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Ohio Senate committee considers bill on drug laws sentencing

Posted at 8:55 AM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 08:55:03-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill designed to reduce low-level drug possessions to misdemeanors and increase penalties for drug dealers is before an Ohio Senate committee.

The legislation is part of a long-running attempt by lawmakers to reduce Ohio's prison population.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently heard testimony on the bill.

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Ohio Public Defender Tim Young testified new policies are needed and the state can't "incarcerate" its way out of the drug crisis. He says about 1,600 people are in Ohio prisons for low-level possession.

Louis Tobin, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, says that group supports the spirit of the bill but thinks the amount of drug doses defined as low-level is too high.

Republican House Speaker Larry Householder says he expects the House to come up with its own plan.