May 27, 2020
To: Members of the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee
From: Americans for Tax Reform
Chairman Eklund and Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Ohio, we urge you to support and approve Senate Bill 3. This legislation would make Ohio safer, strengthen the economy, keep communities together, and alleviate some of the high cost of incarceration for taxpayers, through needed drug sentencing reform.
The opioid crisis has tragically hit Ohio hard, exposing flaws in the criminal justice system when it comes to handling drug addiction.
Currently, 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.
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. For example, possession of very small quantities of marijuana would no longer be a crime, and small amounts would trigger a minor misdemeanor charge.
It requires that the state differentiate between drug traffickers who prey upon communities, and addicts who need more effective treatment. There will be more avenues for addicts to receive treatment, as more are sent to drug courts better equipped to address their issues. Meanwhile, traffickers will receive the harsh criminal penalties they deserve.
SB 3 opens expungement to people who have already been convicted of low-level possession, helping those who have shown they can stay on the straight-and-narrow get back on their feet.
By addressing the cycle that sees one-third of offenders go to jail, leave, then come back within three years, SB 3 promises to reduce costs paid by taxpayers.
ATR strongly urges you to approve Senate Bill 3.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform