Our Voting Rights bill (HB 265) infamously failed to pass the House of Representatives last week because several supporters had gone home for the day. To get the bill reconsidered (for the 2nd time), we needed someone who voted against it last week to make a motion to reconsider. A few jaws dropped when that person was Rep. Sherman Mack, chairman of the criminal justice committee. Rep. Mack has been a major hurdle for many criminal justice reforms. This does not mean he will champion the bill, or vote for it, but it does get us a re-vote on Thursday! Please call your Representatives TODAY and ask them to vote YES on HB 265!
With only a few weeks left in the legislative session, lets recap a few things happening that you may have missed. Also, be sure to check out which bills are moving on VOTE’s Bill Tracker.
Contact VOTE to find out more.
Final stops on the way to the Governor:
Bills passing one chamber (House or Senate), and then another committee, and now on the floor of the other chamber. It is always important to follow the amendments to bills, as they can ultimately pass an entirely different law than was proposed a month ago.
Bills focused on incarcerated women are moving through the system:
VOTE has been fighting for years to create parole opportunities for people since the beginnings of the organization, when a group of civic-minded men confined for long periods in Angola (some confined until death) worked with legislators to create the “20/45 Law.” While the state amended that law to not apply to most people serving virtual death sentences, this year a “30/50 Law” seemed poised to allow people with 30 years served, over 50 years old, could see the parole board. Legislators wanted to pull the most serious crimes out from eligibility, despite the fact that one typically needs to have committed a serious crime (often as a teenager) to be over 50 years old in prison with no end in sight. Similarly, the chance to amend armed robbery sentences and end the virtual death sentences, failed to pass. The writing is on the wall, for now. Like everything else VOTE and our allies do: we will be back.
Follow our Bill Tracker, our social media, and our e-newsletter to stay engaged!