Dead Lines


I am a Fool for the legislative process.  Or rather a FOOL for the dream of what it could be.  When I watch the nitty gritty what actually goes on I want to lose my mind.  It angers me.  I’m not even talking about the theft and graft and misappropriation of funds and political fighting, the entire process is just so painfully SLOW.  They don’t get anything done because they don’t ever work.  The Pennsylvania General Assembly is in session maybe thirty days a year, if we are lucky.  (I am being kind)  When they are in session it is bulky and slow.  NOTHING GETS DONE.  I have been watching my recent state government on-line and on TV.  Something I cared about got put on the docket.  SB 1182 The Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis bill.  I can’t stop watching, it’s my Sunshine Law Right to watch.  It pains me to watch.

They get nothing done.  I watch it LIVE as is my right.  It is live and it is ridiculous.  The PA House of Representatives starts with a prayer, which is not what I expected from a House built on “Separation of Church and State.”  I’m an atheist but I’m not opposed to prayer.  Still…  I don’t think it’s exactly appropriate.

They had a prayer first and then a long-winded roll call followed by a rundown of what they were supposed to do.  Then The Speaker of the House spent half an hour introducing the guests in the Rotunda for the day.  I don’t care.  You are there, good for you.  Then there was too much time spent on minutia like naming bridges and designating days and weeks in memory of people, places, and events.  And diseases.  Okay I admit I was happy when they gave my own disease Epilepsy an Awareness Day.  But it shouldn’t take so long.  Do we need to have so many?  And shouldn’t the Townships and local governments do the bridge naming?  At least speed it up.  It was frustrating to watch. Then they were done and went to recess for the week.

It was one and half hours of nothing done.  One and half hours, that’s it.  It was Thursday.  (Of course House Reps and Senators shouldn’t work on Fridays.  Not Wednesday either, since they are constituent days; the one day a week they listen to the will of the people in their local offices.)  Basically all of the time was spent on roll call and welcoming the guests.   And then The House was at rest until the next Tuesday. It was a huge waste of time and tax-money.

Nothing or matter or consequence was discussed during their one and half hours of “work.”  Of course I use the term “work” only in loosest sense of the word.

Fast forward to today, June 30, 2014, the final day of Session before the General Assembly has a nice, long, summer vacation.  It’s a Monday now and they have had spurts of activity, an hour or two at a time, ALL weekend long.  They are the premier procrastinators in the entire world!  Everything must get done by midnight!  Now is the last chance to do something of actual consequence until SEPTEMBER 15th.  I’m not against a long Fourth of July vacation, but September 15??  Isn’t that a bit excessive?

If they had worked just a few more hours sooner, worked until 4pm on a few days, they wouldn’t need to work on a Sunday like they did last night.  And again, I do mean “work” in the loosest sense of the word.  But it might actually have consequence today.  Maybe.  We will see by midnight I guess.

If not, all of my hopes and dreams for The Will of the People will be on hold until September.  No more discussion of Bills that could save lives.  Children and adults will die in the meantime.  I hope I don’t.  No really, I do mean “die” in the most stringent meaning of the word.  I’m not hyperbole and hype.  I’m telling you the truth.  Epilepsy kills 50,000 Americans each year.  Fifty thousand of my Epi Friends die because of epilepsy and seizure related deaths this year alone.  The first person I knew that died from epilepsy fell off a ladder when he had a seizure.  No more ladders for me.  Never.  I am bound to the earth and I must ask my kids to reach the top shelf.  It’s just one more risk to minimize.

I get Facebook posts nearly everyday from my many online Epilepsy Support Groups, reporting another death.  Children and adults of all ages are dying.  Babies, teens, adults, the elderly, we are all at risk.  We die in bathtubs and pools and car accidents and in our homes, falling down the stairs, or just sleeping in our beds.  Every seizure is a chance for death.  I hate to admit it.  But it’s true.

I just want the chance to try a medicine that is stopping seizures now and has been for THOUSANDS of year.  There is lots of medical evidence.  This is not new evidence.  One of the Queens of England (Victoria or Elizabeth I, you can google it) used cannabis for treatment of her own seizures.

And if SB 1182 doesn’t get passed in the Senate today, it won’t even get talked about again until September.  We don’t even have the Governor on board or all of the House, but the Senate keeps saying they will pass it, they can pass it.  Then pass it!~  Today!!!  That’s the next step and it needs to be taken TODAY.

When The Pennsylvania General Assembly says their prayer, I hope they pray for compassion and actually vote for it too.




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