In a last-minute effort to get out of town, the U.S. House and Senate quickly worked out differences over their respective versions of the 1990 Crime Bill. On October 27th they passed a measure through both houses and sent it on to George Bush, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
From as near as we can tell, however, the new Crime Bill has been stripped of controversial provisions. Bush had threatened to veto the bill as being too "soft on crime" if the proposal to bar executions of prisoners who demonstrated that their sentences were imposed because of racial discrimination was not removed. The lawmakers capitulated.
But some of the more reactionary measures contained in the original bill were also removed. Gone are many of the proposed restrictions on appeals by death row prisoners, and the expanded list of federal crimes subject to the death penalty was also dropped.
The new version of the Crime Bill will now double federal financial aid to local police agencies, and create 85 new federal judgeships. We will have more information on this bill once it is signed into law.
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