Massachusetts lawmakers sent a controversial crime bill back to Gov. Deval Patrick Monday after rejecting an amendment he had proposed that would have given judges some flexibility in sentencing repeat offenders, says the Boston Globe. The move effectively dared the governor to sign the bill, despite his concerns about the lack of judicial discretion, or veto it and risk the wrath of legislators, victims' families, and prosecutors who have been pushing for it. He could also do nothing and let the bill become law without his signature.
However, time is running short. Lawmakers are scheduled to end their legislative session at midnight Tuesday. If Patrick were to veto it after that deadline, lawmakers would have no chance to override the veto, so the legislation would effectively die. Patrick refused to say Monday what he plans to do. The legislation that lawmakers approved establishes a list of 46 serious crimes — including murder, rape, armed burglary and home invasion — that would count as a “strike” against an offender. Offenders who commit three strikes from the list would lose the chance for parole.