Learn More About These Provisions
Earlier this month, President Trump sat down with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to discuss improving the FIRST STEP Act (H.R. 5682) by adding in sentencing reform provisions. Sources close to the president now say that President Trump is open to signing criminal justice reform legislation that includes both prison reform AND sentencing reform. FAMM has been urging the Senate to include sentencing reform in the FIRST STEP Act for months, so we're encouraged by this news.
The Senate will now work to add sentencing reform to the FIRST STEP Act and pass it out of the Senate before this Congress ends in January. We believe that the Senate is discussing adding four provisions from the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 1917) to the FIRST STEP Act:
• Remove section 924(c) gun enhancement stacking;
• Lower the mandatory minimums for section 841/851 enhancements (repeat drug offenders);
• Make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive (crack cocaine disparity); and
• Expand the federal safety valve exception to mandatory minimum drug sentences.
We don't know yet how many of these sentencing reforms will ultimately get included, or how many people they might help, but we are hopeful that the Senate can reach a compromise and pass an improved bill. Should they succeed, the bill would then need to pass the House of Representatives (who passed a prison reform version of the FIRST STEP Act earlier this summer) before it can be signed by the president.
The time to pass a bill is very short, so FAMM will be working overtime in the weeks ahead. On August 22, we are hosting an expert panel to educate congressional staffers and the public on the sentencing reform provisions being considered for the FIRST STEP Act. The event will take place at 2:00 PM in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Thank you for your continued support. We would not have the opportunity to pass a meaningful and comprehensive criminal justice reform without your tireless support and advocacy.
Vice President of Policy, FAMM