Members of California Congressional Delegation Urge Governor to Sign Needle Exchange Bill 8/20/99

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Earlier this week, DRCNet sent an action alert to our California subscribers, asking them to contact the legislature in support of AB 518, a bill to provide clear, legal protection to needle exchange programs operating with the authorization of their localities. AB 518 has passed the Assembly, but Gov. Gray Davis has threatened to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.

Yesterday, (8/19), Rep. Nancy Pelosi and 20 other members of California's Congressional delegation sent a letter to Davis, urging him to support and sign AB 518. The letter noted that "injection drug use is the primary source of heterosexual, female and mother-to-newborn transmission of HIV in California and the second leading cause of HIV transmission among all Californians" and that "several communities in California have established needle exchange programs using emergency declarations," but that without clear legal protection, "many localities in California will not implement such lifesaving programs because of the
continued legal ambiguities."

Please call Gov. Davis at (916) 445-2841 and urge him to support and sign AB 518. If you are from California and haven't contacted the legislature, please visit http://www.drcnet.org/nepaction/ to send an e-mail or fax and look up your state senator's phone number.

According to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the bill is set to be heard on the Senate floor on Thursday, 8/26, some law enforcement groups have been lobbying hard against the bill, and some Democratic members who were expected to vote for the bill now appear shaky. So, please also call the following senators:

Senator Betty Karnette (D-Long Beach/Cerritos/Artesia/ Rolling Hills)
Capitol Phone: (916) 445-6447
Capitol office staff: Charles Wright or Chris White
District phone: (562) 997-0794

Senator Adam Schiff (D-Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena)
Capitol phone: (916) 445-5976
Capitol office staff: Carlos Machado
District phone: (626) 683-0282

Senator Joe Dunn (D-Orange County/Santa Ana/Anaheim/Garden Grove)
Capitol phone: (916)445-5831
Capitol office Staff: Elena Lopez
District phone: (714) 705-1580

Senator Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino/Ontario/Pomona)
Capitol phone: (916) 445-6868
Capitol office staff: Barbie Beard or Manny Hernandez
District phone: (909) 885-2222

Senator Jim Costa (D-Fresno)
Capitol phone: (916) 445-4641
Capitol office staff: Stephanie
District phone: (209) 264-3078 or (805) 323-0442

In addition to these members, two other Democrats that are expected to vote against the bill based on their previous voting record on needle exchange are Senators Steve Peace (San Diego) and Jack O'Connell (Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo/Ventura). However, it would still be good for them to hear from people in their districts:
Senator Steve Peace (D-San Diego)
Capitol phone: (916) 445-6767
Capitol office staff: Lucy Camarillo or Sally An Romo
District phone: (619) 463-0243 or (619) 427-7080

Senator Jack O'Connell (D-San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara)
Capitol phone: (916) 445-5405
Capitol office staff: Traci Verardo
District phone: (805) 966-2296 or (805) 547-1800

Finally, one Republican who is expected to vote for the bill is Senator Bruce McPherson from Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/ Salinas. Calls from constituents thanking him for his likely support would be helpful. His district office numbers are (831) 425-0401 and (831) 753-6386.

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Issue #104, 8/20/99 Household Survey Reports Decrease in Teen Use, While Overall Use Remains Flat | Superior Court of Guam Upholds Freedom of Religion for Rastafarian | San Francisco Plans Methadone Expansion | Members of California Congressional Delegation Urge Governor to Sign Needle Exchange Bill | ACLU Sues Oklahoma School District Over Student Drug Testing | United Kingdom: Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy Calls for Royal Commission on Drug Policy | NORML Foundation Launches Marijuana Ad Campaign in San Francisco | Lindesmith Center Seminar Series, Autumn 1999 | Errata: Methamphetamine Bill Alert, Kubby Plant Count | Editorial: Governor Bush's Cocaine Problem
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