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  • Writer's pictureAnalise Ortiz

This Week in Smart Justice at the Legislature

Update on Feb. 10, 2021: HB 2713 and HB 2320 passed unanimously through committee. HB 2485 was replaced with a strike everything amendment that completely changed the bill. We will continue staying vigilant against other anti-protest bills, like HB 2309 and SB 1125.

This week continues to be busy for criminal legal reform advocates at the Legislature. Here are some important bills to keep an eye on.

HB 2713, the sentencing reform bill that will allow people to earn their way to an earlier release date, was pulled off the agenda last week. It will be heard this week. It has our support.

Sentencing reform is long overdue in Arizona. Arizona is one of the only states that provides almost no opportunities for people to earn time off their sentences. HB 2713 would change that by allowing people to reduce their time in prison by as much as 50 percent for people with drug convictions and by as much as 33 percent for people convicted of other crimes that are considered nonviolent. It will be heard in the House Criminal Justice Reform Committee Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 2:00 p.m. We will be there virtually to testify. You can join us in supporting this bill by contacting your representatives today and asking them to vote yes.

HB2320 will allow people to seal their criminal records once they've served their sentence and paid their debt to society. It has our support.

HB 2320 will allow people in Arizona to seal their criminal records. This is a big deal because Arizona currently has no process in place to give people this opportunity. This means, folks who've served their sentence years, or even decades, ago still struggle to find housing and employment due to stigma associated with their criminal record. A criminal record should not be a life sentence. Sealing records can offer a second chance to people convicted of nonviolent offenses who have paid their debts to society, preventing them from repeatedly facing punishment for one past mistake. It will be heard in the House Criminal Justice Reform Committee Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 2:00 p.m. We will be there virtually to testify.

HB 2485 is a dangerous bill that threatens to imprison people for exercising their First Amendment rights. We strongly oppose.

HB 2485 could allow a person to be charged with a felony simply for participating in a protest, even if they themselves do not commit an act of violence or property damage. The bill is in direct response to Black and Brown changemakers who rose up to make their voices heard following the police killings of Dion Johnson and George Floyd. It will be heard in the Transportation committee on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 2:00 p.m. We need you to contact your representatives today and tell them to reject any bill that threatens our right to protest.

SB 1333 is a desperate attempt to punish cities who divest from their police budgets. We strongly oppose.

SB1333 would withhold money from local governments who choose to reduce their police budgets. This legislation is a shameful attempt to stop the power of the people who've been calling for a divestment from police budgets and an investment in community resources, like public health, education, and mental health services. It is undemocratic and an overreach of legislative power. It passed through committee on Tuesday. We urge all lawmakers to vote NO on SB 1333 should it come to the House Floor for a full vote.

Remember you can always reach out to your lawmakers directly to voice your support or opposition to any of these bills. Check out our lobbying guide for detailed information on how to do that. You can also stay up-to-date when action is needed by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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