Drug free zone bill clears judiciary just before deadline

HARTFORD, Conn. – In a tight vote with just minutes to spare before its deadline, the Judiciary Committee approved a bill Wednesday to reduce heightened penalty zones for selling drugs near schools.

The bill just barely cleared the committee in a 21-19 vote less than 20 minutes before the committee’s 5 p.m. deadline for approving legislation this year. The legislation addresses what’s become a become a perennial effort for a group of lawmakers from state’s urban communities.

That’s because in Connecticut, a conviction for possessing or buying drugs within a drug-free zone triggers a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two to three years. And in many urban communities, drug-free zones currently include most, if not entire cities. As a result, anyone who’s convicted of a drug charge in those cities faces a stiffer penalty.

Proponents of reducing the size of the zones say they are unfair to urban communities and that the blanket coverage of cities negates the deterrent impact of having harsher penalties near schools.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


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