Yesterday, Ohio’s House of Representatives passed H.B. 347 to reform the state’s broken asset forfeiture process. The bill passed 67-24, displaying its overwhelming support from the majority of its citizens.
Ohio’s current civil asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement to seize property from individuals without a criminal charge. By increasing protections for Ohio property owners and implementing due process within the system of forfeited property, the Ohio legislature is moving in the correct direction to improve the rights of its citizens.
The Institute for Justice’s Policing for Profit Report gives Ohio forfeiture laws a D- because “it has a low bar to forfeit, no conviction required, poor protections for innocent third party property owners, and as much as 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement.” In total, law enforcement forfeiture proceeds averaged at $8,575,933 per year from 2010-12.
According to a poll from the U.S. Justice Action Network that surveyed 500 registered voters in September 2015, 81% of Ohio residents believe asset forfeiture is in need of reform.
H.R. 347 displays that representatives are finally listening to their constituents, and Americans for Tax reform is proud to support it.