JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A local organization hosted a march through downtown Jackson on Saturday to demand change regarding a bill that Governor Reeves vetoed.
Several people with Flame of Mississippi came out to put their feet on the pavement calling for legislators to override the Governor’s decision on Senate Bill 2123 and House Bill 658.
The Senate Bill would allow a person sentenced after June 30, 1995 and before July 1, 2014 of a non-violent crime to be eligible for parole only after they have served 25 percent of the sentence or sentences imposed by the trial court.
The House Bill would provide no more than three felony expunctions after the completion of all terms and conditions of the sentence.
Many people like Vicky Rose were not happy about the decision.
“People are being incarcerated for decades without being given the chance without parole even when they have served the time. I’ve had calls from offenders from currently incarcerated individuals since I started this effort of them trying to apply for parole, but can’t qualify for it because of the laws made in the 1990’s,” said Rose.
Protesters marched in support of non-violent drug offenders in their families saying they need help, not a jail cell.
“I myself had problems with drugs in the past, so I understand it is a real sickness and it plagues every community. I hope that we can get a bill passed that he can get out of jail, he has kids a wife and doesn’t deserve 40 years for being an addict.”
Among those speaking up about the vetoes was Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen, who heard about the rally and showed up in support of protesters.
She said discrimination like this has been going on for far too long and as President she would work to bring an end to it.
“Peacefully smoking marijuana should not be any more of a crime than me drinking bourbon in my own home so I would work to get rid of and decriminalize every drug law and treat this as a medical issue rather than a drug issue.”
Governor Reeves mentioned the two bills in a Facebook post saying they were were not the right approach and if they [legislators] want to try again, he will listen. He said he felt that erasing three felonies from someone’s record goes too far.
Protesters are hopeful that legislators will overturn the veto and say they won’t stop demanding a change.
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