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State leaders looking to move quickly after Issue 1 rejected


Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio


After voters statewide rejected Issue 1 last week, state lawmakers are ready to move forward on criminal justice reforms, legislative leaders said Thursday (Source: “After Issue 1 fails, state leaders vow to take up criminal justice reform,” Springfield News Sun, Nov. 8, 2018).

Ohio’s “big three” political leaders — Senate President Larry Obhof, House Speaker Ryan Smith, and Gov.-elect Mike DeWine — each applauded the failure of State Issue 1, a ballot initiative that would have created a constitutional amendment to implement criminal justice reforms and redirect funding currently used in the criminal justice system to community addiction treatment. Voters rejected it 36.6 percent to 63.4 percent, according to unofficial results.

Obhof, R-Medina, said Thursday he will introduce a bill in the upcoming weeks that calls for reducing low-level drug felony offenses to misdemeanors; install a presumption for probation over prison if the offender agrees to drug treatment; allow people currently incarcerated for certain drug crimes to petition the court to be re-sentenced.

The bill will be based on a proposal developed by Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, a Republican, and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, a Democrat.

Obhof wants to take quick action on the bill, before Gov. John Kasich leaves office and the current legislative session ends. However, if it doesn’t get through by the end of the year, he plans to bring it back next year.

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