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Agenda (Priorities)

Of course I hope many of the following get done before I even arrive in Washington as the sooner the better for America (I do realize that some of these items are a state and not federal issue and in those cases, I’d advocate to the extent possible).


1. Enact a new national passenger bill of rights that - MUCH LIKE LANDLORDS CANNOT REMOVE A TENANT WITHOUT JUST CAUSE AND A COURT ORDER - would prevent airlines from removing a paid passenger that was already allowed to board and be seated from a flight unless that passenger was causing a disruption and/or posed a genuine security risk. We'll call it the "Universal passeNger rIght To rEmain boarDed Act. Additionally, prevent any punitive actions against a passenger that needs to use a restroom. Requiring airlines to place passengers on other airlines in the event of cancellations if they can’t get passengers to their ticketed destination within 4 (-8?) hours of their original scheduled arrival time. Now THAT’S FAIR!

2. Eliminate the current prohibition against U.S. citizens trading foreign equity or index options. This will generate over 10,000 jobs (within a year) and create billions in wealth (annually) for Americans and America (I'm shocked that after contacting the office of  every single member of the House Financial Services Committee that not one of them informed the chairman of this issue - apathetic bureaucratic obstructionism gone wild!) Now THAT’S FAIR! - See More Info HERE

3. Modernize, simplify, and bring fairness to the taxation of derivatives. This will save Americans billions in lower taxes and accounting, legal, and compliance costs and remove nearly 300 pages from the tax code. Now THAT’S FAIR! - See More Info HERE or HERE & HERE

4. Numerous consumer investment reforms including items such as standardized rules and increased disclosures to make the application and disclosure of margins and margin policy transparent and eliminating the many current margin abuses by FCM's and Brokers, standardization and complete disclosure of exercise and abandonment procedures as well as option exercise allocation procedures. Now THAT’S FAIR! - See More Info HERE or HERE

5. Overhaul the student loan system - including the right to refinance at a guaranteed max benchmark rate e.g. "US 10 Year rate or prime +/- x%" - including allowing a debtor to block the reporting of any NON-derogatory information regarding the loans to CRA's (i.e. keep their existence private if paid as agreed if they choose to). Currently students/graduates get discriminated against (all else equal) in hiring/promotion decisions due to (all else equal) lower credit scores due to the student loans.  Increased support for trade schools. Senate Proposal For College Risk Sharing - Now THAT’S FAIR!

6. Eliminate the practice of balance billing - INFO - in the healthcare field (Texas is already trying but falling short) and institute a national law whereby medical providers may not charge an uninsured patient more than the lowest rate they would charge someone who had insurance they accepted for the same procedure. Any convoluted and unnecessarily complex system that allows the current billing practice to continue and then places the burden on the patient to seek relief thru mediation or arbitration is unduly burdensome and an example of needless bureaucratic red tape. Simply make the practice illegal. Excellent Explanation of Issues  - Now THAT’S FAIR!

7. Outlaw the imposition of fines generated by red light cameras. Mandate alterative resolution options (such as community service, voluntary driving suspension, etc.) for alleged municipal code violations be offered that do not penalize anyone monetarily – especially those that genuinely cannot afford them - the Texas Legislature is ALREADY taking action on this. Municipalities are out of control and using laws as weapons to basically extort money from many who can least afford it and is an extremely regressive system that disproportionately affects the low-income the most. Additionally, a cap needs to be implemented so that a municipality’s GROSS revenue from fines does not exceed more than a certain percent (5%?) of its total budget revenue. This will not in any way impede the number of fines imposed, just the amount of the fines themselves. Now THAT’s FAIR!

8. Revamp the FCRA to prohibit furnishers of information or collection agencies from reporting ANY derogatory information to CRA's after the statute of limitations to file suit has passed for the same contract, agreement, or account as well as preventing the reporting of ANY medical accounts that did not originate from a contractually agreed price and payment schedule PRIOR TO the procedure being performed (such as a payment agreement for an elective procedure whereby someone agreed to pay $500 per month for a year for a cosmetic procedure, e.g.). Also, make it illegal nationally for employers to use credit reports in hiring, retention, or promotion decisions (with certain exceptions for sensitive positions where one's job may be to handle or have access to certain "high value" items or $10,000 or more on a regular basis). Add THIS to FCRA as well so those erroneously added have the same due process to get themselves removed as any other aspect under this law. Now THAT’s FAIR!

9. This is a HUGE swamp buster! The seller of ANY good or service may not in ANY way impede or place ANY restriction on the transferability of said good or service upon the original purchaser (or any subsequent purchaser) of said good or service from transferring in any way that good or service (or right to same) - regardless if the transfer is for consideration or not - to another. THERE IS GOING TO BE TREMENDOUS BLOWBACK ON THIS ONE FROM THE SWAMP AND SPECIAL INTERESTS!!!!! Just think of the airlines and cruise ship companies that prevent you from transferring your tickets just so they can increase the chance they get to keep your money for doing nothing in case you don’t use them! Obvious exceptions would include items that either require a license to sell (alcohol, pharmaceuticals, e.g.) or are restricted as to who they can be sold to or used by or include some other genuine safety or security concern. It is completely self-serving, protectionist, and utterly anti-American to limit, restrict, or prohibit the free flow of goods or services or to place limitations upon those that seek their free flow. While I am COMPLETELY OPPOSED to the government getting in our business, there are times when others commit abuses so egregious and that rise to the level of being wholly inconsistent upon the principles upon which our country was founded that the only recourse is for the government to restrict, limit, or prohibit those abuses. Now THAT’s FAIR!

10. Eliminate or severely curtail rules and contract provisions requiring mandatory arbitration in consumer (including financial/investment accounts) and employment areas. Companies that use their predatory bully power to force consumers to “take it or leave it” by removing all bargaining power and making them agree to provisions that eliminate their otherwise constitutionally protected rights under the law that may come into play should a dispute arise just so that a consumer gets the “privilege” of doing business with or working for that company is an outright assault upon American values. - Now THAT’s FAIR!

11. Prevent states from mandating for ALL counties within a given state a fixed interest rate to be imposed upon those seeking property tax deferrals (e.g. in Texas, as per the Texas Property Code Section 33.06(d) it is 8% - JUST FYI in Alberta Canada it is only 2.7% - Ay?). Counties should be allowed to charge any rate they want (presumably it wouldn’t be lower than their average cost of capital) subject to a state mandated MAXIMUM and not be forced to charge what is effectively a state mandated MINIMUM. Additionally, prevent lenders the ability to IN ANY AND ALL CASES prohibit deferments just so the tax lien doesn’t become superior to theirs. This predatory practice NEEDS TO END as the taxing authority will never foreclose for unpaid taxes! Additionally, as long as the property value is greater than the sum of the mortgage balance and the deferred taxes (i.e. equity is a positive number) and as long as that equity is greater than - say 10%, there is no valid reason why a lender should deny those entitled to a deferment the relief they seek. A 10% minimum equity threshold seems reasonable – i.e. on a $300,000 house, with a $265,000 mortgage balance one would be able to defer $5,000 in property taxes so that the equity - $30,000 represented at last 10% of the property value. If 10% seems to low certainly 25% would be MORE THAN SUFFICIENT. The sausage making is where in between the two gets agreed to. No logical reason for a blanket prohibition! An additional (flip side) issue is the current situation - at least in Texas - whereby state law has created a situation whereby predatory lenders are providing property tax loans to those not eligible for deferrals at exorbitant interest rates and astronomical fees (average over 14% interest rate and over $700 in fees) – AND WITHOUT ANY FEDERAL TRUTH IN LENDING ACT SAFEGUARDS! The state could so easily start a mezzanine financing program whereby instead of immediately beginning foreclosure procedures once taxes became sufficiently delinquent (or ideally before it even got to that point so one could avoid all fees and penalties) it could turn those past due balances (that people are now going to these loan sharks to seek relief from) into loans with monthly or quarterly payments that are about half the rate with no fees AND generate income for itself (or its counties). Only after THOSE agreements were breached should foreclosure be sought as a last resort. - Now THAT’S FAIR!

12. Anyone regularly in the business of selling used vehicles to consumers must disclose if there is an outstanding recall on that vehicle or certify that there isn’t. - Now THAT’S FAIR!

13. Many countries have travel bans not only on Israeli citizens (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) but also on citizens of any country that have an Israeli visa stamp in their passports - countries in BOLD - Image HERE. The hypocrisy of anti-Trump (travel ban) protesters was recently highlighted by Tory members of UK parliament who finally put the spotlight on the rampant anti-Semitism of the Muslim world. If we are to claim to stand with Israel we must take a reciprocal position or retaliatory actions against these countries and impose sanctions if a travel ban is not possible. Even better would be to urge them to drop this practice of prejudice and discrimination. Note that Syria, Yemen, and Libya are all "trifecta" countries - i.e. ban Israelis, ban Americans that have visited Israel, and are on the President's temporary travel ban list (AND were on President Obamas proposed travel ban list).

Update: After contacting the Israeli Consulates in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Toronto as well as the permanent mission to the U.N. I was able to get the following official statement from the Political Affairs officer in Houston:

Israel being the only true democracy in the Middle East, wants peace in the region. In that quest for peace, we hope for all of our neighbors recognize the State of Israel, our right to exist, and the right of its citizens to travel freely.”

 An ancillary issue to this is the issuance of second (third, etc.) passports to U.S. citizens. Currently, if one requests a second passport for the purpose of using IT to get Israel passport stamps so that the other one does NOT have those stamps, the second passport is only valid for two years but costs the same as a ten year passport. This is an unfair tax imposed on Americans forced to endure the expense at all due to policies out of their control. I propose that the second (or subsequent) passport be valid for ten years just like the first one - ESPECIALLY IF THE SECOND ONE IS REQUESTED WHEN THE FIRST ONE HAS LESS THAN TWO YEARS OF VALIDITY LEFT! - Now THAT’S FAIR!

14. MasterCard International’s MATCH database needs to be put under the umbrella of the FCRA. This is currently a system with no rules, no oversight, no transparency, no due process, no notice or review requirements, rights, or privileges, and is rife with rampant abuse, and is used to take punitive actions against some that don’t deserve it. There is no process in place to inform a person or entity when they are placed into that database/on the list, or to and/or dispute information placed on the list about them and bans them from getting a merchant account for 5 years. MasterCard forces people to get a subpoena just to confirm whether or not or why someone has been placed on the list and a decree or final judgement or injunction to remove them. This system must be brought under the FCRA and all protections therein must apply to this database like all other CRA’s.

This is an area of rampant abuse of due process affecting many small businesses and needs to be brought under the umbrella of the FCRA. There is currently NO right for ANYONE placed into that database to see who placed them there, or why, or to dispute what is there, or require proof that the info is accurate. MasterCard’s own website says the following:

MasterCard does not verify, otherwise confirm, or ask for confirmation of either the basis for or accuracy of any information that is reported to or listed in MATCH. It is possible that information has been wrongfully reported or inaccurately reported. It is also possible that facts and circumstances giving rise to a MATCH report may be subject to interpretation and dispute”

- yet they provide no mechanism for transparency, review, or corrections!

15. Time to once and for all require that large trucks only use the left lane of interstate highways except to pass.

16. Require all federal agencies to separately track and identify the cost of services provided to non-citizens broken down by legal residents, legal non-residents (visitors), and illegal residents. Advocate for all state agencies do the same - especially the various components of the criminal justice system such as police, courts, jails, district attorneys, etc. Hard to fix a problem without knowing the full extent of it. As just one example, I was astounded to hear from the head district attorney of a local Texas county that they had no clue how much they were spending prosecuting cases against illegal aliens.

17. Fix a glaring hole in airport security. Has been largely ignored to date. Can’t be discussed publicly.

18. more to come ...

Life may not be fair but there's no reason we can't try to make it more so. 

Roger Barone for Congress Principal Campaign Committee
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