Virginia State House
Virginia State House
Pass a Virginia law to protect dogs in harsh weather
Legislation is greatly needed in the State of Virginia, requiring dog owners to keep their pets indoors once the temperature drops below 35 degrees, or exceeds 85 degrees. Currently, there is no protection for dogs left outside, and severe weather poses a fatal threat to these defenseless creatures. Rainbow is a recent example: On the morning of January 12, 2017, a dog was found frozen to death in Accomack County, Virginia, surrounded by snow, ice, and vomit. Her neck was bound tightly by a short chain that prevented her from reaching her plastic, uninsulated igloo, and she died an agonizing death, alone. She was named posthumously named "Rainbow." Rainbow's owner, Jose Berlanga, was charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of failure to provide proper shelter. General District Judge Gordon Vincent found Berlanga guilty of both counts. He was fined $650 and sentenced to 60 days in jail. However, the entire jail sentence was suspended, as was $500 of the $650 fine. In the end, Berlanga paid a fine of $150 for Rainbow's death. Unfortunately, it is a common practice to leave dogs outside in extreme weather. These are just a FEW cases from Virginia Two Pit Bull Dogs Freeze to Death in Frederick County, VA Owner gets second animal cruelty charge after pit bull dies from heat stroke in Henrico, VA Two dogs die of heat stroke in Newport News, VA Suffolk, VA woman charged with cruelty in dog death Dog dies of excessive heat in Bristol, VA Dog freezes to death in Accomack County, VA (Rainbow) Dog Dies After Being Left in Hot Car Outside Virginia PetSmart The general consensus is that dogs are not susceptible to harsh climates, and that their fur makes them resistant to such temperatures. This is untrue. To the contrary, dogs suffer a great deal in these conditions. Numerous animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA and The Humane Society of the United States, have urged pet owners to keep their animals inside during times of extreme and inclement weather. Recently, there have been several cases of people leaving their pets chained outside, day and night, in extreme weather. Many of these animals FROZE TO DEATH and there is NO LEGAL RECOURSE TO PROTECT THEM OR TO HOLD THEIR OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE! We are appealing to you to help us protect our best friends! Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed Emergency Legislation on February 21, 2017 to protect animals from harsh weather: DC Mayor signs "Momma's Law" See a similar law passed by Massachusetts last year: malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter248 Illinois: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=099-0311 And in Indianapolis: https://www.municode.com/library/in/indianapolis_-_marion_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TITIIIPUHEWE_CH531AN_ARTIVCATR_S531-401GEREANCATR
Impeach Judge TJ Hauler for Giving a Sexual Abuser No Jail Time
Similar to the Brock Turner case, a convicted abuser may be getting off on simply registering as a sex offender for sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl on school property. Logan Osborn, a former high school wrestler in Virginia, was 18 when he was accused of “tying a belt around a 14-year-old girl's neck and hands and forcing her to perform a sex act in late April of 2017.” Osborn plead guilty to having “carnal knowledge” of a minor and was sentenced to 10 years in jail with eight years suspended — meaning he would have to serve two years. But last week his judge, Judge TJ Hauler, stayed the two-year term. Osborn will serve no jail time. This is because his lawyers claimed the girl consented, even though she was crying when it happened, was tied up, and is not of the age of consent in Virginia (where it happened). This isn’t the first time Osborn has been accused of sexual assault and a Clinical psychologist testified that he has a "moderately high risk" of reoffending. When I was this girls age, I was sexually assaulted in another high school just down the road. To see this happen again to someone so close to me is unbearable. So many victims go without justice against their abusers but through taking action, we can fix this. As we saw with the #MeToo movement and other sexual assault cases, this affects many of us as every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. This girl (14 years old!!) came forward immediately about her experience while it takes most of us much longer. She is strong and brave and deserves our support in her time of need. Please join me in calling for the impeachment of Judge TJ Hauler if he does not reinstate the original sentence. We need justice for this young girl and other sexual assault survivors. No one should have to watch their abuser get off with no punishment at all. Her pain is worth more than that. Thank you, Emily
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!
Establish a State-Level Electoral College for Fair Representation
Every election cycle in the state of Virginia, among other states, we see a map of a largely Red state somehow ending up Blue. This is due largely to the densely populated areas of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton. Democrats gain control due to these few areas and get to legislate the very vast majority of the rest of the state. This is simply poor, disproportionate, and lopsided representation. In order to fix this problem, I am proposing an electoral college at the state level so that there is fair and equal representation for the citizens of every state, not just on the Federal level. The idea that very few Democrat controlled areas get to control and legislate a much larger Republican area is just not feasible or logical. A state level electoral college can be enacted either by Federal mandate or amendment to state constitutions. This is a much needed and long overdue change.
Petition to Restore Parole in Virginia
Since 1995, a year after the Virginia Assembly passed legislation to abolish parole, Virginia has built thirteen new prisons and many new jails even as the crime rate has declined. The money spent building new prisons to house those serving long sentences could be better used in three ways: to fund rehabilitative programs for inmates in the prisons, to fund re-entry programs for those leaving prison, and to fund education in Virginia to prevent children from going to prison. The fact that the state of Virginia only spends approximately $10,597 a year per student in public schools, and $25,129 per year per inmate in prison, demonstrates that state officials entrusted with the duty and responsibility of fulfilling their accountability to the public have neglected the serious needs of the commonwealth.
Declare The Day After The Super Bowl A National Holiday
Most people like to watch the Super Bowl with family and friends, and sometimes those people live far away from you. Most people would love to go visit them to watch together, but can't because they have school and work the next day. So if we have a national holiday on the Monday after the Super Bowl we can have time to get back home and still not miss school and work.
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