Rockefeller Drug Laws

This historic vote required 32 votes to pass, every single one of the 32 votes were needed in order to enact these reforms On April 2, 2009, the New York State Senate, in a 32-30 vote passed legislation that finally reformed Rockefeller Drug Laws.

The new law embraced two important principles of drug law reform:

1. It included the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences, and
2. It included the restoration of a judges’ authority to send many drug offenders to treatment programs instead of jail.

These reforms were a major step toward ending the disastrous policy, known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws that had ruined lives, torn apart families and caused enormous racial inequities. Substance abuse is both a public health and a law enforcement issue and after 36 long years, because of these reforms, New York now treats it that way.