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Take Action Now:CALL CONGRESS AND URGE THEM TO REPEAL THE HEA DRUG PROVISION

Discussion in 'Legalization and Activism' started by RMJL, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. Hi guys, I meant to post this earlier but I've been kind of sick. It's not too late though. Today is the call-in day and there is still time to send faxes!






    ACTION ALERT
    CALL CONGRESS AND URGE THEM TO REPEAL THE HEA DRUG PROVISION


    Friends,

    Earlier this week, we sent you an Action Alert asking that you fax your Representative and your Senators and urge them to repeal a ban on federal financial aid to anyone with a drug-related offense. Today you need to reiterate that message and phone your Representative and your Senators.

    ACTIONS TO TAKE:

    1)If you haven't already, fax your Representative and your Senators.
    http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=14997

    2)CALL TODAY!!! THURSDAY, THE 12th OF FEBRUARY. Sample scripts are below. You can contact your Senators and Representative through the Capitol Switchboard for free at 1-800-839-5276. To find out who your Senators and Representative are visit http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/

    3)Forward this action alert to your friends and family. The more people who fax and call, the more likely can we end the ban!

    For more information, log on to http://www.raiseyourvoice.com

    Sincerely,
    Scarlett Swerdlow
    National Director
    Students for Sensible Drug Policy










    SAMPLE SCRIPT TO REPRESENTATIVE:

    Hello, my name is __________ and I'm from __________. I'm calling to urge Representative __________ to co-sponsor H.R. 685 which would repeal a 1998 amendment to the Higher Education Act that delays or denies federal financial aid to anyone with a drug-related offense, no matter how minor.

    This provision is poorly-designed and causes enormous harm. (PICK ONE TALKING POINT):

    - The provision only affects students from low- and middle-income families who depend on aid to afford college. Students from wealthier backgrounds who can afford to pay the full cost of college tuition are unaffected by the drug provision.

    - The provision has a discriminatory impact on minorities. For example, African-Americans, who comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, account for more than half of those convicted of drug possession charges.

    - The provision punishes students twice for the same crime. Those convicted of drug offenses have already paid whatever price the criminal justice system demands of them. The provision represents an additional punishment that limits a student's ability to get an education.

    - The provision will not solve our nation‚s drug problem. To limit the number of deserving students eligible for federal financial aid is counter-productive. Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.

    To repeal this damaging, discriminatory law, I ask that Representative __________ co-sponsor H.R. 685. Thank you.

    SAMPLE SCRIPT TO SENATOR:

    Hello, my name is __________ and I'm from __________. I'm calling to ask Senator __________ to support repeal of the Higher Education Act Drug Provision which denies or delays federal financial aid to anyone with a drug-related offense, no matter how minor.

    This provision is poorly-designed and causes enormous harm. (PICK ONE TALKING POINT):

    - The provision only affects students from low- and middle-income families who depend on aid to afford college. Students from wealthier backgrounds who can afford to pay the full cost of college tuition are unaffected by the drug provision.

    - The provision has a discriminatory impact on minorities. For example, African-Americans, who comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, account for more than half of those convicted of drug possession charges.

    - The provision punishes students twice for the same crime. Students have already paid whatever price the criminal justice system demands of them. The provision represents an additional punishment that limits a student's
    ability to get an education.

    - The provision will not solve our nation‚s drug problem. To limit the number of deserving students eligible for federal financial aid is counter-productive. Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.

    With reauthorization of the Higher Education Act on the horizon, I hope that Senator ________ will work to repeal this damaging, discriminatory provision. Thank you.
     
  2. Action Alert: HEA Campaign Entering New Stage -- Your Letters and Phone Calls Needed!
    2/13/04


    As you may know, DRCNet, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and a wide range of education, civil rights, religious, drug policy reform and other groups have long campaigned against a 1998 amendment to the Higher Education Act that delays or denies federal financial aid to anyone convicted of a drug offense, no matter how minor. More than 128,000 would-be students have been adversely affected by this provision. H.R. 685, a bill in the US House of Representatives to repeal the HEA drug provision, has the support of 65 Representatives, and six presidential candidates have spoken out for its repeal as well.

    Our battle has recently entered a new stage. The Higher Education Act is itself in the midst of reauthorization, making this a particularly critical moment for working on this issue. Also, our coalition has mounted a major new effort to launch the repeal effort into the Senate, after previously focusing only on the House of Representatives. Finally, responding to growing support for repeal of the drug provision, its sponsor, notorious drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), has offered a proposal to scale the law back so that it only applies to people who were in school at the time they committed their offense. While he has brought up this reform previously, this time it is particularly likely to become law.

    While the Souder reform will help some number of people and represents an important partial victory for the students and others working on this issue, only full repeal can adequately address the education, discrimination and other serious concerns that members of our coalition have about the HEA drug provision. For all these reasons, we are asking you to take a moment right now to mark this new stage of the campaign by contacting your US Representative and your two US Senators -- use our web site at http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com to do so online -- and to follow up with a phone call to them tomorrow, Friday February 13, or as soon thereafter as you can.

    IF YOU USE OUR WEB SITE AT http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com TO CONTACT CONGRESS, WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEND YOU A CUSTOMIZED E-MAIL WITH THEIR NAMES AND DIRECT PHONE NUMBERS. YOU CAN ALSO REACH THEM VIA THE CONGRESSIONAL SWITCHBOARD AT (202) 224-3121. When you are done, please forward this alert to your family and friends or use the tell-a-friend form that we have made available on http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com online.

    Also, we and our campaign partners at Students for Sensible Drug Policy will be sending you a special bulletin next week outlining our strategy for advancing the full repeal cause, announcing a NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION this April, and letting you know what students and non-students alike can do to help. You can start getting ready by visiting http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com for extensive information about the issue and resources for getting involved in the campaign, including our newly-updated student and non-student activist packets.

    Some talking points for your phone calls:

    The vast majority of Americans convicted of drug offenses are convicted of nonviolent, low-level possession.
    The HEA drug provision represents a penalty levied only on the poor and the working class; wealthier students will not have the doors of college closed to them for want to financial aid.
    The HEA drug provision has a disparate impact on different races. African Americans, for example, comprise 13% of the population and 13% of all drug users, but account for more than 55% of those convicted of drug possession charges.
    Access to a college education is the surest route to the mainstream economy and a crime-free life.
    Again, visit http://www.RaiseYourVoice.com to write to Congress and get involved in the campaign!
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/324/alert.shtml
     

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