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Bill to remove jail mandate for drug users fails

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A bill introduced by a Republican gubernatorial candidate to eliminate mandatory jail time for drug users has failed to pass the state Assembly.

AB2515 by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly fell seven votes short of passing Friday on a 34-15 vote.

Existing law requires three months in jail for those convicted of being under the influence of a controlled substance. The bill would have eliminated the mandate, but defendants still could face jail sentences for other charges, including possession.

In his run for governor, Donnelly has criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's realignment law, which sends lower-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons. He said his legislation would have reduced overcrowding in county jails and allowed them to hold more serious offenders.

Fellow Republicans voted against the bill, while some Democrats abstained.

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