Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) takes questions from reporters after a session in 2018. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]

Senate President Pushes Back On Report Blaming Lawmakers For Prison Population

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A report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio says nearly one in eight bills introduced by state lawmakers either creates a new crime or expands sentences. But the leader in the Senate is pushing back on claims that lawmakers are to blame.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said criminal sentencing reform is one of his top agenda items.

But while he said he wants to relieve prison overcrowding, save money and help people get out of prison and live productively, Obhof said that doesn’t mean lawmakers will stop cracking down on dangerous criminals.

“We are distinguishing, to the extent possible, between people who are legitimately bad actors – who are predators, who are hurting our families, who are hurting our communities – from people who’ve made a couple of bad choices, or maybe a lot of bad choices, but who aren’t doing inherently bad things and who aren’t trying to hurt other people,” Obhof said.

A drug sentencing bill will be Senate Bill 3 to demonstrate its importance, but the final version is still being drafted so there are no details on what it would do.