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Senator Wicker cosponsors legislation...

Senator Wicker cosponsors legislation to reform drug sentencing

By: Anne Summerhays - April 29, 2022

SMART Cocaine Sentencing Act to reform sentence disparities, target drug dealers

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker announced that he joined colleagues to introduce the SMART Cocaine Sentencing Act seeks to resolve sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine while still punishing cartels and drug networks.

The legislation seeks to reduce the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenders tried in federal courts. The measure would also take on the surge of powder cocaine entering the country by isolating heavy sentencing for high-level drug traffickers and kingpins.

It also aims to make sentencing fairer while also preserving the ability of courts to keep those most likely to reoffend off the street.

Senator Wicker said that sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine have been a problem for some time.

“We need to be able to resolve those disparities while still punishing the cartels and drug networks that severely impact American families and communities. I am glad to join Senator Grassley on this well-designed legislation to improve the fairness, transparency, and effectiveness of our drug laws,” Wicker said.

U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also introduced the SMART Cocaine Sentencing Act.

Senator Grassley said that he had been working on this issue for many years. He cosponsored the 2010 legislation led by Senators Durbin and Sessions to reduce the disparity in sentencing from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1.

“It’s high time to do more to address this important issue and make our criminal code more just and fair,” Grassley said. “Our legislation will significantly reduce this disparity while ensuring those more likely to reoffend face appropriate penalties. Powder cocaine is being trafficked across the border in historic volumes, so we also need to take precautions that ensure these traffickers also face justice for spreading poison through our communities.”

Senator Lee discussed how over the past few years, there has been a huge increase in the amount of drugs been trafficked across the Southern border, especially cocaine.

“Not only is this bill an important step towards fairer sentencing of crack cocaine offenders, it will also give law enforcement officers more tools to fight drug trafficking,” Lee said.

You can view the full text of the legislation below.

SMART Cocaine Sentencing Act by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.