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Title: OH SB3 - Express Intent to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws
Refer to Committee - Judiciary
Summary: Recently State Senators John Eklund and Sean O’Brien jointly-sponsored Senate Bill 3 – Criminal Sentencing Reform. The bill follows the defeat last fall of Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that would have reduced penalties for certain individuals convicted of drug offenses and redirected the cost savings from reducing the prison population to funding behavioral health providers. The bill aims to help Ohioans struggling with drug addiction have better access to treatment and help low-level detainees successfully re-enter the workforce, while ensuring more serious and violent individuals and drug traffickers face a prison sentence. Overall, penalties would be reduced for possession of illegal drugs but tougher sentences for drug trafficking.
Committees: Senate Judiciary

Title: Ohio SB5 – Change Penalties for Promoting Prostitution
Status: Passed in Senate, Referred to Committee in House 
Summary: Anyone who promotes prostitution, including supervising or controlling a prostitute for hire or facilitating someone’s transport to engage in prostitution, is typically subject to a fourth-degree felony. Under the bill, the offender will face increased penalties for promoting prostitution if: (a) they have previously been convicted of promotion or a similar offense; (b) the offender controlling the prostitute’s activities is soliciting a minor, whether or not they are aware of their age; or (c) the offender has been previously convicted of drug trafficking. The bill increases the penalty to a second-degree felony if the person has been previously convicted of promoting prostitution in two or more instances. The bill also lists mandatory prison terms for persons carrying a firearm while committing a felony.
Committees: Senate Judiciary; House Criminal Justice

Title: OH SB54 – Prohibit Death Penalty if Offender Seriously Mentally Ill
Introduced in Senate, Referred to Committee
Summary: The bill sets protections for individuals found to be seriously mentally ill after pleading guilty to or being found guilty of aggravated murder.
Committees: Senate Judiciary

Title: OH SB43 – Revise Penalty/Firearm Limit for Domestic Violence & Strangulation
Referred to Committee
Summary: The bill sets provisions to allow courts to determine if individuals convicted of domestic violence or strangulation can lawfully carry, possess or purchase firearms. Upon the court’s determination that a person cannot carry weapons, any firearms within the person’s possession must be transferred to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Committees: Senate Government Oversight and Reform

Title: OH SB18 – Prohibit Restraining or Confining Pregnant Female Offender
Referred to Committee
Summary: The bill prohibits the restraint of a pregnant female individual, except for limited circumstances where the expecting mother presents a danger to herself or others. Before restraining the mother, the official must contact a health professional who is treating the patient and detail why the mother is being restrained, what type of restraints will be used and for how long. A female child who is restrained or confined while pregnant may commence a civil lawsuit against the law enforcement agency, court, or corrections official who committed the violation.
Committees: Senate Judiciary

Title: OH SB100 – Parole for Life Sentence when Offender under 18
Referred to Committee
Summary: The intent of the bill is to apply the Supreme Court ruling, Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, which applies to individuals serving a mandatory life sentence for a crime that was committed before the individual turned 18 years old. If a person was under the age of 18 when they received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, life imprisonment or an indefinite prison term, they shall have their parole eligibility determined under ORC 2967.132. Regardless of when the offense(s) occurred and when the sentence was imposed, a person is eligible for parole as follows: if the total prison term is at least 15 years, the person is eligible after serving 15 years in prison; or, if the person is serving a life sentence without parole, the person is eligible for parole upon attaining forty years of age.
Committees: Senate Judiciary

Title: OH SB78 – Prohibit Smoking in Motor Vehicle if a Passenger Under 6 is in the car
Referred to Committee
Summary: The bill prohibits smoking a cigar, cigarette, or other lighted smoking device for burning tobacco or any other place, inside of a vehicle with a passenger under 6 years of age. The penalty is a fee of $500 . If the person pleads guilty or is convicted of a subsequent offense, they shall be fined $500 plus $250 for each subsequent violation.
Committees: Senate Judiciary

Title: HB 258 à OH SB23 & OH HB68: Prohibit Abortion of Detectable Heartbeat
Status: Reintroduced in 133rd General Assembly (formerly HB 258 in 132nd Assembly) 
Summary: The bill prohibits a person from purposefully performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. If a person performs such an abortion, they are guilty of a fifth-degree felony. A physician or surgeon is not in violation of the law if their intent is to preserve the health of the mother or prevent her death. A physician is also not in violation of the law if no fetal heartbeat is detected. If a physician induces an abortion without first determining the existence of a fetal heartbeat, they are guilty of a fifth-degree felony. In addition to facing criminal penalties, a physician can be subject to a civil suit by the woman requiring the abortion. A woman seeking an abortion should be informed of available options for adoption. The bill does not set aside any additional money for adoption agencies or for Ohio’s Health and Human Services to ensure safe placements for children entering the foster care system.
Committees: House – Health, Senate – Health, Human Services and Medicaid

Title: HB 38 – Increase Penalty for Murder or Assault of First Responders, Military Personnel or Law Enforcement Officers
Status: Bill Effective 3/20/19 
Summary: The definition of aggravated murder is expanded to include purposely causing the death of a first responder, military member, or current/former law enforcement officer when the offender knows or has reasonable cause to know the victim serves in one of those capacities. The definition of first responder means an emergency medical service provider, a firefighter, or any other emergency response personnel, or anyone who has previously served as a first responder. Military personnel means any member of the US armed forces, reserves or Ohio national guard, or participant in ROTC, JROTC, or any similar military training program, including individuals who have previously served in one of these capacities. The bill requires a mandatory prison term of 3 to 11 years for an attempt to commit aggravated murder on one of the above-mentioned service members. Unchanged by the bill, is the range of prison terms for attempted aggravated murder, but the bill makes this range mandatory if an offender knowingly or purposely causes a responder’s death or intentionally sets to kill or cause harm to the victim.
Committees: House – Criminal Justice, Senate – Judiciary

Title: SB 138 à OH SB49: Authorize corrections officer to conduct body cavity/strip search 
Status: Reintroduced in 133rd General Assembly (formerly SB 138 in 132nd Assembly)
Summary: The bill authorizes corrections officers at local detention facilities (jails) to conduct body cavity and strip searches under exigent circumstances, with a search warrant, or if there is an immediate medical need or threat to the security of the jail. Individuals who are within the general population of the jail, but not within areas designated for booking, intake or temporary special housing, may be subject to a body cavity or strip search. Exigent circumstances means any temporary or unforeseen circumstances that require immediate action, including: threats to the security or institutional order of the facility or the welfare of the person being searched. Unless there is an immediate medical emergency, the corrections officer or employee of the jail must obtain written authorization for the search from the person in command of the agency or their designee. All searches, except under exigent circumstances, must be conducted by a staff member of the same gender as described on the detainee’s original birth certificate.
Committees: Senate - Government Oversight and Reform

Title: HB 391: Grant Restitution for Cost of Accounting for Economic Loss
Status: Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on 11/28/18 
Summary: Unchanged by the bill, is the victim’s ability to receive restitution as part of the offender’s sentence; the restitution is based on economic loss that was a direct result of the offense. Loss can include lost time at work because of an injury caused by the offender, any property loss, medical costs, or funeral expenses. The bill adds accounting and auditing costs that are incurred to determine the victim’s loss. The cost must be incurred and payable to the victim. Courts imposing restitution for accounting or auditing must determine the extent of the economic loss, and the cost must not exceed the actual property value or services stolen or damaged as a result of the crime.
Committees: House – Criminal Justice, Senate – Judiciary

Title: SB 231: Violent Offender Registry
Status: Passed Senate and House; Concurred in House amendments on 12/6/18 
Summary: Individuals who are convicted on or after the bill’s effective date of aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, or abduction in the second-degree will be required to register with their county Sheriff in Ohio as a violent offender. Also, any person, on or after the bill’s effective date, who is convicted of one of the above crimes and is confined to a jail, workhouse, state correctional institution, or another institution, must also register. Individuals may also face indefinite registration if they commit another violent felony or misdemeanor or fail to abide by the terms of their parole or community control sanctions, including failing to pay fines, fees or victim restitution. When registering, a person’s photo, full name, address, Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, other license numbers, Employer’s Name and Address, Vehicle License Plate and Identification Number, Body Markings and Prior Offenses will be included in the Sheriff’s Database. All information, including social security numbers, is subject to the state’s public records laws. In addition to registering, every person who is convicted of the above crimes has:
  • A duty to report a change of address or face a 5th degree felony for failing to register 
  • A Ten-Year Enrollment Period whereby they will remain on the registry for ten years unless they petition for relief with a sentencing court 
  • A duty to report in-person to their County Sheriff’s office annually 

To petition an individual’s status on the registry, there are 1 of 3 mechanisms:
  1. A person who is sentenced to prison for a violent crime, must petition to be removed off the registry either before or at sentencing. The court where they will submit the petition to is the court that classifies the person a violent offender, typically the sentencing court. A court will either grant or deny the motion based upon the following:

    a. The individual was not the principal offender of the crime (Note: Individuals who are the primary perpetrators cannot petition for relief.)
    b. The person does not have prior violent offenses that indicate a propensity for violence
    c. The results of an ODRC assessment (e.g. ORAS) indicating high-risk of violence
    d. A person’s degree of culpability in the violent crime being considered by the court
    e. The public’s interest in having the person register as a violent offender or remaining free of VOD requirements 

  2. A person who has already been convicted of a violent crime but is serving time in a correctional institution must file a petition with their sentencing court and prior to their release from jail or the correctional institution. The court will consider the same factors as someone recently convicted of a violent crime and petitioning to not register as a violent offender. 
  3. An out-of-state violent offender must file a motion with the County Common Pleas Court in their resident county and at any time before their initial enrollment. 

Committees: House – Criminal Justice, Senate – Judiciary

Update to SB 231 “Sierah’s Law”
Any Social Security number, driver’s license number, or state identification number provided to the county sheriff by a violent offender or qualifying out-of-state offender is not a public record. In addition, an offender who has VOD duties imposed under the bill may file a motion with their county’s common pleas court to restrict access to their statements, information, photographs, fingerprints and other materials, if they fear making the information public could infringe upon their safety.

When filing a motion, a person with VOD REQUIREMENTS must clearly state the reason(s) they fear for their safety, identify each county in which the offender has enrolled or re-enrolled, and provide supporting materials. The court may grant the motion if it determines the offender’s safety concerns are valid. The law still holds a person who recklessly violates their VOD duties could be found guilty of a fifth-degree felony or re-incarcerated if they are serving a community control sanction. The bill amendments were concurred by the House and awaits the governor’s signature.

Title: Ohio HB 296 à OH SB55: Enhance penalty for drug offense near addiction services providers
Status: Reintroduced in 133rd General Assembly (formerly HB 296 in 132nd Assembly)
Summary: The bill enhances the penalties for trafficking any Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance, except marijuana, when the offense is within 1,000 feet of a community addiction services provider. “Within the vicinity” means on the premises of an addiction services provider, a facility licensed by the provider, or within 1,000 feet of the premises, when the offender knows the facility is a treatment center. The penalties for trafficking drugs near an addiction services provider is the same as offenses happening within the vicinity of a school or youth. The specific penalties vary based on the controlled substance and weight or amount of the compound. If signed into law, the bill will take effect in June 2019.
Committees: None

Title: Ohio HB 6: Prohibit Fees for Correcting Criminal Record Information
Status: Effective 1/18/18
Summary: The law prohibits a person engaged in publishing or disseminating criminal record information from soliciting or accepting payments for removing, correcting, modifying or refraining from publishing information. A violation of the law is a first-degree misdemeanor and the victim can be awarded specified damages, in addition to attorney’s fees, costs, and other remedies. The new law is a useful tool for repairing erroneous information.
Committees: Senate Judiciary, House Criminal Justice

Title: Ohio HB 347 - Modifying Civil and Criminal Asset Forfeitures
Status: Effective 4/6/17
Summary: The new law makes several changes to Ohio’s civil and criminal asset forfeitures. Most notable are the permission to file a civil forfeiture action under specified circumstances, and not sooner than specified periods of time after personal property has been seized by the state. A civil forfeiture complaint can only be filed if the property was seized with probable cause of its involvement in a felony commission or gambling offense and two other conditions. The law also eliminates the provision permitting a civil forfeiture action to begin regardless of whether the offender or delinquent child has pleaded guilty to, convicted of, or been adjudicated delinquent. Finally, the law prohibits an individual from possessing or retaining property subject to forfeiture proceedings and prohibits local law enforcement from transferring or referring property to federal enforcement agencies, unless the property value exceeds $100,000.
Committee: Ohio Senate Government and Oversight and Reform, House Judiciary

Title: Ohio Senate Bill 66 – Modifying Criminal Sentencing and Corrections Law 
Status: Effective 10/31/18
Summary: SB66 expands the purpose of felony sentencing to include effective rehabilitation of the offender in addition to its previous purpose of promoting public safety and punishing a convicted defendant. It also permits judges to recommend non-violent, fourth and fifth-degree felonies that are not sexual in nature for community control, such as treatment programs or halfway houses, instead of prisons and removes the minimum one-year term of incarceration. Other changes include allowing offenders convicted of non-violent and non-sex felonies of the fourth and fifth degree eligible for record sealing, so long as the number of felonies does not exceed more than five. Read more below:
  • A court may impose a new term of up to six months upon a parole or probationer as a penalty for violating a community control condition. The term can be served in a community-based correctional facility, jail or halfway house and may be in addition to any other post-release sanctions. The court may still specify the term should be served in a minimum-security jail if the offense is not one of violence or assault. 
  • Modifies how sentencing courts calculate confinement credits or the amount of days a prison sentence may be reduced for good behavior or participation in qualified prison programming. The bill now requires courts to include in their determination the total number of days the offender was confined for any reason arising out of the offense including pretrial detention, awaiting a competency examination, and inside of a juvenile detention facility but not awaiting transportation to a DRC facility. 
  • Modifies eligibility criteria and procedures for granting pre-trial diversion and intervention in lieu of conviction. 
  • Revises procedures for the Adult Parole Authority to grant a final release or terminate post-release control. 
  • Modifies the criteria for considering a prison term sanction for a post-release control violation.