GOP reluctantly approves bill adding harsher sentences for fentanyl, heroin crimes

Terri Morales (center) poses for a photo with her husband, daughter and granddaughter. Morales testified in support of House Bill 2036, which would impose harsher prison sentences for fentanyl and heroin crimes.
/Photo by Laura Gómez /Arizona Mirror

By Laura Gómez  | Arizona Mirror

The state House Judiciary Committee reluctantly approved Wednesday a proposal increasing mandatory sentencing for fentanyl and heroin crimes that is viewed by critics as a step backward in the push for criminal justice reform in Arizona. 

All four Democratic members of the committee voted against House Bill 2036 while all six Republicans favored it. But those Republicans said their continued support is contingent on major changes to the bill to narrow its scope. 

The measure, sponsored by Prescott Republican Rep. Steve Pierce, covers crimes related to fentanyl, heroin and carfentanil. It increases the prison sentence for those convicted of possessing any of those drugs for sale, manufacturing it, transporting it for sale or administering it to another person (currently all class 2 felonies). It also applies to current class 3 felonies of possessing equipment or chemicals for manufacturing, and obtaining or procuring the administration of the drug by fraud.


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