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House Committee Rejects Attorney General's Partial Presumptive Probation Rollback

A house committee is rejecting the Attorney General’s bill for a partial repeal of presumptive probation.

Senate Bill 6 would create an aggravating circumstance if those charged with a drug crime failed to cooperate with law enforcement. That would allow judges to sentence defendants to prison.

Republican Representative Timothy Johns opposed the bill. The former federal judge says he doesn’t see why the state will lock up drug users.

“And what are we gaining as a society? Absolutely nothing,” Johns says. “Because we aren’t spending the money that we should be spending that might be available if we were willing to spend it on the drug treatment. If you don’t have a market, you aren’t going to havbe people providing the drugs. There’s always a ready market out here and this is not going to stop people from getting drugs as long as you’ve got someone that’s willing to buy them.”

The committee rejected the proposal on a vote of six to seven, then ultimately moved to table it.

If passed, the bill could have increased the number of prisoners in the state, costing roughly a million dollars a year. That’s according to a legislative research document, which also states it may have required sending female inmates out of state, or building a new women’s prison.