Newsbrief: Arkansas Bill That Would Have Cut Methamphetamine Sentences Defeated 3/4/05

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DRCNet reported a month ago on the progress of an Arkansas bill that would have reduced sentences for some methamphetamine offenders. Given the wave of anti-methamphetamine hysteria sweeping the country, we titled that story "Man Bites Dog." It was too good to be true. The bill made it through the state Senate, but was defeated Tuesday in a House committee vote. There is a slight chance it will be reconsidered, but as things now stand, the measure is in limbo.

Under Arkansas law, perpetrators of especially heinous crimes, such as rape, murder, and "causing a catastrophe" must serve 70% of their prison sentences. As concern over methamphetamine mounted, Arkansas lawmakers added meth manufacture and possession of paraphernalia for meth manufacture to that list of crimes. SB 120 would have lifted the 70% requirement for first- and second-time meth cooks in possession of less than five grams.

Despite the backing of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney's Association and the state prison director, the bill failed in the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 8-6 after being denounced by Republican lawmakers. Typical was the reaction of Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock). "Unlike other drugs, the actual cooking of meth is extremely dangerous and there are oftentimes children... in the home itself," Hutchinson said. "Meth is an epidemic in this state and across the nation. Meth has more victims than most crimes under the 70% rule."

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Issue #377 -- 3/4/05

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The Ignorance and the Damage Done | International Harm Reduction Battle Heating Up | National Drug Control Strategy Taking Lumps from All Sides | Under New South Dakota Anti-Meth Law, Drug Use Equals Child Abuse | DRCNet Needs You to Write the Senate | DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature Rep. John Conyers and Kemba Smith, March 9 in Washington, DC | Coasters to Stop the Drug War | Events and Conferences Coming Up for Drug Reformers -- Come Out and Be a Part of It | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: Four Canadian Mounties Killed Raiding Marijuana Grow | Newsbrief: Legalize It, Says Business Week Columnist | Newsbrief: Washington State Drug Reform Coalition Launches Campaign | Newsbrief: Texas Racial Profiling Study Finds No Progress, Calls for Ban on Consent Searches | Newsbrief: Arkansas Bill That Would Have Cut Methamphetamine Sentences Defeated | Newsbrief: Utah Treatment Not Jail Bill Dying For Lack of Funding | Newsbrief: Colombia Guerrillas Demand Return of Commander Extradited to US | Newsbrief: British Opposition Promises Tough New Drug War if Elected | Newsbrief: As British Parties Embrace Student Drug Testing, Research Report Flashes Caution Light | Newsbrief: "The Marijuana-Logues" Tour Cancelled After Parole Officer Forces Tommy Chong to Quit | A Drug War Carol Now Available in Spanish and French | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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