Pubdate: Fri, 25 Sep 1998
Date: 09/25/1998
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Author: John Chase

On September 18th you reprinted a New York Times editorial about Rep.
Henry Hyde's misguided bill to allow the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency)
to punish any physician who prescribes lethal doses of drugs with the
intent of assisting in a patient's suicide. Rep Hyde initiated it in
response to the passage of an Oregon citizens' initiative to allow
physician-aided death in certain specific situations.

This bill is an example of how the House Judiciary Committee has begun
to use the DEA to thwart citizen-made law of individual states.

Oregon passed its Death With Dignity law not once but twice, even
though opponents outspent proponents four to one. Michigan will vote
on their own similar initiative this November. Florida is one of the
few states east of the Mississippi whose constitutions allow
citizen-made law.

The same committee provided another example this week by persuading
Congress to pass a 'sense of the house' resolution against future
medical marijuana initiatives. The resolution is intended to pressure
the citizens of the four states who will vote on medical marijuana
initiatives this November.

The Republican Congress was elected in 1994 on a platform which
included 'devolution' - you know - returning power to the states.
Instead, they are 'devolving' power to the DEA to thwart citizens'
initiatives which the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee doesn't
happen to like.

John Chase