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Last Chance to Act on the Crime Bill
-- Sample Letter Enclosed

The following letter is adapted from a letter submitted to me by DRCNet subscriber Mike Cooper. It uses the Crime Bill information previously sent, obtained from FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), 202-457-5790, and NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws), 202-483-5500. You can use this letter to contact the members of the rules committee, and you can also adapt it for your own representative (information below).

Your Name

The Honorable _____________
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

Dear _______:

I am writing regarding the amendments to the crime bill the House Rules Committee will be discussing on April 12 or 13. The bill currently contains a number of provisions which are disproportionate to the crimes which they address, and which will hinder our ability to fight truly violent crime. I ask you to help get the following amendments through the rules committee and onto the House floor:

#34 by Rep. Melvin Watt (which strikes the language providing the death penalty for drug kingpins when death does not result from the crime)

#64 by Rep. Barney Frank (which exempts offenses involving marijuana only from the drug kingpin death penalty provision)

#61 by Rep. Barney Frank (which removes serious drug offenses from felonies qualifying for the "three strikes and you're out" provision)

#162 by Rep. Craig Washington (which gives judges discretion on length of sentences by abolishing mandatory minimums) H.R. 3979, creating a "safety-valve" from mandatory minimum sentences for certain first-time, non-violent drug offenders.

The Hughes amendment, to remove the racist sentencing disparity that exists between penalties for crack cocaine (used mainly by blacks) and powder cocaine (used mainly by whites).

Also, I ask that you oppose all amendments that would increase penalties for non-violent drug offenses, including amendments #50, #51, #52, and #53, all of which are sponsored by Rep. Gerald Solomon.

Each of the above amendments creates more demand on an already over- burdened criminal justice system, ultimately costing the taxpayers more and more money for rather dubious ends. We simply can't afford more prisons or prisoners, and the results of mandating prison terms for perpetrators of victimless crimes will fill prison space that must then be vacated by murderers and rapists, who, oddly, don't face mandatory sentences. Something is seriously wrong about that. Please help this nation get on track towards a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.


Your name ______________________________________________________________________________

Members of the rules committee:
(please call or fax before April 13th)

Committee member                State           Phone   Fax

* Rep. Joe Moakley, Chair       MA      (202)225-8273   (202)225-3984 

Rep. Butler Derrick             SC      (202)225-5301   (202)225-5383 

Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson       CA      (202)225-5911   (202)225-0092 

Rep. Martin Frost               TX      (202)225-3605   (202)225-4951 

Rep. David E. Bonior            MI      (202)225-2106   (202)226-1169 

Rep. Tony P. Hall               OH      (202)225-6465   (202)225-6766 

Rep. Alan Wheat                 MO      (202)225-4535   (202)225-5990 

Rep. BartGordon                 TN      (202)225-4231   (202)225-6887 

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter        NY      (202)225-3615   (202)225-7822 

* Rep. Gerald Solomon           NY      (202)225-5614   (202)225-6234 

Rep. James H. Quillen           TN      (202)225-6356   (202)225-7812 

Rep. David Dreier               CA      (202)225-2305   (202)225-4745 

Rep. Porter J. Goss             FL      (202)225-2536   (202)225-6820

Also please call, fax or visit your own Representative's office and ask him or her to support/oppose any of the above amendments that could be introduced on the floor of the House. And add that you prefer him or her to oppose the entire bill. If you don't know how to reach your representative, you can find out by calling the Congressional Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

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