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Criminal Justice Committee Ranking Democrat

Criminal Justice Committee Ranking Democrat

Recently I sponsored House Bill 150 – bipartisan legislation that would increase the number of public defenders in the most underserved areas in Ohio.

Our Constitution guarantees the right to counsel even if a person cannot afford it, and in Ohio 70 percent of those facing jail time are indigent.

While no one questions the hard work and dedication of Ohio’s public defenders, they can simply be overwhelmed by this enormous caseload. HB 150 addresses that issue and also provides an opportunity to keep some of the best and brightest young lawyers right here in Ohio.

The bill would provide tuition loan assistance of up to $50,000 for lawyers who complete five years of service as a public defender in a qualifying underserved area. A similar version of this legislation, House Bill 5 from the 133rd General Assembly, passed the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously.

Criminal Justice reform can come in many shapes and sizes. HB 150 is one step forward in making sure everyone has access to equal justice under the law!

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