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Legislation

Title: HB 552 – Regards Parole for Offenders Who Committed Offense When Under 18
Status:
Introduced into the OH House 3/12/20
Summary: A court shall not impose a term of life without parole on a person for rape if they were under 18 years of age at the time of the offense.


Title: HB 540 – Create automated voter registration and verification
Status:
First Hearing on March 11, 2020
Summary: The bill requires the Secretary of State to adopt rules to develop, implement, and administer the Automated Voter Registration and Verification System to register eligible person to vote or update their voter registrations using information from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), unless those individuals opt out. When a person visits the local BMV to renew their driver’s license, CDL or state ID card, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles should obtain all of the necessary information to register the person to vote. After obtaining the information, the Registrar must transmit it to the Secretary of State within 7 days.
Committees: House – State and Local Government Committee
Testimony: OH Rep. Gail Manning; Chris Oliveti, Staff Member w/ Secretary of State Frank LaRose


Title: SB 239 – Prohibit Sexting by Person under 19 years of age
Status:
Introduced on 11/20/19; First Ohio Senate Judiciary hearing on 2/5/2020
Summary: The bill prohibits individuals under 19 from creating, distributing, or possessing sexually explicit digital material that depicts a minor through a telecommunications device. The person possessing the material cannot be more than four years older than the minor being depicted. An exception to the prohibition is if the person being depicted is the person’s self, spouse, or child, or the child of another if the material is possessed or distributed for lawful purposes. A person who violates the proposed law, and does not complete a diversionary program, can be found guilty of a first degree misdemeanor, be ordered to complete eight hours of community service or serve another penalty ordered by the judge. An affirmative offense to the criminal charge is if the person did not solicit the image or video, did not share the material with others and either deleted or destroyed the image upon receipt.
Committees: Ohio Senate Judiciary
Testimony: Sponsor Testimony – Senate Nathan Manning


Title: HB 431 – Create Sexual Exploitation Database
Status:
Referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee on 12/10/19; Third Hearing 2/26/20
Summary: A county or city’s Clerk of Courts will be required to send a person’s conviction record, for promoting prostitution or soliciting prostitution, to the Attorney General (“AG”). The AG will establish and maintain a “Sexual Exploitation” database. The person’s record will enter into the database after a guilty plea or conviction for a prostitution offense. A person’s name will automatically be removed after five years since their most recent conviction or guilty plea for the offense. A person can also be dismissed from the registry if their conviction is overturned, expunged, or sealed, but they will need to submit an application to have that conviction record removed. If the application request is approved, the AG must remove the record. The AG’s office will be given $170,000 in FY 2020 and $20,000 in FY 2021.
Committees: House Criminal Justice Committee
Testimony: Gary Daniels, ACLU of Ohio; Emily Dunlap, Advocating Opportunity; Rachel Citak, Citizens for Community Values


Title: Ohio HB 285 – Establish Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction Program
Status:
Passed House on 11/6/19; Referred to Senate Local Government committee on 11/13/19 (Third hearing on 2/4/2020)
Summary: A substitute version of the bill was introduced and it reads as follows:

  • First phase reduction: A person is eligible for a reduction in reinstatement fees if the eligible offense(s) occurred prior to the effective date of the bill, at least 18 months have expired since the end of the license suspension period or a least one of the offenses, and the person is not indigent.
  • Second phase reduction: A person is eligible for a reduction in reinstatement fees if the eligible offenses occurred after the bill’s effective date, and the person was not eligible in the first phase. Additionally, at least 18 months have expired since the end of the license suspension period for at least one of the offenses, and the person is not indigent.
  • First phase waiver: A person is eligible for a complete waiver in reinstatement fees if the eligible offense(s) occurred prior to the effective date of the bill and the person is indigent.
  • Second phase waiver: A person is eligible for a complete waiver in fees if their offense occurred after the bill’s effective date and they did not participate in the first phase. A person who receives a reduction in the second phase is not eligible for a subsequent reduction or waiver through the program.
  • See a full comparative analysis for the substitute bill


Committees: Senate – Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs
Testimony: Representative Greespan – Sponsor; Representative Brent - Sponsor


Title: SB 18 – Prohibit Restraining or Confining Pregnant Female Detainee
Status:
Passed Senate on 11/13/19
Summary: The bill prohibits constraining or confining a pregnant female child who is charged or adjudicated delinquent or a detained/confined pregnant mother. The bill also prevents their restraint during any of the listed time periods: any time during a child or woman’s pregnancy; during transport to a hospital; during labor and delivery; or up to six weeks in the postpartum recovery period. If any corrections or law enforcement official violates this bill, it will constitute “interfering with civil rights” and provides a civil remedy, in the form of a lawsuit, to any female child or woman who is restrained or confined in violation of the proposed statute. Exceptions to this bill are also listed and include if the official determines that the pregnant child or mother poses a serious threat of physical harm to herself, the official, other persons, or presents a substantial flight risk.
Committees: Senate – Judiciary
Testimony: Senators Antonio and Lehner, American College of Obstetricians - Ohio Section, ODRC – Ohio Reformatory for Women


Title: Ohio SB 5 – Charge Penalties for Promoting Prostitution
Status:
Effective 3/12/20
Summary: The bill modifies the penalties for repeat offenses of promoting prostitution by expanding the circumstances in which it is a third degree felony and in stances where it is a second degree felony. The fee for the Certificate of Qualification for Employment will be set at $50 for all Ohio counties. There is a rebuttable presumption of eligibility for the CQE if the court receives the petition after the applicable waiting period and after sufficient time has elapsed from the date of release. Each licensing board is also required to include information related to CQE and Certificate of Achievement and Employability on its website and on certain materials and forms. A chart summarizing the increased penalties for promoting prostitution, drug trafficking and human trafficking are included in Ms. Camille Crary’s testimony.
Committees: Senate Judiciary, House Criminal Justice
Testimony: Tiffany Tripp, Camille Crary, Senators Kunze and Dolan


Title: HB 302 – Include Child Abuse-Related Offenses in Violent Offender Database
Status:
Third Hearing on 2/13/2020
Summary: The bill, known as “Jacob’s law,” requires people convicted of domestic violence, permitting child abuse, or endangering children committed when the person was 18 or older and involved a victim that was under 14 to enroll in the violent offender database. A person must enroll with their county sheriff and provide their name and address, place of employment, offense(s), a description of scars and tattoos, SSN, driver’s or commercial driver’s license numbers, and any aliases. Failure to enroll or complete enrollment annually for ten years, and report any address changes, is a fifth-degree felony. If anyone is on supervised release, or subject to a community control sanction, failure to enroll constitutes a violation of community control and can result in reincarceration. Without the current bill, families are still able to visit local Clerk of Courts offices that maintain all public records for individuals’ criminal convictions or search for someone’s convictions online. For a complete listing of offenses that constitute child endangerment, see the legislative analysis.
Committees: House – Criminal Justice
Testimony: House Representative Perales; Niki Clum, Office of the Ohio Public Defender


Title: SB 160 - Expand Expungement for Felony Convictions
Status:
Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on 6/19/19; Second hearing: 9/25/19
Proponent Testimony
Summary: The bill would allow a petition for the expungement of misdemeanors and felonies. All eligible records would be destroyed and permanently irretrievable, as opposed to being sealed and stored in a separate database. Ineligible offenses include but are not limited to: aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse, patient neglect, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, arson, drug trafficking and certain other offenses.

The waiting period is ten years for a misdemeanor or a third, fourth, or fifth degree felony. A person must wait 15 years after the final discharge of their second degree felony and 20 years after their first degree felony. When someone submits their application to the court and they have more than one eligible offense, the court will consider each offense separately. The courts will also consider the seriousness of the offense, the relative degree of physical harm done to the victim, the length of time since the conviction, the applicant’s age at the time of the crime and any other criminal history.
Committees: Senate – Judiciary


Title: Ohio HB 263 - Revise Occupational License Restrictions for Former Criminals
Status: Reported Substitute Bill on 2/6/20
Summary: The bill would require that every state licensing authority establish a list of specific criminal offenses for which a conviction, judicial finding of guilt, or plea of guilty may disqualify an individual from obtaining an occupational license. This list may include only criminal offenses that are directly related to the responsibilities of the licensed occupation. The nature and seriousness of the offense, passage of time since an invidiual committed the offense, relationship of the offense to the ability, capacity and fitness required to perform duties, and evidence of mitigating rehabilitation or treatment undertaken by the individual must be considered under a clear and convincing evidentiary standard. Additionally, an offense five years from the date of conviction may not be considered, except if the offense was violent or sexually oriented. If an individual is denied an occupational license, the state licensing authority must notify the applicant in writing of their denial and make note of the reasons for refusal, right to a hearing under the Administrative Procedure Act, earliest date to reapply, and notice that evidence of rehabilitation may be considered upon reapplication.
Committees: House- Commerce and Labor
Proponent Testimonies: Representative Kyle Koehler; Michael Shields, Policy Matters Ohio; Daniel Dew, The Buckeye Institute


Title: Ohio SB 68 – Allow Community Service in lieu of Driver Reinstatement Fee
Status:
Second hearing on 2/13/20
Proponent Testimony: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-committee-documents?id=GA133-SB-68
Summary: The bill authorizes a municipal or county court to allow an individual to complete a community service program in lieu of paying driver’s license reinstatement fees when the court determines the person cannot reasonably pay those fees. When the individual completes community service, the court must provide documentation of service completion and the person must present the document to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles at any BMV. The bill was primarily inspired by municipal judges who wanted to provide an alternative to individuals who could not reasonably pay the reinstatement feeds. Under current law, a person’s license cannot be reinstated until they have paid all court fines and fees and completed other court sanctions. Additionally, an individual will have to pay reinstatement fees to the BMV or establish a payment plan before they can reacquire their license. Although payment plans and payment extension plans are often made available to indigent persons, their income may still not allow them to cover the full costs of the license reinstatement should they experience future financial hardship.
Committees: Senate – Local Government, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs
Proponent Testimonies: Senator Sandra Williams; Gary Daniels, ACLU of Ohio; Paul Klodor, Court Community Service; and, Suzan Sweeney, Cleveland Municipal Court


Title: Ohio HB 1 – Modify ILC and Record Sealing Requirements
Status:
Passed the House on 6/19/19; Third Hearing in the Senate on 1/29/2020
John J. Drew Witness Testimony
Summary: The bill would broaden the scope of “intervention in lieu of conviction” (ILC) program to require a court, at a minimum, to hold an eligibility hearing for each application for ILC that alleges the individual committed their crime as a result of drug or alcohol usage. The bill also requires the court to presume ILC is appropriate and to grant a request for ILC unless the court finds specific reasons to believe that the candidate’s participation in ILC would be inappropriate. If the person is denied admittance into ILC, the court must state the reasons for the denial in a written entry. However, if the person is approved for a diversion program, the bill caps the mandatory terms of the plan at no more than five years and the person must do the following for at least one year after the ILC is granted: 1) Abstain from the use of illegal drugs and alcohol; 2) Participate in treatment and recovery support services; and 3) Submit to regular random drug and alcohol testing. Finally, if approved, the person must enter a guilty plea in order to participate in the ILC program and upon their successful completion of all court requirements have their guilty plea and criminal conviction dismissed by the court. Finally, the bill would expand the state’s eligibility criteria for record sealing in both pathways. If the bill passes, a person would allow a person to seal an unlimited amount of fourth and fifth degree felonies and misdemeanors, except for violence or felony sex offenses. The second pathway would also be expanded to include up to two felony convictions, four misdemeanor convictions, or not more than two felony and two misdemeanor convictions.
Committees: House – Criminal Justice


Title: Ohio SB 34 – Regards School Employment, Educator Licensure, and Conduct
Status:
Substitute bill introduced 2/4/20
Summary: The intent of the bill is to prevent school administrators from recommending a teacher to another school or district if there is probable cause the teacher has sexually abused or assaulted a student, and it would hold administrators liable for providing a good recommendation or withholding misconduct records from another district. However, the bill also targets individuals with juvenile records and participants in diversion programs from entering the educational field. In short, the bill would automatically deny, revoke, suspend or limit the educational licensure of Individuals who: 1) Have juvenile records; 2) Entered into diversion programs in lieu of conviction; or 3) Were found guilty of conspiring to commit, attempting to commit or complicity in committing certain crimes. The State Board of Education can also deny, suspend, revoke, or limit a license if the applicant engaged in any act of immorality, incompetence, negligence or conduct that is unbecoming of the “teaching profession” despite the offense bearing no relationship on the individual’s professional role. Furthermore, the bill would require the inactivation of a person’s teaching license pending the outcome of a criminal trial (there are no provisions for a due process hearing before the Education Board during the criminal proceedings). To comply with Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mandates, the bill also eliminates the requirement that the records of an investigation be expunged if the State Board takes no action against an employee’s license two years after completing an investigation. Finally, it eliminates the issuance of the Certificate of Qualification for Employment for an affected individual if they are seeking an education license from the Ohio Board of Education, and their criminal record (as described above) prohibits them from seeking such a license.
Committees: Senate Education Committee


Title: Ohio HB 215 – Modifies Corrections Law, Including Reentry and GPS Monitoring
Status:
 Referred to Criminal Justice Committee on 4/30/19; 2nd hearing on 6/27/19
Summary: The bill requires stricter rules for GPS monitoring, tracking of individuals subject to GPS through the law enforcement and automated database (LEADS), and establishment of a facility to house targeted offenders who are rejected by other halfway houses (usually individuals who have been incarcerated for sex offenses or arson). Law enforcement can use the LEADS system to track an individual without obtaining a subpoena or warrant. The system also provides a repository of data, like driving records, vehicle ownership, stolen property, missing persons, warrants and the parole system, in an automated system that is accessible by law enforcement, courts, and prosecutors. The system is the focal point for all data and messages entered by law enforcement agencies in Ohio, and provides additional access to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) and other systems. Only individuals who are released on post-release control will be subject to the GPS monitoring requirements. There are concerns individuals could be civilly committed to a facility if they cannot be admitted into a halfway house, thereby extending their original prison sentence. The bill also does not explicitly name “targeted offenders” or if it is implies “targeted” includes anyone who cannot reside in a transitional facility.
Committees: House Criminal Justice Committee


Title: Ohio SB 133 – Modify Law Regarding Management of Released Offenders
Status:
Fourth Hearing in Senate Judiciary on 11/13/19
Summary: The bill requires stricter rules for GPS monitoring, tracking of individuals subject to GPS through the law enforcement and automated database (LEADS), and establishment of a facility to house targeted offenders who are rejected by other halfway houses. Law enforcement can use the LEADS system to track an individual without obtaining a subpoena or warrant. Only individuals who are released on post-release control will be subject to the GPS monitoring requirements. There are similar concerns for this bill as HB 215, its sister bill in the Ohio House.
Committees: No committee as of 5/1/19  


Title: OH SB3 - Express Intent to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws
Status:
10th hearing on 12/17/19
Sponsor Testimony
Proponent Testimony: Mark Holden, Koch Industries, Inc.; Tim Young, Office of the Ohio Public Defender; and others
Opponent Testimony: Vic Viglucci, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, 5/29/19
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: 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.