Washington State Senate
Washington State Senate
Ban styrofoam and single use plastics in Washington State
From our beautiful coasts, to our rainforests, our mountains, our farmlands and deserts: Washington State is rich in natural beauty. It's time to take bold measures to protect it for future generations. We urge you to pass legislation that will ban the sale and use of styrofoam and single use plastics in WA State.Styrofoam and single use plastics are relatively new products of convenience and are not critical consumer goods. There are less harmful alternatives, and we need to legislate this switch away from harmful fossil fuel-based disposable goods to keep the economic impact equitable across businesses statewide. It is time we commit to phasing out these environmentally harmful products in order to protect our fields, streams, coasts, wildlife and reduce the legacy of environmental degradation that our kids will inherit.
Female Genital Mutilation is an American issue. Let's push Washington State to ban FGM!
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice decided to drop the appeal on a Detroit ruling that overturned the federal ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). For girls at risk of FGM, this federal ruling has put them in great jeopardy. Supporters of FGM are now empowered to think that if the federal law is not upheld, then the practice must not be wrong. And in states without anti-FGM legislation, the absence of a federal ban leaves women and girls at even greater risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 513,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk of FGM in the United States. For me, these cases aren’t just data points. My sister is a survivor of FGM. When I was eleven and she was seven, we traveled on our own to visit our aunt in India over the summer. What I thought was a routine summer vacation turned out to be a horror story for my sister. Our aunt cut my little sister in her basement clinic. I later learned that my aunt carried this out without our parents’ consent and to this day, believes she did the right thing. I learned about my sister’s experience when she shared her story in the Guardian a few years ago. Before then, I didn’t know much about FGM. I had no idea it was happening in this country let alone in my community. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition, FGM is a human rights abuse, form of gender-based violence and child abuse. And in my sister’s words: FGM destroyed her childhood, shattered her self-confidence, and is something she will never fully recover from. By breaking her silence and courageously sharing her story, my sister has become part of a movement to end FGM not just in the US, but all around the world. As her brother, I stand alongside her and the many survivors on the frontlines of this movement. They should not be shouldering this burden on their own. We need more allies, including men and boys, to speak up. Right now, we have the power to send a powerful message that FGM has no place in this country. I am writing to urge Washington state legislators to pass a law banning FGM in the state of Washington, as well as provide the resources needed to support FGM survivors and educate communities (healthcare providers, religious leaders, school teachers, and policymakers) around the devastating consequences of FGM. We need a holistic approach where prosecution is not the end goal, but a pathway to prevention. I want no girl in the United States to endure what my sister went through. Washington is at risk of becoming an FGM destination state where girls are transported from states that have succeeded in criminalizing FGM. We need to close the federal loophole on FGM in the United States by lobbying for anti-FGM legislation at the state level: starting with my home state of Washington. Please join me in the fight to pass a law in Washington that criminalizes FGM.
Rewrite Washington States Distracted Driving Law.
Washington State has recently passed a new Distracted Drivers Law. The law can provide opportunity for police officers to pull a driver over when not just holding a cellphone but now you cannot eat or drink in your car while driving. The law shows a great stride for protecting citizens from distracted drivers but I feel this policy needs to be changed. The people can be ticketed for eating, drinking,and grooming. As a working citizen and many others who commute long hours of driving throughout the State of Washington, I feel eating, drinking, and or grooming should be a citizens right when behind the wheel and feel this law needs to have more of the people's response then having our elected officials make decisions without consent from the people. We understand the law permits tickets as a secondary offense. If you agree that our governor needs to rewrite the new Distractor Drivers Law Policy and should remove the secondary offense of "eating, drinking, and grooming" from the policy. Please sign this petition.
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!
No Hwy 2 Trestle Toll
We want a public promise not to toll the trestle on U.S. Hwy 2 between Everett, WA and Lake Stevens, WA and the Hwy 2/ 20th St/ WA-204 interchange revision. It is a key connection between the main interstate in Washington (I-5) with the fastest growing area in the state - Marysville/ Lake Stevens. Working families are moving here in droves, and by tolling the only direct connection a whole community will be held hostage. This is in nobody's best interest. The only alternative routes on surface streets are already overburdened and simply could not support the diverted traffic of those who cannot afford the toll. Tolling US Hwy 2 Trestle not only holds hundreds of thousands of families captive as it is the most direct route to the nearest emergency center and major hospital. Businesses will suffer, employment will decrease, and the cities, county, and ultimately the state will pay the price. Please stand united with me in asking that this vital transportation corridor not be tolled as it would create an undue burden on both the community members and local businesses. By signing below we are asking the transportation committees of the WA State House & Senate to commit to keeping this crucial roadway accessible to all.
Save Blanchard State Forest from Clearcutting
Blanchard State Park is a staple of outdoor recreation in Bellingham, WA (Whatcom County), known for it's hiking of Oyster Dome, horse back riding and mountain biking trails. The park is also the only place in Washington state where the Cascade Mountains meet the Salish Sea and is key for habitat connectivity. Locals and tourists from all over the world come to see the spectacular views from Osyter Dome and would also be severely missing out if all the trees around were reduced to stumps. Department of Natural Resources is currently lacking the funds of $7.7 million that it needs in order to protect a 1,600 acre plot of land within the Blanchard State Park which contains Osyter Dome, two backyard ponds, several trails and back country campsites. With the deadline approaching, the DNR is needing that $7.7 million in order to complete the Blanchard Forest Strategy agreement. DNR needs the funds in order to purchase replacement lands or else they will have to log in that special area. We (locals and visitors from around the world) need Washington State Legislation to provide the $7.7 million funding in the 2016 Supplemental Capital Budget Bill in order to preserve such a special part of nature.
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