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Political notebook: Hudson’s EMS bill passes House on first day back in session

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, didn’t waste any time working on his campaign promise when Congress reconvened last week.

During his re-election campaign, Hudson touted his conservative credentials but also promised to work in a bipartisan manner. On Congress’ first day back in session, a bill introduced by Hudson and originally co-sponsored by Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-1, passed the U.S. House. Two other Democrats were also original co-sponsors.

The bill would give paramedics and other EMS workers a standing order to administer narcotics, anti-seizure medications and other controlled substances. EMS professionals would not need a patient’s prescription in order to issue life-saving medicine.

Hudson said he got the idea for the bill after speaking with an EMS worker in Montgomery County who told him proposed Drug Enforcement Agency regulations could change long-standing practices for paramedics.

Called the Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act, the bill passed the U.S. House on Monday with unanimous support.

“While today’s bill may not be flashy, it solves a problem and saves lives,” Hudson said. “It’s an example of how to get things done — finding common ground and advancing bipartisan solutions to the problems facing our country.”

Following the bill’s passage, Butterfield thanked Hudson for his leadership on the issue and said there’s no time to waste when emergencies occur.

“This bill passed the House today unanimously and will help protect the ability of our first responders to continue to provide appropriate treatment to patients in times of need and will help save lives and prevent disabilities,” Butterfield said.

Hudson represents the 8th Congressional District in North Carolina. The district contains a majority of voters in Rowan. Butterfield’s 1st Congressional District contains Durham and parts of eastern North Carolina.

Hudson’s bill was first introduced in January 2016. It now must be considered by the U.S. Senate.

Tillis weighs in on U.S. attorney general appointment

One of North Carolina’s U.S. Senators last week joined the many members of Congress praising the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general.

Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican who serves with Sessions on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, listed several reasons why the nominee fits well in the attorney general slot.

“As attorney general, he will follow the rule of law, be accessible, and address the organizational and accountability issues plaguing the Department of Justice, which are qualities and priorities that have unfortunately been missing from the department’s leadership over the last eight years,” Tillis said in an emailed statement.

Tillis used his time with Sessions on the Senate Judiciary Committee as an example of why Sessions will be a good fit.

“While Senator Sessions and I certainly don’t agree on the specifics of every major issue, including immigration reform and criminal justice reform, he always expresses our policy differences in the form of productive and gracious exchanges of ideas,” Tillis said.

If confirmed, Sessions would succeed current Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a Democrat.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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