Senate Working Out Details Of Drug Sentencing Reform

Dec 12, 2019

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) says the plan to change drug sentencing laws is one of the most important pieces of legislation they'll have during this two-year session.

Obhof says they're looking over more than three dozen amendments proposed for SB3.

He says the main issue is considering if any drug possession charges should be moved from low-level felonies to misdemeanors.

"I think deciding some of the lines is worth taking the time to get right," says Obhof.

The bill is in response to last year's defeated ballot issue that pushed for treatment over prison time. Obhof and other lawmakers wanted the issue handled in the legislature. He says part of the discussion is over what thresholds to create for possession.

"That draws a distinction between people who are caught in the cycle of addiction, who need help getting out of it, who have the opportunity to become productive members of society again. Being able to help that along versus people who are preying on our communities who are doing things like selling fentanyl or trafficking in other drugs," says Obhof.

Obhof says he hopes to get different parties into a room to iron out the details.