Thursday’s turmoil over a new House Speaker overshadowed announcement of significant bipartisan agreement on major sentencing reform for some nonviolent drug offenders.
The House legislation follows on a similar bipartisan proposal in the Senate, announced earlier. With bipartisan support now in both houses of Congress as well as from the White House, passage of significant sentencing reform this year is likely.
Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador, the lead Republican co-sponsor, said the bill “promises a more just society.”
“This bipartisan compromise will improve our justice system by providing tough punishment for the most serious offenders, while reducing sentences for those worthy of a second chance,” he said.
The House bill, like the Senate version, would end mandatory life sentences for three-time nonviolent drug offenders and set new mandatory minimum sentences 25 years. Mandatory sentences for two-time offenders also would get shortened. Those reductions would apply retroactively except for certain offenders with prior violent felony convictions.
More criminal justice reform bills are anticipated, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Thursday.