Boston's Sen. Chang-Diaz Votes Against Three-Strikes Bill
The senator joined other Boston-area legislators who say the bill falls short on several counts.
Although the habitual criminal bill, also called the "three-strikes bill" or "Melissa's Law," overwhemlingly passed both the House and Senate this week, some Boston-area legislators voted against what they called am imbalanced bill.
The bill eliminates parole for felons convicted three times of one of 40 or so violent crimes, with at least one conviction having carried a minimum three-year prison term. It also reduces some mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 139-14 and the Senate Thursday by 31-7.
Many of those voting against it are members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus, who said the bill lacks evidence-based solutions, removes judicial discretion, and does not elimination mandatory minimums on nonviolent offenses. They also say the bill will cost the state more than $100 million over the next 10 to 15 years.
One of those voting with the caucus was Boston's Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who represents all or part of the neighborhoods of Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Dorchester, Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roxbury and the South End.
The bill now heads to Gov. Deval Patrick's desk; he has until July 31 to act on it. Patrick has said he is disappointed that the bill does not allow judges to grant felons the opportunity for parole after they serve the majority of their sentence. Still, he called the bill a "good faith step in the right direction," according to the Boston Globe.
For more on how your legislator voted, see the table below. Click here for the full list of House votes. The seven senators who voted against it are Chang-Diaz, William Brownsberger, Cynthia Creem, James B. Eldridge, Susan Fargo, Patricia D. Jehlen and Dan Wolf.
|Rep. Marty Walz||D-Boston||8th Suffolk||Yes|
|Rep. Aaron Michlewitz
|Rep. Byron Rushing||D-Boston (South End)||9th Suffolk||No|
|Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez||D-Jamaica Plain||15th Suffolk||Yes|
|Rep. Elizabeth Malia||D-Jamaica Plain||11th Suffolk||Yes|
|Rep. Russell E. Holmes||D-Boston||6th Suffolk||No|
|Rep. Edward Coppinger||D-Boston||10th Suffolk||Yes|
|Rep. Nick Collins||D-Boston||4th Suffolk||Yes|
|Rep. Carlo Basile||D-East Boston||1st Suffolk||Yes|
|Sen. Michael F. Rush||D-West Roxbury||Suffolk and Norfolk||Yes|
|Sen. Jack Hart||D-Boston||First Suffolk||Yes|
|Sen. Anthony Petruccelli||D-East Boston||First Suffolk and Middlesex||Yes|
|Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz||D-Boston||Second Suffolk||