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Title: Ohio SB 68 – Allow Community Service in lieu of Driver Reinstatement Fee
Status:
Reported Substitute Bill on 5/23/19 in Ohio Senate; Four Proponent Testimonies
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 Intervention in lieu of conviction/sealing requirements
Status:
Referred to House Criminal Justice Committee on 5/22/19
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. Under current law, a person can have up to five felony 4 and 5 convictions sealed and an unlimited amount of misdemeanors, so long as the offenses are not violent or sexual offenses or certain driving convictions, such as DUI and other serious traffic violations. The second pathway allows a person to seal one felony and one misdemeanor or two misdemeanors as long as they are not violent or sexual offenses. 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. The bill states which offenses would not be eligible for record sealing.
Committees: House – Criminal Justice


Title: Ohio SB 34 – Regards School Employment, Educator Licensure, and Conduct
Status:
Referred to Senate Education Committee on 2/13/19 (4 hearings)
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
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:
Introduced in the Senate on 4/22/19
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: Ohio HB 180 – Prohibit Performance in Which Child Simulates Sexual Activity
Status:
Referred to Committee on 4/4/19
Summary: The bill would amend sections 2919.22 and 2945.63 of the Ohio Revised Code to prohibit a performance in which a child simulates sexual activity and, if the person hosting the performance is a D liquor permit holder, to require the revocation of their permit. The bill modifies “sexually oriented matter” to mean any material or performance that shows a minor participating or engaging in sexual activity, masturbation, or bestiality. It also includes any performance that shows a minor simulating these acts and to an ordinary person would suggest indecent, sexual, or inappropriate behavior becoming of a child.
Committees: House Commerce and Labor Committee


Title: Ohio SB 70 – Prohibit Employment Application Question about Felony Convictions
Status:
Referred to Senate Committee
Summary: The bill would require any employer or anyone acting on their behalf, except for a state agency or political subdivision, from including on an employment form any question concerning an applicant’s conviction or guilty plea to a felony crime in the state or another jurisdiction. Employers are not prohibited from conducting background checks after the initial application or extending a conditional offer of employment.
Committees: Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee


Title: OH SB3 - Express Intent to Reform Drug Sentencing Laws
Status:
2nd hearing on March 6, 2019
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, 2nd hearing in House Criminal Justice Committee on April 11, 2019; hearing from 5 witnesses 
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
Status:
1st hearing on April 24, 2019 with 2 witness testimonies 
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
Status:
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
Status:
1st hearing on March 13, 2019 with 1 witness testimony 
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
Status:
1st hearing on March 27, 2019 with 1 witness testimony 
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
Status:
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: 4th hearing on April 12, 2019 and 1 witness testimony 
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: SB55: Enhance Penalty for Drug Offense Near Addiction Services Providers
Status: Passed by Senate on 5/15/19; Referred to House Criminal Justice Committee on 5/22/19
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: Criminal Justice; Senate - Judiciary
Proponent Testimony: Senator Theresa Gavarone - District 2
Opponent Testimony: Gary Daniels, ACLU of Ohio; Niki Clum - Office of the Ohio Public Defender 


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.