Senator Cynthia Lummis Co-Sponsors Cocaine Sentencing Bill
Written by Mac Watson on February 23, 2023
Senator Cynthia Lummis is co-sponsoring a bipartisan sentencing reform billed named the EQUAL Act. The bill would fully and finally eliminate the federal sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine. This legislation just missed being put in front of the president for him to sign into law in 2022, but it has new life this year.
Senator Lummis, along with other bipartisan Congressional leaders from both chambers, are “renewing efforts to correct the historical wrong that has resulted in thousand of Black men serving disproportionally long sentence of incarceration.”
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) filed the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law Act, or EQUAL Act, as original sponsors alongside five of their colleagues in the Senate. Other Senate co-sponsors included Republican Senators Rand Paul (R-KY, and Thom Tillis (R-NC), as well as Democrat Senators Christopher Coons (D-DE) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The Senators were joined by House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Congressmen Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) who filed the House version of the legislation the same day.
Senator Lummis’ sponsorship of the EQUAL Act was applauded by leading law enforcement, conservative, and civil rights organizations. Jenna Bottler, Executive Director of the Justice Action Network, the country’s largest organization advancing bipartisan criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels, issued the following statement in response to the news:
“Justice Action Network thanks Senator Lummis for her support for the EQUAL Act, and her commitment to the core belief that all people should be treated fairly under the law. If passed into law, the EQUAL Act would rectify one of the worst vestiges of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ and fix an unjust drug sentencing disparity that has caused thousands of people, most of whom are Black men, to be unfairly imprisoned for decades.
With less thank 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of its incarcerated population, the United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world — largely due to the war on drugs,” according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Jenna Bottler continued her praise of Senator Lummis by stating, “The EQUAL Act continues to be a unifying force for Washington, both parties support this legislation, along with law enforcement leaders, civil rights groups, and a majority of Wyomingites. Senators from both parties should follow the leadership of Senator Lummis and make EQUAL one of their top priorities this Congress.”