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A set of money-saving prison reforms to be taken up by the Legislature tomorrow includes the creation of a sentencing commission that will draft new sentencing and parole rules, according to a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

Such a commission had not been part of reforms proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to account for $1.2 billion in cuts to the state's prison system.

Steinberg spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the rules drawn up by the commission will automatically take effect unless the governor and legislators reject them.

Schwarzenegger spokesman, Aaron McLear, said the governor has been supportive of a sentencing commission that allows him to appoint the members, that has a majority of public safety members and "has teeth" -- meaning its recommendations will take effect unless rejected by the Legislature.

"It's important that the commission would have real authority," McLear said. We've been debating this for two years. It's time to act."

Click here to read an analysis, and here to read the language.



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