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Ohio Senate President Open To Drug Reforms After Issue 1 Defeat

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina)
Ohio Senate
Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina)

The Republican leader of the Ohio Senate says while he and many others didn’t support Issue 1, the criminal sentencing and drug treatment reform plan that failed Tuesday, it had useful elements that the newly elected Senate will make a top priority next year.

Senate President Larry Obhof says some of the components of Issue 1 were good. He says members are talking about reducing some felony drug charges to misdemeanors under certain conditions.

“One of the fatal flaws of Issue 1 frankly is, I think it would disincentivized people going to treatment, but if we do this statutorily and we do it right, we can use it as an incentive to get people into treatment," Obhof says.

Obhof says the plan could include some other elements of Issue 1, which would have funneled money saved from a reduced prison population into drug treatment.

Republican House Speaker Ryan Smith says the legislature has already passed some drug reform measures designed to get users into treatment over jail and says members are willing to consider more.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.