Utah State House
Utah State House
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!
Family’s Pet Tortured To Death. Pass “Sage’s Law” For An Animal Abuse Registry
Sage was a beloved six year old family cat who lived in Clearfield, Utah. After going missing for four days, Sage managed to crawl back home where he was found by his beloved family. His family was horrified and heartbroken at what they found. Every inch of Sage’s mangled little body had been subjected to excruciating torture. His ribs were broken. His face was beaten and his eyes were glued shut. His whiskers were cut off and his fur was shaved off. The abuse was so severe that Sage could no longer meow or walk -- Some of the torture is too graphic to put into words. Debbie Barnes from the Humane Society of Northern Utah said, “This is the worst case of abuse I have ever seen.” Veterinarians tried desperately to save his life, but after two rounds of CPR, Sage succumbed to his injuries. To date, there have been no arrests for this heinous crime. But even if the perpetrator is caught and convicted, the punishment would be a slap on the wrist: a small fine and little to no jail time. Convicted animal abusers often go on to repeat their crimes, and in some cases, go on to commit violent crimes against humans as well. That’s why I, along with thousands of members of the Cats of Instagram community are taking action. We are urging the Utah State Legislature to introduce and pass “Sage’s Law”. This legislation will establish a public Animal Abuse Registry. People convicted of animal cruelty would be required to register and prohibited from adopting or purchasing an animal ever again. Animal shelters and pet stores would have access to the registry. Local residents, like Sage’s family, would be aware of people living in their own neighborhood who have a history of animal abuse. Sage's Law also proposes upgrading animal cruelty charges from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd degree felony with $10,000 fine and 1-15 years in prison, with mandatory 10 year sentences if the animal dies as a result of the injuries. Dozens of states and cities across the country have enacted or have legislation pending to create Animal Abuse Registries. It’s time for every state to have these laws, so we’re taking our plea to Sage’s home state of Utah. Please help us urge the Utah state legislature to make “Sage’s Law” a reality. Let’s make Sage the hero he was always meant to be.
Remove the penalty that prevents people with disabilities from marrying!
When we think of marriage equality, we think about the ongoing fight LGBT couples face, but another minority group must deal with the stark reality that they are better off living in long-term committed relationships, without marriage. Like LGBT couples, these couples are denied the right to over 1,100 rights afforded to married couples. They have been denied access into their loved ones hospital rooms, faced family disputes over wills and have been denied spousal benefits from their partners workplace or the government in the event of their partners death. These are people with disabilities. Many people rely on the government for medical and financial assistance. Without medical insurance they would have no way to live independently. They would be forced into nursing homes (some already are), which would cost the government significantly more than getting Medicare and/or Medicaid does. At the same time, this assistance comes with a price. The government expects married couples to share income and that affects any assistance the couple receives. For many, their spouse makes too much (even if they make meager SSDI payments). This cuts into the healthcare services these couples receive. For some, their able-bodied partners make too much to allow them to qualify for medical assistance, if married, but not enough to pay out of pocket for costly medical equipment, medicine, or any other needs the disabled partner has. Add in the fact that even when a person with a disability can work, the opportunity for quality medical insurance is hard to find, due to their pre-existing condition and you will understand why many couples with disabilities are forced to live in domestic partnerships. Also, if two people with disabilities marry and they are on SSI or SSDI, their payments are CUT significantly, making it hard for them to maintain independence and afford their own food, shelter, clothing or other necessities. The time to stand up is now!! Let your Senators and Representatives know you want to remove the income caps placed on individuals with disabilities, so they can keep the government assistance and still be able to get married. Every loving couple deserves the right to marry. No one should have to choose between their wheelchair and their love, their therapy and their love, their medication and their love, their ability to eat or have a roof over their head and their love!! Those are not choices!! Help make it possible for those with disabilities to share their love without being penalized!Join our fight for marriage equality for people with disabilities:https://www.facebook.com/MarriageEqualityForPeopleWithDisabilities
Say NO to dumping toxic coal ash, lead and mercury on the Great Salt Lake!
An east coast corporation is seeking a permit to dump toxic coal ash at the tip of the Promontory Point peninsula - putting one of the nation’s largest industrial waste collections in the center of the Great Salt Lake and next to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and active fault lines. Coal ash, also referred to as coal combustion residuals or CCR, is produced primarily from the burning of coal in coal-fired power plants. Coal ash contains contaminants like mercury, lead, cadmium, selenium and arsenic and is considered to be hazardous. These contaminants can pollute waterways, ground water, drinking water and the air. If approved, this east coast corporation will have created one of the nation’s largest industrial waste landfills - putting humans and animals at risk. Millions of Birds at Risk The proposed coal ash dump is less than 20 miles from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the Ogden Waterfowl Management Area, and it lies directly on the migratory path of millions of birds consisting of more than 250 species, including such species as the bald eagle, white-faced ibis, american white pelican, snowy plover, black-necked stilt, cinnamon teal and tundra swan. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge contains nearly 80,000 acres of marsh, open water, uplands, and alkali mudflats. The concentrated pollutants in coal ash, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and selenium, cause fatal deformities in birds nesting and feeding near CCR landfills and polluted waters. Purity of Fresh Water Supply at Risk When you combine one of the largest municipal solid waste landfills with some of the largest bird habitats in the nation, you get double trouble for the drinking water supply of nearby residents. Birds, especially gulls, feeding on decomposing waste deposit very high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus into nearby streams, rivers, wetlands, lakes and reservoirs when they defecate into the water. This results in eutrophication, a leading cause of damage to freshwater and coastal marine ecosystems. Among the results are noxious toxins (e.g., microcystin and anatoxin-a; Chorus and Bartram 1999). Associated algal blooms (HABs) have been linked with degradation of water quality (Francis 1878), destruction of economically important fisheries (Burkholder et al. 1992) and (3) public health risks (Morris 1999). There is a whole industry related to landfill bird deterrent methods and products, as landfills attract birds. It is simply unacceptable to build a landfill of this size where these birds are already nesting! A Ticking Earthquake Time Bomb Making matters worse, the proposed toxic coal ash dump is located next to active fault lines. Over 25 earthquakes have hit within 70 miles radius in recent history, including one 13 miles NW of the dump and another 19 miles NE. Astonishingly, no significant earthquake study has been done related to the toxic coal ash landfill and the risks of being located so close to fault lines. Like with many other environmental concerns, the east coast corporation that stands to profit from the toxic coal ash dumping is denying any risk. They stated, “The landfill’s geologic and hydrogeological setting is appropriate for developing a landfill because there are no major geologic hazards (active faults or subsidence areas)...” despite the proximity of known faults. Join the fight. Take Action. Sign our petition to keep toxic coal ash from being dumped at the shores of the Great Salt Lake and near millions of birds. Submit a comment to the Governor of Utah and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) related to the lack of comprehensive environmental and geological studies that have been conducted for the proposed dump.Comments to DEQ should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the subject line: “Promontory Point Landfill”. Share this petition with friends and families who are concerned about protecting the Great Salt Lake, Utah’s water supply and the millions of protected birds that call the shores of Great Salt Lake home.
Reinstate Prop 2
ProblemOn November 6th, 2018, Utah voters, participating in record numbers and wanting their voices heard, passed Proposition 2 to legalize medical cannabis by a margin of 53% - 47%. It represented a victory for democracy, regardless of one's position on the issue.In previous legislative sessions, the Utah State House and Senate have refused to pass a bill legalizing medical cannabis, despite strong public sentiment and several opportunities to do so. This deliberate inaction by lawmakers led citizens to create the initiative and leave the issue up to Utah's voters. Once it became clear in the polls that Proposition 2 had widespread support and a significant chance of passing, legislators suddenly changed their tune from apathy to concern. A compromise had never been in the cards for these elected officials until it looked like they wouldn't be getting their own way.All of this culminated today in 60 members of Utah's House of Representatives, 22 members of Utah's Senate, and Governor Gary Herbert completely disregarding the voice and will of Utah citizens by effectively repealing Proposition 2 with their own legislation (H.B. 3001). Not a single business day after Proposition 2 went into effect, state legislators blatantly silenced and disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Utah voters.SolutionRepeal House Bill 3001 and reinstate Proposition 2 as approved by the majority of Utah voters.Whether you're in favor of legalizing medical cannabis or not, you should be concerned that our elected officials can so easily and callously throw your vote away if they don't agree with you. Complicit silence is not the answer! Demand Utah's legislature to repeal this un-democratic bill and reinstate Utah's voters!
Leave Utah Medical Cannabis Act Intact
Utah successfully passed the Medical Cannabis Act by the will of the people. Now backdoor meetings are being held to create a "compromise" to dismantle the bill the people have chosen. Sign the petition to demand Utah lawmakers respect the will of the people of Utah and leave the bill untouched and as intended by the people that voted for it.
Say No To The Killing of Feral Animals
Utah Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, wants to change the state’s animal cruelty law to make it legal to shoot and kill feral animals. This would include not only pigeons and doves, but also feral cats and stray dogs. Shooting is singled out as an acceptable method in his bill, but Oda said other means that would be allowed include using a bow and arrow, clubbing or decapitating some animals. According to Oda, no-kill methods, such as relocation or catch, neuter and release, are less efficient and more expensive. The bill specifically allows "the humane shooting or killing of an animal if the person doing the shooting or killing has a reasonable belief that the animal is a feral animal." It does not specify that only law enforcement or peace officers are allowed to kill the animals. Instead, any member of the public may kill an animal they believe to be feral, be it a true feral cat or simply a family pet who likes to prowl outside. And how is it humane or acceptable to shoot, club or decapitate any animal, let alone a cat or dog? Add your voice and just say no to this amendment to the Animal Cruelty Act.
Tell the state's to stop supporting Pigeon shoots
The pigeon shoot takes place all across the US, even though the acts are illegal. Most the pigeons are starved and deprived of water before being thrown into the air and shot down. The act is cowardly and inhumane. Then, afterwards, most of them are left to die in awful ways, varying from being abandoned and burned alive, all of which is illegal. The act is cruel and no animal deserves to suffer like that, at least in my opinion. I hope we can at least make a difference and save these animals lives. Note- Pigeons are actually not as gross as people make them out to be. https://youtu.be/HcEobsdckoc https://youtu.be/Zbhr0nOlBLI https://youtu.be/7WAMdgktAaQ http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/03/sociopaths_leave_pigeons_dead.html?__vfz=rtw_top_pages%3D1335600012222 https://www.animallaw.info/statute/al-cruelty-alabama-consolidated-cruelty-statutes#s11_14 http://thetandd.com/news/local/groups-target-pigeon-shoot-file-complaint-alleging-drones-shot-down/article_6e298813-0189-52e4-945a-8f0eff0a2d1f.html http://www.phillyvoice.com/pennsylvania-clings-to-pigeon-shoots-that-have-nearly-vanished-nationwide/
Impeach Judge Scott N. Johansen
If Judge Johansen wants to act like Judge Judy, then he should get a reality TV show. In the meantime, his past and present conduct is unbecoming of a judicial officer. On November 11th, Judge Johansen ordered that a child be removed from the home of a married lesbian couple, claiming that the child would be better off in the home of a heterosexual couple over the objection of the foster parents, the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and the Guardian Ad Litem Office assigned to represent the child. After public outcry, Judge Johansen partially reversed his Order. Judge Johansen has previously come under attack for his tactics. In 1997, Judge Johansen was reprimanded by the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission for "demeaning the judicial office" after slapping a 16-year-old boy during a 1995 meeting at the Price courthouse. In 2007, Judge Johansen was criticized for threatening to take a homeschooling mom’s children away if she failed to enroll them in public school and insure that they were in attendance every day. Johansen was also criticized in 2012 for ordering a woman to cut her 13-year-old daughter's ponytail as punishment for the teen cutting the hair off a 3-year-old girl at a restaurant. It is not enough to simply refer to the Judge’s conduct as ‘puzzling’ and suggest that he must follow the law. Judge Johansen should be impeached and removed from office.