House Bill 5 passed the House yesterday by a vote of 30-10-1. This bill would reform concurrent and consecutive sentencing by providing sentencing judges with the discretion to sentence prison time concurrently when appropriate.
Eight Republicans voted no, along with two Democrats Bill “Lumpy” Carson and Bill Bush. The most disappointing new legislator this session goes to Bush by a landslide. Not even Trey Paradee tried to be this conservative. If Bush is worried about holding onto his district, the six Republicans voting yes on this bill gave him all the cover he needed. So either he is a very special kind of unprincipled coward, or he really is that conservative. In which case, time to find a primary challenger.
The bill does not end consecutive sentencing. It would mandate consecutive sentences when there are multiple victims for the most serious crimes and require consecutive sentences for assault in a detention facility. In reality, it is all about restoring judicial discretion to the criminal justice system, which I guess is something Bill Carson and Bill Bush oppose.
This bill is meant to limit the practice of prosecutor stacking of charges, which, often times require consecutive sentencing. So, for example, you may charged with burglary and home invasion, which is essentially the same crime, and then sentence to 5 years for each. Consecutive sentencing means that the defendant would have to serve 10 years. Concurrent sentencing means that the defendant serves 5 years, because the sentences for both crimes are served at the same time.
WHERE IS THE BILL? On the House floor ready for a vote as of 5/15/19
DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Longhurst, Poore, Bolden, Brady, Dorsey Walker, Kowalko, Hansen, Lockman, McDowell, Paradee, Sokola, Townsend, Baumbach, Cooke, Heffernan, K.Johnson, Lynn, Minor-Brown, Osienski
REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – None
YES VOTES – HOUSE — Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Griffith, Heffernan, Hensley, Jaques, K. Johnson, K. Williams, Kowalko, Longhurst, Lynn, Matthews, Michael Smith, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Osienski, Q. Johnson, Ramone, Schwartzkopf, Seigfried, Shupe, Spiegelman, Viola, Yearick
NO VOTES – HOUSE — Briggs King, Bush, Carson, Collins, D.Short, Gray, Morris, Postles, Smyk, Vanderwende
ABSENT — Dukes