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Your Politicians: Eldridge Announces Local Aid, Chandler Votes to Toughen Sex Offender Laws

This week, Sen. Chandler voted in favor of improving laws against habitual sex offenders.

With only one formal session this week, the Senate voted on Senate Bill 728 “An Act Relative to Habitual Offenders, Sentencing and Improving Law Enforcement Tools” (also known as “Melissa’s Bill”). Senator Harriette Chandler voted in favor of this bill.

Currently, convicted felons are eligible for parole after serving half of their sentences. Those who commit first-degree murders are not eligible for parole. Those convicted of second-degree murder must serve 15 years of his or her life sentence before being eligible for parole.

Proposed legislation in the new bill includes:

·  Habitual offenders who have committed two crimes from the list of the most serious offenses would not be parole-eligible upon conviction of a third offense from the list of the most serious offenses. Also, the new bill changes the trigger for habitual offender status by allowing two crimes from the list of the most serious offenses to trigger status as a habitual offender where any committed time has been served.

·   Loopholes will be closed to allow sentences served for federal crimes to count towards habitual offender status

·   Habitual offenders would have to serve 2/3 of their sentence before becoming parole eligible. Currently, they must complete half of their sentence

·   Inmates serving multiple life sentences would be ineligible for parole.

·   Parole for persons serving life sentences must be approved by 2/3 of the board, instead of a majority of the board

·   Reduces mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes under the Controlled Substances Act. Further, provides for increases in drug weights for possession of cocaine and possession of heroin

·  Offenders currently serving mandatory minimum sentences in state prison for drug crimes would be parole eligible upon completion of the new mandatory minimum sentences contained in this bill

·   Reduces the area considered to be a school zone from 1,000 feet to 500 feet for purposes of enhanced sentences for selling drugs

·   Updates state wiretapping laws to include text messages and other electronic communications

·   Reduces the area considered to be a school zone from 1,000 feet to 500 feet for purposes of enhanced sentences for selling drugs

, including an additional $70,870 for the town of Westborough, an additional $68,217 for the town of Northborough, and an additional $26,749 for the town of Southborough.

 

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