This request for action is being forwarded from NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. It asks you to make two phone calls to your representative's office, one today (Wednesday) and one tomorrow. If you don't know your representative's number, (or who your representative is), you can get that information from the Congressional Switchboard, at 202-224-3121. Here it is:
TO: All activists who are able to receive this fax or e-mail.
FROM: Rob Kampia, Chapter Coordinator
DATE: Tuesday, April 12, 11:00 p.m. Eastern
RE: Please call or fax your U.S. Representative tomorrow (Wednesday)!
(For a copy of the more complete crime bill update which w as faxed and e-mailed out last week, call the NORML office at 202-483-5500.)
During the past week, activists have been calling and faxing the members of the House Rules Committee to convince them to allow four favorable amendments to be discussed on the House floor, and to block four oppressive amendments.
- At 4:00 p.m. today (Tuesday), the House Rules Committee granted a rule making two favorable amen dments and one oppressive amendment in order. This is good news!
- At approximately 4:00 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday), the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether they agree with the selection of amendments that the Rules Committee has sent to the floor. Assuming the House of Representatives agrees with the selection of amendments, they will then vote to adopt or reject each amendment, one by one. It is our job to persuade the House to vote for the two good amendments and against the one bad amendmen t.
- When the House is finished voting on which amendments they will attach to H.R. 4092, the House will then vote on the entire crime bill. This could very well occur on Thursday afternoon--or maybe as late as Monday. Regardless of which amendments the House adopts, H.R. 4092 will still be a horrible bill. Hence, before the House votes on the bill on Thursday (or Monday), you should contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to oppose H.R. 4092.
The two favorable amendments that the Rules Committee did not include in the rule are:
#64 by Rep. Barney Frank (which exempts offenses involving marijuana only from the drug kingpin death penalty provision)
#162 by Rep. Craig Washington (which gives judges discretion on length of sentences by abolishing mandatory minimums)
This is okay, because it was unlikely from the outset that these would be included. The three oppressive amendments that also were not included are:
#50 by Rep. Gerald Solomon (which expresses the sense of Congress that no federal agency should study the legalization of drugs)
#51 by Rep. Gerald Solomon (which removes the "safety valve" provision for mandatory minimum sentences in the current bill)
#52 by Rep. Gerald Solomon (which prohibits participation in any program funded by the crime bill for many drug offenders)
The two favorable amendments that the Rules Committee did include are:
#34 by Rep. Melvin Watt (which strikes the language providing the death penalty for drug kingpins when death does not result from the crime)
#61 by Rep. Barney Frank (which removes serious drug offenses from felonies qualifying for the "three strikes and you're out" provision)
This is a temporary victory. These amendments are extremely important! Unfortunately, the Rules Committee also included one bad amendment:
#53 by Rep. Gerald Solomon (which adds "serious drug offenses" to the serious violent felonies that count as one or all of the "three strikes")
#61 and #53 both cannot be adopted. If neither is adopted, then the "three strikes and you're out" provision in the crime bill will remain as it is, which means that serious drug offenses will count as strikes but not for all three strikes.
Project #1 DEADLINE: We dnesday, April 13, 4:00 p.m. (maybe)
1. Obtain the phone number of the district office of your U.S. Representative.
2. Call his or her office and ask for the number of his or her office in Washington, D.C.
3. Before you hang up, say the following:
"My name is ______, and I am a constituent. I understand the House will probably be voting on the amendments to the crime bill today."
"Scapegoating marijuana consumers will do nothing to solve the violent crime problem. Consequently, please ask Representative _____ to support amendments #34 and #61, and to oppose amendment #53."
4. Call your U.S. Representative's office in Washington, D.C., and reiterate the same point.
5. Call your friends and associates and ask them to do the same before the deadline.
Project #2 DO THIS THURSDAY (or later if appropriate)
1. Call or fax the district office of your U.S. Representative, and say:
"My name is ______, and I am a constituent. Because the crime bill will do little to curb violent crime and unfairly persecutes marijuana consumers, I ask that Representative ________ oppose H.R. 4092."
2. Call your U.S. Representative's office in Washington, D.C., and reiterate the same point.
3. Call your friends and associates and ask them to do the same before the deadline.
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