Sen. Welch Why are We Protecting Drug Dealers and Not our Kids?

April 3, 2014

Hartford, CT – State Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol) voted against a bill that would shrink the drug free school zones in Connecticut. The proposed legislation would squeeze the safe area around schools, day care centers and housing projects down to 200 feet from 1,500 feet.

“Why are we protecting drug dealers and not our kids,” asked Sen. Welch.

The proposal before the Judiciary Committee of which Sen. Welch is a member of, considered recommendations of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission regarding the drug safe zones and enhanced penalty for the sale of possession of drugs near the zone.

“We should not be allowing drug dealers to sell drugs period. To weaken the underlying law that sets up a safety buffer goes against every notion we have in keeping kids safe. The drug free school zone law was passed for a reason,” said Sen. Welch.

Those supporting the change to the law believe that people living in the inner cities are being disproportionately charged with this offense. In Connecticut conviction for possessing or buying drugs within a drug-free zone automatically gets the offender a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two to three years. In the cities the zones cover most, if not the entire community.

“Cutting back this barrier is a step in the wrong direction,” added Sen. Welch. “If people are being arrested at a high rate for trying to sell drugs to our children near a school then that means the law is working.”

The final vote in the Judiciary Committee was 21 to 19 in favor of reducing the drug free zone. The bill still needs approval of the full general assembly. The legislative session ends May 7th.