Ford praises criminal justice reform bill | NevadaAppeal.com

Ford praises criminal justice reform bill

Nevada Attorney General-elect Aaron Ford said Thursday he was pleased to see the Congress pass a significant criminal justice reform bill.

The First Step Act reduced punitive mandatory minimum sentences and eases crack cocaine sentences while expanding good time credits for federal inmates and creates a system that encourages inmates to take rehabilitation programs to win earlier release.

The law was approved overwhelmingly by both the U.S. House and Senate.

"It's proof positive of what I've been saying for years," said Ford in an interview with several reporters. "Criminal justice is a bipartisan issue and I'm glad to see finally people putting partisanship aside so we can improve public safety."

Ford reiterated his earlier statements he'll work with every aide to find a way to implement the voter-approved gun sales background checks law. He said that includes the FBI which outgoing AG Adam Laxalt said won't do the background checks as mandated by that law, making it impossible to enforce.

Under Nevada's constitution, voter approved statutes can't be modified by the governor and Legislature for three years. That time period expires in 2019 and Ford said lawmakers can pass a bill this session that fixes any problems with the statute in the upcoming session.

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He added that has spoken with Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak and "we are on the same page."

He said he supported Assemblyman William McCurdy's bill that vacated some specific marijuana convictions two years ago as Senate Majority leader. He said that will again be considered this session and he'll support it.

Ford said once he's sworn in, he and his staff will take a look at all the amicus briefs and letters of support for various political and other agendas Laxalt involved Nevada in during his tenure to see if they're contrary to the will of Nevadans.

"We need to look at everything we've signed up to right now," he said.

He said one place where he supports Laxalt's actions is the lawsuit to stop plutonium from being transported to Southern Nevada. He added on Yucca Mountain, "absolutely the fight continues."

Ford praised Laxalt's cooperation and efforts to make the transition a smooth one for him and his team saying, "it's been great for us."