Virginia Senate kills bill ending most mandatory minimums

Jail Handcuffs
Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 14:40:24-05

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two Democrats in the Virginia Senate have joined with Republicans to defeat a measure that would have eliminated almost all mandatory minimum sentences.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Joe Morrissey died Monday on a vote of 21-19 after a lengthy debate.

It would have eliminated mandatory minimums, except in the case of a conviction for the aggravated murder of a law-enforcement officer. Many of the penalties were adopted decades ago as part of the tough-on-crime movement, which some lawmakers blame for mass incarceration.

Democratic Sens. Lynwood Lewis and Dick Saslaw joined with Republicans to defeat the measure. It would have faced long odds in the GOP-controlled House. But a similar measure passed the Senate last year.