Saturday, July 16, 2005

When Obstruction Hurts People

With Oregon's term limits law, and the rheumatoid arthritis illness that fomer policeman, turned legislator John Minnis(R-Troutdale)suffers, forced him to leave the state legislature, his wife Karen decided to run for office. Eventually she became Speaker Of The House in the state legislature. And with a Democratic governor and state senate, Republican Minnis found she can wield great power in the Republican majority house by simply not allowing some important legislation to even be voted on.

All Democrats and two Republicans in the state senate voted 19 to 11 in favor of a gay civil unions bill. This was to seek a legal compromise for gay households to share benefits, allow hospital visits, share health isurance benefits, and other important duties and benefits for gay households, but Minnis will not even allow a house vote on the bill. In 2004, Oregon unfortunely followed other states in the nation and voted against gay marriage, but legislators recognized that the gay households in Oregon need at least a legal compromise to offer a fair share in many legal duties and benefits. But with the Minnis obstruction, gay couples in Oregon will continue to not share in health benefits or the ability to give medical consent in the case of hospitalization. These obstructions to fair and equal rights for gay citizens are simply a form of gay "Jim Crow" laws. They deny equal status to gay households and make second class citizens of these persons.

And in another piece of obstruction, Speaker Of The House, Minnis has sided with the big tobacco lobby, and has decided not to even allow a state house vote on a bill mandating self-extinguishing cigarettes. This would help stop many unnecessary housefires, needless deaths, injuries, and would even save the lives of some firemen and possiby even policemen who perform a rescue. Yet Minnis is siding with big tobacco and their lobby machine and thinks that only a national standard for cigarette safety should be the rule of law. Yet some other areas in America mandate only the sale of self-extinguishing cigarettes, with good results. And many large landlords can cite one or more housefires sometimes resulting in injury or death due to smoker's carelessness. Banning cigarettes for all the health damage they cause to both smokers and nonsmokers alike would be far better. But when the Oregon Speaker Of The House sides with big tobacco and allows needless housefires and deaths and injuries, this is immoral and pathetic.

Sometimes the power of obstruction to ruin the lives of people is a powerful force. Just ask Speaker Of The House, Minnis about the power of obstruction.


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