Congress swings into action on heroin/opioid abuse

Congress swings into action on heroin/opioid abuse

The Judiciary Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives approved several bills to combat the opioid epidemic facing our nation.  The bills are designed to provide tools to investigate criminal activity and prevent and treat addiction.  The committee approved the bipartisan Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (H.R. 5046), which establishes a streamlined, comprehensive grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, including training for emergency personnel, criminal investigations, drug courts and residential treatment.  The bill authorizes one hundred and three million dollars annually for the grants.

The committee also approved the bipartisan Opioid Program Evaluation (OPEN) Act (H.R. 5052), sponsored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, to increase the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant programs.  It requires grantees to report on the use of grant funds and requires a publicly available analysis of whether or not the grants have achieved their intended purposes.

Guinta: Bill gets committee approval

Guinta: Bill gets committee approval

The third bill approved, the Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2 0 1 6 (H.R. 5048), requires the Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose.  First District Congressman Frank Guinta, Republican from Manchester, authored the bill.

In a statement released yesterday, Guinta said with schools teaching kids to administer anti overdose medication and family and friends of addicts doing the same, in addition to emergency responders, the government needed to protect them from liability laws that could interfere with emergency treatment.

The committee also approved the Clarifying Amendment to Provide Terrorism Victims Equity (CAPTIVE) Act (H.R. 3394).  This bill, authored by Representative Bill Posey, Republican from Florida, allows the blocked assets of foreign terrorist drug dealers to be used to compensate victims of terrorist attacks that they perpetrated.

G O P presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced that if he’s the nominee of the Republican party, Carly Fiorina will be his running mate.  Cruz waxed eloquent about Fiorina’s virtues in an event in Indiana and a statement released yesterday.  Among them was that she terrified Hillary Clinton.

Fiorina: Cruz's choice

Fiorina: Cruz’s choice

Many see the move as a desperate attempt to scuttle the now likely nomination of business mogul Donald Trump, who referred to the announcement as quote “a waste of time.”  Trump said it will change nothing because Cruz has quote unquote “zero chance” of winning the nomination.

Fiorina, who many think was chosen to bolster Cruz’s chances in California, didn’t waste any time going on the attack against Trump.  In an interview, she said Trump hadn’t won the nomination yet and that the race isn’t over until someone gets one thousand two hundred thirty seven delegates.  She chided Trump saying quote “and no, close doesn’t count.”

She also said a majority of Republican voters don’t want Trump to be the nominee.  This is why we’ll call it the Sanctimony Squared Ticket, because if that’s going to be the benchmark, then a much bigger majority of Republican voters don’t want Cruz, who has suffered numerous, distant third place finishes in the past two weeks and is looking to change the narrative as he heads into what everybody believes will be his last stand this Tuesday in Indiana.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Langton: Motion failed

Langton: Motion failed

Eighty eight thousand seventy nine dollars and eighty eight cents.  That’s how much the Manchester School District says it’s shelling out to pay for the health and dental benefits for members of the Board of School Committee.  The bennies again became an issue when Ward Two Committee Member Debra Langton moved to eliminate them at the special meeting on the budget the board held on April eighteenth.  The motion failed, which doomed a vote requested by Superintendent Debra Livingston to authorize the layoff notices needed to close the gap between the district’s proposed budget and the amount allowed by the city’s cap on spending and tax revenue increases.  The district pays eighty percent of the assigned premium cost for board member plans.

Those taking the district’s health plan include Ward One’s Sarah Ambrogi, Ward Sixes Dan Bergeron, Ward Eight’s Erika Connors, Ward Ten’s John Avard and Ward Twelve’s Connie Van Houten.  During the meeting, Ambrogi admitted that circumstances had caused her for the first time since being elected to take the benefits.  She abstained on the vote.  Bergeron refused to vote against the benefits, saying they were necessary to attract good board members, and Van Houten said she was in the process of looking for her own policy so she could get off the district’s.  Each of them takes the district’s dental plan, as does Ward Three’s Mary Georges and Ward Eleven’s Katie Desrochers, who used to take the health plan, but dropped it.

MSD: New policy on head lice

MSD: New policy on head lice

While we’re on the topic of the Manchester schools, the revised head lice policy approved by the board on April eleventh has been finalized and sent to the schools.  Effective immediately, the policy now reads quote:

Any student suspected of live head lice shall be sent to the school nurse.  Parents/guardians will be notified if their child has live head lice and the child will be sent home.  Instructions will be provided to the parent/guardian and student regarding the treatment and future prevention of head lice.  The student may be readmitted after appropriate treatment and an examination by the school nurse confirms the elimination of all active head lice.  The school nurse will conduct ongoing assessments of individual students as needed.  For students in Pre­K through 5th grade, a notification shall be sent home to parents/guardians of students in the infected class that a case of head lice was confirmed.

Police exam announced

Police exam announced

The Manchester Police Department will host an entry-level police exam on Saturday, August 6th.  The application deadline is Thursday, July 28th.  For more information and an application, visit manchester p d dot com or call Officer Carl Accorto at 7 9 2 5 4 5 2.

That’s news from our own backyard!  Girard at Large hour ___ is next!