolic of the belief that certain prized cultural items should be preserved for future generations. This is why outrage over the shooting of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe was widely felt in American public discourse, and led lawmakers to draft a bill banning trophy hunting shipments. American citizens care about iconic species, even ones outside the U.S. Protecting wildlife does not mean prizing animal lives over human ones. It represents the belief that nature—like a public space, war memorial, or work of art—belongs to everyone and all generations. Wildlife is a part of the world’s heritage, a heritage that should be safeguarded by all civilized nations. Protecting this species will not come up during the presidential debates. Critics of international conservation will say that this effort is uncalled for, a niche concern for a little-known species. But the truth is that these are actually reasons for government action. The amount of funding that would make a significant difference in conservation efforts—say, as a generous conjecture, 50 million dollars of debt relief targeted at Indonesian rainforests—is insignificant in comparison with the U.S. national debt, the defense budget, or health care costs. There are also concrete benefits. A commitment to our partners’ natural resources is a commitment to our partners. Working to protect the Sumatran rhino would strengthen cultural, political, and commercial ties with Indonesia. Domestically, there is little political risk or potential for unintended consequences in taking action to protect endangered species. This is an uncomplicated, apolitical issue. We urge you to consider the contents of this message, and to act according to the suggestions it puts forth. A comeback by the Sumatran rhino would be a remarkable conservation success story, and the public officials responsible for assisting this comeback will be remembered for generations to come. Sincerely, Concerned citizens:
Urgent! Support the "Right To Try Act (H.R. 3012) of 2015" Hope for the Terminally ill
I am writing this letter in utter despair, because my family needs your help. My brother, my hero, the man I've always looked up to was diagnosed with ALS. You the Congress, the decision makers, have the chance to pass the "Right To Try Act". And everyone fighting a terminal illness right now needs this. I remember being a little kid, I remember always trying to hang out with my brother, he is 10 years older than me, so I was never allowed. But I thought I was cool having an older brother that could take me places. I am the youngest of 4, there are 3 sisters and 1 brother. We have always been a close family. Always. I feel like I was just at the shore this summer carrying on with him at the beach, and today he can barely walk. ALS, has been around, over 80 years and still NO CURE. The ice bucket challenge in my opinion brought much needed awareness to the disease. I was told in Oct 2015, about my brother and that he has ALS. I don't think it really hit me, as I really didn't understand the magnitude of what he was about to go thru. Maybe in a way I didn't want to believe it? I didn't want him nor his family to have to go thru this. But its real. Its not going away. I don't think I myself was prepared for him, to have to fight for his life. Its heart wrenching to watch, even more so, he has a family, a loving wife, 6 children. He is a family man, he would give you the shirt off his back because that is the man he is. Always has been. Life certainly hasn't been easy for our family, in December 2013 we lost my sisters 10 year old son, our nephew, it never gets easier, the heartache never goes away. Time does Not heal. There are 12 nieces and nephews between my sisters and brother. He and his wife have 6 children. His wife is amazing. Not only does she make sure my brother is taken care of, she also takes care of 6 kids, and her mother who currently has brain cancer. So if anyone, anyone wants to complain about life, they certainly deserve to. But guess what? they don't. They don't complain, they look for answers, they look for hope. They look for ways to change the lives of other people. That is the ultimate meaning of strength and courage, they are. So I write this letter to You, in hope that you listen clearly to my message. My brother, deserves the "Right To Try" He derves to possibly change his quality of life for the better. He deserves so much more from life besides ALS. He deserves to try a medicine, that may give him hope. His family deserves that right. He deserves to walk his daughters down the aisle. He deserves everything every other human on this earth does. So grant him that right to try what ever he wants to. He was given a terminal diagnosis. Terminal. There is no cure for ALS. And you the government, have the ability to change that. You have the opportunity to pass the "Right To Try Act", to make it possible for him to maybe change his life. Maybe not. But shouldn't that be a human right ? Would you want his 6 children wondering why their dad wasn't given a chance at life? give him the "Right to Try" then just maybe, he can watch all his kids grow up. He can sit with his wife in a rocking chair on the porch when they are older. Why would you not want to give him that right? I beg you to support this Act, "Right To Try Act" (H.R. 3012) of 2015. I beg you. No one ever , ever deserves a terminal illness, they don't, but you as our law makers have an opportunity right NOW to make their life a little bit brighter. A little bit more hopeful. Let's try to change the world to make it a better place instead of holding people back from having hope. That is all they have. HOPE. Please help my family, please allow my brother Frank Mongiello, the "Right To Try". #CureALS Warmest Regards, Frank's Lil' Sister, Lisa Mongiello Kupsey
Ban Animal Cruelty in the United States
Each year, more than 100 million animals are killed in U.S. laboratories from animal testing to create a product for us to use. Help stop animal testing and animal cruelty for a chance to decrease the chances of animals dying.
Change The Name of the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center & remove his picture from the building.
As we all know, Freddie gray died after an encounter with police. It is also known that he was a drug dealer, he was very well known by the justice department. He sold drugs and has been arrested for it. He is known to sell drugs on the same corner the police made contact with him on. His death caused protests and a riots, very scary times for Baltimore. Businesses were destroyed, cars destroyed, people injured. Even a senior center was burnt down! The cvs that was burned down, was looted first, it was discovered that it was looted by drug dealers and gangs to sell drugs on the streets of Baltimore. Since all of this "unrest" and "uprisings" people of Baltimore have been blocked from going to work, had curfews etc etc. The murder rate has gone up, and Baltimore is losing tourists because they are afraid to visit Baltimore. Recently a youth center opened up, we are all for youth centers to keep kids busy ,to give them after school and summer activities etc etc. But they named the youth center "the freddie gray youth center" It even has his picture on the building. The trial has not even started yet, but they are making him a symbol of Baltimore youth for Baltimore youth? He was a known drug dealer, drug dealers are violent and get in trouble with the law & Most die young. I do not agree with naming a youth center after a known criminal! What it that telling our kids? It is okay to be a drug dealer? People say cartoons like looney toons make kids violent if they watch them. So what will being in a youth center and seeing a youth center named after a drug dealer do the our youth ? Stand up and demand that the name be changed and the pictures of freddie gray be removed !! For the sake of Baltimore cities youth!! Sign and Share please. <3 Thank you for reading.
Return benefits to military and DOD retirees
I proudly served my country from 1981 until 2005, when I was medically retired. While wearing the uniform, I received many benefits provided by the government and private companies. What I didn’t expect was how many of those benefits disappear once your status changes to “veteran.” For most veterans, unless they served for more than 20 years, many of the government benefits are gone overnight. And private companies that go out of their way to show goodwill to our troops don’t extend the same respect to veterans. A prime example of this is the airline industry. Most airlines give service members free preferential seating and discounts on tickets. That all goes away when you are veteran. I think this is wrong. Veterans deserve the same respect as those currently in uniform. Too many companies think the sacrifices made by our troops end when the uniform is put away. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m calling on Southwest to continue honoring military service by giving veterans the same benefits it extends to active duty personnel. The move would show us that Southwest respects all who have served, and it would be an example to other industry leaders. These benefits go beyond symbolism. Many veterans are on a fixed income and/or disabled. The discounts and our ability to board first make a big difference when we have to travel. Companies win, too. Not only do they show they care, they can write off the discounts every tax year. Together, we can get Southwest to extend its military benefits to veterans. I saw the people’s power firsthand when Home Depot restored its veteran discount due to the uproar of community disapproval after it canceled it. Let’s keep up the fight for veterans. Please tell Southwest that veterans deserve the same benefits it offers to active duty military personnel.
Ban Conversion Therapy
Currently 46 states do not ban conversion therapy. Conversion therapy refers to the practice to change and help "cure" someone's sexual orientation. Sadly, this practice is used on minors, who have no legal authority to make their own medical decisions. These practices lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and frequently result in suicide. That is why physiological, medical, and counseling associations are against this practice. The associations also agree that this practice is ineffective, as well as extremely harmful, and damaging to individuals that go through these programs. A few of these organizations include: The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the World Health Organization. Without question, there is very clear evidence that conversion therapy does not work and only traumatizes patients more. Several states have passed laws banning licensed therapists from subjecting minors to such treatment, and I urge you to join the movement. Join me in urging all 46 State House and State Senate Leader's to pass and introduce legislation to ban this damaging practice.
Declare June 26th as National Equality Day #loveislove
I ask everyone to join with my husband Matthew and me on memorializing this historic day for every American now and forever. This is a Victory for America!
Stop High Rise/High Density development from being built in Greenbelt, Maryland!
On April 4th, David Hillman of Southern Management Corporation approached the City of Greenbelt with his plans to build a 25 story High Rise apartment building on what is currently 5 acres of forested property, part of the original Green Belt of Greenbelt, MD. Rezoning would be needed in order to allow his High Rise Apartments in Greenbelt. In order for this proposed 25-story high rise apartment building to be built in Greenbelt, the City will have to be rezoned to allow such high density development. This can affect all of us by providing a precedent, so that more of these high rise apartments and buildings could be built throughout our City, changing the character of our community. This would allow the zoning and building precedent for more High Rise apartment buildings to be scattered throughout Greenbelt, including areas such as Roosevelt Center. And also for the other wooded areas in Greenbelt, not bound by the Forest Preserve. Apartments could be torn down and the density change could allow for them to be replaced with high rises. If you change the zoning to allow for this building, then the Character of the Community has been changed. *That* is the allowance for more in the world of development. As an example, communities that stop one Big Box store from coming into their community have, effectively stopped all. That Character of Community is the term which helps against unwanted changes. If you want this high rise next to Lakeside North, then you lose any say when one is built at Roosevelt Center or elsewhere in Old Greenbelt, or even at other parts of Greenbelt. Please sign this petition asking the City Council, and other representatives of Greenbelt to oppose this development and any changes to the zoning of the land that would allow its development.For more information:The minutes from the City of Greenbelthttp://www.greenbeltmd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Minutes/04042016-611Article concerning this high rise in the Greenbelt News Reviewhttp://www.greenbeltnewsreview.com/issues/GNR20160414.pdf
Legislation & funding for adequate treatment of MD mentally ill, and Release Romechia
Hello, my name is Vontasha Simms. I am writing you concerning the death of my grandson Ji'Aire Lee, and the incarceration of my mentally ill daughter Romechia Simms. She should be released immediately from the Charles County Detention Center. She is incarcerated on a 150,000 dollars bond. The mental health laws, and funding must be adequate, and must change. Not only in Charles county but the entire state of MD. There's more than 42 million people in the United states that suffer from a mental illnesses. More than 5 million of them live in the state of Maryland, over 17% of it's population. 1 out of every 4 household in the united states suffer from someone in that household having a mental illness. Over 50,000 people in Maryland suffer from schizophrenia, while another 100,000 suffer from varies degrees of bipolar. Many others remain untreated or undiagnosed. While those who do seek treatment are many times treated unfairly or even abused. Maryland is recommended to have 50 beds per 100,000 mentally ill persons, Maryland falls well short of that mark. Maryland has lost nearly 150 beds in the last 5 years. Also like many others states, Maryland incarcerates more mentally ill people than they remand to treatment facilities. The Treatment Advocacy Center study in 2010 determined that there are 3 times as many mentally ill person doing jail time than receiving treatment in a hospital. The state of Maryland is one of the 5 out of 50 states that do not have an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), nor Mental Health Courts and Crisis Intervention Training. All of these programs are proven to reduces that rate of mental illness relapse and a return to incarceration. My daughter Romechia has been a resident of Charles County since 2005. She attended Laplata high School and went on to graduate from Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf Md. Shortly after graduation she attended Bowie State College and aspired to gain her degree as a teacher. She has worked since high school. After being in a relationship and becoming pregnant she then had my grandson Ji'Aire. Ji'Aire was the light of her life. She devoted herself to him and loved him unconditionally. As mother and grandmother whom was struggling herself. I did seek as much help and resources that were available to my family. Often our cries went unmet. Romechia struggled in her relationship and being able to provide for her son. She was struggling with trying to work, daycare and saving to buy a car. It isn't exactly none what cause mental illnesses. It's causes could be anything from stress, trauma, environment or hereditary. In February of 2015, my daughter Romechia experienced the onset of a mental illness for the first time in her life. Romechia was hospitalize briefly at Southern md Hospital in PG. County md on two different occasions. Do to insurance reasons her stay was not long enough. That must change. I contacted Charles County Sheriff's Department and Laplata police dept. on several occasions explaining some concerns with my daughter and my grandson. Charles County Sheriff department must get a Crisis Intervention Team, in order to properly treat those who are in crisis and suffering from a mental illness. At every incident I was told that I had no rights. This is why I am asking for a law to be passed called Ji'Aire's Law. As a mother and grandmother I should have some type of rights concerning the supervision, and, or guardianship over my mentally ill child and minor grandson. My daughter was seeking treatment while also going to the doctors complaining about how the medications was causing her to have headaches. I had contacted the Charles County Department Social Services, Ms. Rita Woods from Charles County Community Services, County Commissioner Davis, Lifestyles of Southern MD, Southern MD Community network, numerous other agencies and churches seeking assistance only to remain homeless along with my mentally ill daughter and 3 year old grandson. Do to a combination of mental illness and overwhelming circumstances my grandson passed away on May the 22nd at Will's Memorial Park in Laplata while under my daughters care. She had experienced a mental break and was not in touch with reality and unaware of the circumstances, though she caused no physical harm to him she neglected to feed herself or him. They stayed outside in the park for nearly two days. My grandson passed away from hyperthermia and dehydration. My daughter is now charged with First degree child abuse, child neglect and manslaughter. This tragedy should never have happened to my grandson, my daughter or my family. I would beg to ask the question ,Is it my daughter Romechia who is neglectful and abusive?, or rather is it the State of MD who have neglected to provide adequate care and treatment for my mentally ill daughter, and insure the safety of her minor child?. And yes it is abusive to have a family pleading for help across Charles County only to be beaten down time and time again. In the summer months the only shelter that Charles County provides for the homeless is a tent in the woods. They also took my housing voucher away because they wouldn't allow me to put my mentally ill daughter and my grandson on it. So I choose to stay in the motel with my children. A mother I should never have to choose between leaving her mentally ill child and grandchild on the streets, or a place to lay my head. So you can answer the questions for yourselves. Mental illness is just that, an illness no different from cancer, high-blood pressure or diabetes. There's no cure but it can be treated. The mentally ill can maintain a productive role in society and in life, if given the proper treatment and resources. They shouldn't be shoned or stigmatized. Now my daughter Romechia is not only left to deal with the anguish and grief of the lose of her only child, but also left to deal with the punishment of a situation in which she had no control over, and was begging for help in order to get a handle on her illness. Charles county has no adequate mental health rehabilitation for inmates. They are just medicated and locked away, No real plan for success. She doesn't deserve that. It was the state of MD and Charles County government that failed Romechia. Therefore I ask that you please sign this petition in order to change the laws for adequate and fair treatment of the mentally ill, and bring awareness to the treatment of the mentally ill in the state of MD, as well as Charles county. And most importantly for the release of my daughter Romechia Simms. She has suffered enough and should be out where she is able to receive the proper treatment and care that she has been getting, so that oneday she may have a chance at productive life and a meaningful role in society. Policy recommendations suggests the State of Maryland shouldn't incarcerated the mentally ill, instead they should be place in a psychiatric treatment facility. The state of Maryland should also provide adequate preventive treatment for the mentally ill, stop eliminating psychiatric beds for those in crisis. Restore sufficient number of beds for those on crisis. Along with mental health housing,and legislation for more grants and funding for the prevention of mental crisis and promotion of mental wellness. To provide active use of state's civil commitment laws in order to provide more timely treatment to those in crisis and their families. In order to reduce the consequences of non-treatment. This must change. It could be you or someone you love. I am also looking to get donation to free my daughter from jail. You can donate at paypal.me/vontashasimms.. Help change and save a life today. RIP Ji'Aire Lee. Please sign and share.