Posts Tagged ‘Ohio House Bill 523’

Reruns

October 9, 2018

We’ve all seen this movie before, at least once. Casino gambling is legal in Ohio because of an initiative that finally succeeded, after many variations were defeated. It is ensconced in the Ohio Constitution. OMG, say it ain’t so. With the run up to every election (prior to each attempt’s defeat, as well as ultimate success), the line up of usual suspects was paraded out saying how unnecessary the initiative is, and that it is more appropriate for the legislature to handle this, and not enshrine it in the state’s constitution. Ditto for gerrymandering state legislative districts and medical marijuana. Remember the great lines from that much anticipated block buster – how the legislature would take care of it? And they did, back in September of 2016. Who could forget the scene from the thriller, House Bill 523 (the medical marijuana “fix”), and the unforgettable line from the script – “Requires the system to be fully operational by September 2018.” Such a tear jerker (September 2018 has come and gone and still no system, let alone operation). And who doesn’t remember that year’s classic comedy hit – “Newark voters approved decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana Tuesday, but Newark officials said they will not follow the new city law.” And Newark law Director Doug Sassen’s side splitting one liner — “The passage of this initiative really isn’t going to change anything in the manner in which we prosecute possession of marijuana,” (Newark to ignore newly passed pot decriminalization Maria DeVito, The Newark Advocate, 11-11-16)  Ah, citizen initiatives, ya gotta luv ‘em. Then there was the dark knight suspense drama from that same season. At a Newark Think Tank “meet the candidates” citizen “job” interview (10-8-16) “Mr. Hayes is not keen on the Newark PD program in that, as prosecutor, he stresses following the letter of the law. He would like to see any drug protocol changes across the board so that one municipality is not arresting a suspect that another municipality would be referring for treatment.” (Licking County Prosecutor Race, This blog, 10-11-16). The trailer for that hit came out at the end of August at the FED UP rally where the Newark Police Department enthusiastically touted their NARI initiative. Initiatives are sooo cool if promoted by the proper authorities. Sigh. The current batch of remakes headlines County officials united in strong opposition to Issue I (Craig McDonald , The Newark Advocate, 10-8-18). The previously experienced line up of usual suspects appeared with stirring scenes like “As earlier reported, in part, State Issue 1 would eliminate prison sentences for possessing or using smaller amounts of drugs, making the offenses misdemeanors rather than fourth- or fifth-degree felonies. It would also allow people previously convicted of these crimes to petition to have their charges reclassified as misdemeanors. It calls for the state to use the money saved by sending fewer people to prison on increasing drug treatment.” “Hayes said while the Issue is being pitched as one of concern and support for those struggling with substance addiction and local agencies struggling with overcrowded jails, as written, Issue 1 would instead unleash a flurry of perhaps unintended consequences which would hobble law enforcement and upend local court dockets and procedures.” Definitely a contender for best actor in this years rerun would go to Prosecutor Hayes for his heart wrenching ““If this becomes law, it is in stone unless there is a new constitutional amendment,” Prosecutor Hayes said. “The unintended consequences of Issue 1 are pretty incredible,” Hayes continued. “If this passes, all possession felonies would become misdemeanors. The result of that shift in scale would flood municipal courts,” he said. Issue 1 would also effectively nullify the ability for courts to enforce probation unless a person committed some new crime [Gasp!], Hayes said. “If Issue 1 passes, we will have about 10,000 felons released from prison,” Hayes said, because those currently incarcerated would be able to petition for 25 percent reductions in their current prison terms.” Best supporting actor must go to Lt. Paul Cortright of Licking County Sheriff’s Department’s Code Task Force and Enforcement for his original “Cortright said that the state legislature is already taking its own steps and new laws are coming in the near term aimed at easing criminal consequences for low level offenders to ease prison population concerns and further help with offender substance use recovery.” Don’t mess with our authority seems to be one of this country’s most successful genres. Analysis finds citizens never tire of the remakes. Or perhaps they lack the initiative to try something different.