Roses and thorns: 3-15-20




A rose to all of the unsung heroes -- too numerous to mention individually -- who find themselves in the trenches as our community faces the challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus. Obviously, that group includes health care professionals, but there are others whose judgments will be tested as our community attempts to cope with the implications of the virus. Through an abundance of caution, many decision-makers have chosen to cancel or postpone events or make major changes in procedures -- everything from employers to churches to school officials to non-profits. In times of crisis, people look to leaders for guidance. Today has been designated as a National Day of Prayer. Those prayers should include petitions on behalf of all of our leaders and all levels of government and beyond.



A thorn to members of the Golden Triangle delegation -- Rep. Gary Chism, Rep. Dana McLean Rep. Rob Roberson and Sen. Chuck Younger -- who voted in favor of HRC 39, a measure which places a competing medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in November. In a party-line vote, Republican legislators have now all but guaranteed the defeat of a citizen-led initiative to amend the constitution to make medical marijuana legal. Ballot measures that amend the constitution require a 60-percent vote. Since it's likely that some voters will favor one proposal over the other, the likelihood that either will gain a 60-percent majority is virtually nil. These legislators certainly knew this when they cast their votes. It's not a matter of which ballot measure is preferable: Legislators had every opportunity to craft the kind of law they preferred through the normal legislative process. Instead they took a low-road tactic that effectively removes the citizens' ability to amend the constitution. For Chism, McLean, Roberson and Younger, this represents a thinly-veiled effort to place their thumbs on the scale.




A rose to Golden Triangle Regional Airport director Mike Hainsey on his efforts to inform the public of a looming change in airline travel. Beginning on Oct. 1, any passenger who does not have a driver's license compliant with new federal regulations will not be allowed to board passenger planes unless they have other forms of approved ID -- a passport or military ID. The "Real ID" requirement dictates that drivers' licenses must be imbedded with a new security designation that verifies the authenticity of the license. That designation is a gold star at the top right-hand corner of the license. Any licenses issued or renewed prior to 2018 do not carry that important designation. Hainsey said two in three people in the U.S. do not have a "Real ID" license. This week, Hainsey's staff will distribute information cards alerting passengers at check-in. He also staged a press briefing Friday to spread the word through the media. We applaud Hainsey's efforts in raising awareness of this important new requirement. Hainsey will also be featured in our Progress Magazine cover story when it published March 22.




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