Urgent Action Needed on Criminal Justice Reform

E-Blast on House Bill 11/8

From: Rabbi Margie


Subject: Urgent Action Needed on Criminal Justice Reform


After three years of work, we are at the cusp of passing landmark criminal justice reform.  Yesterday, the State House came out with its criminal justice proposal, and we have just gotten all the details today.  Thank God, the bill is much stronger than we feared, though still not nearly as comprehensive as the Senate version.  The House is expected to vote on the bill no later than next Wednesday, 11/15!


The good news: The bill can be made much better by amendment.

The less-good news: The deadline for amendments is TOMORROW, so we only have ONE DAY to influence the content of the final House bill, and only a week to ensure that our reps pass it!


You can make a difference!  How?

  • Take two minutes to call your State Rep and ask them to co-sponsor the amendments below, by close of business Thursday/tomorrow. Find your state rep and their contact info here.
  • Ask for the legislative director, and if they are not available, speak to whomever you can.
  • Say that you are calling to support criminal justice reform bill H.4011, and want to know whether your rep would be willing to support the amendments below. For each amendment, make sure to list the name of the lead sponsor(s).  Offer to forward them this email with the list of amendments and co-sponsors, and if they say yes, get their contact info and do so!  Let us know what they say.
  • Join the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization rally on criminal justice reform, on Monday, November 13, 1 p.m. at the State House (the second floor at the grand staircase). The House will be debating the bill on the 13th and 14th, so this couldn’t be more timely!


Amendments We Want (with lead sponsors listed)


  • Justice Reinvestment – Rep. Jim O’Day
    • This would track the savings generated from reducing the prison population, and reinvest half of it in job training, job placement, and other supports to further reduce unemployment and recidivism. This makes the progress toward jobs not jails real!


  • Felony Threshold for Property Offenses – Rep. David Linsky
    • This would raise the level of what constitutes a felony to $1,500 (compared to the $750 in the current House bill) – $1,500 is the level it would be if the threshold had kept up with inflation.


  • Mandatory Minimums – Rep’s Evandro Carvalho and Mary Keefe
    • This would repeal mandatory minimums for all non-violent drug sentences (the House bill only repeals a few). They are also filing a separate amendment only repealing the notoriously racist “school zone” mandatory minimum.


  • Fines and Fees – Rep. Mary Keefe
    • This would eliminate parole fees, and also public counsel fee for people who are indigent.


  • Expungement – Rep. Kay Khan
    • This would allow some juvenile records to be sealed in 4 years.


  • Raise the Age – Rep. Kay Khan and Rep. Evandro Carvalho
    • This would raise the top age at which a young person is treated as a juvenile in the courts to 19, making far greater rehabilitation and support available to them.


Thanks so much,

Rabbi Margie


Upcoming Events

ECCO Clergy Caucus

When: Wednesday, November 29th, 10-11:30am

Where: First Church Swampscott, 40 Monument Ave, Swampscott

What: ECCO Clergy are invited to join to share struggles and triumphs, and work together to become prophetic voices for justice!


ECCO Annual Meeting

When: Sunday, December 3rd, 5-8pm

Where: UU Church of Greater Lynn, 101 Forest Ave, Swampscott, MA 01907

What: Connect with inspiring people from across ECCO’s diverse communities, celebrate our shared successes of 2017, and recommit to our work for justice, all while eat delicious food!  Please bring a potluck dish to share.


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