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Title: Ohio HB 285 – Establish Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction Program
Passed House on 11/6/19; Referred to Senate Local Government committee on 11/13/19 (First hearing on 12/3/19)
Summary: The bill establishes a permanent Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty program. More people would be eligible for a complete waiver of reinstatement fees for driver’s licenses or driving permits only. Commercial driver’s licenses are not eligible for the program. The Director of Public Safety will manage the program. Eligible individuals will not have to apply; the Director will identify participants by searching BMV records or the Office of Vital Statistics. These persons will receive an automatic notice (through regular mail or email) and be accepted based upon the following criteria:

  1. The person’s driver’s license or permit has been suspended for an eligible offense.
  2. At least 18 months have expired since the end of the suspension period.
  3. The person owes reinstatement fees.

A person will receive a reduction of fees if they have completed all court-ordered sanctions, other than repayment of their reinstatement fees; the offense did not involve alcohol, drug abuse or a weapon and their license has been suspended for at least 18 months. A person can receive a full waiver if they are participating in SNAP, Medicaid, the Ohio Works First Program, the Supplemental Security Income program or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Pension Benefit Program. They must demonstrate their enrollment in the program by providing evidence on a form approved by the Director.
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
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
Passed House 10/23/19; Senate concurred in House amendments on 11/6/19
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
Referred to House Criminal Justice Committee, 2nd hearing on 10/17/19
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

Title: SB 160 - Expand Expungement for Felony Convictions
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: Referred to House Commerce and Labor Committee on 6/4/19; hearing from 1 witness
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

Title: Ohio SB 68 – Allow Community Service in lieu of Driver Reinstatement Fee
Passed Senate on 5/29/19; First Hearing in House Criminal Justice Committee on 11/7/19
Proponent Testimony:
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
Passed the House on 6/19/19; First Hearing in the Senate on 9/25/19
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
Referred to Senate Education Committee on 2/13/19 (5th hearing – 5/7/19)
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
 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
Third Hearing in Senate Judiciary on 11/6/19
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
7th hearing on 7/17/19
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 138 à OH SB49: Authorize corrections officer to conduct body cavity/strip search 
Status: Reported Amended Bill on 4/2/19 
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: 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 Ohio Senate on 5/15/19; Reported from House Criminal Justice Committee on 11/5/19
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 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.