Idaho lawmakers to discuss mandatory minimums bill

An informational hearing is set for Wednesday at the Statehouse to discuss a bill that would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking.

BOISE - A bill aimed at criminal justice reform in Idaho has an informational hearing scheduled this week.

If approved, the legislation would do away with mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking.

Currently, judges are required to hand down certain sentences for drug offenses, depending on the type and amount of drug involved.

The bill has bipartisan support, and is sponsored by Rep. Christy Perry, a Republican from Nampa,  and Rep. Ilana Rubel, a Democrat from Boise.

Rubel says judges should have the freedom to hand down a sentence of their choice for cases where they don't think a mandatory minimum makes sense. She says under her proposal, judges would still have the ability to give a strict sentence if they feel it's needed.

"There's no ability for judges to look at the particulars of a circumstance and determine, you know, gosh was this a kid who just made a stupid mistake and this is their first offense or this a hardened drug dealer. No ability to look at that," Rubel said.

Not everyone supports the legislation. Idaho State Police say having mandatory minimums prevents dealers from selling drugs in Idaho.

MORE: Bill would eliminate Idaho's mandatory minimums for drug trafficking

This legislation has a scheduled information hearing Wednesday where lawmakers will examine whether or not the current law needs to be changed.

At this point, no vote has been scheduled.

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