Farm Bureau encourages ‘no’ vote on State Issue 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation board of trustees has announced the organization’s opposition to State Issue 1, misleadingly called the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment.
Farm Bureau, Ohio’s largest organization for farm, food and rural interests, believes Issue 1 is not a viable approach to the state’s opioid crisis.
“Our state and county Farm Bureaus have been at the forefront of drug abuse prevention in rural Ohio,” said Frank Burkett III, a dairy farmer and president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “We’ve dug deeply into understanding Ohio’s massive drug problems. Issue 1 runs counter to much of what our members believe are effective steps to reducing the impact of drugs on our communities.”
The organization also believes that a constitutional amendment is not the best mechanism for addressing Ohio’s addiction and drug trafficking problems, especially when the initiative is funded by large out-of-state interests.
Farm Bureau trustees also were concerned that Issue 1 would harm the Ohio court system’s ability to effectively deal with illegal drugs. Further, Issue 1 could be a heavy burden on Ohio taxpayers with few assurances of positive results. Other concerns include negative impacts on crime rates and on the availability of a reliable workforce.
“Farm Bureau joins with law enforcement, judges and prosecutors, prevention agencies, business groups, elected officials, leading editorial boards and others to encourage Ohioans to vote no on State Issue 1,” Burkett said. “We need solutions to the drug crisis, but Issue 1 is not the answer.”
OSBA Launches Statewide Campaign Urging a NO Vote on State Issue 1
COLUMBUS (Oct. 17, 2018) – The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) today launched a statewide campaign urging Ohio Voters to reject State Issue 1 this November.
“While many agree that Ohio’s drug laws merit change, Issue 1 is the wrong solution,” said OSBA President Robin Weaver. “Issue 1 will lock poorly-written policy into the Ohio Constitution, and strips Ohio judges of their discretion in sentencing drug offenders. The Ohio State Bar Association strongly urges Ohioans to vote no on Issue 1.”
The OSBA supports a strategy of treatment in lieu of conviction to curb Ohio’s opiate crisis, especially through Ohio’s drug courts and specialty docket programs, but Issue 1 goes too far. It makes possession of even deadly drugs, like fentanyl, a misdemeanor, and without the threat of jail time to compel offenders into court-run treatment programs, it is significantly less likely that addicts will get the help they need.
“Issue 1 takes away important tools from Ohio judges that are saving lives,” Weaver said. “Issue 1 would decimate the good work being done in Ohio drug courts and could actually worsen Ohio’s drug crisis.”
In addition, the Ohio State Bar Association maintains that specific and complex criminal law changes should be addressed through the legislative process, which would not alter the Constitution.
“Fixing the problems and unintended consequences that will surely arise if Issue 1 were to pass would require another Constitutional amendment approved by voters,” said Weaver. “This is an expensive, time-consuming process with uncertain outcomes, that will greatly hinder the ability of law enforcement and policy makers to respond to Ohio’s ongoing opiate crisis.”
The OSBA’s campaign is aimed at educating voters about the perils of Issue 1. Specifically, it targets ticket-splitting, highly-likely voters in the November election. The OSBA today unveiled www.NoOnIssue1.org, a website focused specifically on Issue 1, featuring a 30-second spot. The spot will also run statewide on digital platforms starting this week. The OSBA will also sponsor two tele-town halls with Ohio voters between now and Election Day.
The OSBA urges voters to join Ohio’s judges, prosecutors, and treatment experts in voting NO on Issue 1.
About the Ohio State Bar Association
The Ohio State Bar Association, founded in 1880, is a voluntary association representing approximately 26,000 members of the bench and bar of Ohio. Through its activities and the activities of its related organizations, the OSBA serves both its members and the public by promoting the highest standards in the practice of law and the administration of justice.