OSBA's Weekly Legislative Report: 2017 Election Edition


Oct. 12, 2017

Nov. 7, 2017 Election Information

Voting for the 2017 general election is underway. In addition to weighing in on local candidates and issues, there are two statewide issues on the ballot -- Issue 1, dealing with rights for victims of crime and Issue 2, regarding prescription drug prices.

Still need to brush up on the issues? Your OSBA Government Affairs team has got you covered. Visit the OSBA website to read background information, a brief overview of the arguments for and against, as well as to access links to the official ballot language.

OSBA Opposes Issue 1

While the OSBA has no formal position on State Issue 2, after careful deliberation, the Board of Governors has taken a position in opposition to State Issue 1. The OSBA supports the rights of Ohio crime victims and believes in a fair and just resolution to all criminal matters, but does not believe that State Issue 1 is the way to achieve either goal.

Though well intentioned, an out-of-state organization is seeking to amend Ohio's constitution, enshrining in it a Victims Bill of Rights that would be more extensive and more detailed than any other right currently enumerated in the state Bill of Rights. This will undoubtedly lead to unintended consequences, including increased costs and potential delays in the criminal justice system.

In addition to the Ohio Constitution's current victim rights amendment, protections already exist in Ohio law (Chapter 2930) for Ohio victims of crime, including the right to be notified of the arrest, criminal proceedings, conviction and/or acquittal, incarceration and the release date of the offender. Rather than amending the state constitution, the best way to enhance these rights or to ensure their uniform enforcement is through a deliberative legislative process and the OSBA stands ready to work with all interested parties in that endeavor.

Judicial Elections

With 108 municipal judge seats on this fall's ballot, another great election resource is www.judicialvotescount.org. Recognizing that too many Ohioans choose not to vote in judicial elections because they do not know enough about the candidates, the OSBA has been proud to partner with Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor, the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio News Media Association and the Ohio Broadcasters Association to provide more information about those running for judge listed by county.  

Tax Law Committee Continues Push for Bright-Line Residency Test

A big THANK YOU to past OSBA Tax Law Committee Chair Kelvin Lawrence of BakerHostetler, who testified this week in the House Ways and Means Committee, urging adoption of House Bill 292, sponsored by Representative Gary Scherer (R-Circleville). This OSBA priority bill will benefit taxpayers planning to retain connections with Ohio after leaving the state, as well as the Ohio Tax Commissioner who will have a more definitive framework to follow when determining residency for income tax purposes.

To read more, check out a previous weekly report, where we highlighted the bill, or download Kelvin's testimony on the House Ways and Means website (Oct. 10, 2017 hearing).

Tracking OSBA Legislation

As always, track OSBA priority bills via the Legislative section at www.OhioBar.org.

Week Ahead

Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Senator John Ecklund (R-Munson Township), another OSBA priority bill, may be reported by the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee as early as next week. This legislation, conceived by the OSBA Traffic Law Committee would ensure defendants may have access to the same information from the LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System) database as the prosecution regarding their record of convictions. The bill was passed by the Ohio Senate in April and we hope to see it on the House floor in the very near future.

The Senate is scheduled to be in voting session on Wednesday, Oct. 18, with the Ohio House slated for "if needed" session days on Oct. 17 and 18.




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