As the final weeks of the legislative session rapidly approach, a part of the Reagan Tokes Act could make it into law.
The bill has been broken into pieces so lawmakers could work on different parts of it independently. One of those pieces could be on the governor’s desk by the end of the week.
The legislation itself is trying to address several things: GPS monitoring requirements; sentencing standards for the most serious felony offenders; re-entry programs for homeless ex-cons; and establishing workloads for parole officers, but only one of those things has a chance of becoming law this year.
The sponsors of the legislation say it’s an important bill for all Ohioans.
“It is also very difficult,” said State Senator Jim Hughes. “It’s complicated, so we knew it was going to take time.”
As such, the portions of the bill dealing with GPS monitoring programs for homeless ex-cons and addressing the workload of parole officers are all being left on the table to die as the General Assembly comes to a close in a few weeks.
“We know how hard the probation and parole officers in the state work, how overburdened they are. But at by the same token, just to get this piece of legislation moving at this point we have assurances from all interested parties this will be addressed in future [General Assemblies],” said State Representative Nick Celebrezze.
Potentially making it into law in the next few weeks could be the sentencing portion of the proposed act, bringing back indefinite sentences for the most serious felonies.
According to Reagan Tokes’ family, this process has taken its toll.
“It is emotionally and physically exhausting the amount of time and energy that we have had to put into it and the fact that it has taken so long, you know, definitely wears on you,” said Lisa McCrary-Tokes. “But I said, in the beginning, we wouldn’t give up, we wouldn’t quit, and we would continue to fight until we had success and that’s what we continue to do.”
The Ohio House of Representatives could vote on this part of the Reagan Tokes Act on Thursday and send it back to the Senate for a vote. If passed the bill would go to the Governor for his signature, and the rest of the act will be re-introduced next year.