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Alcee Hastings on Drugs

Democratic Representative (FL-23)

 


Voted YES on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs.

Congressional Summary:Merida Initiative to Combat Illicit Narcotics and Reduce Organized Crime Authorization Act:
    Provide assistance for Mexico for:
  1. counternarcotics and countertrafficking;
  2. port & airport security to assist in controlling the Mexico-US and Mexico-Central America borders;
  3. intelligence gathering operational technology; and
  4. public security and law enforcement, including assistance to the National Council Against Addiction (CONADIC).

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): The drug crisis facing the US remains a top national security threat. This bill represents a new partnership with Mexico and Central American countries to face the immediate security threat of drug gangs, and help these neighbors build the capacity of their law enforcement agencies.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. MICHAEL McCAUL (R, TX-10): We need a strategy on this side of the border: a two-pronged Approach; a comprehensive strategy that deals not only with the Mexican side but with the US side. And for too long, our border sheriffs and our Border Patrol agents have been outmanned and outgunned. And if we are going to provide assistance to Mexico, it seems to me we ought to be providing assistance to our men and women on our side fighting this war every day.

Rep. TED POE (R, TX-2): I am concerned about drugs and violence on the border, but I am also concerned about corruption. In order to gain control of access corridors in the US, drug cartels are hiring hit men from an elite force in Mexico's military. This group is known as the "Zetas." Some of the Zetas are military deserters that may have been trained in the US. $1 billion in this bill would go to Mexico. And Mexico in its arrogance objects to any conditions we want to put on this money. The administration can offer us no assurance that our equipment and training won't be used against us and neither can Mexico.

Reference: Merida Initiative; Bill HR.6028 ; vote number 2008-H393 on Jun 10, 2008

Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism.

Amendment to set up a task force on counter-terrorism and drug interdiction and allow military personnel to help patrol U.S. borders.
Bill HR 2586 ; vote number 2001-356 on Sep 25, 2001

Voted NO on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC.

Vote to pass a bill that provides $429.1 million in funds for the District of Columbia and approves the District's $6.8 billion budget. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, prohibits implementing an approved ballot initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 3064 ; vote number 1999-504 on Oct 14, 1999

Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests.

Drug Demand Reduction Act: Vote on an amendment to require that anyone hired by the Federal Government is subject to random, unannounced drug testing.
Reference: Amendment by Taylor, D-MS; bill by Portman, R-OH.; Bill HR 4550 ; vote number 1998-443 on Sep 16, 1998

Rated +15 by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Hastings scores +15 by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2006 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 06n-NORML on Dec 31, 2006

End harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine.

Hastings co-sponsored ending harsher sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine

A bill to target cocaine kingpins and address sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. Biden: My bill will eliminate the current 100-to-1 disparity [between sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine] by increasing the 5-year mandatory minimum threshold quantity for crack cocaine to 500 grams, from 5 grams, and the 10-year threshold quantity to 5,000 grams, from 50 grams, while maintaining the current statutory mandatory minimum threshold quantities for powder cocaine. It will also eliminate the current 5-year mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine, the only mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of a drug by a first time offender.

Drug use is a serious problem, and I have long supported strong antidrug legislation. But in addition to being tough, our drug laws should be rational and fair. My bill achieves the right balance. We have talked about the need to address this cocaine sentencing disparity for long enough. It is time to act.

Congressional Summary:

Related bills: H.R.79, H.R.460, H.R.4545, S.1383, S.1685.
Source: Drug Sentencing Reform & Kingpin Trafficking Act (S.1711) 07-S1711 on Jun 27, 2007

Allow rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans.

Hastings co-sponsored allowing rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans

This bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to repeal the provisions prohibiting persons convicted of drug offenses from receiving student financial assistance.

Source: Removing Impediments to Students Education (RISE) (H.R.5157) 08-HR5157 on Jan 29, 2008

Sponsored no federal enforcement against legal state marijuana.

Hastings co-sponsored Respect State Marijuana Laws Act

Congressional Summary:The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act: The provisions of [federal law] related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

Proponent's argument for bill: (PolicyMic.com): While the bill does not attempt to legalize the drug in individual states, it would immunize individuals in states taking measures to reform marijuana laws from federal prosecution. Currently, 18 states allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Support for the bill arises from not just moral, but practical and financial grounds: The marijuana industry costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $42 billion annually in enforcement costs and lost tax revenues.

Opponent's argument against bill: (USA Today 8/29/13 and the Drug Free America Foundation dfaf.org): The Justice Department will not attempt to challenge state laws that allow for the medical and recreational use of marijuana as long as the drug sales do not conflict with eight new federal enforcement priorities. "We are very disappointed that Eric Holder's not doing his job,'' said the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. "It is his job to enforce our nation's laws. He has created what will become a tsunami that will most likely result in far too many young people becoming victims of chemical slavery."

Peter Bensinger, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Holder's action amounted to a violation of the law. "He's not just abandoning the law," Bensinger said, "he's breaking the law; he's putting the people of Washington and Colorado at risk. He's violating the treaty obligations of this country. He's telling the world we don't really follow the law here."

Source: H.R.1523 13-H1523 on Apr 12, 2013

Rated 75% by NORML, indicating a pro-legalization stance.

Hastings scores 75% National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law

Scoring system for 2014: Ranges from 0% (opposes all forms of marijuana decriminalization) to 75% (supports marijuana decriminalization and legalization).

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML rating on incumbents of 113th Congress 14_NORML on Jan 1, 2014

Rated B by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Hastings scores B by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Voted NO on additional Drug War funding for synthetic drugs.

Hastings voted NAY Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act

GovTrack.us Summary: (SITSA): There are more than 400 known types of synthetic--or "artificial"--drugs, which mimic the effects of substances including cocaine and ecstasy. They've largely begun to flood the market in recent years. The bill outlaws 13 different synthetic drugs of the most pernicious varieties. There are more than 400 known types of synthetic--or "artificial"--drugs, which mimic the effects of substances including cocaine and ecstasy. They've largely begun to flood the market in recent years.

GovTrack Pro/Con: Supporters argue the legislation will tackle a growing scourge in a far more timely and immediate manner than what the lagging DEA is usually able to accomplish. Opponents argue the bill would too greatly expand Attorney General Jeff Sessions' ability to criminalize drugs and impose unnecessarily punitive mandatory sentences, according to a letter signed by dozens of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, and NAACP.Opponent's argument to vote NO Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): The bill would explicitly impose mandatory minimum terms of supervised release which undermines the discretion of judges who are in the best position to make such determinations based on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Legislative outcome: House Bill Passed 239-142-46, Roll Number 268 on June 15, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-HR2851 on Jun 8, 2017

Distribute sterile syringes to reduce AIDS and hepatitis.

Hastings signed Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act

To permit the use of Federal funds for syringe exchange programs for purposes of reducing the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including HIV and viral hepatitis.

    Congress finds as follows:
  1. Each year, approximately 12,000 Americans contract HIV/AIDS and approximately 19,000 Americans contract the hepatitis C virus directly or indirectly from sharing contaminated syringes.
  2. A 2005 comprehensive international review of the evidence of the effectiveness of syringe exchange programs in preventing HIV transmission shows that such programs reduce HIV transmission and are cost-effective.
  3. Research has shown that injection drug users who are referred to addiction treatment from syringe exchange programs are more likely to enter and remain in treatment.
  4. Research has shown that, by providing safe disposal of used injection equipment, syringe exchange programs significantly reduce the number of improperly discarded syringes in the community, thereby reducing the exposure of police and others to dangers of blood-borne disease from accidental syringe sticks.
  5. Syringe exchange programs reduce the prevalence of HIV among injection drug users.
  6. Despite the scientific and public health consensus that syringe exchange programs reduce HIV and do not increase substance abuse, a ban on funding syringe exchange has been enacted as part of each Appropriations Act since 1998.
  7. The Public Health Service Act, as added by the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990, is subject to a statutory ban on funding needle exchange programs.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, nothing shall prohibit the use of Federal funds to establish or carry out a program of distributing sterile syringes to reduce the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and viral hepatitis.
Source: HR 179 2009-H179 on Jan 6, 2009

2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Drugs: Alcee Hastings on other issues:
FL Gubernatorial:
Adam Putnam
Alexander Snitker
Andrew Gillum
Annette Taddeo
Bill Nelson
Charlie Crist
Gwen Graham
Nikki Fried
Philip Levine
Rick Scott
Ron DeSantis
Wayne Messam
FL Senatorial:
Bill Nelson
Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Charlie Crist
David Jolly
Edward Janowski
Marco Rubio
Pam Keith
Patrick Murphy
Rick Scott
Ron DeSantis
Republican Freshman class of 2021:
AL-1: Jerry Carl(R)
AL-2: Barry Moore(R)
CA-8: Jay Obernolte(R)
CA-50: Darrell Issa(R)
CO-3: Lauren Boebert(R)
FL-3: Kat Cammack(R)
FL-15: Scott Franklin(R)
FL-19: Byron Donalds(R)
GA-9: Andrew Clyde(R)
GA-14: Marjorie Taylor Greene(R)
IA-2: Mariannette Miller-Meeks(R)
IA-4: Randy Feenstra(R)
IL-15: Mary Miller(R)
IN-5: Victoria Spartz(R)
KS-1: Tracey Mann(R)
KS-2: Jake LaTurner(R)
LA-5: Luke Letlow(R)
MI-3: Peter Meijer(R)
MI-10: Lisa McClain(R)
MT-0: Matt Rosendale(R)
NC-11: Madison Cawthorn(R)
NM-3: Teresa Leger Fernandez(D)
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino(R)
NY-22: Claudia Tenney(R)
OR-2: Cliff Bentz(R)
PR-0: Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon(R)
TN-1: Diana Harshbarger(R)
TX-4: Pat Fallon(R)
TX-11: August Pfluger(R)
TX-13: Ronny Jackson(R)
TX-17: Pete Sessions(R)
TX-22: Troy Nehls(R)
TX-23: Tony Gonzales(R)
TX-24: Beth Van Duyne(R)
UT-1: Blake Moore(R)
VA-5: Bob Good(R)
WI-5: Scott Fitzgerald(R)
Incoming Democratic Freshman class of 2021:
CA-53: Sara Jacobs(D)
GA-5: Nikema Williams(D)
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux(D)
HI-2: Kai Kahele(D)
IL-3: Marie Newman(D)
IN-1: Frank Mrvan(D)
MA-4: Jake Auchincloss(D)
MO-1: Cori Bush(D)
NC-2: Deborah Ross(D)
NC-6: Kathy Manning(D)
NY-15: Ritchie Torres(D)
NY-16: Jamaal Bowman(D)
NY-17: Mondaire Jones(D)
WA-10: Marilyn Strickland(D)

Republican takeovers as of 2021:
CA-21: David Valadao(R) defeated T.J. Cox(D)
CA-39: Young Kim(R) defeated Gil Cisneros(D)
CA-48: Michelle Steel(R) defeated Harley Rouda(D)
FL-26: Carlos Gimenez(R) defeated Debbie Mucarsel-Powell(D)
FL-27: Maria Elvira Salazar(R) defeated Donna Shalala(D)
IA-1: Ashley Hinson(R) defeated Abby Finkenauer(D)
MN-7: Michelle Fischbach(R) defeated Collin Peterson(D)
NM-2: Yvette Herrell(R) defeated Xochitl Small(D)
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis(R) defeated Max Rose(D)
OK-5: Stephanie Bice(R) defeated Kendra Horn(D)
SC-1: Nancy Mace(R) defeated Joe Cunningham(D)
UT-4: Burgess Owens(R) defeated Ben McAdams(D)

Special Elections 2021-2022:
CA-22: replacing Devin Nunes (R, SPEL summer 2022)
FL-20: replacing Alcee Hastings (D, SPEL Jan. 2022)
LA-2: Troy Carter (R, April 2021)
LA-5: Julia Letlow (R, March 2021)
NM-1: Melanie Stansbury (D, June 2021)
OH-11: Shontel Brown (D, Nov. 2021)
OH-15: Mike Carey (R, Nov. 2021)
TX-6: Jake Ellzey (R, July 2021)
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Page last updated: Jan 15, 2022