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tv   Washington Journal Rep. Bobby Scott and Rep. Jason Lewis  CSPAN  January 17, 2018 11:25pm-12:07am EST

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this runs about 45 minutes.
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>> for the roundtable discussion this morning we are joined by minnesota republican jason lewis, virginia democrat bobby scott to talk about the bipartisan legislation for the criminal justice system, but before we get to that, with just days to go before the potential shutout coming your thoughts on how the next couple of days will play out? >> guest: there's the consent this we are not shutting the government found that wha down s under the bill is still getting worked out and i would hope that we could come to an agreement and funded for a year. i come from an area that is very strong in defense and virtually impossible. the shipbuilding for example exn a monthly basis you really need to be able to do long-term planning, so we are in a strong disadvantage in these monthly continuing resolutions.
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the >> guest: i agree. we passed the appropriation bills in the house and senate and ended up getting back into the cr. on the defense especially i think we will get there but we won't shut the government down and we will do something very important for my home state of minnesota and that is the way the medical advice tax that is on the sales. we will get it done and handed over to the senate and see if they want to shut it down. >> host: you don't think that it gets included in this bill? >> guest: i don't think there's an appetite for that and we can handlet: it separately ad that's the way we should. >> there's a lot of important issues. the medical device tax, nobody likes taxes but if you eliminate we wouldn' would put up by actie affordable care act would be
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paid for and there's a lot of things i don't like the cadillac taxed either so come up with something else. and what we don't see is how you are going to make up the revenue. it's a very important community health center and is important to the spending levels. there is a lot of work that needs to be done and i don't think we're any closer now than we were a month ago. >> host: do you think that democrats will make a stand on the reform? we will see i what is in the bil in the coming days but one issue that you agree on his criminal justice reform. how did you come together on this issue? >> guest: i've been following at a number of years and i don't duration as he talks a post and this was important for me because they're used t there use about federal case remember that when you were a kid and there ought to be a federal law. we are seeing the code expand exponentiallyav.
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2,000 more statutes plus the federal criminal statutes. i'mme a conservative and believe in these amendments primarily especially between citizens of the same state or the police power. we have a wide group of andorters from the right left. we have a liberal reason to support this and conservative reason which is why james sensenbrenner worked with scott on this before i go to congress. >> host: what is the liberal reason to support that? >> guest: it's a question of what you are doing with the criminal justice to codify slow soundbites and get elected to reduce crime andct save money. reducing crime and saving money isn't something liberals and conservatives ought to be able to agree on but if you are codify into slogans and soundbites many osoundbites many reduce crime, some of them haveu been studied and add to the crime so when you have a bill
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that reduces crime and saves crs money i think it is something people will be able to agree on. states are way out in front of this. the incarceration rate is exploded over the last 20 or 30 years and it's gotten to the point that we've codified so many slogan soundbites that the states figured out they cannot afford it. .. they spend 200 million about 10t was projected in town and they
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not only didn't have to build new prisons they were able to close some of the prisons they had. that eliminated a 2 billion-dollar potential excess. that is something that people ought to be able to agree on. >> host: it's a fair and effective justice acts. you can take a look at it on our two members web sites available on line. we are taking your calls as well for the next 40 minutes this morning on the "washington journal" democrats (202)748-8000 republicans (202)748-8001. congressman jason lewis on the prevention side what are some of the specific changes you are recommending? >> guest: do what works, rehabilitation. don't throw hardened criminals in with first-time offenders and things like that but 32 states to the representatives pointed
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made reform. i'm saying the laboratories of democracy have to be allowed to work and we have had an increase of federal imprisonment by over 500% since 1980. the cost is gone from 970 million to $6.7 billion over the same time but that's a 600% increase in federal prison costs. we simply can't afford to keep doing this so we have to allow for states to experiment. we have to reduce the federal criminal code and get back to what works as senator scott said so evidence-based strategies are one thing but regardless of what they do we have 32 states that made these changes. but they play out. that's good 10th amendment wasabi. >> host: the prison population accounting for 13% of the population in this country. why not focus on the stateside? >> guest: the problem is with
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the federal government does in terms of policy. when we have draconian mandatory sentences for low-level drug offenses they tend to pick it up and three strikes and you're out that we passed in the early 90s and we serve as a model for the state. the states have gotten to the point where they can afford to keep uper and washington state s based with a loted of prison expansion in prison costs. they did a study to come up with what has been shown to work to reducece crime and new went through things like early childhood education which we will log term effects working with prisoners and the second chance program to reduce the recidivism rate in prisons, rehabilitation so when they get out they are better prepared to stay out. just they continue him and you have this effect a continuum of
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initiativest, that are designed from a research-based death to reduce crime and save money. one of them is as the epic at reduction of mandatory minimums for which at some point require judges to violate common sense. it is the judge imposes a sentence that makes sense because the mandatory minimum we have to. drug cases with the opioid crisis and nobody's talking about five-year mandatory minimums. about mentalg health services in drug rehabilitation to deal with the problem and not the person strategy. >> he's or medical issues and with regard to some of these drug cases we don't want them overturn what the state
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prerogatives. happened during the clinton administration at a happened during this one is the attorney general gets his way and with the 10th amendment i don't think it will work. they want to put first-time drug offenders and with hardened criminals. t there's a thing called the valid work are worker where you have a kid the runs were from school and the only reason he or she is in trouble is because of their age. you want to throw them in with hardened criminals and keep them locked up like that's a good way to createrd c another one and i don't think that's wise policy. >> host: talk about the drug problem in the united states. yesterday at the white house hears what he had to say. >> we have a tremendous massive drug problem and drug population and we have dealers all over the country and we are hitting them hard, the dealers. the dealers are beingng hit hard but what they have done the families and what they are doing to the country is something that we are very focusedt on whether
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it's opioids or whether it's drugs as you hear the traditional sense. much of it coming to the southern border. people don't like to talk about it. they say why do you mentioned that? because it happens to be true but coming through many places and they come in many different ways but we are on the drug problem as much as we can possibly be on it. we are going to get it taken care of one way or the other. frankly the tougher we get the better it's going to be in the fasters going to go away. we have got to get really tough on that problem because it's eating away at the heart of our country. hosts ofry the president there, the tougher we get the easier it's going to be. do you agree? >> guest: is suggested we can do with the drug problem by dealing with the supplied. so long as people want the drug somebody will supplyal it. you can deal with the dealers based on somebody on the corner
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dealing drugs. you take them off the corner and put them in jail with a long prison term tomorrow afternoon somebody else is going to be on the same corner and you've done nothing about the amount of drugs that are consumed are consumed. rarely have to deal with demand. we deal with them and you've done something. dealing with the dealers is helpful but it's not a cost-effective way of dealing with the drug problem. you haven't heard that with the opioid trouble him. let's go are you in the trump administration on the same page in dealing with these issues? >> guest: $3 trillion since the war on drugs? he got to reduce demand and having said that hardened dealers i mean the big kingpins they think there should be repercussions serious repercussions that but that's part of what we are trying to do is preserve the prison stakes for the bad guys and not throw the first-time offender in with those folks in waste resources.
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>> host: lives is a new jersey democrats. you are on with congressman bobby scott and jason lewis. >> caller: hello. i am in support of criminal justice reform especially for the massive inmates that are incarcerated at the state level. i have spent 15 years teaching in a new jersey state prison cell i am quite familiar with the populace there. i think one thing that is distressing with the opioid crisis because it is hitting largely middle-class and upper-middle-class youth we rule out immediately incarcerated for them but when i was teaching in the 1980s and 90s in the state prisons we had poor young men basically who were addicted
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and they were given large prison sentences and we had teachers and programs so that when they left they could have a decent life. i think we need to l revisit thr original sentences. we might want to think of expunging some of them. i don't think -- let's look at the opioid crisis. these folks, theirt, lives were drastically changed for the worse through their addiction problem and nobody is talking about assisting them as they come out of prison or try to rebuild their lives on the outside. westco thanks for your call. congressman scott. >> guest: it's being dealt with as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue and i think that's the
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appropriate response. what happened in the past, you can't undo the past but they act about 10 years did significantly reduce the penalties are very low-level possession only cases. administration commuted sentences for those who have beens given draconian mandatory minimums. his computations were for those that were low-level nonviolent essentially first offenders who have already serve 10 years. the first thing that has to occur is how did somebody low-level offender gets so much time that after 10 years based don't needidid help and how is society getting any benefit from the expenditure of money keeping low-level nonviolent offenders for more than 10 years?
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plus good you think the trump administration should commute more sense as? >> guest: that's what the obama administration did and i think you ought to look at cases whereoo by any objective standad but the response to the opioid crisis is much more appropriate and we have to look at that as well. >> guest: i agree with that. you don't want to look at a situation where you are putting mandatory minimums of people using prescription drugs which is the problem much more than opioid drugs. people are prescription shopping and they are getting hooked on something like that. i don't think of mandatory minimum or a three strikes you're out program is appropriate. to the caller's point point is a little different than saying ms-13 gangs infused neighborhoods that engage in violence so there is a proper role. we are trying to assess priorities for having the
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punishment fit the crime. >> host: a memorandum from the attorney general back in may attorney general jeff sessions writingg on the sentencing procedures it's important to prosecutors charged the most provable offense. this policy firms m are responsibly to enforce the law and produces consistency i'd definition the most serious offenses are those the carrie mandatory minimum sentences. >> guest: i'm not altogether certain that is the best way to go about this but again there are too many federal crimes and everything under interstate commerce clause falls under federal jurisdiction's and that is one of thee reasons i worked with representative scott on this issue to make sure everything isn't a federal interstate crime. let those laboratories of democracy's figure out the best approach. it doesn't have to be a federal solution for everything. >> guest: i think the policy
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is to do what nixon center particular circumstance. some of the mandatory minimums for you art technically driving your boyfriend to a drug deal you are part of the conspiracy. your penalties based on the quantity of thera drugs in the conspiracy so the girlfriend is sitting up there taking a message driven the boyfriend to a drug deal and 20 some years. that's absurd under the circumstances. you should not have that kind of mandatory minimum. >> guest: it doesn't have to process. >> host: andrew in massachusetts on the line for democrats. go ahead. >> caller: yale i was born in a largely christian family. we all went to catholicc schools until high school.
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i was born with severe learning disabilities and first grade ones, second grade twice. they showed me into public school in the third grade teacher in the public a public school was the only teacher that me.d to help in sixth grade --. >> host: andrew, criminal justice reform. >> guest: this is part of the justice thing. i could drop out or they are going to keep me until i'm 21. most of my friends ended up in jail. a lot of these people end up on the corner selling drugs and doing crimes are people like me who have no other way to make money. if you get the education done
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and the money for it a lot of these people would end up at least getting jobs. i work minimum wage. i can barely read. i went from sixth grade to tenth grade. >> host: andrew thanks for sharing your story parallel you talk to the ranking member of -- guess that there's a strong correlation for dropping out of school in a trajectory towards crime. everybody who drops out doesn't commit aan crime but the chanceo be getting involved in the criminal justice system is a lot higher if you are a school dropout. programs have been shown to help reduce crimes. the provision and prevention programs generally and dropout prevention programs are eliminating many of the mandatory minimums.
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the real king pence but the lower-level offenses with a significant reduction in mandatory minimums and that can be rogue reprogrammed into it early intervention programs. >> guest: before we get to the safe justice act we have got to get juvenile justice reform through. it's being held up for this valid court order exception which i think is an obstacle but this will pass if we can just get it to conference and get this worked out. that's a precursor to criminal justice reform for adults so representative scott and i were harmed -- hard on juvenile justice reform and there's no reason it shouldn't pass the session. >> host: waterline from republicans, gina go ahead. >> caller: good morning and appreciate c-span aser always. governor jay i.v. and main and
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2017 authorized -- and she gave back alabama citizens the right to vote and we elected doug jones and now and i did vote for me that's our to part of criminal justice reform even though alabama is known for .iolations my second is a talk about criminal justice reform but like the department of justice secretary jeff sessions about the marijuana and california being a sanctuary state these are violations of our laws. i mean if you all want to talk law we will talk law and thank
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you and god bless you. >> host: appreciate the call. >> first on the marijuana whether it's illegal on the federal basis and is this something we want to spend their money on whether it's legal under state law and whether we want to enforce the federal law and that's something the congressman will have to deal with legislatively. but since states have legalized it for prosecutorial discretion on the federal level not to prosecute people who are conforming with state law. guess goes the constitution protects the people from the state in government. it saves -- from one another. justice marshall back in the 19th century there is not to go criminal code. two or three crime prevention in
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the constitution. why do we have 4500 federal -- that's the real driver to restore that principle so the government closest to home can govern the best. >> host: steve from pennsylvania. >> caller: thank you c-span for having this conversation. i listen to the president's statement as far as getting hard on drug dealers and if i was to give them a message it would be if he truly wants to keep kids off drugs and marijuana prohibition. we know it's the gateway. not the drug it's the drug dealers who don't -- for our representatives on the program i would ask that they work to remove marijuana from schedule one. you see kids can get on the
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computer and they have can look up schedule one drugs and they see marijuana, they see opiates. they tried marijuana and jay nothing happened, i didn't die. maybe the other drugs are fine. >> host: congressman lewis. guess that that's the great irony of prohibition. we had that experience obviously i think it was rockefeller was one of the leading proponents of prohibition and became the leading advocate to undo it. schedule one is a good one especially when it comes to medical marijuana. if we are going to study the efficacy of this particular drug it got to take it off that studied so i'm sympathetic to what the caller suggests and indeed i've cosponsored legislation to that effect. >> guest: i wouldd agree. if you look at alcohol alcohol
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is considered gateway drug because you don't have toru deal with the drug dealer to get alcohol in most and most states now you have to deal with the drug dealer to get or want her one of. once you have that relationship you are also able to get other drugs so the gateway to other drugs is because you have to deal with the drug dealer to get marijuana. the question isbe whether you sever that relationship. >> guest: something being prohibited that encourages people to go with the high margins. let's go back to the safe justice act are you for this and the congress? he. >> guest: we are trying to get more co-sponsors. >> guest: i think this is a conservative issue for all the reasons i've mentioned but i've mentioned but also as a local opponent for rehab adult --
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rehabilitation. i think that's good. >> guest: we are trying to get other co-sponsors to supportive. it has the potential to getting significant conservative and liberal support because it reduces crime and saves money. there are proposals that when you look at them do not do much for mandatory minimums. it doesn't deal with the mass incarceration problem so. >> guest: freedom works to naacp. >> host: would he think it will take to get the trump administration on board with this legislation? >> guest: we need to force the issue. >> host: would president trump support that though? >> guest: t i think you have a threshold question. willing to reduce crime and save money or are you going to get stuck on codifying sound bites
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that don't do anything in terms ofof crime reduction and are vey expensive. that's the point where we have a prison population has exploded and no criminal justice last week,ney? host: the president held the listening sessions on reform. guest: prison reform is an area prison reform is one area where you can make a significant difference. people who leave prison are back in prison within a couple of years. you can have programs in prison that enable them to get a job when they get out and they are most likely come back. ahe significant portion of this mass incarceration problem they keep coming back they keep coming back. programs,orm provides education, job training, where they are better able to deal
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with, get a job, and not come back. gary, democrat, good morning. i have a stepson that was in federal prison and he hurt his knee and federal prison and did not get any medical attention to his knee. he is now disabled. he cannot work. he cannot go out of state to get a job or because of restrictions the government has put on it. of prison tot out get a nice job and go someplace when they are stuck in the state and cannot go any place else? it is ridiculous. as far as drugs are concerned, i agree that some drugs should be legalized. the majority of the problem we have with drugs is people, like
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drug dealers,, they are adding their thing to the drugs. there is the bigger problem. if you would legalize drugs, you could control them here do know what is in the drug. guest: the medical treatment is a challenge. i do not think we do the oversight, the medical treatment that we ought to. many of the states, it is a real problem. >> we have de facto legalization called prescriptions. drugs is not going to solve the problem. i cannot comment to the personal experience of the caller regard -- regarding his relatives. host: how does it work? guest: to the degree they get federal money, they can have
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different strategies. we trying to loosen it up more to not require mandatory minimums and three strikes you're out and things like that. to give it more leeway at the state level. my interest is allowing the most latitude we can. providesll problem-solving and what they do , if you have ever been to a graduation, you see the transformational and may have, and you deal with the drug problem. it the fundamental problem they have got is the drugs. a lot of individuals do not want to deal with the drug court --ause it is many six months host: you determine whether someone can be sent to that system as opposed to jail. guest: the department evaluates it istuation and part of
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the person wants to deal with this. a person with a lot of problems court,k, get into a drug get off drugs, and part of it is, you have got to plan a job. you cannot graduate until you are working on a job, free of hear and the stories you are miracles. you have veterans courts, you have veterans who deal with specific problems of veterans, problems, ac stress mentor, mental health stuff, the underlying problem is mental health problem.
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>> we have for years that you do not want to make a criminal case into a medical case and you also don't want to take a criminal case to a medical case. host: >> host: good morning. i would like the perspective on why the six -- we as a society want to incarcerate so many people. our rate is the highest in the world. what is so exciting about it politically that that is the course we follow? i will let you start with that congressman lewis, over 600 , well ahead of other countries in the world. >> we have a high incarceration late -- rate.
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due to the is prohibition on substances, especially minority communities. it is a profound impact and that is something we have got to address head-on. ising said that, justice just that. there ought to be a punishment that fits the crime especially for violent criminals. no one is talking about going backward on that. the whole point of the juvenile justice reform is to make certain we are in a country with a $20 trillion debt. a number of states have financial challenges. to observe that precious prison space for the violent offenders that present the greatest threat to society. >> most countries able to get 100 to 200, as low as 50, 100 thousand, 600 is way above that that -- the rest of the industrialized world. most of it is the war on drugs.
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jim in ohio, line for independents. go ahead. there is a court in ohio that does exactly what these two congressmen- are trying to get past. i do not understand why it takes so long and congress -- in congress to get your laws passed. the other thing i would like to say is if the congress could get together like normal human quits and get together and all the tomfoolery and quit picking up and backing into the guys should beu on obamacare, but instead, you are on this cadillac health care, why don't you reduce some of your help expenses. host: a couple of issues there. guest: we actually are on the
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d.c. exchange for the affordable care act. is politics. people do not want to >> lacking compassion but to the callers.that is exactly what we are trying to do. >> we are with obamacare just like everybody else. and the fact we are here working together on criminal justice reform. >> massachusetts line for democrats. >> caller: thanks for c-span. what about the corporations that distribute opioids all over the world? they just got a huge tax break. also so i just wondered.
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>> talk about the drug problem prevention aspect you find those areas of the highest use of opioid with a lot of other problems so we have to deal with that. and with that social policy that i am very concerned about the people living with chronic pain and to that point we don't want to go into a situation where people need pain relief from some of thesese drugs and cannot get them.
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that would be going backwards. >> the line for democrats go ahead. >> caller: i issue is i haven't heard anybody talk about the box as the ex- felons have they will never get jobs and if you don't have jobs part of your probation or parole is gainful employment and in this country we don't allow people a second chance. if you don't give a second chance and you might as well keep them in there because there is no way they can stay out of jail. and education we spend way too much money on defense because everybody in this country we need our kids to be smarter
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rather than having people from other countries we need to educate the ones that are here. what are we spending so much money protecting? with no infrastructure we are wasting our money on the industrial model -- military-industrial complex. >> that 20 trillion-dollar debt i spoke of that is more p a people and education than any other country. that cuts both ways. >> that has been proposed to deal with the problem some people check the box than they are not considered to you have to make sure that is the way they are supposed to it is extremely important so they are qualified it is difficult if you have a record or more difficult to get a job without a record. >> new line four independent
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ohio. >> caller: i know mr. scott has been working on this a long time. i applaud him but i am so disappointed with the democrats especially with the dreamers. but this issue the disproportionate number of blacks thrown in jail in police brutality is the issue that democrats should stop and shut down the government and daca could be put on a separate side to be dealt with but they would rather shut the government down for daca with all these black guys in prison are being shot. deal with that. i would like to hang up and listen toou you.
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>> daca is an important issue with the spending levels is another issue in community health centers and children's health will be dealt with by mentioning mass incarceration in police fertility the response will be police training so that we can deal with police brutality and how to deal with the situation those that are killedl and profiling and police training is expensive if you don't have money for that you cannot deal with the situation and in the mass incarceration.
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>> you have been working on this a long time? >> we came close last year so some alternatives were offered which frankly they were scored and didn't do that much and in the confusion nothing got done. we will start upst again and hopefully making more progress. >> we just have to push because time is on our side the current system just isn't working reserving to the states the ability to experiment. >> the safe justice act to cold the sponsors joining us today. thank you for your time.

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