This past Tuesday, I had the honor of joining a great team of community activists to deliver more than 30,000 petition signatures to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky office urging him to let the Senate vote on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. This important criminal justice reform bill would reduce harsh, lengthy mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenses, allow judges to use their discretion to sentence people below the minimum in certain cases, and help fix our broken criminal justice system.
The Drug Policy Alliance teamed up with Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Change.org and #cut50 to gather tens of thousands of signatures. I was thrilled to be on-the-ground for the delivery in the company of representatives from the University of Kentucky’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Kentucky Council of Churches, Mission Behind Bars and Beyond, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and others. Not only did we deliver petitions to the office, but we also delivered a message to his staff demanding that Sen. McConnell take action on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act!
These days it is nearly impossible to find significant pieces of legislation that have bipartisan support in Congress. This bill not only has bipartisan support, but it was even sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Given the amount of support that has been shown for this bill, Sen. McConnell should concede to the will of the people and his fellow senators by bringing the bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
The petition delivery was an important way to show Sen. McConnell that his Kentucky constituents and Americans all over the country want him to move forward on sentencing reform.
We’ll keep you updated as this fight continues. Thanks for standing with us.
John Hay is the Kentucky Statewide Organizer for the Drug Policy Alliance.