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NEBRASKA'S VETERANS' ADVOCATE. INTEGRITY FIRST, EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO, SERVICE BEFORE SELF. VALUES THAT NEBRASKANS BELIEVE IN.

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Cuz Stuff Needs Fixin

CALL TO ARMS: Medical cannabis would help sick, ailing

Bottom line up front: The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act (LB643) is all about making life better for Nebraskans who are sick and ailing. Period! Nothing more...nothing less. This is entirely about helping very sick people in need who deserve the right to a medication that treats their illnesses.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is currently classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as a Schedule 1 narcotic along with PCP, heroin and LSD. The technical description of a Schedule 1 controlled substance is that it has “no accepted medical use, a lack of accepted safety for use even under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”

Oh really? Why then did an oncologist tell my father-in-law back in 1978 that smoking cannabis could help alleviate the symptoms (i.e. severe nausea beyond the average person’s imagination and lack of appetite) of the aggressive chemotherapy that he was undergoing for his pancreatic cancer? The oncologist was exactly right...the marijuana, illegally acquired, rather easily I might add, did exactly what the doctor said it would do.

There is a huge amount of evidence published in numerous studies and reports of the medical efficacy of cannabis. So why then does the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to classify it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance? Why have 23 states and the District of Columbia all decided to legalize medical marijuana? There are numerous other states that are currently looking to legalize marijuana as well.

You have to ask yourself why that is. Are all these states ignorant? Or is this just another issue in a long line of issues that the bureaucrats in Washington have gotten wrong?

An editorial last week in opposition to my Cannabis Compassion and Care Act (LB643) suggests that we defer to the judgment of the FDA and snidely suggests that this is about more than medical use. This is a charge for which I take great offense. I have never smoked cannabis or taken drugs...I don’t even drink alcohol. I am adamantly opposed to the legalization of the recreational use of cannabis, just as I would be opposed to individuals being able to buy prescription drugs like OxyContin, and Adderall at their local liquor store for recreational use, or people being able to buy paint and glue to sniff at a bar.

I believe we do a grave disservice to those who are suffering with a myriad of illnesses for which cannabis has shown medical efficacy.

The reason that I sponsored this bill to legalize cannabis for medicinal use and reschedule cannabis from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 at the state level is that I got to know some of the Nebraska families who have children who have epilepsy and uncontrollable seizures.

Shari Lawlor’s 22-year old daughter takes $35,000 worth of medications every year (at taxpayer expense since she’s on Medicaid) and the medicines aren’t working. Her next step on the treatment regime is to have brain surgery on her frontal lobe.

Imagine for a minute that this was your daughter, wife or sister. If your next option on the treatment scale is brain surgery but there was the possibility of using medical marijuana as another treatment option wouldn't you want to do it?

There is a well-documented and reported case of a young girl in Colorado, Charlotte Figi, who was having over 300 seizures every week. Imagine that...over 300 times every week watching your precious daughter convulsing uncontrollably. Her prognosis was terrible and her parents had signed a do not resuscitate order. Then they had the opportunity to try a high CBD strain of cannabis. The effects were immediate and stunning. Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week to having one.

As I write this letter from my office in the State Capitol, back in Bellevue a constituent of mine, Becky Budden, sits in the hospital with her daughter, Alice, who was rushed to the emergency room this weekend due to non-stop epileptic seizures and vomiting. Alice’s expensive prescription medication cocktail isn’t working.

The result of this little girl’s current method of treatment is a bruised face. All because the state is denying Alice access to a medication that has consistently been shown to demonstrate effectiveness in controlling seizures. While Becky begs for help for her daughter, D.C. bureaucrats at the FDA fail to respond, proving once again that “Washington is broken.”

While Washington may be broken, Nebraska is not. States have rights and I trust that the decision makers here in Lincoln will join me in looking at the research and see that cannabis has demonstrated effectiveness in treating cancer, ALS, MS, Dravet’s syndrome and other terminal and debilitating illnesses. I’m doing this because stuff needs fixing.

Sincerely,

Senator Tommy Garrett (Retired Colonel, USAF)

REVENUE COMMITTEE PASSES SENATOR GARRETT'S LB 428: ON TO FLOOR DEBATE
Senator Garrett was pleased to have so many 100% Service Connected Disabled Veterans show up for the hearing on LB 428. LB 428 provides a motor vehicle tax exemption for one motor vehicle owned and used for personal transportation by a one hundred percent service-connected disabled veteran. Many of these Veterans have a difficult time making it to doctor's appointments. The hope is that this measure makes transportation easier for our 100% Service Connected Disabled Veterans.  Be sure to thank Senators Lydia Brasch, Al Davis, Burke Harr, Jim Scheer, Kate Sullivan, & Jim Smith for voting LB 428 out of Revenue Committee. On to floor debate!
I enjoyed having my former colleague, Senator Norm Wallman, stop by Room 1208. COME SEE US!
SEN. GARRETT THANKS TRANSPORTATION & TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JIM SMITH FOR PRIORITIZING LB 641
When I was going door to door this past summer and fall, I told people I was running "Cuz Stuff Needed Fixin" and I am continuously amazed at how much stuff actually does need fixin.  Currently in the state of Nebraska if you are an individual who is operating a wheelchair or motorized scooter, you do not have the same rights as a pedestrian walking in a crosswalk.  Former Senator Chris Abboud brought this to my attention.  He showed me documented cases of people riding in their wheelchairs or sitting on a bicycle crossing a crosswalk, getting hit by a car and not being afforded the same rights as a pedestrian.  I personally believe the State of Nebraska to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is no equality under the law for people in wheelchairs and riding bicycles.  
I thank Chairman Smith and the Transportation Committee for voting LB 641 out of Committee on an 8-0 vote. This bill will give those in wheelchairs and scooters the same right's as pedestrians.  I had wanted to include bicyclists but the issue proved to controversial in committee.  I will look to find a way to include bicyclists later in my term.  Call your Senator and ask them to support LB 641. Nebraskan's in wheelchairs deserve equal protection in crosswalks.

Sincerely,

Senator Tommy Garrett (Retired Colonel USAF)
SENATOR GARRETT ADDRESSES PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES AT NEBRASKA RIGHT TO LIFE'S ANNUAL "PRO-LIFE DAY" AT THE CAPITOL
Senator Garrett was honored to address so many Pro-Life advocates at Nebraska Right to Life's Annual Pro-Life Day earlier this month.  Senator Garrett had the opportunity to talk about LB 358, a bill he introduced which terminates parental right's of individuals found guilty of sexual assault in cases of rape-related pregnancy. Current Nebraska law forces women, who make the brave pro-life decision to have their child who was conceived of rape, to essentially co-parent with their assaulter.  Senator Garrett believes protecting these brave women from their assaulter is essential to promoting a Culture of Life.  
Senator Garrett also spoke on LB 268 & LB 187, two Pro-Life bills he is co-sponsoring.
LB 268 introduced by Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha protects life that has already been born from being executed at the hands of the State.  Senator Garrett believes that every soul is valuable, and that every individual has the Right to Life and deserves the opportunity to grow spiritually.  LB 268 in a nutshell terminates the death penalty, making life without the possibility of parole the strongest penalty for murder.  LB 268 has the support of many Pro-Life advocates from various faiths, including Nebraska's three bishops.  
LB 187 introduced by Senator Bill Kintner of Papillion makes it more difficult for Nebraska women to be coerced and forced into having an abortion.  According to the statement of intent LB 187 requires the posting of signs in certain areas of health care facilities, which provide abortions, to inform patients that it is against the law for any person, regardless of their relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion, and that you have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened physical abuse or violence. 
Senator Garrett encourages you to contact your Senator and ask them to support LB 358, LB 268, and LB 187.
SENATOR GARRETT THANKS SPEAKER GALEN HADLEY FOR PRIORITIZING LB 642
LB 642, a bill introduced by Senator Garrett on behalf of Nebraska DMV Director Rhonda Lahm, was prioritized by Senator Galen Hadley of Kearney.  Senator Hadley has served as the Speaker of the Legislature since January.  Senator Garrett thanks Speaker Hadley for prioritizing LB 642.  LB 642 is an initial step in preparing for a modernized Vehicle Title and Registration system.  We all hate wait times at our local DMV.  LB 642 will allow the Nebraska DMV to offer more customer service options that will hopefully cut down on wait times.   

 

It was wonderful to have Paigi Figi come and testify on behalf of our Medical Cannabis bill. Paige & her husband Matt (who is a Green Beret by the way) had signed a do not resuscitate order for their daughter Charlotte. Charlotte was experiencing 300 seizures a week! As a last ditch effort Matt & Paige had Charlotte try Cannabis Oil. Charlotte went from having 300 seizures a week to just ONE!  

Paige understands the fears and realities many Nebraska Families live with every day. I hope you'll join Paige in asking your State Senators to allow Nebraska's Familes access to Medical Cannabis.


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SENATOR GARRETT BRINGS AWARENESS TO VIOLENT CRIME DURING "NO MORE" WEEK
This month Senator Garrett participated in the national NO MORE campaign's "NO MORE" WEEK.  The NO MORE campaign is an organization that is working to increase awareness for issues pertaining to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Violent Crime in general.  According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) every year 293,000 Americans are victims of Sexual Assault.  NO MORE estimates that 60% of Americans have a close friend or family member who is a victim of Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence.  However, NO MORE estimates the 2/3 of Americans have never had a discussion with others about Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence and 75% of parents have never discussed these issues with there children.  Many times sunshine is the best disinfectant.  Senator Garrett encourages everyone to participate in the NO MORE campaign to help bring awareness to these important issues.  This year Senator Garrett has proposed LB 358, which takes parental rights away from individuals found guilty of a sexual assault that resulted in a rape-related pregnancy.  Senator Garrett has also signed on as a co-sponsor of Norfolk Senator Jim Scheer's LB 294 which strengthens Nebraska's penalties and prohibition on human trafficking. LB 294 also creates the Human Trafficking Victims Civil Remedy Act.  Senator Garrett promises to continue as an advocate for these types of issues and asks that you contact your Senators and ask them to support LB 358 & 294.  

 
SENATOR GARRETT INTRODUCES VEGETATION CONTROL PLAN FOR BILLBOARDS ALONG THE ROADWAY
On Tuesday, March 3rd, Senator Garrett introduced LB 639 in the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee on which he sits. LB 639 simply directs the Department of Roads to adopt rules and regulations for the administration of a vegetation control plan to help billboard owner's whose billboard's are being obstructed by volunteer trees. We hope passage of this legislation will allow these billboard owner's the opportunity to rid their billboard's of volunteer trees and overgrown vegetation. Sucker trees can be nasty suckers.
Senator Garrett was honored to be recognized at this month's Nebraska Republican Party Senators Recognition Dinner. Senator Garrett thanks J.L Spray for his service as Chairman of the party and looks forward to working with Governor Ricketts to make life better for Nebraskans.
SENATOR GARRETT THANKS MEMBERS OF THE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE FOR UNANIMOUSLY VOTING LB 634, LB 636 & LB 637 OUT OF COMMITTEE 
 
Senator Garrett thanks Senator Ken Schilz of Ogallala, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and Vice Chairman Curt Friesen of Henderson for supporting LB 634, LB 636, and LB 637.  Senators Hughes, Johnson, Kolowski, Lindstrom, McCollister, and Schnoor all supported these three bills in Committee as well. The committee amended LB 634 to remove the $5 fee, allowing Nebraska former Prisoners of War to hunt & fish in Nebraska free of charge.
LB 634
 recognizes the incredible ordeals that Nebraska’s former Prisoners of War have experienced in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States, and aims to honor these veterans in a practical way by issuing a combination fishing and hunting permit, habitat stamp, aquatic habitat stamp, and Nebraska migratory waterfowl stamp for no fee to these veterans.
LB 636 allows active-duty military members stationed outside Nebraska who are home on leave to receive a $5 small game combination hunting/fishing permit valid for the duration of their leave.
LB 637 allows spouses of Military members stationed in Nebraska to hunt, fish or harvest fur and pay the same rates for fees as a Nebraska resident.

These three bills were all amended into LB 634.  Senator Garrett has asked Speaker Hadley to include LB 634 on the consent calendar.  Again Senator Garrett thanks the members of the Natural Resources committee for their vote and looks forward to passing these 3 bills on the floor. 
SENATOR GARRETT ATTENDS NEBRASKA FIREARMS OWNERS ASSOCIATION DAY AT THE CAPITOL
Senator Garrett addressed 2nd Amendment advocates this past Thursday at the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association Day at the Capitol. Senator Garrett thanks the NFOA for affording him the opportunity to address their group of 2nd Amendment advocates.  
This session Senator Garrett introduced two bills that change the Nebraska Concealed Handgun Permit Act.  LB 635 allows Concealed Carry Permitholders the right to carry a concealed handgun in an establishment having a license issued under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act that derives over one-half of its total income from the sale of alcoholic liquor.  While LB 638 seeks to provide an extension of Concealed Handgun Permit's for military members serving outside of Nebraska.  This allows military members and their spouses the ability to have their permits valid until they return to Nebraska so they have the opportunity to renew in person and extends their permit for up to 10 years.
Senator Garrett was honored to be joined by Papillion Mayor David Black who attended NFOA Day at the Capitol as well.  Sen Garrett thanks Mayor Black for his service to the people of Papillion .
 
CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY "CAPITOL
CONVERSATION" WITH FRED KNAPP
OF NET NEBRASKA 
CUZ STUFF NEEDS FIXIN                                                                                     MARCH 2015
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Sen. Tommy Garrett
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Lincoln, NE 68509
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