Ohio House Leaders Pitch Bipartisan Bills On Incarceration, Mental Health | WOSU Radio

Ohio House Leaders Pitch Bipartisan Bills On Incarceration, Mental Health

May 22, 2019

For the third time in three weeks, Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio House have teamed up to announce legislation they’re working on that they consider priorities.

These bills address treatment instead of conviction for non-violent low-level offenders, the shortage of public defenders, transfers of credits between schools, and mental health issues hitting kids. These team-up events come after all Democrats but two joined most Republicans in voting for the budget.

Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said he’s committed to working with the minority party, who helped elect him Speaker in January.

“What you see here isn’t an accident. We can’t change Ohio if we aren’t willing to change the way we do business at the Ohio Statehouse," Householder said.

One proposal would make it easier for Ohioans to seal low-level nonviolent and non-sexual offenses to help them move forward with their lives. A second would create a loan repayment program to help recruit and retain attorneys who want to become public defenders.

Another proposal would make it easier to transfer credits from one public high school to another and help students who have left school to determine eligibility for an associate's degree or job training certificate.

Lawmakers also proposed creating the Ohio Children's Behavioral Health Network to improve the mental health of children and young adults, and reduce suicides.

Lawmakers from both parties previously announced legislation to improve foster care, reduce domestic violence, expand broadband, and boost access to job training.