A local lawmaker is speaking out against a bill making its way through the legislative process.
New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith says he's disappointed the Judiciary Committee narrowly approved a bill to shrink drug-free school zones and all felony drug possession charges to misdemeanors. Smith, a practicing attorney, says he voted against the measure in the Judiciary Committee because of the potential long-lasting affects it will have. The group voted 22 to 20 in the early morning hours of the final day for sending bills out of Committee.
The drug-free school zone would be reduced from the current 1,500 feet to the immediate school property.
The legislation is a core piece of Governor Malloy's proposed Second Chance Society program. Smith says the bill would allow anyone to possess up to a kilogram of narcotics without being charged with a felony.
Proponents claim its intent is to give drug offenders a second chance at turning their life around by making drug possession a simple misdemeanor, barring them from a mandatory jail sentence. Smith says there would be no limit on the quantity or type of the possessed drug, nor is there an enhanced penalty for multiple offenses.
Smith says he would rather see the person addicted to drugs get treatment as opposed to sitting in a jail cell, but that this bill does not provide for that.