Rep. Sawyer, Rep. Condotta, and friends, are back with a new bill in the current legislative session that would erect signs for problem and pathological gamblers providing a toll-free hotline number to get help.
After all, they admit, “because the state promotes and regulates gambling, the state has a responsibility to continue to provide resources” for gambling addicts.
Like a phone number.
Wherever lottery tickets are sold; wherever horses race by; wherever casinos offer all manner of means by which to separate you from your money, those signs – if HB2332 passes – will be posted.
Oh, and also reflective of lawmaker’s compassionate twinge of conscience, given “the legislature finds that problem and pathological gambling continues to negatively impact individuals and families in this state” (imagine that), HB2332 would, in addition to the ‘get-help hotline signs’, also provide forms that addicts can complete that voluntarily self-exclude them from being allowed to bet anymore.
Wanna bet that’ll work? A baccarat addict will take a bureaucrat’s advice and ban himself from further bets?
And how does the legislature measure the effectiveness of such legislation?
“Previous and ongoing efforts to prevent and assist people in treating problem and pathological gambling have proven beneficial such as” (here it comes) “increasing public awareness, funding treatment services for individuals, and requiring informational signs in gambling establishments.”
The last time, at least in Lakewood, that funding was made available to treat gambling addicts, the Lakewood Police Department used the money – designated for therapy – to purchase sea doos.
But hope springs eternal, and Sawyer, Condotta and friends have only the best interests of the public in mind whether it’s gambling or marijuana.
Or do they?
Turns out the Sawyer- and Condotta-authored HB2336, as reported here in this publication recently, may not in fact be the representative-friendly, people’s voice considered first-and-last, altruistic legislation as judged initially.
Upon further investigation, turns out HB2336 – the bill that would give the right of petition to the people to oust marijuana from any jurisdiction state-wide – has some strings attached.
Making it nearly impossible to ban such businesses, HB2336 (a) takes away city council authority to pass a ban by ordinance and substitutes a requirement that a ban can only happen by a city placing a referendum on the ballot in a general election, and that only in an even numbered year which gives the marijuana industry the maximum amount of time to wrap their tentacles around the populace; entrenching their fortifications; and otherwise preparing for an assault not likely to come.
‘No assault likely to come’ because even if an even-numbered year petition drive were mounted, the citizen-initiated initiative process (option b) would require 30 percent of registered voters to sign the petition which, in Lakewood, approaches 10,000 people – more than usually even vote in most city elections.
All to say, Lakewood’s dependence upon the legislature – at least with regards gambling or marijuana – to provide help, real help, to those addicted to either evil, amounts to little more than signs and more signs; and signature-drive thresholds set so high only the greed of a money-grasping, people-addicting state government could love.
Meanwhile, here in the trenches of Lakewood, where hand-to-hand warfare is being waged (as in comments like paint-filled balloons launched from computers throughout the city) between those for and against pot setting up shop, there is a deadline of February 5 at 5 P.M. for the Planning Commission to receive written comments for inclusion in the public record.
The Planning Commission, whose members are listed here, ostensibly want to hear from you. The Planning Commission is due to make a recommendation concerning marijuana to the City Council whose members in turn are likely to decide in the next 30 days whether to allow marijuana retail or ban it, Rep. Sawyer and Condotta’s HB2336 notwithstanding.
You can continue of course lambasting the opposition here in response to this article but if you want to officially be on record you can send what you have to say to the Planning Commission by way of Assistant City Manager, and Director of Community Development, Dave Bugher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline February 5, 5 P.M.