At the 2016 GFWC Annual Convention, a Resolution "to promote legislation and regulations to combat opioid overdose and addiction" was approved by delegates. Acting on that commitment, clubwomen (including the delegates from NJSFWC) came together and utilized the GFWC Legislative Action Center to support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
The House of Representatives and the Senate voted to overwhelmingly pass the bipartisan bill. Once signed into law by President Obama, the legislation will create grants and other programs that address drug abuse which is a crippling problem affecting every community in the United States. Since 1999, overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioid pain relievers, has nearly quadrupled. With over 40 people per day dying from overdoses involving prescription opioids, the time had come to pass legislation to combat this issue. Among other provisions, the bill includes an expansion of prevention and educational efforts and an increase in the availability of naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioids.
GFWC thanks all clubwomen for taking action and urging their representatives to pass this bill.
Help Stop Bigger Tractor-Trailers in 2016
The New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs of GFWC is opposed to longer and heavier tractor-trailers, and has worked with the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) to keep these trucks off our highways. It is critical to let our members of Congress know about our opposition to these bigger trucks and letters of concern have been sent to
New Jersey's federal delegation.
Several bills debated last year in Congress would have increased the size and weight of trucks. One bill would have increased the national truck weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds, and other legislation called for double-trailer trucks 91 feet in length. Members of Congress clearly listened to their constituents back home: Both of these provisions were rejected with bipartisan support. In New Jersey, eight members of the U.S. House delegation voted against heavier trucks and both Senators voted against longer trucks.
Proponents of bigger trucks, however, show no signs of backing down in 2016. A Colorado congressman introduced a bill earlier this year that calls for the same longer double-trailer trucks that were just defeated in 2015.
While proponents continue to push for bigger trucks, polls show that voters overwhelmingly oppose them. In fact, a 2015 poll found that 76 percent of respondents opposed longer and heavier trucks.
Also, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) technical report released in 2015, and confirmed just this April 2016, recommended that Congress reject longer and heavier trucks. In the study, USDOT published several alarming findings.
Regarding heavier trucks, the study found in limited state testing that trucks weighing up to 91,000 pounds have 47 percent higher crash rates, and trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds have 99 to 400 percent higher crash rates. Regarding longer trucks, it found that longer double trailers needed at least 22 additional feet to stop compared to twin-trailer trucks on the road today.
The study also estimates that longer double-trailer trucks could cost $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion in additional pavement costs every year nationwide, and 91,000-pound trucks would cost $1.1 billion in additional bridge costs nationally. Given the state of our nation's roads and bridges, these costs should give Congress pause. Further, this study did not look at the impact of heavier or longer trucks on local roads. This should be of particular concern since most truck trips begin and end on local roads.
CABT has let NJSFWC know that they are very appreciative of the support from our Federation and our individual members in opposing increases in truck size and weight. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact Elizabeth Bolstad (firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-201-7565)..