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Eleanor Holmes Norton on Drugs

Democratic Representative (DC-Delegate)


Establish drug testing standards for major league sports.

Norton co-sponsored establishing drug testing standards for major league sports

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To establish minimum drug testing standards for major professional sports leagues.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: The purpose of this bill is to protect the integrity of professional sports and, more importantly, the health and safety of our nation's youth, who, for better or for worse, see professional athletes as role models. The legislation would achieve that goal by establishing minimum standards for the testing of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by major professional sports leagues. By adhering to--and hopefully exceeding--these minimum standards, major professional sports leagues would send a strong signal to the public that performance-enhancing drugs have no legitimate role in American sports.

Finally, the bill would give the Office of National Drug Control Policy--ONDCP--the ability to add other professional sports leagues as well as certain college sports if the ONDCP were to determine that such additions would prevent the use of performance-enhancing substances by high school, college, or professional athletes.

The need for reforming the drug testing policies of professional sports is clear. However, I introduce this legislation reluctantly. Over a year ago, I stated publicly that the failure of professional sports--and in particular Major League Baseball--to commit to addressing the issue of doping straight on and immediately would motivate Congress to search for legislative remedies. Despite my clear warning and the significant attention that Congress has given to this stain on professional sports, baseball, and other professional leagues have refused to do the right thing.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; hearings held (S.Hrg.109-525); never came to a vote.

Source: Clean Sports Act (S.1114/H.R.2565) 05-S1114 on May 24, 2005

End harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine.

Norton co-sponsored ending harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine

A bill to target cocaine kingpins and address sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. Biden: My bill will eliminate the current 100-to-1 disparity [between sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine] by increasing the 5-year mandatory minimum threshold quantity for crack cocaine to 500 grams, from 5 grams, and the 10-year threshold quantity to 5,000 grams, from 50 grams, while maintaining the current statutory mandatory minimum threshold quantities for powder cocaine. It will also eliminate the current 5-year mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine, the only mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of a drug by a first time offender.

Drug use is a serious problem, and I have long supported strong antidrug legislation. But in addition to being tough, our drug laws should be rational and fair. My bill achieves the right balance. We have talked about the need to address this cocaine sentencing disparity for long enough. It is time to act.

Congressional Summary:

Related bills: H.R.79, H.R.460, H.R.4545, S.1383, S.1685.
Source: Drug Sentencing Reform & Kingpin Trafficking Act (S.1711) 07-S1711 on Jun 27, 2007

Allow rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans.

Norton co-sponsored allowing rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans

This bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to repeal the provisions prohibiting persons convicted of drug offenses from receiving student financial assistance.

Source: Removing Impediments to Students Education (RISE) (H.R.5157) 08-HR5157 on Jan 29, 2008

Expunge records for first drug offenders after probation.

Norton co-sponsored Federal First Offender Improvement Act

Congressional Summary: Amends the federal criminal code to extend the pre-judgment probation and expungement procedures for simple possession of a controlled substance to individuals who are convicted of drug trafficking or of attempting or conspiring to commit a drug offense. Sets forth requirements for granting pre-judgment probation for drug trafficking or of attempting or conspiring to commit a drug offense, including that:

  1. the offender did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon while committing the offense;
  2. the offense did not result in death or serious injury to any person;
  3. the offender was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
  4. the offender has not been previously convicted of a crime of violence or other offense punishable by a prison term of more than one year.
Provides for a period of such probation of up to two years. Eliminates the requirement that an offender seeking expungement of a record of a disposition be less than 21 years old at the time of the offense.
Source: H.R.2567 11-H2567 on Jul 15, 2011

Exclude industrial hemp from definition of marijuana.

Norton co-sponsored Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Sponsor's Remarks:
Rep. PAUL: Nine States allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with State laws. However, Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these States growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current Federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the US must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the "schedule one" definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp.

The US is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the US for most of our Nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the Federal Government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited Government.

Source: HR1831/S3501/HR525(2013) 12-S3501 on Aug 2, 2012

Sponsored no federal enforcement against legal state marijuana.

Norton co-sponsored Respect State Marijuana Laws Act

Congressional Summary:The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act: The provisions of [federal law] related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

Proponent's argument for bill: (PolicyMic.com): While the bill does not attempt to legalize the drug in individual states, it would immunize individuals in states taking measures to reform marijuana laws from federal prosecution. Currently, 18 states allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Support for the bill arises from not just moral, but practical and financial grounds: The marijuana industry costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $42 billion annually in enforcement costs and lost tax revenues.

Opponent's argument against bill: (USA Today 8/29/13 and the Drug Free America Foundation dfaf.org): The Justice Department will not attempt to challenge state laws that allow for the medical and recreational use of marijuana as long as the drug sales do not conflict with eight new federal enforcement priorities. "We are very disappointed that Eric Holder's not doing his job,'' said the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. "It is his job to enforce our nation's laws. He has created what will become a tsunami that will most likely result in far too many young people becoming victims of chemical slavery."

Peter Bensinger, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Holder's action amounted to a violation of the law. "He's not just abandoning the law," Bensinger said, "he's breaking the law; he's putting the people of Washington and Colorado at risk. He's violating the treaty obligations of this country. He's telling the world we don't really follow the law here."

Source: H.R.1523 13-H1523 on Apr 12, 2013

Distribute sterile syringes to reduce AIDS and hepatitis.

Norton signed Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act

To permit the use of Federal funds for syringe exchange programs for purposes of reducing the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and viral hepatitis.

    Congress finds as follows:
  1. Each year, approximately 12,000 Americans contract HIV/AIDS and approximately 19,000 Americans contract the hepatitis C virus directly or indirectly from sharing contaminated syringes.
  2. A 2005 comprehensive international review of the evidence of the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs in preventing HIV transmission shows that such programs reduce HIV transmission and are cost-effective.
  3. Research has shown that injection drug users who are referred to addiction treatment from syringe exchange programs are more likely to enter and remain in treatment.
  4. Research has shown that, by providing safe disposal of used injection equipment, syringe exchange programs significantly reduce the number of improperly discarded syringes in the community, thereby reducing the exposure of police and others to dangers of blood-borne disease from accidental syringe sticks.
  5. Syringe exchange programs reduce the prevalence of HIV among injection drug users.
  6. Despite the scientific and public health consensus that syringe exchange programs reduce HIV and do not increase substance abuse, a ban on funding syringe exchange has been enacted as part of each Appropriations Act since 1998.
  7. The Public Health Service Act, as added by the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990, is subject to a statutory ban on funding needle exchange programs.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, nothing shall prohibit the use of Federal funds to establish or carry out a program of distributing sterile syringes to reduce the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis.
Source: HR 179 2009-H179 on Jan 6, 2009

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Drugs: Eleanor Holmes Norton on other issues:
[Title7]

Left 113th Congress, 2013-2014:
AL-1: Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
FL-13:Bill Young(R,deceased)
FL-19:Trey Radel(R,arrested)
IL-2: Jesse L. Jackson(D,convicted)
LA-5: Rodney Alexander(R,resigned)
MA-5: Ed Markey(D,elected)
MO-8: Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
NC-12:Mel Watt(D,appointed)
NJ-1: Rob Andrews(D,investigated)
SC-1: Tim Scott(R,appointed)

Newly-elected special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
FL-13:David Jolly(R)
FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12: Pending Jul.15
NJ-1: Pending Nov.4
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
Won primary 2014:
TX-4: John Ratcliffe(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

Retiring to run for Senate in 2014:
AR-4: Tom Cotton(R)
CO-4: Cory Gardner(R)
GA-1: Jack Kingston(R)
GA-10:Paul Broun(R)
GA-11:Phil Gingrey(R)
HI-1: Colleen Hanabusa(D)
IA-1: Bruce Braley(D)
LA-6: Bill Cassidy(R)
MI-14:Gary Peters(D)
MT-0: Steve Daines(R)
OK-5: James Lankford(R)
TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)
WV-2: Shelley Moore Capito(R)

Former Reps running for House in 2014:
AL-5: Parker Griffith(R)
CA-3: Doug Ose(R)
GA-11:Bob Barr(R)
CA-31:Joe Baca(D)
IL-10:Bob Dold(R)
IL-17:Bobby Schilling(R)
MS-4: Gene Taylor(D)
MT-0: Denny Rehberg(R)
NH-1: Frank Guinta(R)
NY-11:Vito Fossella(R)
NY-18:Nan Hayworth(R)
OH-7: John Boccieri(D)
PA-13:Marjorie Margolies(D)
TX-23:Francisco Canseco(R)
Lost primary 2014:
TX-4: Ralph Hall(R)
VA-7: Eric Cantor(R)

Retiring to run for State Office in 2014:
AR-2: Tim Griffin(R)
CA-35:Gloria McLeod(D)
ME-2: Mike Michaud(D)
PA-13:Allyson Schwartz(D)
VI-0: Donna Christensen(D)

Retiring effective Jan. 2015:
AL-6: Spencer Bachus(R)
AZ-7: Ed Pastor(D)
CA-11:George Miller(D)
CA-25:Howard McKeon(R)
CA-31:Gary Miller(R)
CA-33:Henry Waxman(D)
CA-45:John Campbell(R)
IA-3: Tom Latham(R)
MI-4: Dave Camp(R)
MI-6: Tom Petri(R)
MI-12:John Dingell(D)
MN-6: Michele Bachmann(R)
NC-6: Howard Coble(R)
NC-7: Mike McIntyre(D)
NJ-3: Jon Runyan(R)
NJ-12:Rush Holt(D)
NY-4: Carolyn McCarthy(D)
NY-21:Bill Owens(D)
PA-6: Jim Gerlach(R)
UT-4: Jim Matheson(D)
VA-8: James Moran(D)
VA-10:Frank Wolf(R)
WA-4: Doc Hastings(R)
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Page last updated: Jul 15, 2014