Lost This One, But Not As Bad As It Sounds

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Special thanks to the roughly 1,000 DRCNet supporters who lobbied their Representatives in Congress to reject H.R. 5295, the so-called "Student and Teacher Safety Act." The House of Representatives unfortunately passed the bill, on a voice vote, which means there is no record of who voted yes and who voted no. It is also possible that there might not have really been the 2/3 majority needed to pass it, but without a member of Congress calling for a roll call, that is left up to the ear of the member leading the session. While a few Democrats did speak against the bill, none of them requested a voice vote, probably out of fear that Republican challengers would use the "Rep. So and So voted against a bill to keep kids away from drugs and guns" line in the upcoming campaigns in this high-stakes election season. It's not as bad as it sounds. Most importantly, it is only the House of Representatives that passed the bill. If it doesn't come up and get passed by the Senate -- and we know of no current plans to take it up there -- it will not become law. Secondly, it was exciting to see major, mainstream educational organizations like the PTA come out against the bill. (See Drug War Chronicle later this week for a full report.) And, your support and the work done by our friends at Students for Sensible Drug Policy and other groups showed that our side is able to mobilize. You can't win all of them, but today's loss notwithstanding our side is winning more than we used to, and I believe we'll get there.
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Not a Big Deal

It should also be noted that the version of this bill that passed the House is much different from the one that was initially introduced, since half of the text of the bill disappeared. The entire section on "colorable suspicion" is gone, and that was really the biggest issue in the first place. They were trying to lower the standard for searches in inventing this term, but in the end, they chose to stick with "resonable suspicion". This bill is now nothing more than a requirement for public schools to have a policy in place for the searches they already conduct.

It is interesting that the bill was apparently amended by the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Education before being passed, but there was no report filed. Gee, I wonder why they changed it?

It's now in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

students are not an intelligent target/[email protected]

These people do need to be educated in this country. I don't see the advantage to stopping those students who have a drug conviction from their ability to get help withgoing to school. Obviously, If these people were rocket scientisits they wouldn't have got involved in any crime, but stopping their enlightenment is really a petty scanction. It doesn't serve any purpose except being arbitrary and foolish. I do not need to justify this position, on its face it is foolish!

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