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Cocaine Sentencing Bill Left Out of Year-End Spending Measure

Dec. 20, 2022, 2:19 PM

Legislation reducing the disparity in cocaine sentencing was left out of a must-pass government funding bill, after the Justice Department took executive action last week to end the disparity that disproportionately affects Black defendants.

The legislation would have been a fallback in case the Justice Department order eliminating the 18-to-1 sentencing ratio that has existed for crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenders is ever reversed.

A bipartisan group of senators, including Democrats Dick Durbin and Cory Booker and Republican Chuck Grassley, had reached an agreement last week prior to the Justice Department’s announcement to reduce the disparity in federal ...