Needle ban fight moves to Senate
We are too close to lifting the federal syringe exchange funding ban to allow it to fail. Attempts to put it back in after it was removed in House committee were defeated, but by a very close margin. What did stick, unfortunately, was an amendment to deny federal funds to any SEP within 1000 feet of a school, rec center, daycare center, playground, video arcade, or anywhere groups of children may go on even an occasional basis. For almost every existing syringe exchange project, and in most cities overall, this would present a huge barrier.
So, we have 2 important tasks - to get the overall ban removed & to get that amendment removed. The decision will most likely be made in a closed conference between Senate and House Appropriators in early September, and we
need those legislators to walk in there knowing what they have to do. If your program would be ineligible to receive federal funds if this 1000 foot buffer zone is enacted, or if you care about the issue at all, this is a KEY TIME for you to act.
Send a letter directly to your Senator from our Online Action Center and ask that they resist any restrictive amendments from both the Financial Services and Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bills, and to leave the decision of how and where to offer services to the local public health and public safety communities. Feel free to use the pre-written one provided or write your own.
SECOND: Although it would be good for everyone to communicate with their Senators, it is especially important for those in states with Appropriations committee members. If you are in one of these states, please follow up with a personal call to the Senator's health advisor and speak to them directly. You can reach them through the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498, or 1-800-459-1887.
THIRD: We are doing a postcard campaign to Senators as well, to reach out to allies, clients, shoppers, and so on that we don't reach online. We need people who will go out and get some postcards signed by supporters. If you can commit to this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how many you want, and send your mailing address. The following list of Appropriators are the highest priorities.
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii
PATRICK J. LEAHY, Vermont
BARBARA A. MIKULSKI, Maryland
HERB KOHL, Wisconsin
PATTY MURRAY, Washington
DIANNE FEINSTEIN, California
RICHARD J. DURBIN, Illinois
MARY L. LANDRIEU, Louisiana
JACK REED, Rhode Island
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania
SUSAN COLLINS, Maine
GEORGE VOINOVICH, Ohio
LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska