Tags: Law Enforcement | criminal justice | reform | senate | conseratives

Conservative Senators Push Changes to Criminal Justice Bill

arkansas senator tom cotton gestures with his right hand while making remarks into a mic at a podium
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 18 December 2018 08:05 PM

Conservatives are pushing last-minute changes to a White House-backed, bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that supporters claim would effectively scuttle the legislation, The Hill reported.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote Tuesday night — and supporters were hoping to work in some non-controversial amendments from GOP senators, The Hill reported.

"During the period of time where people were reading it for 24 hours, we found two or three things we wanted to change," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told The Hill. "We do have some provisions that I think are acceptable all around that we would like to add to the bill either by UC [unanimous consent] or manager's amendment."

The Senate's criminal justice bill takes a House-passed prison reform measure and folds in a handful of alterations to sentencing laws and mandatory minimums for some drug-related felonies.

President Donald Trump gave his support to the bill last month, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agreed to give the legislation a floor vote after intense lobbying from the White House, advocates, and members of his own caucus, The Hill noted.

"With respect to the substance of the legislation, a number of members continue to have outstanding concerns that the bill currently leaves unaddressed," McConnell said from the Senate floor, The Hill reported. "Members will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the pending germane amendments before we vote on final passage."

Included among those concerns are law enforcement groups have reservations that should be heard, The Hill reported.

But the biggest remaining hurdle is how to navigate around votes on three amendments from conservative Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and John Kennedy, R-La., who both oppose the bill.

The Cotton-Kennedy amendments would include requiring victims or families of victims be notified when a criminal is released. Another change would make publicly available rearrest data for those released, as well as information on prior offenses and the crimes for which they were imprisoned.

The would also add approximately 10 offenses to a list that excludes someone from being eligible for the bill's earned-time credits designed to shorten sentences.

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Last-minute changes to a White House-backed, bipartisan criminal justice reform bill are being sought by Conservatives and bill supporters claim they would effectively scuttle the legislation, according to The Hill.
criminal justice, reform, senate, conseratives
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2018-05-18
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 08:05 PM
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