SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has passed a bill that punishes users of crack and powder cocaine equally in an attempt to reduce racial bias in prison sentences.

On Wednesday, it approved SB1010 by Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles on a 21-12 vote.

The current punishment for possession or sale of powder cocaine is two to four years, while the same offense for crack cocaine is punishable by three to five years. The bill would make both punishable by two to four years.

While whites tend to use powder cocaine and blacks and Latinos tend to use crack, Mitchell says they are “two forms of the same drug.”

President Barack Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 to cut penalties for crack cocaine offenses to reduce the disparity.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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