Category Archives: Drug Policy

Bills! The Good, the Bad, the Ugly & Mine

opiate epidemic

Moms are visiting Legislators and supporting my bill HB2172, which offers medical treatment instead of jail during an overdose event.

After the first three weeks of the 53rd Legislature, things are starting to heat up. Hundreds of bills have been filed, and as usual, they run the gamut from boring to hopeful to dangerous.

I want to personally thank Speaker J.D. Mesnard for assigning some Democratic Party bills and some more moderate Republican bills to committee. (In recent Legislatures, bills from these sponsors were never assigned to committee. Of course, it’s up to the committee chair to put the bills on their agendas, but getting assigned to a committee is a welcome first step, in my book.)

Assignment to committee and very orderly and cordial floor meetings are positive notes in what has been a fast-paced time. Last week we shift from third gear to fifth gear and floor debates start on Tuesday, January 31. If you like reality TV, you should watch your Legislature in action. (The Arizona Capitol Television link on the Arizona Legislature’s website will take you to live proceedings and archives.)

All action and inaction on the floor of the House and Senate is televised– as are the Democratic and Republican Caucus Meetings (10 a.m. on Tuesdays, where we discuss the bills with staff, audience members, and paid lobbyists) and all committee meetings. Representatives have TVs on our desks, so we can keep up with the action while doing email, etc. Rep. Randy Friese’s motorcycle bill (HB2046) crashed and burned in the Transportation Committee but not without over an hour of testimony pro and con (bikers vs doctors). It was TV worth watching– as was the lengthy preemption discussion about local IDs and “illegals”.

When a variety of bills are heard, more constituent voices are heard. Here are a variety of bills that are coming down the pike this week (or in the near future). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Every committee meets every week, and agendas can include any number of bills. (Translation: there’s a lot happening.)

My Bills

HCR2012 (Powers Hannley) ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment in Arizona. (Assigned to Judiciary Committee in the House, headed by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth.) We only need three states to ratify the ERA to meet the requirement for a new amendment to the US Constitution. The ERA deserves to be debated in committee and on the Floor of the House and the Senate. Senator Martin Quezada has sponsored SCR1003— a mirror bill in the Senate (assigned to Government, headed by Senator John Kavanagh). Farnsworth and Kavanagh are blocking the ERA in the Legislature. If you think women’s rights should be debated and voted on in the Arizona Legislature, contact those two and your representatives and senators this week to get it on an agenda.

HB2172 (Powers Hannley) offers medical treatment instead of arrest in overdose situations. (Assigned to Judiciary, Farnsworth, again.) Thanks to the Arizona Republic‘s EJ Montini for giving a shoutout to this bill every time it has been proposed. Yes, this will save lives. Unfortunately, Farnsworth told me that he “doesn’t want to offer immunity to criminals” and refuses to hear this. If you think drugs addicts deserve a second chance at life, contact his office and encourage him to allow public testimony on this. There are several Moms lobbying Legislators to hear this bill– including the two pictured with this blog post.

HB2336 (Powers Hannley) allows terminally ill patients to make the decision to take their own lives with the help of their physician and medical team. (Assigned to Health Committee.)

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15,000 Join Women’s March in Tucson (video)

Women's March, Tucson

Women’s March, Tucson

One day after Donald Trump became president of the United States the world saw the largest mass protest ever.

On January 21, 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew more participants than Trump’s inauguration the day before, and “sister marches” were held in 600 locations around the world. If you are a long-time follower of my blogging, you know that I have attended and videotaped many protests, marches and rallies. This was by far the largest protest march I have seen in my 35 years in Tucson. It was impressive.

The Tucson marchers were a diverse group. Although the event was dubbed the Women’s March, everyone was invited, and everyone came. From children to seniors, all ages were represented. There was an impressive number of men who marched, and the LGBTQ, Latino,  and African American communities were also well-represented. There were people in strollers and people who use wheelchairs. For more photos, go to my Facebook page.  (Video after the jump.)

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Pamela Powers Hannley: Voice of the People (video)

Pamela Powers Hannley

For more than a year now, I have been running for the Legislature to serve Legislative District 9 in the Arizona House.

Along the campaign trail, I have met 1000s of you at community events, like the Hunger Walk, Cyclovia, the Garden District Porch Fest, the Labor Day picnic, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, the Peace Fair, Poetry Center activities, and other events.

I’ve met you at dozens of house parties and coffees with the candidate events.

I’ve met you at meetings like Democrats of Greater Tucson, the Nucleus Club, the Democratic Party State Committee meetings, and the LD9 meetings.

I’ve seen your creativity when I stopped at your doorsteps, and I’ve heard your passion at rallies.

I understand you because I am one of you. I’m a Mom and a Grandma. I worked in a factory, in a laundry, on a landscape crew, and as a waitress. I have climbed the corporate career ladder, and I’ve been laid off.

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#LD9 Voters – Can’t Decide How to Vote? Watch the Debate (video)

Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley, Ana Henderson

The Arizona Clean Elections Commission recently hosted a debate between the three candidates vying for two seats in the Arizona House: Democrats Rep. Randy Friese and Pamela Powers Hannley (me) and Tea Party Republican Ana Henderson.

This debate was the first candidate forum that Henderson participated in with the two Democrats, and it’s likely the last. With 75 or more people from both parties, the debate was well-attended. The audience submitted many great questions. Some questions are asked of all candidates– like education funding, climate change, Prop 205 (marijuana legalization), and Prop 206 (raising the minimum wage).

Below is the video.

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#LD9 Debate Reveals Clear Choices Between Dem & GOP Candidates

Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley and Ana Henderson

LD9 candidates for House: Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley and Ana Henderson

Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley (me), and Ana Henderson– the three candidates for the two Legislative District 9 seats in the Arizona House– faced off on Friday night in front of a packed house for the LD9 Clean Elections Debate.

This was the first event– and perhaps the only event– in which voters got to hear all three candidates. Friese and I were the only LD9 candidates who appeared at the Pima County Interfaith Council Candidate Forum, the candidate forum sponsored by the UA pre-law candidate forum, the Arizona Daily Star candidate interview and Pride on Parade— besides all of the joint events with Matt Kopec during the primary. (OK, so Pride wasn’t a candidate forum, but many candidates turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ community and celebrate diversity.)

So– even though this is the first time that most of us got to hear Henderson talk, we learned a lot about her views. Climate change, reproductive choice, homelessness, corporate tax cuts, minimum wage, public banking, gun violence, and, of course, education– the three of us fielded a wide variety of questions from the audience last night. (I’ll link the full video when it is available on the Clean Elections YouTube channel.)

Here’s we learned about Ana Henderson at the debate.

She’s against raising the minimum wage. (She said it’s bad for business, and government shouldn’t be meddling in business– except to dole out more corporate welfare. In a town with a 25% poverty rate, too many workers are just scraping by in the gig economy. They can’t buy the goods businesses are selling if they have no expendable income.)

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Ducey Uses ‘Reefer Madness’ Scare Tactics to Fight Marijuana Legalization (video)

marijuana leafGovernor Doug Ducey and a representative from a big-pharma-funded PAC snuck into midtown Tucson this week to give business people a one-sided argument on why they should band together to stop Prop 205, the marijuana legalization initiative that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot in Arizona.

Today’s Arizona Daily Star attributes so many misconceptions about marijuana to Ducey and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk (of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy) that I’m not sure where to begin. I’ll take them one by one– after the jump.

First, let’s look at the scientific and public health reasons for legalization and for easier access to marijuana for the general adult population. New research on the medical uses of marijuana are being released every day. 

Medical Marijuana Reduces Medicare Prescriptions and Costs

A July 2016 study published in Health Affairs showed an overall drop in prescription drug use among Medicare patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The 17 states that have medical marijuana also saved $165.2 million in Medicare costs because patients switched to pot.  The research group concluded that if medical marijuana were legal nationwide, the US could see a $468 million decrease in Medicare prescription costs.

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