Centerville joins area cities that have voiced opposition to State Issue 1

The city of Centerville has joined other local cities that are formally opposing Issue 1.

Centerville City Council unanimously passed a resolution at its Oct. 15 meeting to oppose the measure, which is a proposed constitutional amendment that would reclassify offenses and reduce penalties related to drug possession.

MORE: Cutting through the hype: What Issue 1 would mean in Ohio

Assistant City Manager Mariah Vogelgesang presented information about the proposal, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. He said if passed, key changes would include how drug offenses are classified, probation violation punishment, sentencing credits, and distribution of state funds saved due to the reduction of inmates.

MORE: Oakwood leaders oppose state Issue 1, say it would lead to more crime

Centerville’s resolution says reasons for the opposition include: Costs for drug treatment would be shifted to local governments, local governments are struggling to fund the opioid crisis because of state cuts and another statewide election would be needed to amend the issue if passed.

“Issue 1 takes away the discretion of our duly elected and trained Judges to determine and implement an appropriate sentence for drug-related offenders,” said Mayor Brooks Compton. “If State Issue 1 is passed, it will not recognize the experience a judge has obtained as part of the criminal justice system and more importantly, will eliminate the ability of a judge to recognize the unique aspects of each case to determine the appropriate sentence for a criminal offender.

“Passage of State Issue 1 will do nothing to make our communities safer and shifts significant financial and legal responsibilities to our municipal courts.”

MORE: What they’re saying about State Issue 1: Why they support or oppose the issue

Those who support the issue include the ACLU of Ohio and Springfield native and Grammy award winning artist John Legend

“For decades the Ohio General Assembly has refused to acknowledge our over-crowded prisons, has repeatedly increased and enhanced sentences for drug use and possession, and has perpetuated the failed ‘War on Drugs’ in a disastrous way. Ohio voters now have the opportunity to reform our broken criminal justice system by supporting Issue 1,” said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio. “At its core, the initiative will improve community health, reduce our prison populations, and reinvest in communities.”

“The U.S. is the most incarcerated country in the world and Ohio has the fifth largest U.S. prison population. Crowded prisons waste taxpayer dollars and take money from community investments,” Legend says in an advertisement supporting the measure.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation board of trustees has announced the organization’s opposition to State Issue 1.

“Our state and county Farm Bureaus have been at the forefront of drug abuse prevention in rural Ohio,” said Frank Burkett III, a dairy farmer and president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We’ve dug deeply into understanding Ohio’s massive drug problems. Issue 1 runs counter to much of what our members believe are effective steps to reducing the impact of drugs on our communities.”

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