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Lame Duck session: How you can help right now

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Take action on priority criminal-legal reform legislation

The 2020 lame duck legislative session is underway in Ohio, and legislators need to hear from you!

Phone calls, emails, even tweets are effective and essential ways to advocate for change — and it’s so easy to do! Several high-priority bills are on the verge of becoming law and they include sweeping reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system.

You can follow the legislative process via The Ohio Channel. Committee hearings and legislative sessions are streamed live as they happen. You can also watch archived House and Senate hearings and archived House and Senate sessions on The Ohio Channel. Visit The Ohio Channel here.


SB 256 will end sentencing children to life without parole (JLWOP). The bill also ensures people sentenced before age 18 must have access to the parole board after 18 or 25 years depending on the conviction. SB 256 gives hope and the opportunity for redemption.

Tell Speaker Cupp and Chairman Lang you support ending juvenile life sentences without parole:

Rep. Bob Cupp                                      Rep. George Lang

Speaker of the House                            Chairman, House Criminal Justice Committee

614-466-9624                                       614-466-8550

rep04@ohiohouse.gov                          rep52@ohiohouse.gov

@SpeakerCupp                                     @LangForOhio

Status: SB 256 passed the Senate by a margin of 28-4 on 9/23/20. It was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Hearings are expected in December.


SB 3 will change low level drug possession charges into unclassified misdemeanors from felonies.

Tell Speaker Cupp and Chairman Lang you support Senate Bill 3:

Rep. Bob Cupp                                      Rep. George Lang

Speaker of the House                            Chairman, House Criminal Justice Committee

614-466-9624                                        614-466-8550

rep04@ohiohouse.gov                          rep52@ohiohouse.gov

@SpeakerCupp                                     @LangForOhio

Status: SB 3 passed the Senate by a margin of 25-4 on 6/30/20. It was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Proponent testimony for SB 3 will take place in December.


HB 1 expands intervention in lieu of conviction and makes improvements to Ohio’s criminal record-sealing statute. The bill allows people with drug and alcohol addiction to seek treatment instead of being sent to jails and prisons. The bill also helps people move beyond past mistakes by allowing more criminal records to be sealed. HB 1 is long overdue and leaders in the Senate need to hear from you.

Tell President Obhof and Chairman Eklund you support HB 1 and the Senate should pass the bill:

Sen. Larry Obhof                                   Sen. John Eklund

Senate President                                   Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

614-466-7505                                       614-644-7718

obhof@ohiosenate.gov                         eklund@ohiosenate.gov

@LarryObhof                                        @JohnEklundOH

Status: HB 1 passed the House by a margin of 90-6 on 6/19/19. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senate President and Chairman can schedule the bill for hearings in December.


HB 136 ends the practice of sending individuals with severe mental illness to death row. The bill limits who can be sentenced to death by excluding people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and delusional disorder from death sentences.

Tell President Obhof you support ending the death penalty for people with severe mental illnesses:

Sen. Larry Obhof
Senate President
614-466-7505
obhof@ohiosenate.gov
@LarryObhof

Status: HB 136 passed the House by a margin of 76-17 on 6/5/20. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary committee, which passed the bill on 6/3/20. HB 136 was informally passed in November and should receive a full Senate vote in December.


HB 263 will help people with criminal records get access to the initial professional licenses they need in their field of work. Collateral sanctions restrict access to employment opportunities to anyone with a past criminal conviction, no matter how long ago or unrelated the charge. This bill limits licensure denials and the disqualification time since the conviction to five years.

Tell President Obhof and Chairman McColley you support the Fresh Start Act:

Sen. Larry Obhof                                   Sen. Robert McColley

Senate President                                   Chairman, Transportation, Commerce &

614-466-7505                                        Workforce Committee

obhof@ohiosenate.gov                        614-466-8150

@LarryObhof                                       mccolley@ohiosenate.gov

@Rob_McColley

Status: HB 263 passed the House by a margin of 85-2 on 6/9/20. It was referred to the Senate Transportation, Commerce & Workforce committee, which held 2 hearings on the bill.  The committee chairman can schedule the bill for one additional hearing then call for a committee vote. Once the committee passes the bill, the full Senate can vote on it in November. Both President Obhof and Chairman McColley support HB 263.


Contact Kevin Werner for information on any bills or if you would like to testify in favor one of these bills: kwerner@ohiojpc.org, 513-421-1108 x 14, @itskevinwerner