Legislative Platform

The Ohio Judicial Conference, established in 1963, is a statutory agency within the judicial branch of Ohio government charged with the responsibility to engage all 722 Ohio judges in the process of ensuring the equal and efficient administration of justice throughout the state. Each Ohio judge is a member of the Judicial Conference and more than two hundred local judges serve with dedication on Judicial Conference committees. The following legislative initiatives were adopted by the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference and are submitted as part of our overall report required under R.C. 105.95. The Ohio Judicial Conference looks forward to working with the General assembly to develop legislation in the important areas outlined herein. If you are interested in sponsoring a Platform initiative, contact the Ohio Judicial Conference.

 

 

2019-2020 Ohio Judicial Conference Legislative Platform

The Ohio Judicial Conference works to encourage legislation that supports several core principles. The Ohio Judiciary is a co-equal branch of Government that, under the Constitution, cannot be marginalized by the Executive or Legislative branches. The Ohio Revised Code should be as easy as possible for a layperson to understand and should not contain pro- visions which have not withstood constitutional scrutiny. The fair administration of justice requires appropriate funding for quality defense of indigent defendants.

 

Criminal Law and Community Corrections:

TCAP (Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison) and RC 2929.15. TCAP is not working as intended and needs to be reviewed and altered. The 90- and 180-day sanctions caps in RC 2929.15, in many cases, under- mine the purpose of probation.  Judicial Impact Statement

Criminal Code, Traffic/DUI Law, and Drug Law Simplification. Title 29, Title 39 (Drug Laws), and Title 45 (Traffic Laws/DUI Law) should be revised and simplified.  Judicial Impact Statement

Definition of Drug of Abuse. Review 4511.19, 3719.011, and 4511.181 and clarify references to “drugs of abuse,” “harmful intoxicants,” and “dangerous drugs,” especially with regard to the establishment of impair- ment in OVI cases.  Judicial Impact Statement

Re-Offender Sentencing. Unless the journal entry provides otherwise, a sentence imposed pursuant to R.C. § 2929.141 (Person On Release Committing a Felony) shall be served before any other sentence, including specifications. Various specifications (such as gun specifications) state that the sentence shall be served consecutively and prior to the underlying sentence, but no such direction is given regarding post-release control.  Judicial Impact Statement

State v. Nucklos (2009). The definition of “affirmative defense” should be changed to correspond with re- cent case law.  Judicial Impact Statement

 

Juvenile Justice:

Juvenile Justice Reform. Reform last drafted as 132 HB 394 should be adopted. It includes altering manda- tory bindover for juveniles to adult court.  Judicial Impact Statement

“Safe Harbor” Provision for Trafficked Juveniles. Currently, the law allows a charge against a juvenile to be held in abeyance if the juvenile is a victim of human trafficking but allows only a 90-day time frame for the abeyance, with the possibility of 2 extensions. This time frame should be extended or left open-ended to allow for the extensive treatment necessary for a trafficked juvenile.  Judicial Impact Statement

 

Family Law:

Parenting Time Enforcement. A procedural mechanism is necessary to permit a parent to file a motion for parenting time enforcement, as an alternative to a motion for contempt.  Judicial Impact Statement

Parental Duty of Support-Age Limit and School Enrollment. A court should have the authority to continue a child support order beyond age 18 if, among other things, the child continuously attends a recognized and accredited high school on a full-time basis on and after the child’s eighteenth birthday.  Judicial Impact Statement

Unemployment of Child Support Obligor. To develop an automatic adjustment of a child support obliga- tion when the obligor goes on unemployment.  Judicial Impact Statement

Social Security Benefits. To clarify that receipt of social security benefits does not require the judge to find a person legally disabled in domestic relations court.  Judicial Impact Statement

Planned Permanent Living Arrangements (PPLA). Amend 2151.353 and 2151.415 to permit juvenile courts to order PPLA if not requested by children services agencies in response to In re A.B., 110 Ohio St.3d 230, 2006.  Judicial Impact Statement

Public Pension Reform and Marital Property. Title 31 should clarify that Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) funds constitute marital property and that certain post-divorce and post-dissolution disability benefits are marital property. Pre-retirement rights of survivorship should be codified (Cosby v. Cosby (96 Ohio St.3d 228, 2002)), and the state retirement systems should automatically implement court division of property orders.  Judicial Impact Statement

 

Traffic and OVI Law:

Review and Modernization of License Suspensions and Reinstatement Fees. Unnecessary or ineffective suspensions should be removed from Title 45; reinstatement fees should be uniform – not vary based on reason for suspension; barriers to legal driving privileges should be removed, including for child support suspensions. Language prohibiting driving under suspension of a license should include the language “or whose privilege to obtain a license has been suspended.”

Insurance Verification Modernization. The Department of Public Safety Financial Responsibility Study Committee report (2014) recommends eliminating random verification of financial responsibility. Insurance verification has a tremendous impact on the municipal court caseload and real-time electronic insurance verification method should be implemented. Proof of insurance should also be required upon renewing or obtaining vehicle registration.  Judicial Impact Statement

Title 45 Corrections. Several drafting errors/ambiguities were identified in Title 45, including F3 OVI Sentencing; enhanced penalties for speeding; and an affirmative defense for emergencies when driving under suspension; and huffing a harmful intoxicant should be considered an impairing drug of abuse in OVI cases.  Judicial Impact Statement

US/Canada Reciprocity. The Ohio BMV should be authorized to enter into an agreement with Canada or the province of Ontario for the purposes of reciprocal enforcement of traffic violation sanctions.  Judicial Impact Statement

 

Probate Law:

Probate Modernization. There is a need in many counties for additional mental health professionals to have the authority to testify for involuntary commitment and continued commitment hearings.  Judicial Impact Statement

 

Court Administration:

Municipal Court Funding and Revenue. RC 1901.31(C)(1) provides that the salary of certain municipal court clerks is set by either the court or the local legislative authority, depending upon whether the court brings in enough revenue to pay for itself. The court should set the salary of its clerk, and the salary and who sets it should not be dependent upon the court’s revenue. Retired judges filling in for municipal court judges should be able to more easily complete paperwork for compensation and the county should be collecting the reimbursement from the Supreme Court.

Uniform Computerization Fees. The 129th GA passed an increase in computerization fees for Common Pleas General Division only. Similar provisions in other sections regarding other court jurisdictions should be increased as well.  Judicial Impact Statement

Court Costs in Transferred Cases. Levying a cost in a case when the juvenile is transferred should not auto- matically create a final disposition of the case.  Judicial Impact Statement

Court Reporting and Transcripts. Sec. 2301.18 through .26 should be consistent with current practices and should be able to accommodate future technological changes in court technology.  Judicial Impact Statement

Segregation of Funds Collected by Courts. State and county auditors should keep all monies collected by a court in a segregated account, separate from the general revenue funds at the state, county, and local levels.  Judicial Impact Statement