ALERT: Drug War Amendments to Tobacco Bill Today (6/4)

Earlier this year, we reported that the Republican leadership, preparing for the upcoming campaign season, had pledged a new drug war legislative agenda, launching, according to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a "World War II style" fight against drugs.� (See 2-20.html#gingrich and http// for background.)

According to Senator McCain's office, three members of the Senate have introduced "The Coverdell-Craig-Abraham Drug-Free Neighborhoods Act", to be introduced THIS AFTERNOON as an amendment to the tobacco bill.� The amendment would increase law enforcement and military anti-drug expendi-tures, enhance certain penalties, subsidize drug testing at multiple levels, and exacerbate policies that marginalize and discriminate against low drug offenders.

This amendment could come up for a vote at any time.� We need all of you to take a moment right how to call or fax your senators and urge them to vote no on the Coverdell-Craig-Abraham drug-free neighborhoods amendment to the tobacco bill.� YOU CAN REACH YOUR SENATORS VIA THE CONGRESSIONAL SWITCHBOARD AT (202) 224-3121. (Remember that you are represented by two Senators -- please call both.)�The lines are pretty busy today, so you might get a busy signal; but if you try a few times, you should get through.

Please also call or fax Sen. John McCain, the sponsor of the tobacco bill -- (202) 224-2235 or (520) 670-6334 (phone), (202) 228-2862 (fax).� Though McCain is supporting the provisions in the amendment, he might object to it at this time if he thinks it will endanger passage of his bill.� Tell him he should take a lesson from the voters in his state who passed the Drug Medicalization and Prevention Act of 1996 and rethink his support for the failed drug war.

If you are from a state represented by one of the three sponsors, Georgia, Idaho or Michigan, please call that Senator and ask him to withdraw the amendment.� GEORGIA Sen. Paul Coverdell, (202) 224-3643 or (404) 347-2202 (phone), (202) 228-3783 (fax).� IDAHO Sen. Larry Craig, (202) 224-2752 or (208) 342-7985 (phone), (202) 228-1067 (fax).� MICHIGAN Sen. Spencer Abraham, (202) 224-4822 or (810) 350-0510 (phone), (202) 224-8834 (fax).

Remember, the vote could take place this afternoon, so CALL NOW. The following is the Senators' description of their amendment

The Coverdell-Craig-Abraham Drug-Free Neighborhoods Act

  1. Stop the Flow of Drugs at Our Borders
    • US Customs doubles the interdiction budget
    • Coast Guard doubles the interdiction budget
    • Department of Defense doubles the interdiction budget

    2. DRUG-FREE BORDERS ACT strengthens civil and criminal penalties for customs violations; provides US Customs greater authority to rotate agents, irrespective of any collective bargaining agreement; doubles the number of border agents by 2003

  2. Protect Our Neighborhoods and Schools From Drugs

    3. DRUG-FREE TEEN DRIVERS ACT provides $10 million per year in grants for states that institute voluntary drug testing for teen drivers license aapplicants and for states that enact and enforce drug laws which crack down on drivers who use drugs

    4. DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS makes it an allowable use of federal funds to provide school choice or compensation for K-12 students who are victims of school violence, including drug-related crimes; creates incentives for states to provide an annual report card to parents and teachers listing incidents of school violence, weapon possession, or drug activity; makes voluntary random drug testing programs an allowable use of federal funds; provides for parental consent drug testing demonstration projects

    5. DRUG-FREE STUDENT LOANS ACT restricts loans for students convicted of drug possession (1 year for first offenders, 2 years for 2nd offenders, and indefinite for 3rd); restricts loans for students convicted of drug trafficking (2 years for 1st offenders and indefinitely for 2nd offenders); resumes loan eligibility on an expedited basis for students who satisfactorily complete a drug rehabilitation program that includes drug testing

    6. DRUG-FREE WORKPLACES ACT authorizes $10 million per year in SBA demonstration grants for small and medium sized businesses to implement drug-free workplace programs and provides technical assistance for businesses through SBA

    7. DRUG-FREE COMMUNITITES ACT authorizes $50 million per year to encourage communities nationwide to establish comprehensive, sustainable and accountable anti-drug coalitions through flexible matching grants. Allows up to $10 million of these funds to be used each year to encourage the formation of parent/youth drug prevention strategies

    8. BAN FREE NEEDLES FOR DRUG ADDICTS this provision, identical to S. 1959 introduced by Sen. Coverdell (R-GA), would ban taxpayer financing of needle programs

  3. Defeat the Drug Mafia


    • Drug Enforcement Agency increases overall budget by 25%
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation increases drug enforcement budget by 25%

    10. MONEY-LAUNDERING PREVENTION ACT strengthens the ability of law enforcement to crack down on both international and domestic money launderers; increases criminal penalties; allows federal courts to restrain the US assets of a person arrested abroad for money laundering

    11. REGISTRATION OF CONVICTED DRUG DEALERS provides $5 million per year in incentive grants to states that require convicted drug dealers who target kids to register with local law enforcement

  4. Increase Accountability

    12. NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL STRATEGY requires development of a 4-year National Drug Control Strategy at the beginning of each President's term in office; requires progress reports on or before February 1 of each year thereafter; requires a report to Congress every 6 months on illegal drug use by teens.

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