U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Bill Markup Update

Post Date: December 19, 2013

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee met for about 30 minutes on December 19 to begin discussing three bills that would reform federal mandatory minimum sentences and the amount of earned good time credits federal prisoners can receive:

None of the bills were discussed, voted on, or passed. The Committee delayed its consideration of these bills until after the New Year. The U.S. Senate is about to go on vacation for the holidays until January 7, 2014, and no bills will be considered or passed during its time off.

But don’t despair, this delay isn’t necessarily bad news! The delay happened because the Senate Judiciary Committee members are trying to get A LOT worked out, including a compromise that accomplishes both front-end (mandatory minimum sentencing) reform and back-end (good-time expansion) reform. We want them to take the time they need to get this right! Gathering more support now from Republicans and Democrats means that the final bill will have a stronger chance of being passed by the full U.S. Senate next year.

FAMM plans to use this extra time to continue meeting with U.S. Senators and encouraging them to pass the broadest federal mandatory minimum sentencing reforms possible. It also means you have more time to be an advocate for sentencing reform. Click here to send your U.S. Senator a message urging them to support the Smarter Sentencing Act.

The Smarter Sentencing Act is the mandatory minimum sentencing reform bill that most lawmakers will be focusing on in 2014. If passed into law, it would benefit thousands of nonviolent federal drug offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences (and some federal crack offenders who are already in federal prison). Read more about what the Smarter Sentencing Act would do here, and more about how a bill becomes a law here.

More support from more Senators means better odds that the Smarter Sentencing Act can pass. Your U.S. Senators need to hear that fixing mandatory minimum sentences is urgent and should be a top priority in 2014 – and there’s no time like the holidays to share that message.

FAMM’s offices will be closed between December 23, 2013, and January 2, 2014. But we’ll be back in the New Year and pushing harder than ever before for sentencing reform in 2014!

As always, we won’t be doing it alone — thank you for all of your support, patience, and advocacy, and have a wonderful holiday season.

Happy Holidays,

Molly Gill
Government Affairs Counsel