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FAMM Crime Bill Update -- Extremely Urgent

The following notice was sent by FAMM, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. You can get this information directly by calling the FAMM hotline, at (703) 685-6860.

Remember, the very most important thing for you to do is to let your own two Senators and your Representative know how you feel about the Crime Bill and the provisions contained therein. If you don't know their phone numbers, you can get them from the Congressional Hotline, at (202) 224-3121.

Crime Bill Update - June 21st

The Conference Committee on the Crime Bill has started to meet. Senator Biden and Representative Jack Brooks met over the weekend with a representative from the Department of Justice to hammer out what they want to see in the final crime bill. That Biden/Brooks bill is not official but that is what they are working from this week in the Conference Committee with the rest of the members. We know that there are some things in it that we don't like. There is a three-strikes bill that they are including that has drugs as one, two or three of the strikes that will qualify you, they have dropped a lot of the mandatory minimums from the Senate side and that's good; they have got some new gang provisions; they have abolished the pell grants altogether in this working version of the crime bill and they did remove the part about weight lifting. Weight lifting will still be allowed in the prisons unless something changes dramatically before the final bill is done. This is the working crime bill that the Conference Committee is working from for the next fews days, these are the sorts of things we know are in it or are not in it.

One thing that is not mentioned in this crime bill is the safety valve. The reason that it is not mentioned is because they haven't decided about the retroactivity yet. This seems to be holding the whole thing up. In some waysthat's good because we certainly don't want them to just pass it without having retroactivity but we also want to make sure that they do pass it eventually with the hope that they can be convinced that they should make it retroactive.

There are a couple of people that need to be lobbied.

He's waffling on this issue. If you are from Arizona it is critical that you call his office today or tomorrow. Even if you are not from Arizona, please urge him to support the retroactivity. Give him a call and say "We need to have this retroactive. We don't want to pay taxes to these non-violent offenders to sit in prison for years that they don't need to."

In principal, he opposes the retroactivity of all laws, not just this one. He doesn't think that a law should be passed and then made retroactive. Please call him. Urge him to make it retroactive, explaining that you are talking about human beings lives here.

It still would be good to continue to call Orrin Hatch. Sympathetic, but up for re-election, playing politics He needs to hear from all of us and make sure that we have him on track. We're not sure we do.

Critical, critical, critical to hound Senator Biden. He has the power to make this thing happen. He is not going to if he doesn't feel that he has the support.

It wouldn't hurt to continue to call the Justice Department. They have already come out in opposition to the retroactive application of the safety valve. It is totally inexcusable, there is no reason for them to have done that, but they did. It's very hypocritical of them. If you want to let them know how extremely disappointed you are, do it. Also send them to the White House. Right now it doesn't make a lot of sense to waste your time with the Justice Department. They are not going to budge. Here's are the numbers:

One of the biggest opponents.

We may know by the end of the week whether a crime bill has come out of the Conference Committee. Keep in mind that this bill that they produce from the Conference Committee still has to go back to the House and to the Senate for a full vote of both chambers. There is a little bit more time ahead, but whatever comes out of the Conference Committee is likely to be the final crime bill. It is unlikely that it will be changed once it leaves there. It is still critical to reach them now while they are still in debate. They would like to have the crime bill out of Conference Committee, voted on in each chamber and on the President's desk by July 4th. There is a lot of pressure for them to do this.

Please get on the phones and faxes and make these calls today. FAMM cannot stress how important it is. We may get a safety valve, but there is a good chance it won't be retroactive unless we can make it happen.

Thank you,

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