Senators had scheduled floor debate on the "First Step Act" for Thursday, one day after a committee recommended the bill. But Republicans leaders delayed discussion until later this month. Nearly 15 senators were absent.
Bill supporters say it would benefit people with drug addictions who face long mandatory sentences only because they possessed levels of illegal drugs that met trafficking definitions. A judge would have to determine several factors were met, including the lack of substantial evidence a defendant has ever sold or delivered drugs.
Democratic Sen. Floyd McKissick of Durham said this week groups representing sheriffs and district attorneys support the measure.
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