Update: Sentencing reform bill gains support

Last summer we reported on the introduction of Congresswoman Maxine Waters' bill to reform mandatory minimum drug sentencing. Since that time, Waters' bill, H.R. 1681 - The Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 1999, has been gaining support both in and out of Congress. This bill would "....concentrate Federal resources aimed at the prosecution of drug offenses on those offenses that are major.", and would also completely eliminate certain mandatory minimum drug sentences for relatively minor violations of drug laws.

The following members of Congress have now signed on as co-sponsors: Rep. Elijah E. Cummings; Rep. John Conyers, Jr.; Rep. Gregory W. Meeks; Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick; Rep. Danny K. Davis; Rep. William J. Jefferson; Rep. Eva M. Clayton; Rep. Donna Christensen; Rep. Barney Frank; Rep. Edolphus Towns; Rep. James E. Clyburn; Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.; Rep. Donald M. Payne; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton; Rep. Alcee L. Hastings; Rep. Carrie P. Meek; Rep. Robert C. Scott; Rep. Melvin L. Watt; Rep. Corrine Brown; Rep. Barbara Lee; Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones; Rep. Charles B. Rangel; and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson.

In addition, both The November Coalition and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) have been gathering signed petitions to turn over to Ms. Waters' office in support of this important piece of legislation. If you would like to help support our efforts, along with the efforts of Congresswoman Waters, contact our office.

From The Final Call, the Nation of Islam newsletter:

Rep. Maxine Wayer's has pointed out that 96% of crack cocaine defendants are Black and Latino/a, caused by disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine. Rep. Waters has introduced H.R. 1681, in an effort to repeal mandatory minimums.

She ended the [Congressional] session by dumping out boxes of letters her office has recieved from people who have loved ones incarcerated because of mandatory minimums.

"These are real human beings. We have petitions from prisoners; their mothers and fathers call. Their grandmothers call. Something must be done." she said, holding up the letters.