Cocaine-crack bill update
Bill Leukhardt of the Hartford Courant writes about the effort being made by the state senate and house to quickly pass the Republican compromise to the failed cocaine-crack prosession bill before the session ends.
The sponsors will seek quick House and Senate passage of a proposal setting 14 grams - half an ounce - as the trigger amount of either crack or powder cocaine a suspect must possess to be charged as a dealer.The only problem facing members of Congress is that time is not on their side.
The law now says anyone possessing half a gram of crack cocaine can be charged as a dealer, with a mandatory minimum jail term of five years if convicted. For powder cocaine, the threshold is 28 grams.
The bill Rell vetoed would have set 28 grams of either as the threshold. Rell said a 28-gram threshold for crack was too lenient for a highly addictive drug often sold in cities by violent gangs that battle rivals for turf.
She said she would sign a compromise setting 14 grams as the threshold for the dealing charge for both crack and powder - a compromise position House and Senate Republicans proposed last month without success.
Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, pointed out another hurdle - the calendar.As I said in my last post, the members of Congress must of known that Gov. Rell wouldn't sign this bill into law as she hinted that she would veto the bill early on in the process. Now that they were running out of time this session, there is a chance that there will be no change to the current law.
"The enemy is time. We have much to do and only a few days left until the session ends," he said.
We'll keep an eye on this and see how this develops.