Texas State Senate
Texas State Senate
30 Day Hold from Euthanasia for Harvey Animals in Texas
We are writing this petition, in hopes of having a mandatory 30 day hold for all displaced animals in all Texas shelters due to Hurricane Harvey and for any other area disasters in Texas in the future. With a disaster of this magnitude there are still many stranded, homeless and devastated people and families who were separated from their pets due to the flood waters, destroyed homes, and the rescue process. Numerous people are still without cars, transportation or the means to locate their pets. OVERVIEW: The animal situation in Houston and Texas is dire. Dozens of thousands of strays, at one point conservatively estimated at 1.2 million, were on the streets before Hurricane Harvey. There are few laws about breeding, selling or spaying/neutering animals with little or no enforcement of any laws that do exist. Backyard breeding and dog fighting, especially involving the bully breeds, is rampant. Dogs and puppies are sold openly out of cars in parking lots. The Houston SPCA (HSPCA) is overwhelmed with the many reports of cruelty as animals are dumped and wander the streets. Only a couple of places offer low cost spay/neuter and there are few if no free clinics. Shelters are already over-crowded and animals can be killed in 3 days under city law if strays/owner surrenders are not adopted out. Thousands and thousands DIE yearly. This is true for Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend, Montgomery, and Galveston County which can all be considered part of the greater Houston area as they are bedroom communities to Houston. THE NEED FOR A 30 DAY HOLD FOR HARVEY ANIMALS: There is no current legislation protecting displaced animals for longer than the typical 3 day hold time at government animal control shelters during a disaster - meaning an animal coming into a county or municipal or any animal shelter could be legally euthanized after only 72 hours. People report that FEMA: (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/conferences/iaconference/2010/wednesday_830am_household_pets_intro_1.pdf - Page 7) and the Federal PETS Act: (http://www.akc.org/content/news/articles/federal-pets-act-information/ ) require hold times for 30 days or more in a disaster area to reunite people with pets. However, we have found no written documentation or information that supports this and have learned there is no mandate to hold animals in a government animal control/shelter for longer than usual hold times of 3 days (72 hours) during a disaster. It is each animal shelter's discretion in the State of Texas as to whether they extend the hold time or not. Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and has numerous animal shelters located in different areas for families to locate their pet. But, to our knowledge, NONE of the government animal control animal shelters are no kill shelters. There are only 2 no kill animal shelters in and around the Houston area, both of which are private shelters - Friends for Life and Special Pals. Many animals that came in at the beginning of Harvey are already out of "time" and legally can be, have been, and are being euthanized at this very moment. Indeed, some unfortunate animals are rapidly approaching their 30 day hold limit for shelters that did agree to give the 30 days. There are unimaginable numbers of displaced animals and Austin Pets Alive nonprofit has already taken in more than 1000 displaced pets from Hurricane Harvey and expects to reach 2000 soon if not more. Many local nonprofit organizations and out of town rescue groups and nonprofits such as Best Friends Animal Society are doing all they can to rescue and care for thousands of Texas animals, with many more to be rescued - hopefully to be reunited with their families or placed into new homes if the families cannot take them. However, this time limit is tremendously challenging for people who have already lost so much. Record-keeping of the displaced animals appears to be chaotic and animals are being transferred out of town/area, making it even more difficult for people to simply LOCATE their pet. Government animal shelters requirement to only hold displaced Harvey animals for 3 days is, in our opinion, inhumane for both the animals and their families who have likely lost everything. Rescue groups cannot even plan to save these animals or transfer them to safety or to fosters if they are rushed to euthanasia in just 3 days. Found animals are now being directed to BARC or HSPCA - the kill shelters now! There are still thousands of injured and/or stray animals. The City of Houston does not want to address these problems. Ignoring the problem will not resolve the issues. Right now individuals and rescues are desperately forming groups and transport chains to try to pull dogs/cats and get them to safety - but the numbers are staggering....and overwhelming and they are running out of time in many cases. It's extremely challenging, if not impossible, to reunite animals with only a 3 day hold, or even the 30 day hold that is soon ending. Many are elderly people who cannot get to computers to search through the multiple difficult data bases to look for an animal they may be missing, and in many cases animals are not even showing up in the data bases. A better system must ultimately be put into place so this does not happen again. One database for all animals involved would help, better evacuation plans and shelters taking pets would help, suspending euthanizing at local shelters while animals are moved to rescues or foster groups would help, mainstreaming and keeping records to where animals are moved would help. In short, a greater discussion must be had very soon about the problem with the over pet population in the greater Houston area and surrounding counties, along with what to do in these emergencies. In the meantime, we are asking the State of Texas, and the animal shelters for The City of Houston, Harris County, Brazoria County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Galveston County and all the surrounding cities and areas affected by Hurricane Harvey to PLEASE have compassion for these animals and their families. Please give them a chance to reunite with their families if they can be, by instituting a state-wide minimum 30 day hold, for the sake of the Harvey victims and their beloved pets. Thank you. Signed, The Righteous Paws Group (formerly The Go Team Rescue Group) Wendy Thompson, Mia Bendixsen Shorey, Sheri Boyd Haynes, Godiva K. Guillory, Lisa Carroll, Tara Taheri, Francene Chlon Weber, Chrystal Spencer, Rebecca Kornblum, Sallie Humphries, Deanna L. Lopez, Jimisu Balko, Tina Eilders, Ashley Cyrena Johnson Photo Credit: Nancy Wilmont. Photo taken of actual Hurricane Harvey displaced dogs rescued by Angie Shawn Sanchez. Angie rescued the lucky mom and 10 puppies and currently is caring for all of them. The photo was taken when the pups were loaded into her car. Shelters in Corpus Christi where these dogs are located are able to euthanize in 3 days. Another mom and her pups was picked up by the county shelter the same day. They were euthanized.
Sales Tax on 501c3 Organization's Adoption Fees
It was brought to our attention this week that 501c3 tax exempt organizations are required by the letter of the law in Texas to collect sales tax on adoption fees/donations. Not only does this need to start being done immediately, but 7 years of back taxes and penalties are also required to be paid. While this is the letter of the law, it does not appear that this is the way the law was intended nor the way the law has been interpreted by rescues, CPA's, or the comptroller office itself until this week. This change and the back taxes and penalties will cause many rescues in the state to close their doors. This puts the animal population at higher risk and will cost the state more in housing, caring for, and euthanizing animals that would have been helped by rescues. We need the law to be rewritten to make 501c3 rescue organizations exempt as shelter's are in the state of Texas. Our Congress men and women need to amend the Texas Tax Code Sec. 151.343 and the Texas Administrative Code Title 34 Part 1 Chapter 3 Subchapter O Rule 3.316 to read: (m) Sales by nonprofit animal shelters and rescues. The sale, including the acceptance of a fee for adoption, of an animal by a nonprofit animal shelter or 501(c)(3) rescue is exempt from sales and use taxes. The term "animal shelter" is defined in Health and Safety Code, §823.001, as a facility that keeps or legally impounds stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals. The term "501(c)(3) animal rescue is one that is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as one operating for the purpose of saving homeless, abandoned or unwanted animals and is in good standing with the IRS.
Recreational & Medicinal Marijuana Legalization In Texas
We are in a new day and age where marijuana has been proven to cure and prevent cancer, seizures, parkinson's disease, glaucoma and more. We need to come together and make the legalization of marijuana available to our great fellow Texans who are in need of this plant. So please join me and other great Texans make it happen. Cause remember we the people can make anything happen if we come together and make our voices heard.
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
We want to make September 11th, Patriots' Day, a federal holiday.
The purpose of this petition is to get the United States government to recognize September 11th, Patriots' Day, as a federal holiday. A moment of silence does not do justice to the 3,000 people that were slaughtered on September 11th and then the military service members and government workers who died in the wars since September 11th. It should be a day to spend with friends and family, celebrating our freedom and life here in this wonderful country. We hold a minute of silence and lose the significance of the day as we do our usual work. Friends and family, especially those who lost people on September 11th or in the wars, should be able to spend the time together, to remember and celebrate the lives of those that have died. It should be a federal holiday for everyone to take time off to recognize the significance of that day. I served 9 years in the army prior to September 11th, fighting in one war and 3 deployments. My oldest son fought as a Marine in 3/5 Marines for 4 years, serving as a machine gunner in Afghanistan. He came home alive but many of his friends didn't and we've lost people every year since September 11th. That day is the most significant day in the history of this country in the 21st century. Not since the attack on Pearl Harbor have we seen our country attacked on our own land. This should be a day to celebrate all of us, but particularly the 3,000 that died on September 11th, 2001. 3,000 innocent people that were working at their jobs or taking a flight, killed mercilessly. We celebrate life and heal the wounds that we, as a country, have suffered and it helps in reinforcing the fortitude needed by Americans to continue our battle to bring peace about.
Rename West Road in Houston, Harris County Texas after Deputy Darren Goforth.
Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered on 8/28/2015 by a cowardly individual. Let's honor and remember our fallen hero by renaming West Road in Houston Texas and the Surrounding Harris County after Deputy Darren Goforth. Sign this petition to let your voice be heard. This country needs all the law enforcement officers and they need to know we indeed do care. Will You Be The Change?? An African American male shot a uniformed sheriff's deputy "execution-style" while he fueled his patrol car in the Houston area, killing him instantly, authorities said. Deputy Darren H. Goforth, 47, was returning to his car after pumping gas Friday night. The gunman walked up from behind him and opened fire for no apparent reason, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said. When Goforth fell to the ground, the gunman stood over him and shot him some more, authorities said. He died at the scene. "He was literally gunned down in what appears to be an unprovoked, execution-style killing," Hickman said. "I have been in law enforcement for 45 years, I have never seen anything this cold-blooded." If you would like to contact us for support, Information, or to volunteer your time please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Updates are shared via our website: http://www.goforthrd.com PLEASE SHARE SHARE SHARE!!! #GoforthRd #RememberDeputyGoforth
Save Lost Dog Trailhead
El Paso City Council is planning to sell the land which includes Lost Dog Trailhead to developers. This westside trail is used by hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Lost Dog also connects to a system of other trails, including those located within the Tom Mays Unit of the Franklin Mountains State Park. Developers are being allowed to encroach upon our desert and mountain landscapes in order to build more unneeded housing, shopping and entertainment centers.
Texas Legislature Must Halt UT System's Hostile Houston Expansion
UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven has announced plans to purchase 332 acres in Houston only 5 miles from the University of Houston. If the State of Texas is to allow duplication of services and competition as a practice for higher education in the future, then we respectfully ask the legislature to provide parity in resources, including Permanent University Fund (PUF) land-grant funding, for the University of Houston System before allowing the University of Texas System’s expansion into Houston. “Competition is good in business. Competition is bad among Texas state agencies. It creates unnecessary duplication, and it wastes taxpayers' money.” - Welcome Wilson Sr. The University of Houston Alumni Association Foundation’s mission is to serve and support the University of Houston, all of its alumni, and all of its students. We are committed to supporting the University of Houston as a premier institution, and want to express our serious concerns and reservations surrounding the University of Texas System’s proposed expansion in the Houston area by purchasing 332 acres of land less than 10 miles from the University of Houston’s main campus. Academic expansion in the State of Texas is regulated by the Texas Legislature and through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. There are several examples in the recent past where Texas A&M University, the University of Texas itself, the University of Houston, and other schools have sought permission from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to use taxpayer funds for expansion throughout the state. The University of Texas System should follow the same rules with this proposed expansion. Getting permission from state regulators before using state tax dollars is an important check to ensure that taxpayer funds are being used in the best way to strategically serve all citizens in all regions of Texas. Because the University of Texas System has not followed this process as it attempts to purchase land in Houston, we formally express the following concerns with the University of Texas System’s proposed expansion: 1. The proposed expansion violates the spirit of the State of Texas’ higher education framework under which limited state dollars are distributed to public universities to provide college access to the maximum number of students, while avoiding academic program duplication. 2. The proposed expansion violates the defined processes and rules set forth by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that are designed both to: (a) guarantee a geographic balance throughout the state so that the higher education needs of all Texans are served; and (b) require that new programs and course offerings meet a high standard of need, while taking into account pre-existing colleges, service areas, and programs. The attempted expansion without coordinating with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board does not allow state regulators the opportunity to ensure an efficient and effective use of resources. 3. No strategic or financial plan has been shared with the public to evaluate the purpose of the University of Texas System’s proposed expansion. Thus, no study can be conducted to determine whether the greater Houston area desires the programs or courses the University of Texas System proposes to offer, and no analysis can be done to determine whether the University of Houston offers similar programs or courses. 4. The University of Texas System has a disproportionate share of state resources through the Permanent University Fund (PUF). These funds will augment the proposed expansion, either directly or indirectly. We do not agree that the University of Texas System should receive a disproportionate share of state PUF monies, and certainly do not agree those funds should be used to augment a land purchase in Houston so that it can stake a presence in Houston for future programs. 5. There are three large state universities – the University of Houston, the University of Houston - Downtown, and Texas Southern University – each within a 6-mile radius of the proposed location of the University of Texas System’s proposed expansion. An adverse impact on these Hispanic Serving Institutions and Minority Serving Institutions and the students served is inevitable. We also request parity in rules for future University of Houston System expansion into other geographic locations.
Outdated Child support equality for both parents!
In 1975 Child support enforcement was put into place don't you think this law may be outdated? Currently many couples seek divorce and fight over who is custodial parent. A good amount of the time the mother is automatically granted this in Texas. Do you think it is right and fair that because a couple decides to end their marriage that one is forced to be the every other weekend parent and maybe a dinner date during the week? There are even circumstances where parents share 50/50 visitations and the non-custodial is still paying a ridiculous amount of Child Support! This petition is calling for Texas to bring equality to both parents! Unless the non-custodial parent is a deadbeat that does not want to see their kids both parents should share equal amount of time and CS should be dramatically reduced or be nothing! A couples marriage that ends should be just that! The non-custodial parent should not be supporting the custodial parent that ended with their marriage! The pain of divorce is one thing it's even worse when one parent is granted more time with the children and the other is forced into a horrible schedule with limited time to see their children! Help me fight for equal rights and fairness so both parents can live their lives, see their children equally and stop CS abuse! Standard rights should inculde granted that both parents are in a sane state of mind and does not pose a threat to the children: 1. 50/50 visitations equal time for parents! 2. Fair Child support or none at all! Each parent has to live, if both decide to end the marriage supporting one another is over. Both parents should work just as hard as the other and both should be required to hold a job to their education level! Example: what if both parents make close to equal amount why should one parent have to give up x amount when both can equally support the child? 3. If one parent makes a lot more money then the other then the courts should look at what the non-custodial parent makes compared to the custodial and see how much time the non-custodial can spend with their child and determine a fair amount of CS or even have no child support at all, the standard 20% for 1, 25% for 2 etc should be done away with. I believe if the system was fair then we would see dramatic changes in divorce rates and ripped apart families. If parents knew they couldn't use the kids as leverage if they won custody I think couples would try harder to make their marriage work! Children should never be used as leverage on the other parent! It is not normal no matter if it is divorce or 2 people having a baby together to exile one parent!
Block dangerous bill to prop up dog racing in Texas
GREY2K USA has learned that a bill will be filed in Austin to breathe new life into Gulf Greyhound Park. Specifically, Texas Senate Joint Resolution 6 is a constitutional amendment that seeks to legalize expanded gambling at racetracks and that earmarks slot machine profits to prop up live greyhound racing. Pari-mutuel wagering was first legalized in the Lone Star state in 1986. Thankfully, there is now one dog track regularly conducting live greyhound racing - Gulf Greyhound Park of La Marque. But two other greyhound facilities, Valley Race Park and Gulf Coast Racing, have shown interest in following suit. We can't let this happen! According to records obtained from the Texas Racing Commission, 1,351 greyhound injuries were reported at Gulf Greyhound Park between January 2008 and August 4, 2011. During this same period, forty-nine greyhounds died or were euthanized. The most commonly reported injury was a broken leg. Other reported injuries include torn muscles, puncture wounds, lacerations, dislocations, sprains, paralysis and a fractured skull. Read our full report here. Additionally, evidence has recently surfaced exposing the use of live lure training in the state. Help us fight the proposed subsidy now. We are very close to the end of dog racing in Texas. It would be a terrible tragedy if this cruel activity were to be bailed out now. Please sign our petition to all members of the Texas Senate and ask them to reject this misguided attempt to prop up cruelty to greyhound racing.