Voting along party lines, the Delaware state Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure that decriminalizes the possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana, and Gov.Jack Markell almost immediately signed the legislation into law.
Markell signed a marijuana decriminalization bill Thursday after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans, who did not support the bill, argued that decriminalizing marijuana would encourage more young people to use it, writes USA Today.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Helene Keeley, allows people in Delaware to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use the drug privately without facing criminal sanctions.
Criminal penalties for simple possession will be replaced with a civil $100 fine. The law takes effect in six months, according to USA Today.
Until late Friday afternoon, it looked like the House would pass a three-week continuing resolution, the Senate would approve it, and President Obama would sign it, and it would at least be better than a shutdown, according to Politico.
White House aides were paying attention to their vote, but not with a lot of suspense.
Then the House fumbled its funding bill, and suddenly White House and DHS officials were running around trying to figure out the next move.
By late Friday night, the sense of crisis passed as it became clear that the solution would be a one-week continuing resolution to keep the department’s doors open, for a while.
The House passed the one-week bill around 10 p.m., less than two hours after the Senate approved it. Obama signed the seven-day bill before midnight.
The legislation also leaves intact Obama administration executive actions on immigration, though Republicans have vowed to defund it.
The outcome means the White House and DHS will have to be prepared for another crisis in just a week, according to Politico.
Amidst partisanship over health care in the U.S., one issue received support from both parties, according to U.S. News and World Report: curbing suicides among American veterans.
The issue was not mentioned in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, but it became clear early this year that both Democrats and Republicans would rally around it.
The Senate voted 99-0 to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on Feb. 3, while the House voted 403-0 in favor of it last month. Obama signed the bill on Thursday.
The bill is named after a Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder following deployments to Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Last December, Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, single-handedly stalled the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act in the Senate, saying that it carries too hefty a price tag and the VA could already handle it.
Veterans groups said the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act , which would require a report on successful veteran suicide prevention programs and allow the VA to pay incentives to hire psychiatrists, is desperately needed.