Pubdate: Mon, 29 Jan 2007
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Amarillo Globe-News
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


The good . . .

House Rules: Many were waiting to see if Texas House Speaker Tom 
Craddick, R-Midland, was going to hold a grudge after surviving a 
challenge to his leadership from fellow Republican Jim Pitts of 
Waxahachie. Craddick's selection of committee chairmanships would be 
the primary indication of possible political revenge. Payback or not, 
the Panhandle came out strong. Craddick announced Rep. Warren Chisum, 
R-Pampa, as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. 
Panhandle Republicans John Smithee (Insurance) and David Swinford 
(State Affairs) will also return as committee chairmen. Politics 
aside, the Panhandle will have a significant influence in the House.

the bad . . .

School's out: New Mexico lawmakers are haggling over a requirement 
that schools be notified about students who commit violent offenses - 
primarily sexual offenders. A bill was discussed last week in the 
Senate Education Committee that would require the Children, Youth and 
Families Department to alert school officials when a student is 
charged with a serious crime. Some lawmakers are concerned the law 
could result in lawsuits against schools that take any action against 
such students. However, lawmakers should consider that a victim or 
family member might pursue litigation against a school district if a 
school did nothing to prevent a serious crime. The argument also can 
be made that the state has responsibility to alert a school about the 
potential of a student to commit a serious crime. When it comes to 
the rights of students to be safe vs. the rights of a criminal, 
especially in terms of litigation, it may be better to be safe rather 
than sorry.

...and the ugly.

Smoke Screen: A proposal by Texas state Sen. Bob Deuell, 
R-Greenville, puts the state in a curious position. Deuell wants a 
law allowing local authorities to set up a needle exchange program, 
supposedly to reduce the spread of potentially fatal diseases such as 
AIDS by drug abusers. According to Deuell, needle exchange programs 
do not result in an increase in drug use, although how this is 
possible needs to be examined thoroughly. What is ironic is Texas' 
stance on smoking, with more cities and communities cracking down on 
public smoking and the state jacking up cigarette taxes to 
astronomical levels, primarily to reduce smoking. However, a needle 
exchange program is acceptable? Curious.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman