HB1 is sponsored by state Reps Paula Hudson Hicks, D-Toledo and Phil Plummer, R-Butler Twp., the former Montgomery County sheriff. And it is supported by the ACLU of Ohio and Americans for Prosperity - Ohio.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor earlier this year called on lawmakers to expand treatment in lieu of convictions and records sealing.
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Ohio Public Defender Tim Young said in testimony on the bill “Unequivocally the war on drugs is a failure. Opioids, meth, and cocaine continue to ravage Ohio. It is clear that Ohio will not incarcerate its way out of this crisis. We need a new approach.”
He said that incarceration of addicts is more expensive and less effective than providing drug treatment.
In the Ohio Senate, lawmakers are considering a different drug sentencing reform bill that would re-classify some low-level drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and expand drug treatment options.
Senate Bill 3 would also increase the threshold drug possession amounts for aggravated trafficking charges and increase the amount of marijuana or hash needed before someone would face severe penalties.
SB3 is pending in the judiciary committee and is supported by ACLU Ohio, Americans for Prosperity, Ohio Public Defender and several other groups. It is opposed by sheriffs, prosecutors and police chiefs.
Miami Valley lawmakers Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, and Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, were among the six voting against the bill.