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Note from Rep. Les Gara
Note from Rep. Les Gara  
Facts Beat Myths: Tonight, Crime Bill Public Testimony
Note from Rep. Les Gara

October 24, 2017

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Dear Neighbors:

I’ve been running around trying to get things done at the Capitol for this latest “Unspecial Session.” Sorry I didn’t get this out earlier!!

Tonight at 6 pm there will be public testimony on the crime bill that’s on the Special Session call. 

There haven’t been enough facts in a discussion that has instead been dominated by political myths.

Senate Bill 54 seeks to fix problems with Senate Bill 91 passed last year. Let’s myth-bust a little. 

SB 54 amends SB 91 and reinstates felony jail time for shoplifting and theft. It also adds back jail time for repeat misdemeanor theft and shoplifting. But if someone breaks into your home, or threatens you or steals from you in person, those are burglaries and robberies, which bring potentially substantial jail time under SB 91. It’s a casualty of politics that people are being told burglaries and robberies get you a pass on jail time. And SB 91 in fact increased jail time for murders, and left sex crime sentences substantial and unchanged, and left significant jail time for violent crime and drug dealing. The goal of SB 91 was to follow the evidence that hauling minor first time nonviolent, non-drug dealing offenders into jail makes them criminals when they come out of jail, and makes us less safe. So, fixes are needed, but myths aren’t helpful.

Testify at your LIO or call 844-586-9085 if you’re not able to make it to an LIO in person. Try to get there before 6 or 7 pm so you get on the list.

More Detailed SB 54 Summary

If you need it, here’s a more detailed bill summary!

Violation of Conditions Of Jail Release:
Returns “Violation of Conditions of Release” to a misdemeanor, rather than an arrestable violation.

Theft 4:
Increases the use of prison for repeat lower level Theft 4 offenders.

Sex Trafficking: 
Revises the sex trafficking statutes to tighten a perceived loophole identified by the Department of Law.

C-Felony (for people with no prior felonies):
Enacts a 0-1 year “default” sentencing range for first-time class C felonies, instead of a presumption of no jail time.

A-Misdemeanors:
Enacts a sentence-enhancement for repeat class A misdemeanors.

Sex Offender Probation: 
Enacts a provision requiring mandatory minimums for probation for sex offenders.

ASAP:
Authorizes the “Alcohol Safety Action Program” to accept referrals for simple drug possession.

First-Time DUI: 
Allows the Department of Corrections to bring an offender to prison if they violate the conditions of home confinement and electronic monitoring.

As always, call or email if you have any questions.

My Best,

[signed] Les Gara


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