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Statewide ballot issues to watch: Bail reform and voting for noncitizens

Written on May 20, 2022
Provided by Hannah News Service

OSCPA is keeping a watchful eye on the statewide issues that may appear on the ballot this fall.  Bail reform and voting rights for noncitizens are among those that could be up for voter consideration. As in past years, OSCPA will review all issues that are going to appear in the November statewide ballot to see if they are within the scope of the accounting profession's expertise. Those that are within our scope will be evaluated for a recommended position in the fall.

Here is a breakdown of the most viable developing issues:

Bail reform

The bipartisan argument behind no-bail hearings for some of Ohio's less predatory felonies got a facelift Wednesday as overlapping efforts to restore public safety as a judicial driver of high-dollar bail cleared committee en route to the House floor.

H.J.R. 2 (LaRe-Swearingen), which seeks a constitutional amendment to preserve the public safety standard, and H.B. 607 (LaRe-Swearingen), which echoes that move in statute, did not receive any Democratic votes in the House Criminal Justice Committee. Meanwhile, H.B. 315 (Hillyer-Leland) and its no-bail alternative gained a substitute bill with two dozen additional crimes triggering pretrial detention -- along with a greatly reduced standard of proof.

Voting for noncitizens

Two proposals currently pending are receiving testimony on a constitutional amendment to prohibit local governments from allowing people who lack the qualifications of an elector (citizenship) to vote in local elections. Both S.J.R. 6 (Sen. Louis Blessing III) and H.J.R. 4 (Rep. Jay Edwards, Rep. Bill Seitz) propose to amend Section 1 of Article V, Section 3 of Article X, and Section 3 of Article XVIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to prohibit local governments from allowing persons who lack the qualifications of an elector to vote in local elections.

Sponsors of these resolutions introduced the measures largely in response to the municipality of Yellow Springs adopting a change allowing non-citizens to vote on local races and issues.

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