To: House Rep
Subject: Please Support the "Captive Wildlife Safety Act" (H.R. 1006)
Dear Representative Eshoo,
I am writing as a constituent to urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R. 1006.
This legislation would prohibit the interstate transport and trade in lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, and cougars as pets. Although these animals may seem playful and safe when young, they grow to become powerful and potentially dangerous animals as adults. We all have read about serious and deadly altercations involving many of these animals when kept in the home, or in captivity. These animals are wild by nature and should not be kept in captivity, except in certain facilities such as qualified and approved zoos or sanctuaries.
The conditions under which big cats live usually are substandard at best, if not completely inadequate. Oftentimes, the situation is so dire as to constitute a violation of the state cruelty law. The result is extreme suffering for the animal, as well as a serious potential safety hazard for the community. It is not uncommon for these majestic animals to be killed by law enforcement under exigent circumstances, placed in substandard zoos to live out their life, or sold to "canned" hunt operations where they are killed for their trophy value. The future for these animals is not promising.
Finally, we continue to learn about various diseases many wild and exotic animals carry that are transmissible to humans. The recent case of the monkeypox virus is another reason not to allow the keeping of these animals as pets.
H.R. 1006 would greatly benefit the states that are considering similar legislation and will provide a consistent policy for all states by outlawing these animals as pets. As such, it is both appropriate and necessary for the Congress to pass this federal legislation to accomplish this objective. I urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R. 1006, and would appreciate knowing of your views on it. Thank you.
To: House Rep
Subject: Please Support the "Don't Feed the Bears Act" (H.R. 1472)
Dear Representative Eshoo,
I am writing as a constituent to urge you to support and co-sponsor H.R. 1472.
H.R. 1472 is important legislation that is greatly needed in order to stop the practice of bear baiting, the intentional feeding of bear as a means to hunt. Bear baiting involves the setting of food piles to attract bear, which allows hunters to kill them while they eat. It is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Not surprisingly, most hunters oppose this method since it involves no sport and is considered unethical.
The intentional feeding of bear also causes these animals to become dependent on humans for food. Increasingly, bear have been seen raiding campsites, breaking into cabins and cars, and visiting populated areas in search of human food. This creates a serious public safety hazard for people, and oftentimes, results in the shooting of the bear by law enforcement officials who view them as a nuisance animal in these situations.
Many federal agencies, including the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, currently prohibit the practice of bear baiting on federal land due to the many problems associated with the intentional feeding animals. However, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management allow bear baiting on federal land. It is imperative that these federal agencies adopt the same no-baiting rule. This legislation will provide a consistent federal policy and prohibit this disturbing method of hunting. Currently, forty-one states prohibit bear baiting on state land. The federal government should adopt the same policy.
I would greatly appreciate your assistance in helping to move this legislation through the House of Representatives this session, and would be interested in learning what you will do in this effort. Thank you.
To: Senators and Rep
Subject: Prevent Religious Discrimination in Head Start
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose provisions in the Head Start re-authorization bill that would allow for religious discrimination. I do not believe that my tax dollars should be used to support government-funded religious discrimination.
I have read that under the new Head Start re-authorization bill (H.R. 2210), thousands of Head Start teachers could lose their jobs if they fail their employer's religious tests. Furthermore, countless parents would be blocked from climbing the ladder out of poverty that has already allowed thousands of parents to go from being a parent volunteer to being a trained and paid Head Start teacher -- simply because they do not share the federally funded employer's religious beliefs.
I have also read that the proposed bill is so broadly written that it would automatically disqualify parents from becoming classroom volunteers because they subscribe to a different faith than the group running the program. I do not believe we should allow religious discrimination against parent volunteers, whether blocking parent volunteers from all volunteer opportunities in their children's classroom, or giving inferior volunteer assignments to parents who do not share the employer's religious beliefs.
I believe that the Constitution prohibits the government from using federal dollars to fund religious discrimination in hiring for government-funded jobs. The Head Start re-authorization bill would therefore authorize unconstitutional religious discrimination.
Once again, I urge you to oppose provisions in the Head Start re-authorization bill that would allow for government-funded religious discrimination.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter.
To: House Rep
Subject: Support the Rights of All Families to Be Together
Dear Representative Eshoo,
As your constituent, I urge you to correct inequality in U.S. immigration law by supporting and co-sponsoring H.R. 832, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would add the term "permanent partner" to sections of immigration law that provide immigration rights to legally married couples, allowing gay or lesbian citizens to sponsor their partners to become U.S. residents.
Right now, the partners of heterosexual Americans can gain permanent resident status -- and eventually citizenship -- through marriage. However, immigration laws do not recognize same-sex couples. In fact, under no circumstances can a U.S. citizen use a same-sex relationship as a basis for sponsoring a partner from a foreign country, no matter how long the couple has been together nor how committed their relationship.
Under this legislation, same-sex dual passport couples would have to meet the same requirements as heterosexual couples to demonstrate that they are in an intimate, committed relationship. The requirements include providing proof of the relationship, supportive affidavits from friends and family and evidence of financial interdependence. Adding the category of "permanent partner" status to current U.S. immigration law would not require state and federal recognition of gay marriage.
I feel strongly that U.S. immigration policy should establish fair standards that apply equally to the permanent partners of all American citizens. In fact, I understand that the U.S. lags behind other democracies in establishing fair immigration policies. Fifteen other countries currently allow the gay and lesbian partners of their citizens to become permanent residents: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The United States should extend the same fair treatment to American citizens and their families.
It is clear that family unification is at the heart of U.S. immigration law. Approximately 75% of the one million immigrant visas issued each year go to family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, the current INS definitions of family exclude same-sex couples. This bill seeks to recognize the reality that that a gay or lesbian couple is a family.
Again, I urge you to help stop the inequality in U.S. immigration law by supporting permanent partner legislation. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this very important matter.
To: Senators and Rep
Subject: Oppose School Prayer Amendment
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose H.J. Res. 46, the Istook amendment relating to school prayer. Such a measure would undermine more than 200 years of religious freedom protection by allowing state-sponsored school prayer.
It is clear to me that a constitutional amendment is unnecessary. Contrary to claims by supporters of such an amendment, public schools are not hostile to students' religious expression. As an example, I understand that student religious clubs operate smoothly in a majority of the nation's 15,000 school districts. Likewise, the government cannot deny groups access to government facilities and parks just because their plans are religious in nature. Many of the examples of suppression of religious speech to which supporters of such legislation point are already illegal, and can be addressed under current law.
I believe that the real effects of such an amendment go far beyond what its supporters claim. The amendment would allow government officials to make decisions in their jobs that favor one particular faith. It would allow students to impose their religious beliefs on fellow classmates in our public schools by holding prayers at mandatory school events.
I understand that a broad cross-section of organizations opposes an amendment of this nature. They include religious groups such as the National Council of Churches, the American Jewish Congress, and the Baptist Joint Committee. These groups recognize that the amendment would inevitably pit one religious group against another.
Congress must not tamper with the Constitution to address a threat that does not exist. Please oppose any effort to amend the Constitution regarding school prayer. I look forward to hearing your thoughts regarding this issue.