GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has teamed with the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in his latest legislative effort.
Paul and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) reintroduced the Senate version of the RESET Act — Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment Act of 2015 — while Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) introduced the House version.
Paul originally introduced the bill last July but had no co-sponsors in the Senate.
The bill “would reclassify specific low-level, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors, eliminate the distinction between crack and powder cocaine for sentencing, and ensure that food products containing drugs are weighed fairly,” his office said, the last clause giving a reprieve to pot brownies.
“The RESET Act will end the worst sentencing injustices for non-violent offenses in our criminal justice system,” Paul said. “It will more closely align punishment with the severity of the offense and make it possible for someone to get a second chance after a non-violent youthful mistake, instead of a lifetime punishment.”
Paul, who’s campaigning Monday in Grand Rapids with Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), will likely push his criminal justice reform proposals more as media focus remains on civil unrest and allegations of police brutality.
After Democratic Party presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told a crowd at Columbia University that “it’s time to end the era of mass incarceration,” Paul’s camp released a statement noting that “not only is Hillary Clinton trying to undo some of the harm inflicted by the Clinton administration, she is now emulating proposals introduced by Senator Rand Paul over the last several years, and we welcome her to the fight.”
Ellison said the “failed war on drugs is designed to keep entire communities in a cycle of debt and poverty.”
“1.5 million African American men are missing from society due in large part to our broken criminal justice system,” the congressman added. “We need to bring the punishment for non-violent and low-level drug offenses back into proportion with similar crimes.”