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Politics

Bill Rewriting Racial Justice Act Passes House

House lawmakers have passed a bill that would rewrite the state's Racial Justice Act.

Jessica Jones: House lawmakers passed the controversial measure by a veto-proof 72 to 47 after a long debate yesterday afternoon. The bill would narrow the use of statistics that death row inmates could use to show that racial bias was a factor in their cases. It would also narrow the time frame inmates could use to prove bias. House Majority Leader Paul Stam is a sponsor of the bill.

Paul Stam: It amends certain death penalty procedures, including the Racial Justice Act, to do what justice is supposed to do, that is focus on the defendant and the crime, instead of society in general.

But a number of lawmakers spoke out against the bill, saying racial bias continues to be a problem when it comes to African-Americans accused of serious crimes. Representative Rick Glazier said data shows racial discrimination is alive and well in the state's justice system.

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