Legislative Action – New York

Help? More Info?  Contact: John Murtari

Senators Charles Schumer & Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat – New York)

  • May – August, 2018 – Resuming effort at the Hanley Federal Bldg in Syracuse.  Check here for details.
  • 11/20/02 – Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorne, our PR person, arranges a meeting with the staff of Senator Schumer.  Click here for details.  The meeting goes well and the staff member, Mr. Joe Hamm, is responsive.
  • 5/23/02 – John Murtari call’s the office back, leaves a voice mail message for Jonathan asking if the Senator would call for Congressional Hearings into the need for reform.
  • 5/9/02 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here).  On that day we met with Jonathan Flaerty, a legislative aid.
    We met with his staff person and again presented the issue of constitutional rights being ignored at the county level in family court rooms and the problems of being assumed guilty instead of innocent before being proven guilty. The Legislative Assistant said that it would be very hard to write and pass laws at the federal level and directed us to go back to our state governments.John Murtari tried to draw his attention to the similarities between the proposed Family Rights Act and two laws enacted by the federal government, the Civil Rights Act and women gaining the right to vote. Both, the Civil Rights Act and the amendment giving women the right to vote were enacted by the federal government when expediency was needed to ensure the liberty of the people. John pointed out that the Family Rights Act that he is proposing would re-affirm the constitutional rights of parents and families. If you are interested, you can read more about this act at John’s website, kids-right.org. I also mentioned the foster care system and what a former foster care mother thought of the current system, that it had become dirty and cloudy. We mentioned returning to follow up in June and left a packet of information. I also left information on the Prokoshevs, a family in New York that I had met and talked with who had been through the current Child Protective nightmare.John asked if the Senator could help by bringing these issues before the committee and recommend congressional hearings.  We told him about a Constitutional Lawyer (Mr. Chester Darling) who had argued and won cases before the US Supreme Court who also thought Civil Rights were being violated by the states — and would be happy to testify before Congress.  We asked that the Senator consider asking for hearings into reform.
  • 11/1/01 – 3/1/02 info  check here.
  • July 2001 – Got a phone call from Regional Rep, will setup meeting in August.
  • 4/16/2001 – Met with his staff, had a very positive meeting.
  • 3/3/2000 – Sent a letter asking for his support.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democrat – New York)

  • 12/12/02 – A package is sent to Senator Clinton’s local and Washington offices asking for a meeting with parents.  The package contains letters written by other parents and copies of local news articles.
  • 7/29/02 – Action begins in Syracuse to try to get a personal meeting between parents and the Senator. This results in multiple arrests and some local newspaper stories.
  • 6/3/02 – John Murtari calls back and talks to Catherine Brown.  Tells her the group is again coming to Washington on the Friday before Father’s day and asks for a meeting with her.  He is told she will check and call back if it is possible (no call is received).
  • 5/23/02 – John Murtari call’s the office back, and is able to talk to Jennifer.  He  asks if the Senator would call for Congressional Hearings into the need for reform and is told the Senator is busy with the new Trade bill, but they will call back later.  John asks when that could be expected and is told in a couple of weeks. (no call is received)
  • 5/9/02 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here) before Mother’s day.  We were scheduled to have a meeting with Ms. Catherine Brown, a legislative aid, but she called a few days earlier to say the meeting would have to be cancelled due to a conflict with another event.  We went by the office and dropped off a packet of information for her.
  • 1/12/02- After some repeated attempts to get a response from the Senator, Ms. Calhoun (Syracuse regional rep), tells us someone will response from the Washigton office. For more info  check here.   For a summary letter of concerns sent to the Senator (check here) regarding problems with follow up.
  • 8/23/01 – Unable to establish follow up meeting — sent her letter.
  • 4/16/01 – Met with her staff in Syracuse, NY

Representative Maurice Hinchey (Binghamton, NY)

  • 5/9/02 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here).  On that day we met with Sara Curtis, a legislative aid.
    We were scheduled to meet with the Congressman as well but he was delayed on the floor of the house voting. We talked to Sara for about twenty minutes regarding similar points as discussed with the other NY representatives.

Representative James Walsh (Republican – Syracuse, NY)

  • 5/9/02 – Two weeks earlier we had faxed the office  a letter asking for a meeting (see example notes here).  On that day we met with Patrick Gavin, a legislative aid.We had a pleasant meeting with  Patrick Gavin, a Legislative Assistant for the Congressman of the 25th district of New York State. There was not a big rush and we sat in the cafeteria and talked to Mr. Gavin affirming once again the constitutional right of a parent to raise their child, the right to due process under the law before that right is taken away, and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Gavin felt that this was again a state issue and not a federal issue. John brought up the point that in similar situations in the past, the federal government had stepped in to reaffirm constitutional rights in granting the women’s right to vote and the Civil Rights Act.John asked if the Congressman could help by asking for congressional hearings.  We told him about a Constitutional Lawyer (Mr. Chester Darling) who had argued and won cases before the US Supreme Court who also thought Civil Rights were being violated by the states — and would be happy to testify before Congress.  We asked that the Congressman  consider asking for hearings into reform.
  • 11/1/01 – 3/1/02 info  check here.
  • 4/23/2001 – Tried again with his staff, received a letter from him stating again that Federal protections do not apply to families.
  • 4/13/2000 – A meeting is held with the Congressman’s local staff in Syracuse.  They had a lot of reasons why the Congressman couldn’t help — but had to admit that a Civil Right’s issue was appropriate for Congressional Action.  They said they would check with the Washington staff and have a reply in two weeks. (DETAILS)
  • 4/6/2000 – John Murtari returned to the Syracuse Federal Building to resume his “walk.” He was approached by security staff who gave him a revised Order which no longer contained references to contacting Congressman James Walsh. An earlier message had mentioned that Mary Chancellor, Public Relations for the Group, had spoken with Mr. Art Jutton, a member of the Congressman’s Washington staff, and had been told that face-to-face meetings could be held when the order was lifted.John spoke with Art (DETAILS).
  • 3/28/2000 – Mary Chancellor, Public Relations for the Group, speaks with an assistant to Congressman Walsh in Washington: (DETAILS)
  • 3/20/2000 –  Sent him a follow-up letter, got a nonresponsive reply letter.
  • 3/5/2000 – One of our members “walks” outside Congressional offices in a local Federal Building.  Staff would walk right by without asking any questions?
  • 12/2/99 – Called his local office to check on the status.  Got a quick return call from “Pat” in the DC office.  He explained that it appeared to be more of a “state” issue (not one for Federal Legislation), and that we would be getting a letter soon.  Talked about the “Civil Rights” aspect of it and got the impression a lot more “activity” would have to occur before it would be taken seriously.
  • 10/4/99 – Trying to setup meetings with Congressional legislators to find sponsors for the Act.  Sent a letter to Congressman James Walsh from Syracuse, NY.

John is always trying to get a list of people together who might be available to share their stories with the local staff. Most importantly, it is important they see our “attitude” (as we have said so many times before, we’re not here to condemn people — but to reform a “system” which has made it too easy for other “good people” to hurt us and our children). Make sure you review our goals at http://www.AKidsRight.Org/goals  Interested? Contact John at jmurtari@thebook.com, please give him a phone number, good times to call, and a rough idea of when you could be available during the day!