DC Appropriations Bill Would Ban Even Local Spending on Needle Exchange 8/07/98

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The House of Representatives passed an amendment to the District of Columbia Appropriations Bill that would ban the Washington, D.C. local government from using any funds -- federal or even local -- for needle exchange. This and other provisions were opposed by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, according to the Associated Press, who said "The D.C. appropriations bill is not the place to take your stand on social legislation. The D.C. appropriation is the place to stand up for democracy." Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) also opposed the amendment, saying that it is unfair to single out the District as the only place where local NEP funding is banned, particularly given that AIDS is "the greatest public health crisis that has ever faced this city." The Clinton administration has also opposed the provision, taking the position that use of local funds for needle exchange should be a local decision.

The bill faces a possible presidential veto, because of other provisions, and is moving to a conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions. The conference committee is likely to be formed some time in September. Please call your Senator and your two Representatives, and ask them to ask members of the D.C. Appropriations Conference Committee to support home rule by opposing the anti-needle exchange amendments. You can reach them via the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-3121.

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Issue #53, 8/07/98 Marijuana Arrests Up For 6th Straight Year in California | Chavez Turns Down Plea Bargain | Arizona Supreme Court Judge Sides with Legislative Council over Prop. 300 Description | DC Appropriations Bill Would Ban Even Local Spending on Needle Exchange | Misusing the Evidence | British Columbia Looks to Harm Reduction Strategy | National Party of Western Australia to Debate Heroin Maintenance | Health of Afghani Women Deteriorating Under Taliban Regime | Citizens Truth Commissions | Fall 1998 Soros Fellowships in Drug Policy Studies | Conferences Coming Up
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