Nov. 30, 2017
Now that the tryptophan from the Thanksgiving turkey has worn off, we are back in business and the Ohio General Assembly was back in session this week.
Senate Bill 33 Unanimously Passes the House
Congratulations to the OSBA Traffic Law Committee for its work in crafting legislation that won unanimous support from the Ohio House this week (89-0). As you will recall from previous reports, in the interest of fairness, SB 33 would ensure defendants have access to the same information from the LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System) database as the prosecution regarding their record of convictions.
The House added two amendments without objection from the OSBA. One would permit a state highway patrol trooper to administer oaths and acknowledge criminal and juvenile court documents in matters related to the trooper’s official duties, provided the trooper has completed inservice training to do so.
The second would grant more judicial discretion when it comes to intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) for those with addiction or mental health issues. Currently, if the offender has failed to comply with the court’s terms and conditions under ILC, no matter how minor the violation, the offender is automatically kicked out of the program. This amendment, which came at the suggestion of OSBA member and Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis Langer, would give judges more options when violations occur, including allowing them to keep the offender in the program, to keep the offender in the program with additional terms and conditions, or to enter a filing of guilty. These tools, he feels, are critical for helping to keep those who need it in treatment.
The OSBA is grateful to Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township), sponsor of SB 33, Representative Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, who carried the bill in the House, and all members who supported it. Once the Ohio Senate concurs with the House amendments, the bill will go the Governor for his signature.
Read the OSBA’s statement regarding House Passage of SB 33 here.
Breaking News in the 2018 Governor's Race
Reports are surfacing just this morning that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will join Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's ticket in his bid for Governor. The Republicans were seen as the front runners in the primary, in which Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Congressman Jim Renacci are also candidates. Media events are scheduled for later today.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, former Ohio Attorney General, and up until recently, the director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray is expected to announce his bid no later than next week. Current candidates in the Democratic primary include State Senator Joe Schiavoni, former State Representative Connie Pillich, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill and former Congresswoman Betty Sutton.
This is developing news—we'll keep you posted.
Ohio Senate Screening Committee Recommends Rep. Robert McColley to Fill Vacancy in 1st Senate District
A screening committee appointed by Senate President Larry Obhoff has recommended State Representative Robert McColley (R-Napoleon) to fill the vacancy in the 1st Senate District following the resignation of former Senator Cliff Hite, who resigned in mid-October after admitting to “inappropriate behavior” with a female state employee.
The full caucus will take up the appointment in the near future, with McColley expected to be seated in early December.
McColley earned his JD from the University of Toledo College of Law and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University. Prior to his election to the Ohio House, he led regional economic development efforts as part of the Community Improvement Corporation of Henry County, and served in various leadership positions for the Henry County Community Foundation, the Henry County Board of Developmental Disabilities, The Center for Child and Family Advocacy and the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial. He currently serves as assistant majority whip in the Ohio House, which means the Ohio House will need to find a replacement for his House seat and fill a vacancy on its leadership team.
The 1st Ohio Senate District includes all of Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Williams counties, as well as portions of Auglaize, Fulton and Logan counties.
Former Senate President Bill Harris Dies at 83
This week, the Ohio House and Senate both paid tribute to former State Representative and Senate President Bill Harris, who passed away early Monday morning. A decorated Marine, successful businessman, and humble public servant, Senator Harris was a good friend to the OSBA.
Prior to running for political office, Harris served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 23 years. He was a machine gunner and platoon commander in Korea, and after attending U.S. Army Counterintelligence School, he went on to serve two tours in the Vietnam War. He retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of major and was decorated with two bronze stars and the Vietnam Medal of Honor.
Following his military career, he moved to Ashland, Ohio, where he established a successful car dealership still run by his sons, and eventually ran for the Ohio House of Representatives. This began what would be a 15-year legislative career. He steadily rose through the ranks, serving in House leadership before winning an appointment to the Ohio Senate in 1999. While in the Senate, he served as the Finance Committee Chairman, before being elected Senate President in 2005. OSBA Executive Director Mary Augsburger and OSBA Director of Public and Media Relations Maggie Ostrowski both had the privilege of serving on his staff, Mary as his first chief legal counsel and a policy advisor, Maggie as his communications director.
President Harris was a true gentleman, a man of great faith, and a public servant in the truest sense of the term. He leaves behind a great legacy of service to his district, the people of Ohio and our nation. You can read more about Senator Harris in this week's Columbus Dispatch.
Tracking OSBA Legislation
The House is in session on Tues., Dec. 5—one of only two session days remaining until the end of the year. The Senate has session on Wed., Dec. 6, with an as-needed session slated for the 5th.