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AIDS Action Weekly Update

April 4, 1997

Governors Declare Opposition To Coburn Bill

The National Governors' Association (NGA) expressed their opposition to the HIV Prevention Act of 1997 (H.R. 1062), sponsored by Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK), last week in a letter to members of congress. In the letter the NGA questions the rationale for specific provisions of the legislation and states its "vigorous objections" to the fundamental premise of the bill to hold hostage federal Medicaid funds in order to force state compliance with those provisions. The letter goes on to reiterate the NGA policy resolution adopted in February wherein "governors strongly oppose efforts to tie the receipt of federal funds to mandatory testing laws. " Other reasons cited for their opposition include the establishment of a national partner notification and tracking system and permitting funeral service practitioners to refuse to provide services to a deceased individual unless an HIV test was performed on the corpse. Further, the legislation would require that over 265 state laws be changed and would cost states in excess of $142 million to implement. There are currently 86 cosponsors on H.R. 1062. On the Senate side Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) remains the only sponsor of S. 503. With members of congress scheduled to return next week it is critical that AIDS advocates continue to contact their members to dissuade them from supporting the Coburn/Nickles bill.

Appropriations Hearings Continue

The rather sluggish pace of the House and the Senate, particularly regarding the budget, may quicken next week when members return from Easter recess. Public witnesses will begin testifying before the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee the week of April 14 and appropriators should begin marking up their bills shortly thereafter. AIDS-specific groups that will testify before the subcommittee include AIDS Action Council, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program Working Group, American Foundation for AIDS Research, Cities Advocating for Emergency AIDS Relief Coalition, Log Cabin Republicans, and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors. Public witness hearings before the House VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee are scheduled for April 30 and May 1. AIDS Action Council will also testify at those hearings.

AIDSwatch, April 13-15

Grassroots activists, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, their caregivers, and others committed to fair federal HIV/AIDS policies from all over the country will gather in Washington, DC, April 13-15, to meet with their congressional representatives to educate them about the importance of increased federal funding for priority areas such as HIV prevention, AIDS research, treatment, and housing. Other appropriations-related issues to be covered include lifting the federal funding ban on needle exchange programs and opposing the Coburn bill which is tied to Medicaid funding and could potentially be attached to an appropriations bill. Over 300 people are expected to participate in AIDSWatch, which is being coordinated by the National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA). For registration information, please contact NAPWA at 202-898-0414. AIDS Action Leadership Awards Honors Vice President And Mrs. Gore, And Other Heroes In AIDS Fight

AIDS Action, the nation's leading AIDS advocacy organization, which represents over 1,400 community-based organizations will honor seven leaders in the fight against AIDS, including Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper Gore, at its seventh annual AIDS Action National Leadership Awards ceremony Wednesday, April 9. The AIDS Action Leadership Awards annually recognize remarkable individuals and organizations that demonstrate leadership, commitment, and courage in AIDS public service, public policy, community service, and media. Awardees are as follows: Vice President and Tipper Gore for Public Service; Nancy-Ann Min, Associate Director for Health Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, for Public Policy; the George Gund Foundation, a Cleveland-based philanthropic foundation, for Community Service; former ABC News 20/20 producer Joseph F. Lovett for Media; Hydeia Broadbent, a courageous 12-year old who has lived with HIV since birth and is a celebrated spokesperson for AIDS awareness will be honored with the Pedro Zamora Memorial Award for Youth Advocacy; and Time Warner, Inc. Senior Vice President and former chair of AIDS Action's Foundation board of directors, Timothy A. Boggs, for Exemplary Service to AIDS Action. The National Leadership Awards ceremony begins at 7pm, Wednesday, April 9, at the Lansbergh Theatre in Washington, DC.

For more information, contact:
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3053
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council. It is a part of the publication AIDS Action Weekly Update.