By Dick Hall-Sizemore
With the General Assembly at the crossover break, now would be a good time to take stock of the status of major criminal justice and public safety legislation. Not surprisingly, the priorities identified by Democrats are faring well.
Below is a summary of the actions taken on selected bills. For a more detailed description of each bill, see my earlier post. The votes are in parenthesis. In most cases, the original bill was amended or there was a substitute before it passage.
Still alive; Passed first house
Repeal of death penalty—HB 2263 (57-41); SB 1165 (21-17)
Expungement of criminal history records—HB 2113 (60-39); SB 1283 (21-18) The House and the Senate are on a collision course on this issue. The House favors automatic expungement of convictions of certain offenses. However, as Sen. Surovell informed us in a comment recently, the Senate is opposed to automatic expungement. His bill would make it easier for individuals to request and be granted expungement.
Repeal of mandatory minimums—SB 1406 (23-15)
Repeal of criminal marijuana offenses and establishment of regulation—SB 1406 (23-15)
Court of Appeals expansion—SB 1261 (21-18)
Parole Board member votes made public—SB 1103 (33-6) The House took no action on its bill (HB 1972) on this subject.
Parole Board release notifications—SB 1104 (39-0) and SB 1105 (39-0)
Discredited forensic evidence—SB 1105 (38-0)
Board of Local and Regional Jails—SB 1363 (28-11)
Technical violators—HB 2038 (57-43)
Parole Board notification of victims—House committee took no action on HB 1761 and HB 2161.
Executive orders; duration—Both HB 2087 and HB 2149 killed in subcommittee by votes of 5-3.
Concealed weapons—HB 1773. Killed in subcommittee (6-2)
Controlled substances; reduction of penalties—Subcommittee took no action on HB 2303.
Sexually violent predator law; repeal—SB 1244. PBI in committee (12-0)
Parole reinstatement—SB 1370. PBI in committee (14-0)
Qualified immunity—HB 2045 killed in subcommittee (6-2). SB 1440 PBI in committee (9-5)