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I support amendment to regulate money spent on elections

To The Daily Sun,

I have just learned that there is a bill in the House, HB 1524, that calls on the Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would give Congress and state legislatures the authority to regulate money in elections.  The proposed wording would be:

Section I. Congress and State Legislatures shall regulate the role of money in elections and governance to ensure transparency, prevent corruption, and protect against the buying of access to or influence over representatives. No such regulation shall be deemed in violation of freedom of speech rights in the Constitution of the United States or its Amendments.

 Section II. Legislative districts or districting plans shall not intentionally or unduly favor or disfavor any political party. Within twelve months of ratification, all federal and state district lines shall be redrawn to conform hereto.

For a very long time now, I have been unhappy with the Supreme Court rulings that have overturned election laws passed by Congress and the states.  Those rulings have largely rested on the idea that limiting contributions and expenditures constitutes limiting the candidate’s speech and is therefore impermissible under the First Amendment.  I follow the logic of that but there are certainly constitutional views that differ – Citizens United was decided 5-4.  The result in the real world is what we now see – floods of money, and elected officials not only spending a large amount of their time raising money, but giving more and more attention to the views of their larger donors over the general public. 

I concluded long ago that there was no solution to this problem other than an amendment that would explicitly give Congress and states the right to make such laws, and explicitly state that doing so shall not be construed to violate free speech rights.  That will make it clear and unarguable. 

I also want to say that while I heartily agree with the idea of Section II in the bill, I am not sure I want the two issues in the same amendment.  That would be a different discussion and for now I want to focus my support  on Section I, which I believe the substantial majority of voters nationwide would support.

Fletcher Lokey

Sanbornton

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 378

One can be close-minded and say these people made a choice

To The Daily Sun,

Mental health problems and substance use disorders sometimes occur together. One can ask which came first, mental health issues or the substance use disorder. More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also carry substance use problems. Substance abuse occurs more frequently with certain mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, schizophrenia and PTSD.

Some illegal drugs can cause people with substance abuse difficulties experience one or more symptoms of mental health issues. In other cases, mental health issues can lead to substance abuse. Some with PTSD, such as those returning from the military service can often lead to alcohol and the use of illegal substances. Thus, both mental health issues combined with substance abuse must both be treated. Treatment for both mental health problems and substance use disorders may include rehabilitation, medications, support groups, and talk therapy.

N.H. is currently listed as second in the country for per capita substance abuse issues, which includes prescribed medications, illegal substances, and alcohol. No one family is exempt from this disease. Recently two law enforcement persona discovered their own families had someone affected by substance abuse.

One can often be close-minded and indicate these afflicted with substance use disorders made “a choice.” However, over time, the evidence indicates this is not always the case. Many who are affected have had some mental health issues prior to experimenting with substances to try to escape the reality they live in. Other times, there seems to be a genetic factor that predisposes one to higher risk of substance abuse. The implications of substance abuse is global, both in terms of personal addiction as well as the economic factor of the source of illegal substances, and impact on the community.

While it is most difficult to eradicate the distribution of illegal substances, one can hope by means of education, community caring and government assistance, the effect of the substance abuse can hopefully be reduced. The Safe House program in use presently, in Manchester and Nashua, is rapidly gaining national recognition. Over time, perhaps this can become a statewide project. Some of those who struggle with addictions do seek these valuable resources, and have turned their lives around. But there is a long road ahead to significantly impact on the numbers who suffer from this.
Substance use disorder is a mental health diagnosis as well as a medical illness. Addiction is the physical impact related to this disorder that can be treated over time. The side effects of addictions are well known including overdose and death. This is not just an individual problem, rather it is also a community, state, national and world issue. Other physical impacts affect the liver system, cardiac system, mobility issues, and many more. All of these together need to be treated in combination to help reduce the impact of withdrawal, and even withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening as well.
Shared decision making allows those who suffer from substance use disorders and their health care provider together, determine the most appropriate level of treatment or care. It is a fundamental process in primary care and behavioral health care integration, making it vital that these individuals acquire the skills to participate in decisions with their health care providers. The support of the families, friends and community are essential to promoting a positive outcome to pave the way for recovery.

 Many organizations are already helping to promote the cause for recovery as well as prevention. Locally, there is Stand Up Laconia and Stand Up Newfound. Your support will help all of us to help pave the way for a new life for those who suffer with substance abuse addictions.

 Robert T. Joseph Jr.

New Hampton for Stand Up Newfound

  • Written by Edward Engler
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 357