Bill seeks changes to prison realignment law

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A Democratic state lawmaker wants to alter part of Gov. Jerry Brown's prison realignment law to send serious drug pushers to state prisons instead of county jails.

The bill announced Monday by Assemblyman Ken Cooley of Sacramento would apply to those convicted of selling or transporting more than 2.2 pounds of heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine.

Cooley says about 40 such offenders are serving their sentences in jails since the realignment law championed by the Democratic governor took effect 18 months ago.

The law is sending thousands of so-called lower-level offenders to county jurisdiction as a way to reduce the state prison population, but critics say it is burdening local jails and letting hardened criminals walk free.

Cooley's AB222 has support from Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully, a Republican.

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