On a high note, President Obama granted commutations (sentence reductions) to 8 lucky federal drug offenders — including Barbara Scrivner, a long-time FAMM supporter who has served 19 years of her 30-year sentence for a methamphetamine offense. The bad news is that we wish President Obama had granted more commutations. The good news is that Clemency Project 2014 is still up and running and reviewing cases, so we’re optimistic that there will be more commutations in 2015. Click here to learn more about Clemency Project 2014.
On a low note, this week members of Congress voted to finish their work for the year and flew home for the holidays — without passing any of the sentencing reforms we’ve been supporting. Here’s what this means for us:
•The bad news: All the federal sentencing reform and good time credit bills we have been supporting for the last two years are dead. There will be no more bills passed into law in Congress this year.
•The good news: In January 2015, we get to start over, with a clean slate. We will find members of Congress to re-introduce federal sentencing reform bills like the Smarter Sentencing Act and the Justice Safety Valve Act, get as many members of Congress as possible to support them, and try to get them through the committee review process and up for a vote. Our goal is to have federal sentencing reform bills voted on in both houses of Congress next year. Remember, for a bill to become law, it must be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and signed by the President.
•The action resumes on January 6, 2015. That’s the day that members of Congress return to Washington, DC and begin the work of the 114th Congress. The 114th Congress will run for two years, ending its work in December 2016.
It may sound hard to believe, but I’m not discouraged, and you shouldn’t be, either.
In fact, federal sentencing reform is one area where more and more members of Congress from both parties are agreeing that change is needed. Many people are saying that sentencing reform is one of the only things the next Congress might be able to agree on and pass in 2015!
To ensure that members of Congress know that people care about fixing federal mandatory minimum sentences, I’d like you to send a quick thank-you email to the members of Congress who supported sentencing reform in 2013 and 2014. Many of those members will be returning in 2015, and they need to hear from you that they did the right thing and need to do it again next year. Click here to send a thank-you email today.
Thank you for supporting FAMM. The federal lawmaking process is slow and frustrating, but we’ve come so far in the last two years. We’re going to keep moving forward in 2015!