Friday Bill Round Up: Regan Tokes Bill, Property Tax, Free Speech on Campus and More

Each Friday, we highlight some of the bills and resolutions introduced in the Ohio Legislature in the past week. For question about these bills, or to see the full list, contact Laura Dixon-Caldwell.

Criminal

SB 201-Regan Tokes Law-Incarceration 

SB 202-Regan Tokes Law-Monitoring 

Senate Bill 201, and its companion bill, 202 are named for Regan Tokes, an Ohio student who was murdered in February by Brian Goldsby. Goldsby was released in November 2016 after serving time for attempted rape and aggravated robbery. He was wearing a GPS monitor, but it was not being faithfully monitored.  201 would provide for indefinite prison terms for first or second degree felonies and specified third degree felonies, with presumptive release of offenders sentenced to such a term at the end of the minimum term, generally allow the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to reduce the minimum term for exceptional conduct or adjustment to incarceration and allow the Department to rebut the release presumption and keep the offender in prison up to the maximum term if it makes specified finding. Bill 202 would, among other things, require the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to establish a reentry program for all offenders released from prison who it intends to have reside in a halfway house or similar facility but who are not accepted by any such facility,  and require the Adult Parole Authority to establish maximum work-load and case-load standards for its parole and field officers. OSU's campus paper, The Lantern, provides a good summary.

Education

HB 363-Campus Free Speech

This bill is sure to be contentious. 363 would, among other things, prohibit universities and administrators from taking action including communicating in an official capacity that "limits or chills" the expression of any member of the campus community or their invited guests based on the content of the expression, eliminate “free speech zones” by declaring generally accessible areas traditional public forums for expression, and prohibit universities from limiting the space for expression within those areas. It would also prevent “heckler’s vetoes” by prohibiting universities from disinviting speakers based on the potential reaction, opposition, offense, or irritation taken to that speaker’s expression. The Columbus Dispatch has more information.

Elections/Voting

SB 204-Uncontested Race Ballots

Senate bill 204 would require that uncontested races appear at the end of the ballot.

HB364-Voter Registration Day

This bill would designate the 4th Tuesday of September as "Voter Registration Day."

Tax

SB 203-Reinstate Municipal Tax Throwback Rule

Senate bill 2003 would bring back the "throwback rule" for municipal taxes which was eliminated in the 2018-19 budget bill (House Bill 49.)

HB 361-Property Tax Complaints Time

This bill would increase the time within which boards of revision must decide property tax complaints.