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.
Outlaw hog vs. dog hunting/fighting in the wild
Goal: To outlaw the cruel and inhumane practice of using dogs to hunt wild boar in Florida, as well as in the 31 others states it's currently legal or have no laws on the books. Florida (as well as other states) has a wild boar problem. Hogs are numerous, omnivorous and have no natural predators, making them one of the largest nuisance pests in the state. There are many humane options for dealing with the pigs, which do not need to involve brutally killing the pigs or putting domesticated dogs in harm’s way. However, despite the existence of alternatives, Florida and other states have exempted the use of "bait-dogs" in boar hunting. This practice is incredibly dangerous and very inhumane for the dogs and boars involved. Each of the 32 states that allow this practice laws differ, but Florida animal cruelty statute states: FLORIDA ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0800-0899/0828/Sections/0828.122.html 828.122 Fighting or baiting animals; offenses; penalties.—(1) This act may be cited as “The Animal Fighting Act.”(2) As used in this section, the term:(a) “Animal fighting” means fighting between roosters or other birds or between dogs, bears, or other animals.(b) “Baiting” means to attack with violence, to provoke, or to harass an animal with one or more animals for the purpose of training an animal for, or to cause an animal to engage in, fights with or among other animals. In addition, “baiting” means the use of live animals in the training of racing greyhounds.(c) “Person” means every natural person, firm, copartnership, association, or corporation.(3) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following acts commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084:Baiting, breeding, training, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of animal fighting or baiting; (9) This section shall not apply to:.....(e) Any person using dogs to hunt wild hogs or to retrieve domestic hogs pursuant to customary hunting or agricultural practices." The exception (e) makes NO logical sense, because dogs are trained to "hunt" by chasing, cornering, attacking and fighting. So, why is it illegal to cause a dog to fight another dog, or a pig in an enclosure, but it is legal to use dogs to chase and viciously attack pigs while being trained and in the wild? Boar hunting with dogs is exactly what it sounds like: dogs trained to track and attack. They are taken out into the country, or wherever wild hogs are plentiful, and set loose to sniff out hogs. Once a hog is found the dogs will chase it down, corner, bay and attack it, usually leaving it badly injured, but normally still alive. Hunters (when they catch up) will kill the pig, usually by "sticking," which is a prolonged death vs. the use of a proper gun. Wild hogs are incredibly difficult to kill and will put up a fight until the end. Many dogs involved are wounded by tusks, bitten, trampled and sometimes killed. This is basically animal fighting, in the wild. Putting dogs in such a dangerous situation is inhumane and should not be legal. Visit http://sugarshope.org/ to learn more. PETITION LETTER: Wild boars are a major problem in Florida and in other states. The species has no natural predators, is omnivorous and repopulates very quickly: it is because of these traits that wild boars are a force hard to reckon with. There are many control methods used, some of them very inhumane. Currently it is legal for dogs to be used in wild hog hunting. This practice is extremely dangerous for the dogs involved and leads to inappropriate practices elsewhere. Dogs involved in hunting are likely to be seriously injured by the hogs. Dogs get trampled, bitten, pierced by tusks and may be infected with diseases that pigs carry. The hogs are frightened, outnumbered and suffer a painful death. I urge you to propose a ban on hunting wild pigs with dogs in order to put a stop to these inappropriate behaviors. Please consider other methods of wild pig population control, such as designating land for hogs to be displaced to, and controlling breeding of the species. Allowing dogs to hunt them is inhumane and unnecessary. Visit http://sugarshope.org/ to learn more. Sincerely, [Your Name Here]
Give All Disabled Children Medicaid
ALL DISABLED CHILDREN NEED MEDICAID At 4 months old, my daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy consisting of Spastic Quadraplegia with Dystonia. Now, age 6, my daughter needs Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech Therapy. She is responding very well to therapy. Like many families that support disabled children, finances are always a struggle. No matter how hard you work, it's never enough to cover as much therapy as you want to give your child. These therapies are the only way our child will be able to be a fully functioning member of society in the future. The Problem: Medicaid takes the family's income into account when determining eligibility. For those who are neither poor, nor rich, every dollar goes to paying for therapy and equipment. It is a huge, constant struggle on the family and there is NEVER enough money. Every dollar goes to another therapy appt or piece of necessary equipment. The Resolution: For those in the middle, we do not ask for Disability payments, nor SSI payments. We simply need Medicaid to offset what insurance companies won't pay for — the therapy needed beyond the limits of private insurance, the equipment that insurance companies refuse to cover that is necessary for our children. We beg you to join us in fighting for these minimal benefits for our children to give them a fighting chance, and so they don't have to be on Federal Disability and SSI assistance when they turn 18. Help our disabled children become independent. We ask for ALL disabled children, regardless of family income to be eligible for Medicaid at no cost.
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.
Create and pass a Texas law banning the use of hand held electronics while driving.
In the evening of April 9th, 2016, an accident occurred in Denton that took the lives of two mothers and two daughters. It happened so quickly that neither mother had a chance to brake. The accident took the lives of 41 year old Emma Lourdes Shaffer, 12 year old Emma "Tita" Shaffer, 26 year old Ashley Morgan, and 4 year old Lorelei Cotter. Two sons were left without their mother. Two men lost the loves of their lives. Young friends of the daughters had to learn hard lessons about life and death. An entire community was plunged into the depths of grief, and countless lives were changed forever. What was the cause of such a horrific accident? Phone usage while driving. You can read the details of the accident in this Denton Record-Chronicle article. The families and communities surrounding the Shaffers and the Morgan/Cotters are not alone in their grief. According to a report last year by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver EVERY SINGLE DAY. And the number of traffic fatalities is sharply rising according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recent announcement. You can read the details of those statistics in this Wall Street Journal article. We are grateful that the Texas Legislature passed laws prohibiting phone use by novice drivers, by bus drivers, and for all drivers while in school zones. But that is not enough. According to distraction.gov, 46 states have a law that at least prohibits texting and driving. Texas is one of the four that does not. It's time for Texas to protect its citizens. It's time for Texas to prevent more lives from being lost. It's time for Texas to take a stand. It's time to create and pass a Texas law banning the use of hand held electronics while driving This petition was created by the Champion Cheer Leadership Team in support of the Text Free for Tita campaign. The petition is being supported by the Cheer Athletics Icon program along with many other Texas cheerleading gyms who all felt the loss of Tita Shaffer from the All Star Cheerleading community.
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. 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. 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 2017 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. 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 struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 now!
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
Remove the "Women's Privacy Act" from 2017 Legislative Session.
To Lt. Governor Patrick: We, the women of Texas, insist that you remove the “Women’s Privacy Act” from the legislative session. We women do not need protection from our trans sisters, they are our sisters in womanhood and mean us no harm. If you wish to continue to push through such openly bigoted legislation, then the women of Texas will not have it put forth in our name. Texas women will not allow you to sully us with your hatred. We implore you, take a step in the right direction, be on the right side of history. Kill this bill before it begins. Violence against women committed by members of the trans community is statistically zero. This type of legislation flies in the face of the conservative movement for small government due to lack of factual basis for the need of it. Additionally, it reinforces the trans community as a target for hate and violence, which is already a scary reality for these members of our communities. And if that argument isn't enough, there's the economic impact of such policy. 70% of North Carolinians believe their "Bathroom Bill" has had a negative impact on the state's reputation nationally. Businesses withdrew plans to expand in NC cities costing much needed potential jobs from the region. The "Women's Privacy Act" may have arisen out of concern for public safety, but it is misguided, illogical legislation that needs to be rejected." If the legislature is committed to protecting women and girls, we would suggest they instead alocate the funds to move through the 18,400 backlogged rape kits in Texas, address the nearly 200K reports of family violence, and offer services for the 24.3% of children in Texas living in poverty. The People of Texas
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!