OJPC is actively supporting and opposing numerous bills at the Statehouse in Columbus. Some bills impact our Beyond Guilt clients, others impact Second Chance legal clinic clients. By OJPC areas of focus, we’re engaged on the following bills:
Human Rights in Prison
- House Bill 259: death penalty repeal. OJPC supports this bill because the death penalty fails to achieve any of its stated purposes and cost taxpayers too much money for a failed policy.
Next step: House Finance Committee hearing (opponent testimony)
House hearings: watch 10/11/23
- Senate Bill 101: death penalty repeal. OJPC supports this legislation. The one-sentence why: the death penalty fails to achieve any of its stated purposes and cost taxpayers too much money for a failed policy.
Next step: Senate Judiciary hearing (proponent testimony)
Senate hearings: watch 5/9/23
Decarceration, Beyond Guilt
- House Bill 44: Require electronic recordings of parole board hearings. OJPC supports this bill because transparency and accountability for parole board members will lead to safely reducing the size of Ohio’s prison population.
Next step: House Criminal Justice Committee vote
- House Bill 67: Reduction of penalties for prior offenses. OJPC supports this bill. Because when Ohio reduces the penalty for an offense, Ohio should also update sentences for people convicted of that now-reduced crime.
Next step: House Criminal Justice Committee hearing (opponent testimony)
- House Bill 83: Remove criminal penalties for certain drug offenses. OJPC supports this bill because it decriminalizes possession of instruments and paraphernalia. The bill lowers the numbers of people who go to prison for drug-related
Next step: House Criminal Justice Committee hearing (sponsor testimony)
Resources: HB 83 summary page
- House Bill 196: Change periods of community control. OJPC supports this bill. The bill prioritizes rehabilitation over incarceration by limiting technical violation-related sanctions and duration of post-release control.
Next step: House Criminal Justice Committee hearing (proponent testimony); substitute bill to be introduced.
House hearings: Watch 10/17/23
- House Bill 230: drug trafficking, trafficking in persons. OJPC opposes this bill because doubling down on failed drug policies that increase penalties will not reduce the use of illegal drugs and addiction.
Next step: House Homeland Security Committee hearing
Urgent action needed: Contact legislators and oppose HB 230. (11/07/2023)
House Bill 230 is rapidly moving through the legislative process. The bill expands numerous offenses for drug-related crimes in a misguided attempt to address opioid and fentanyl overdoses. During bill hearings, proponents of HB 230 admit more people will go to prison with longer sentences, by design. OJPC opposes HB 230, which rehashes the same failed public policies that gave rise to mass incarceration. HB 230 uses the criminal legal system to address drug addiction, rather than treat addiction as a public health problem.
Say no to HB 230! Please contact the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Ghanbari at 614-466-8104, and urge the committee to treat drug addiction with drug treatment, not with more prisons. Vote no on HB 230!
Next hearing anticipated week of November 13 or November 27
- House Bill 29: Changes law governing driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay child support. OJPC supports this bill because people whose driver licenses are suspended for failure to pay child support cannot drive to work to be able to pay their child support. HB 29 will help break the vicious cycle of poverty-driven incarceration.
Next step: Full House passage
- Senate Bill 37: modifying driver license suspension law re: financial responsibility. OJPC supports this bill because we can address the criminalization of poverty by restricting when a person can lose driving privileges.
Next step: Senate Judiciary hearing (opponent testimony)
- House Bill 50: Collateral sanction relief for housing. OJPC supports this bill because providing access to housing will reduce homelessness and recidivism among recently released individuals.
Next step: Senate Community Revitalization Committee hearing (opponent testimony)
House passage: 5/24/23
Other bills, related to policing:
- House Bill 84: Lowers age of police officers to 18 years old. OJPC opposes this bill because allowing 18-year-olds to become police officers will not make communities safer.
Next step: House Homeland Security Committee vote
- Senate Bill 53: Lower age for appointment as police officer to 18 years old. OJPC opposes this bill because allowing 18-year-olds to become police officers will not make communities safer.
Next Steps: House Homeland Security Committee hearing (opponent testimony)
Senate passage: watch 4/26/23