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Pending bills to challenge Death By Incarceration (October 2021) In the Senate:
Sponsor: Senator Sharif Street
Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb 22, 2021 Current co-sponsors: Street, Kearney, Bartolotta, Hughes, Kane, Schwank, Haywood, Cappelletti, L. Williams, Tartaglione, Saval, Collett (11 Dems, 1 Rep) What it says: This bill would create parole eligibility for most people currently serving DBI. For people serving with 2nd degree murder convictions, it would make them parole eligible after 25 years. For those serving for 1st degree, it would make them parole eligible after 35 years. The bill exempts people convicted in a homicide of a law enforcement officer.
Sponsor: Senator Sharif Street
Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on August 11, 2021 Current co-sponsors: Street, Kane, Muth, Collett, Kearney, Costa, Saval, Comitta, Tartaglione, Cappelletti, Bartolotta, Haywood, L. Williams (12 Dems, 1 Rep)
What it says: This bill would allow elderly OR medically compromised people to apply for parole. The conditions to be eligible to apply for medical/geriatric parole would that a person is EITHER 55+ years old and has served 25 years (or half current minimum) of their sentence; OR they have any of the following: a) a terminal illness, b) a chronic + debilitating physical or medical condition c) serious cognitive impairment d) deteriorating physical/mental health due to age.
Sponsor: Senator Camera Bartolotta
Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on May 19, 2021 Current co-sponsors: Bartolotta, Haywood, Street, Scavello, Kearney, Kane, Muth, Comitta, Schwank (7 Dems, 2 Rep)
What it says: This bill would replace the unanimous vote requirement for a person to be recommended for commutation by the Board of Pardons to a 4/5 majority vote. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it would need to pass two sessions of the legislature and then be approved by voters in a ballot initiative.
Note: the 4/5 to five shift wouldn’t make that much different. We need it reinstated like it was to 3/5. Ask Rep Barlotta to change the language.
In the House:
Sponsor: Representative Jason Dawkins
Status: Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on October 12, 2021 Current co-sponsors: Dawkins, Krajewski, Sanchez, Kenyatta, Kinsey, Isaacson, Frankel, Schweyer, Schlossberg, Kinkead, Harris, Hohenstein, Sims, McClinton (14 Dems)
What it says: It’s a little unclear. The co-sponsorship memo says the bill would mirror HB135 from the 2019-2020 legislative session, which was similar to SB135 (see above). But the language in this actual bill focuses on eliminating LWOP as a sentencing option for defendants under 18. It also appears to change the part of the parole statute that prevents the Parole Board from granting parole to people sentenced to life imprisonment, but it does not include language on the minimum at which people sentenced to life could be paroled.
Sponsor: Representative Joanna McClinton
Status: Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on July 8, 2021 Current co-sponsors: McClinton, Kinsey, A. Brown, McNeill, D. Williams, Parker, N. Nelson, Sanchez, Madden, Guenst, Hohenstein, Rabb, Delloso, Sims, Innamorato, A. Davis, Rowe, Howard (17 Dems, 1 Rep)
What it says: This bill would replace the unanimous vote requirement for a person to be recommended for commutation by the Board of Pardons to a 3/5 majority vote. Since this is a constitutional amendment, it would need to pass two sessions of the legislature and then be approved by voters in a ballot initiative.