The Scioto County Commissioners are speaking out against Issue 1.
On Thursday, commissioners met to tend to regularly scheduled business, and Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment that would reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing, and using illegal drugs, was a topic of discussion.
Chair of Commissioners Mike Crabtree stated that, if passed, this issue could negatively impact those who struggle with addictions more than anyone.
“It’s certainly not going to benefit the people that have drug addictions, what we’re doing now is probably the best thing we can do at the moment and that’s making diversion programs that give these people second chances. Another thing they need to realize is if you get a felony conviction you just about destroyed your future,” Crabtree said. “A lot of judges are working with these individuals that are willing to go into some sort of an addiction treatment center, and they won’t charge them with a felony conviction. That is a big thing, if you want any kind of career in life the best thing you can do is doing everything you can to avoid felony convictions. If you can get help, get help. Try and live your life. Don’t end up in a refrigeration truck because someone dumped their poison on you.”
Commissioner Bryan Davis said that this Issue has the potential to create huge budget problems for the county.
“We may empty our jails temporarily, but we’ll fill our morgues. We’ll put a bigger burden on our coroners. I’m not trying to scare anybody, that’s reality. That is what it’s going to be. I will tell you this, it will be a budget buster for many counties. It will put a major burden on the tax payers of Scioto County,” Davis said. “This is not the fix that we need. While there are some good points, this does not provide any money for rehabilitation. No dollars are in this amendment. There is a fine line, and I think everyone should weigh heavily whether or not this is a constitutional issue. It’s a legislative issue. They didn’t get it done, they tried two years ago with TCAP when they were trying to give incentives to the county for not sending felony 4’s and 5’s out into the prisons and basically trying to redistribute the wealth from the state to the county, it’s not the wealth, it’s the drain on wealth so it won’t be a burden on the state anymore, but we already have issues like this. These unfunded mandates are putting burdens on the counties.”
Davis mentioned mandates like keeping the board of elections office open on weekends to allow voting opportunities another unfunded mandate that costs the county money.
“People need to read this issue and really understand what this constitutional amendment is about, because here’s the bottom line, if it passes and all the sudden everyone is like “oh we don’t like this” well guess what? You have to go through another constitutional amendment change to get it taken back off the ballot and how many years will that take? The damage will already be done,” Daivis said. “So, everyone needs to look at this and at the same time, what do we do to fix the problem? We need to keep pressing for that answer, but this is not the answer.”
The Scioto County Commissioners stated they were against issue 1, along with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Fraternal Order of Police, Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, several local judges, multiple sheriff’s in the region, Scioto County Prosecutors Office, and Governor Kasich.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932