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California Senate Rejects Drug-Sentencing Bill


(AP) — The California state Senate is rejecting a bill that would end a practice of extending jail and prison sentences for repeat drug offenders.

Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles said her bill would help address the disproportionate incarceration of minorities.

SB966 fell three votes short when Republicans and a handful of Democrats declined to support it. The bill was strongly opposed by sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys who said it would make it harder to crack down on drug dealers.

Mitchell's bill would have repealed a 1985 law allowing so-called sentence enhancements for drug defendants with prior drug convictions. It comes amid a national debate about the effectiveness of the war on drugs and its effects on minority communities.

Mitchell can try again at a later date.

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