Yesterday the state assembly voted to further reform the already somewhat weakened Rockefeller drug laws. The bill would eliminate minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, give judges the power to choose treatment over prison, and allow thousands already in prison for mid-level drug crimes to appeal for new sentences. Though the measure passed easily, its prospects in the State Senate aren’t as certain. The vote is still split, predictably, between hippie Democrats and tough-on-crime Republicans, and though Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate, they’re about as cohesive as a bunch of kindergartners scrambling for piñata candy. But if it does get through, Governor Paterson will enthusiastically sign it into law. Back in 2002, when he was a carefree Senate minority leader, Paterson was intentionally arrested, along with Nelson Rockefeller’s much cooler granddaughter, blocking the offices of Governor Pataki in protest of the drug laws.
Drug law reforms await Senate vote [Times-Union]