December 15, 2020
To: Members of the Ohio House of Representatives
From: Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Re: ATR Supports Sub. SB 3, Drug Sentencing Reform
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Ohio, we urge you to support and approve Senate Bill 3, drug sentencing reform. Senate Bill 3 is a hard-earned opportunity to improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and help people who have harmed nobody but themselves. This legislation is tough on drug trafficking criminals, smart on crime, and soft on taxpayers.
Do not fall for misguided and inaccurate smokescreens meant to derail this needed legislation. SB 3 represents a proven, conservative, approach to improving a criminal justice system that is simply not working when it comes to drug possession crimes – as Ohio has the 5th highest overdose death rate in the U.S.
These reforms build on the example passed by Texas legislators over 10 years ago. The Lone Star State’s reforms have saved potentially billions of taxpayer dollars, reduced the incarcerated population, and Texas has achieved all-time low crime rates.
Currently in Ohio, too many people are being incarcerated for too long for offenses that are nonviolent, and not a safety threat to the community. This can have the additional consequence of making it difficult for them to find jobs and housing. This means taxpayers are paying more than they should on incarceration costs. SB 3 is estimated to save as much as $75 million per year.
There is no reason for truly victimless crimes to carry heavy prison sentences that in-and-of themselves can ruin someone’s life. Rather than harsh criminal penalties, many of these offenses can be better addressed with treatment, and consequences that are focused on curbing addiction.
Senate Bill 3 addresses these challenges, and more. It starts by reclassifying low-level drug offenses. It requires that the state differentiate between drug traffickers who prey upon communities, and addicts who need more effective treatment. Traffickers should and will receive the harsh criminal penalties they deserve. Yet, there will be more avenues for addicts to receive treatment, as more are sent to drug courts better equipped to address their issues.
SB 3 helps those who have shown they can stay on the straight-and-narrow get back on their feet, support themselves, and contribute to their communities. This helps taxpayers, public safety, and the state economy. After years of hard work, it is time to pass SB 3.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform