What would State Issue 1 do?

Group of regional mayors and city managers comes out against Issue 1

This week, the Greater Dayton Mayors Ohio Municipal and Managers Association announced opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment.

The regional organization, including elected and staff leaders from Beavercreek, Oakwood, Troy and Kettering among 30 communities in Greene, Miami and Montgomery counties, voted unanimously on Oct. 10 to oppose the proposed issue.

MORE: What is Issue 1 on the ballot this year?

Issue 1 would:

• Convert felony 4 and felony 5 drug possession and drug use crimes to misdemeanors with no jail time for first and second offenses committed within a 24-month period

• Keep drug trafficking crimes as felonies

• Prohibit judges from sending people to prison if they violate probation with something other than a new crime, such as missing an appointment

• Cut prison time for offenders who complete rehabilitation programs, except those convicted of murder, rape or child molestation

• Put money saved by fewer people going to prison into drug treatment and crime victim programs

• Allow people convicted of certain drug crimes to petition the court for re-sentencing or release or to have the charge changed.

MORE: Warren County officials oppose Issue 1

The Dayton-area group listed a series of reasons for their opposition:

“The amendment would shift the financial responsibility of prosecuting these misdemeanor offenses to the local governments, making them responsible for the costs of treatment, probation and jail.

“The amendment will also inhibit the prosecution of drug traffickers, in addition to reducing the sentences of violent offenders such as human traffickers, those convicted of aggravated arson, burglary or robbery, kidnapping and felonious assault - just to name a few.

“Ohio’s local governments are already struggling with combating the worsening opioid crisis on the front lines of our communities despite repeated cuts to their funding. Issue 1 is projected to save the state millions annually - however, shifting the cost of courts, probation, treatment and jail time to municipalities would create an incredible financial burden in the form of yet another massive unfunded mandate.

“Issue 1 also ties the hands of local law enforcement to effectively prosecute drug traffickers, hobbling their ability to dole out the criminal penalties necessary to reduce drug use and crime in their communities. By reducing sentences for violent offenders - not just those possessing drugs - Issue 1 poses a very serious threat to public safety by putting violent criminals back on the streets.

“Finally, changing Ohio’s constitution creates a long-term challenge, as an entire statewide initiative and election would be necessary to make any needed changes to the amendment in years to come. Ohio should not legislate via constitutional amendment: such a serious change in sentencing law should be done in the Ohio Revised Code, where the legislature can make necessary adjustments as needed.”

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