Utah State Senate
Utah State Senate
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members reunite with their families
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served for 10 years mostly 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. sailors and military contractors previously stationed overseas. In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. Many Amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. sailors 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 reunite 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 reunited 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 reunite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2016 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 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 reunite with her dad. You can find them in the Amerasian group pages on Facebook. Search angel services are available to both sides.There is a PBS documentary called "Left by the Ship" (2010), the video above, documenting everyday life and their personal struggles as a Filipino Amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggle to connect to their American military fathers, to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2016 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
Stop the Senseless Slaughter of Wildlife on I-80!
Interstate I-80 in Utah from the top of Parley's Summit through Kimball Junction/Park City is an absolute KILLING GROUND for majestic large wildlife including MOOSE (the iconic symbol of our nearby mountain communities), Elk and Deer. Nineteen Moose have been hit and killed in the last two years including two babies, a pregnant cow and yearling bulls. Wildlife fencing ends at Parley's summit, leaving animals to cross a congested high-speed area blocked by a new high concrete barrier on the Eastbound lanes. Once a Moose or other animal steps on to the highway, they have absolutely NO CHANCE of SURVIVAL. Our local Shiras Moose population has been devastated. For the last few years, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has been working hard to get funding and construction going for fencing in the area. Though some fencing has been recently approved, there remains a budget shortfall of $1.5 million. A public-private partnership has developed with a local non-profit Save People Save Wildlife www.savepeoplesavewildlife.org and UDOT to increase funding and get more fencing put up faster! So, for the safety of all drivers on this major Interstate as well as our wildlife, we kindly ask you to sign our petition and consider donating to complete wildlife fencing in this vital habitat. All donations will go directly to wildlife mitigation installations, fencing materials and local contractor costs, monitored by our members.
Stop the northern Utah valley animal shelters euthanasia of innocent animals
Dozens of innocent and sweet lives are constantly taken from the the north Utah valley animal shelter. They give less of a chance for the sweet and gentle cats that are there. I've volunteered there on many occasions and it breaks my heart when an animal is not adopted in the short time that the animal shelter gives them. These were people's pets and they're always so excited to see people come in. These people could be looking, a family to take them home or the person to kill them. I adopted my dog from there, my friends have adopted from there. We have to make this a no kill shelter. You barely have to do anything to save so many valuable lives. Please, help me support this cause.
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.
Stiffer penalty's for child abusers and murders in the state of Utah
Ethan’s Law To whom it may concern, This is a petition to request that in addition to the existing laws in place to prevent and protect children from child abuse, the following is added under the title of “Ethan’s Law.” We would like to see punishments of a higher severity put in place against those who have inflicted intentional bodily harm upon a minor. Utah law 78A-6-105 defines abuse under the following: • Nonaccidental harm of a child • Threatened harm of a child • Sexual exploitation • Sexual abuse • Human trafficking of a child Per Utah law, the current charge for intentional abuse of a child is a second degree felony. The possible penalties for a second degree felony at this time are one to fifteen years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines. There is not a specific record of the charges that accompany child abuse resulting in death, and as such many cases can receive a plea bargain to reduce the charges. We would like this to change. The following list contains the changes we would like to enforce in Utah law under the title of “Ethan’s Law:” • Minimum charges for child neglect: 1 to 10 years- class A misdemeanor • Minimum charges for child abuse: 50 years to life, with lifetime parole and regular psychiatric exams, home visits, and periodic police monitoring- Second or third degree felony • Minimum charges for aggravated child abuse: 50 years to live • Minimum charges for child abuse resulting in death: Capital offense with minimum sentencing of life in prison, and maximum sentencing of death. • Minimum charges for murdering a child: Capital offense with minimum sentencing of life in prison, and maximum sentencing of death. We would like these changes to be made under the name of “Ethan’s Law” in honor of an 18-month old boy named Ethan Antes. Ethan was killed while in the care of his step father, Codey Jolley. On the night of April 29th, 2016, Codey Jolley called 911 to request help for Ethan, stating that he had left him in the bath tub to go clean up the apartment and cook himself a burrito. According to Jolley, Ethan was face down in the water upon his return. He claimed that he had attempted to resuscitate Ethan, but “realized he didn’t know what he was doing” and called the local authorities. The 911 operator was trying to walk him through the process of CPR when Jolley hung up the phone after refusing to provide the address for the emergency call. After 45 minutes of searching and reportedly being directed to the apartment by a neighbor, emergency responders found Ethan face down on the floor in the hall. Ethan was dry and unconscious, and Codey was sitting on the bed instead of trying to revive the boy. The paramedics tried to revive Ethan for 45 minutes, and finally got a pulse before rushing him to Primary Children’s Hospital. His mother was escorted there by police, where she found her son. They put Ethan on life support after declaring that he was brain dead, and Ethan was taken off of life support the morning of May 1st. His mother, Riki, held her sweet baby boy in her arms while his spirit left this world. Codey has since been charged with murder. But Codey has the opportunity to plea for a lesser sentence in regard to the things he did to an 18-month old little boy. This man that stole the life of a sweet toddler, someone’s son, someone’s grandson, the light in the eyes of every member of Ethan’s family, has the ability to potentially walk free. Why? Because our justice system does not have laws in place to prevent it. More often than not, a child abuser walks free because the child they abused cannot testify to the abuse due to their inability to speak. There are countless cases in which the abuser walks away with hardly a month spent behind bars. This is what needs to change. We want our laws to change permanently, and in a way that will not enable the abuser to hurt another child. The people that steal the innocence from children, their lives, their childhood, should NOT be permitted to ever walk free again. Please join us in our fight to achieve justice for Ethan, as well as for every single other child who left this world without a voice. These abusers will no longer get to live their way of life without consequence, and you can help. Be a voice for the voiceless. Fight for justice for every abused child. Right now, at this very moment, there is a child being abused. You have the power to stop it, and signing this petition is the first step to ensuring that all children are safe. Our children are our future. Protect them.
Trophy Hunting is Senseless and should be Illegal
It is understandable that some people must hunt animals for food. But, the senseless slaughter of animals for trophies, should be illegal in this country. Is it any wonder why people dislike Americans all around the world when it is predominantly us that pay for trophy hunts through organizations such as the Safari Club? These hunts even include endangered species from all around the world. They also sponsor hunts to kill our own animals such as the Alaskan bears and the dwindling California wild cats. We are asking for common sense legislation that would make it illegal for any American to hunt ANY endangered species here or around the world. Americans seeking to adorn their walls with a majestic animal such as an elephant or lion should be prosecuted (read about Cecil the Lion killed in a cowardly way and left to die slowly in pain with an arrow in his side). An American dentist was the last being he saw as he died slowly from his wounds. A minimum of 30 days in jail and a $100,000 fine would be a good start. These fees should be spent on education about the destruction caused by these cowardly hunters in terms of the costs of the animals lost, the perpetuation of hatred of our people from abroad and even the ridiculous amount of money spent by these people to kill defenseless animals in the wild "legally". We are asking that all nature lovers and other fair-minded Americans stand up to these senseless activities which are based on arrogance, ignorance and a lack of compassion. It's time we speak out for those that cannot do so for themselves and ask our federal and state legislatures to condemn these people and pass common sense laws to protect animals here and abroad from these savage activities. As Americans, we are better than this. We share this world with many species that deserve our protection. Let us be an example of compassion and conservation rather than destruction around the world and here at home.
Make Granite Highschool a historical landmark.
It is important to remember the past. It will help attract tourists. And it is a good gathering place for the community. By making Granite Highschool a historical site the city of South Salt Lake has a site for festivals and gatherings that will encourage commerce and harmony. It is important to teach people how important education and learning is. It will draw people together.
Limit days and time of use for Fireworks in Utah
The firework use in Utah, since the deregulation of "extreme" fireworks, has created a scenario where people are bombarded multiple days and hours by excessive fireworks use in their own homes. An attempt needs to be made to reasonably control and enforce fireworks so they are not so excessive - the current window is not limited enough to not infringe on those who have a right not to be bombarded excessively by extreme noise. It is entirely reasonable that people should have the right to enjoy fireworks at their homes but it should be equally reasonable people shouldn't be bombarded in their own homes with extreme noise for multiple days and hours.