Issue 1

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A hearing Thursday at the Statehouse focuses on a proposal designed to make it harder for citizens and groups to put constitutional amendments on the Ohio ballot.  The plan would have to be approved by voters if lawmakers approve it.

The proposal would move up the deadline to file for the ballot and amendments would need to pass by 60 percent, not just a simple majority. Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn says he’s reluctant to make the process to get to the voters harder.

photo of Yes on Issue 1 party

For the third time in four years, Ohio voters soundly rejected a constitutional amendment that cost supporters millions to put on the ballot. There is concern on both sides over the cost and the results of the vote on Issue 1.

The City of Columbus

Former Franklin County rivals have combined efforts to create an Issue 1 alternative that they say will change the criminal justice system.


The Republican leader of the Ohio Senate says while he and many others didn’t support Issue 1, the criminal sentencing and drug treatment reform plan that failed Tuesday, the issue had useful elements that the newly elected Senate will make a top priority next year. 

Senate President Larry Obhof says some of the components of Issue 1 were good. He says members are talking about reducing some felony drug charges to misdemeanors under certain conditions.

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Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 7:

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The only issue on the statewide ballot was trounced by a two-to-one margin. Voters rejected the constitutional amendment that would have lowered drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and would prioritize treatment for those offenders.

The campaign to pass the amendment was well funded. David Myhal spoke for the coalition of judges, prosecutors and others against Issue 1. “Despite being outspent on TV $10 million to $1 million, we will defeat this issue soundly because the people of Ohio said no.”

photo of Veronica Sims, Tara Samples, Emilia Sykes

About a half-dozen black elected officials were at the Summit County Board of Elections on Saturday to encourage early voting and show their support for Issue 1.

Akron Councilwoman Tara Samples was among the group. As campaigns enter the home stretch, she’s encouraging the top of the party’s ticket to reach out more to black voters.

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Here are your morning headlines for Friday, October 26:

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Voters in Ohio will see one statewide issue on the ballot. Supporters have said this constitutional amendment will steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment. But opponents claim it will dismantle the work Ohio has already done to curb the opioid epidemic.

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An Ohio pastor who was speaking out in support of Issue 1, the state ballot issue that would provide drug users and possessors with treatment instead of jail time, is changing his mind.

Pastor Greg Delaney of Xenia works with drug addicts who are trying to beat the disease and said he had been working for Issue 1. He said he shot an ad for it. But he said he’s learned more about it now and will now oppose it.

“The idea is great. The mechanism is flawed,” he said.

Photo of Prison Bars

There is one statewide issue on the ballot in this November’s election.  Issue 1 proposes to reduce prison overcrowding in Ohio by reducing the sentences of non-violent, low-level drug offenders.  Opponents argue, among other things, that it would make it harder to prosecute drug traffickers and take away power from judges to sentence or seek rehab where appropriate.

Now, the state budget office has said if it passes, it will cost local communities more money.

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Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Oct. 11:

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In November, Ohioans will decide whether or not to amend the state constitution with a provision that addresses how the state handles drug offenders. Issue 1, which is titled To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs, would add a new Section 12 to Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio. The official language of the proposal is here:


Cordray and DeWine Spar in Final Governor's Debate

Oct 9, 2018
Statehouse News Bureau

Rich Cordray and Mike DeWine tussled over health care, drug possession laws and support for local government in their third gubernatorial debate Monday night. 

Democratic candidate Rich Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine revisited several disagreements in their 60-minute debate at Cleveland State University, their final one before voting begins.

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Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, October 9:

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The Ohio State Coroners Association has come out adamantly against the only issue on the statewide ballot, saying they can’t be for any measure that makes it more difficult to prosecute drug dealers and traffickers.

Ohio coroners say Issue 1 will help re-sentence drug dealers, putting them back on the streets to “continue poisoning their communities.”

Photo of Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray

The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor met for their second face-to-face debate, this time taking questions from an audience and via social media at Marietta College. 

A photo of hands on jail bars.

A conservative think tank is sending out a warning that Issue 1 could bring expensive, unintended consequences. But the group adds it’s unfortunate because the measure to steer drug users away from prison and towards treatment has merit. 

The Buckeye Institute says most of the proposals in Issue 1 are good ideas that Ohio should implement, just not in the state constitution, which is difficult to amend.

photo of Steve Dettelbach

A nominee for statewide office is breaking away from the top of the ticket when it comes to Issue 1. The constitutional amendment would reduce criminal sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and it’s becoming a major issue for several campaigns.

Democratic Attorney General nominee Steve Dettelbach said he will vote no on Issue 1, because while it’s a worthy cause, putting it in the state constitution makes it too difficult to amend. This puts Dettelbach at odds with Democrat gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray, who supports Issue 1.

Kasich Opposes Issue 1

Sep 20, 2018

Gov. John Kasich says he’ll do what many of his fellow Republicans say they’ll do this fall when it comes to the statewide ballot issue that would change criminal sentencing to prefer treatment over prison time.  

Kasich says he will vote against Issue 1.

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The President of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA), an organization with over 20,000 lawyers and judges among its membership, is speaking out against Issue 1, the statewide November ballot measure aimed at reducing penalties for low-level drug crimes.


Rich Cordray and Mike DeWine are both making the only statewide issue on the fall ballot a major topic of their gubernatorial campaigns. This puts an even bigger spotlight on the measure that would scale down prison time for non-violent drug offenders.  

Issue 1 is touted as a way to send more people with substance abuse disorders to treatment rather than prison. But opponents say reducing sentencing disincentivizes treatment. And it’s increasingly becoming a partisan issue among candidates, with DeWine opposing it and Cordray supporting it.

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, September 11:

  • DeWine opposes Issue 1 on fall ballot;
  • Cleveland Clininc Children's to open first outpatient facility;
  • August state gambling revenue up from last year;
  • 18 businesses pull out of beer trail after derogatory social media post;
  • Black sorority members sue restaurant after police called;
  • Fallen tree kills woman, injures father;
  • Virginia fighter jets to fly to Ohio amid Hurricane Florence;

DeWine opposes Issue 1 on fall ballot

photo of Shea Fisher

A substance abuse survivor is fighting against the statewide issue on the ballot this fall that would reduce prison time for non-violent drug offenders. The former addict said, had this measure passed years ago, she would’ve faced a fate worse than jail time.

Shea Fraser of Marysville says she spent years struggling with addiction, starting with prescription pills and evolving to heroin. She said Issue 1 would take incentives away from addicts who are given the choice between prison or drug court, which diverts them to treatment.

photo of Stephen JohnsonGrove

The only statewide issue on the fall ballot would reduce criminal sentencing for drug offenses. While Ohio’s chief justice believes Issue 1 would doom local drug courts, supporters are contradicting that.

Stephen Johnson Grove, a criminal justice reform advocate, says Issue 1 would steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment.