BRWC Legislative Report

In November, Michigan voters elected to make recreational use of marijuana legal. While it restricts use to age 21, it is interesting to note that the American Journal of Psychiatry has determined that cannabis use for teens is worse than alcohol. It is also interesting that the basis was established on teens from age 13 which indicates that age restriction may prove a fallacy. It seems that cannabis inhibits cognitive function short term and long term while alcohol does not. In following the stock market, it is interesting to note that cannabis stocks are soaring. Perhaps this change in Michigan will be regretted. The studies were done in Montreal , Canada over a 4 year period following 3,826 students. Canada legalized the use of recreational marijuana on October 19, 2018. This study was published October 3, 2018. Thus begins a new experiment, in Canada and Michigan.

As of January 23, Nancy Pelosi has refused to invite President Trump to give the State of the Union address in the House chamber. She had suggested a week before that he not give the address until the government was reopened. The President has announced that he will not give the State of the Union address until after the government is reopened in recognition of the traditions of our country to give it in the “people’s house.”

Michigan House Bill 5526 passed near the deadline of the last legislative session in 2018. This bill is known as the A to F bill and provides for school letter grades on Michigan schools new report cards. In essence the bill will make it easier for parents to evaluate the math and reading scores of schools in order to decide which school to place their child. Literally, the grades will indicate how each school rates with year to year student growth, raw achievement scores, how a school rates on state tests and it compares schools of similar student demographics. It literally will show schools that are beating the odds with a challenging population and those that are not. Not only will this help parents with the decision of where to send their children, but it could lead to improvement in the schools that are not making adequate progress and improvement.

Issues of vital interest concern the attempt to go to a National Popular Vote interstate compact. This is a states’ rights issue and one that needs to be studied carefully. At present there are advocates pushing hard to adopt NPV as well as push back against. Dig around the internet and seek for yourself common ground with one side or the other. To detail this question would take pages at this time. The Electoral College would still operate but the popular vote supposedly would create the need for candidates to campaign in all states, not just the most crucial. This issue needs study for sure. One condemnation comes to mind, that rather than seek to amend the Constitution, NPV is doing an end run around it by asking states to give their electors to the National Popular Vote rather than the winner of the State vote.

Another issue now being reintroduced in several states, (Arkansas and South Carolina newly debating the issue) is the COS, or Convention of States. This would open up the Constitution to change. Way back in 1787 this did happen and rather than just make adjustments to the Articles of Confederation, the end result was a totally new Constitution. Be aware of this movement because it will not limit delegates to just an amendment or two, contrary to the hype of those in favor of COS. Many of the original framers of our Constitution warned immediately after it was adopted against once again opening it up to the same possibility. Amend it as we have done 26 times in the past. Don't open it up to being discarded. The arguments for and against are many. Search the internet for both. Just remember that Delegates are Sovereign Representatives of the People and as such have the power to abolish one government and set up a new one. It happened in 1787. Recall that in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, the Delegates have the inherent right “to alter or to abolish” our form of Government. In this divided nation at present, opening up that possibility is anathema.

January 22, 2019, New York State Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act which redefines a person as “a human being who has been born and is alive” and which permits abortion in some cases to birth! The passing of this legislation was greeted in the Senate with loud applause and cheers. To top it off, the Empire State building had pink lights illuminating it to celebrate the event. This was passed on the Anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade abortion bill that limited abortion to the first trimester.

Respectfully submitted,

Joan Grindel

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