December 12, 2014 Radio Commentary

Horse Racing & Pari-mutuel Betting would Expand Government

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, December 12, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Are you ready to create another government agency? If not, we have a battle on our hands. On November 17th Representative Harry Geisinger pre-filed H.R. 1 to make horse racing constitutional in Georgia. At the same time, he pre-filed his 38-page H.B. 2 to make it happen. But those 38 pages go beyond horse racing. They outline a system for pari-mutuel betting to be controlled by a seven-member all-expenses-paid horse racing commission to license racetrack facilities and schedule at least 60 live racing days in Georgia every year. The races would be simulcast to satellite facilities throughout the state and Internet betting would be set up to accommodate online gamblers.

They expect to collect a ton of new revenue, but let’s look at the facts. First, it’s never cheap to expand government and hire new people. Second, gambling is extremely harmful to gamblers and families. Average pathological gamblers pay about $1,200 a year to treat their habit, although they might never be cured. A fourth of habitual gamblers lose their jobs; 28 percent file for bankruptcy or owe $75,000 to $150,000 gambling debts; players with incomes under $10,000 lose nearly 10 percent of the family income at casinos and do three times more betting in lotteries than those earning over $50,000. 28 percent of pathological gamblers are either separated or divorced, nearly double the non-gambler rate and one in five commits suicide, a rate 20 times higher than non-gamblers. Continue reading

December 5, 2014 Radio Commentary

Just Add “Childhood Seizures” to Current Law

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, December 5, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Three weeks ago three bills were pre-filed to change Georgia’s current law governing our state-sponsored research program for using marijuana to treat patients with cancer or glaucoma. Since marijuana is a Schedule I drug, with a high risk for abuse and no proof of medical value, the current law also included the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Program to develop security and record-keeping guidelines and protocols.

That happened in Georgia in the mid ’80s and it’s been the law in Georgia ever since. However, a couple of years ago a nationally known physician went on a world-wide study of marijuana, came back and published his findings. Since his report, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and the pressure is on to legalize it here, regardless of the consequences.

Two days ago, the last of five meetings was held by the special joint committee created to study and research marijuana, but they didn’t discuss the three bills members of that committee have pre-filed for the 2015 legislative session. So, I’ll do it here.

H.B. 1 was pre-filed as a bare-bones bill to be fleshed-out later. It is so broadly written that it allows everything, but prohibits nothing. It would allow (a) unrestricted use of marijuana and its derivatives (b) to be supplied by unmentioned sources (c) for any number of patients of any age. It would be (d) administered through an unidentified private or state business, (e) for any period of time, and (f) prescribed by unnamed individuals, (g) with protection from prosecution for anyone with “a stated maximum amount of THC,” which is not stated. Continue reading

November 2014 Newsletter

Marijuana: Three Pre-filed Bills¹ for 2015

H.B. 1 is a bare-bones bill, a skeletal outline to be “fleshed-out” later. It does not mention children. S.R. 6 amends the State Constitution to legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana. S.B. 7 would authorize, regulate, and oversee marijuana use in Georgia.

H.B. 1 is so broadly written that it would allow (a) unrestricted use of cannabis and its derivatives (b) supplied by unmentioned sources (c) for innumerable patients birth until death, (d) administered through an unidentified private or state entity, (e) for an indeterminate period of time, (f) prescribed by unnamed entities, (g) with protection from prosecution given anyone possessing “a stated maximum amount of THC,” with no maximum amount of THC stated.

Possible end game: If H.B. 1 passes the House and S.B.7 passes the Senate, a conference committee could combine both and produce a transformational bill such as S.B. 7, outlined below and on page 2. Since conference committee bills cannot be amended, they pass or fail as written by the committee.

S.R. 6 Constitutional Amendment; Legalizes Marijuana for 21-Year-Olds & Older This pre-filed resolution by Senator Curt Thompson would add a new section to the Constitution of the State of Georgia to accomplish three things. It would authorize personal use of marijuana, direct the distribution of tax revenue collected from the commercialization of marijuana, and provide for the following question voters would decide in a referendum.

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by general law for the legalization and regulation of the production and sale of marijuana for personal use by individuals 21 years of age or older and may further provide that the taxes from such production and sale shall be appropriated equally between educational programs and purposes and capital outlay projects for transportation infrastructure purposes within this state?”

S.B. 7 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Relief Act, by Senator Curt Thompson, allows the use of marijuana for the treatment of diseases and their symptoms, as follows:

Diseases to be treated: Cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, or agitation of Alzheimer’s disease

Symptoms to be treated include any medical condition that produces cachexia (a weak or emaciated condition) or wasting syndrome; severe and chronic pain; severe nausea²; seizures, epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms; multiple sclerosis; or any other medical condition or treatment added by the Department of Public Health or as petitioned by the public.

Medical use of marijuana defined: “the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, administration, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia for the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the patient’s debilitating medical condition.”

Click here to view the party platforms and to read the rest of the November 2014 Newsletter.

 

November 28, 2014 Radio Commentary

Thanks-O-Meter: What’s Your Score?

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 28, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

The other day I didn’t have to slow down in a school zone, because the school was closed for Thanksgiving week.  But the sign outside that elementary school didn’t mention Thanksgiving. It simply stated that school would be closed from the 24th through the 28th.

How strange that the sign did NOT explain WHY the school was closed for five days.  There was no mention of Pilgrims or a school play or a teacher’s work day.

It made me wonder how the closing had been explained to the students and parents and whether the principal and teachers had been told to avoid mentioning Thanksgiving – a legal holiday, officially declared for the entire nation to observe God’s blessings.  Within those words lies the answer.  Observing Thanksgiving as a Christian observance is being boycotted!

The word Thanksgiving is in the Bible 28 times, first in Leviticus and last in Revelation.  It means to “extend a hand to God, to revere or worship Him.”  That definition reminds me that a warm handshake is often used as a gesture of person-to-person gratitude.  Could that be a simple picture of the response our Lord Jesus Christ expects from us?

So, let’s take a test I’ll call the “Thanks-o-meter Test.”  Listen closely and score yourself.  The questions are from Bible verses that mention the act of thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving Day, did you offer thanks to God?  If you did, your thanks-o-meter just inched upward.  If you praised and magnified His Name, it went up again.  Did you come before His presence with joy?  Did you serve the Lord with gladness and singing, even silently?  Were you thankful unto Him?  Did you call upon Him because He is good, because His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations?  Did you reverence Him?  Did your thanks-o-meter advance on Thanksgiving Day … or is it advancing today?

Thanksgiving, as used in the Bible and for the national holiday, actually, means expressing gratitude to God.  The last mention of thanksgiving in the Bible occurs in a future scene in Heaven, as angels praising God proclaim, “Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen”

We should praise Him even more than the angels do.  Not only did He create us, He died to REDEEM us.  Angels can’t say that!  So, the next time you shake someone’s hand, remember this.  The definition of Biblical thanksgiving is to extend a hand to God in reverence and worship.  Maybe we should take a Thanks-o-meter Test every day.  For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.