I am really looking forward to our meeting in Statesville this weekend. Please make every effort to attend this one and if you can help on transportation, the social page created by ben is a good place to make it happen.
To review where we are..
We submitted HB 577, which included the best of HB 1380 along with new information about four weeks into the start of the legislative session. After working with the bill drafting department to dot all the i's and t's, we finally submitted and got through the first draft. At that point, H 577 was sent to the Rules Committee, where the job is to see which departments would be affected, eg, Finance, Judiciary, Health, etc., and then send the bill to one of these departments.
What happened when it got to Rules, Chaired by two Republicans..Tim Moore and Stephen LaRoque.., was that LaRoque "tabled" the bill. In other words, he decided it "had no merit" and therefore would not forward it. I had met with Moore earlier and left information in LaRoque's office. This action was "reprehensible" in my view; and I still have a score to settle with his attack on my personal character.
At any rate, we spent the rest of the session trying to get the bill released from him. When the legislative session ends, "Bills not passed die". 577, which was "never even considered" died with the session.
Those are the rules..and that is why on all major news about states with legislation pending does not include NC (17 states are somewhere in the process). When a bill dies, you must start over. Problem is, "new bills" can only be introduced during the "Long legislative session; which happens in odd years". The short session (even years) are to tweak the budget and work on bills that are currently being considered. In other words, we are technically dead until a new session next May begins and we would again start the bill process over...new number, new sponsors, etc.
In view of that, what we are attempting is to "make an end run around the rules". What we are trying to do is show the urgency of this issue to many sick and dying people. This is the reason for the petition drive. We intend to go to the speaker and present him with "a ton of signatures" when the session begins next month. This is made even more difficult, again by the rules adopted in NC. Our state decided that petitions were too messy so they are not allowed to "change public policy, as they are in some states". What we intend to do, is say..do you realize that thousands of people want this to be done? Hopefully, reason can pervail, and the lawyers will find a "new way to consider the bill".
Is this a long shot? You bet...but is it impossible, NOT BY A LONG SHOT!
Bring all your ideas..and motivation. You can bet it may be a long shot, so come to Statesville to help us load this cannon. The one thing we have going is the avalanche of good news about the medicine itself. Anolther is the long time opposition by Church groups and others who are "unaware of the real potential of this plant". That is ibe reason we owe so much to news outlets willing to print the truth. The article last week has hit a nerve in Raleigh. June Mabry's strong comments about the "lack of courage in Raleigh" is the kind of hard hitting words to wake people up.
See you in Statesville...BTW, I have 200 plus copies of the Journal article. We want to make sure it gets to all corners of the state. I will provide a copy to all who make it to Statesville. If you get a chance to visit your local paper..encourage them to "reprint the article..the daily journal would be happy to help".
Also, if you did not already, a comment about their courage is helpful and makes Dawn, the reporter to do more stories...