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October 24, 2007

WI Assembly Speaker Huebsch assigns medical marijuana bill to Leah Vukmir’s Health committee to die

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I like to give people the benefit of a doubt. Just because past Republican Assembly Speakers including the morally bankrupt John Gard, the disgraced, convicted yet still unpunished Scott “Scooter” Jensen and even old Ben Brancel, have all assigned medical marijuana legislation to committees where they were assured the bill would die doesn't mean one shouldn't hold out hope that some enlightenment may have occurred.

Today, we learn that current Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch is just as callous about the health of sick and dying Wisconsinites as his predecessors, as we find that the “Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act” (AB 550), has been assigned to the Health and Healthcare Reform Committee chaired by arch-zealot Leah Vukmir click here. (try spell-checking her name in MS Word). Rep. Vukmir, (R-Wauwatosa), had vowed in a WI State Journal article in April to kill the bill if it was assigned to her committee:

But Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, said she will continue her opposition to medical marijuana because of concerns about its safety.

Vukmir, a nurse, said she believes it is better for patients to use medications that have been approved or may soon be available than to have people grow their own marijuana.

"I will refuse to put members through the circus of a hearing for a bill that is not going to go anywhere," Vukmir said. "This is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana, which is not going to happen on my watch."

Before the bill was assigned to committee, I attempted several times to arrange a meeting with Huebsch’s staff and state patients to ask that the bill be assigned to a different Assembly health committee, Public Health, chaired by Rep. J.A. “Doc” Hines’ (R-Oxford). Rep. Hines had promised to give the bill a hearing, as is his custom. Our pleas for a meeting went unanswered.

This action is a slap in the face to the 80+% of Wisconsinites who support giving patients legal access click here. Speaker Huebsch has shown he’s a follower not a leader. He’s continued to play the same kind of hurtful partisan politics as Gard, Jensen, et al.

It’s also unwise politically, given the fact Democrats are targeting Republican moderates like Hines as they try to overcome the GOP’s slim 3-seat majority in the Assembly next November. Rather than assigning the bill to a committee chaired by a moderate, where it might have a hearing and demonstrate that all Republicans aren’t cold-hearted fanatics, it goes to a committee chaired by an extremist who has already vowed to kill it.

Posted by Gary at October 24, 2007 10:42 AM


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