Warren County elected officials declared their opposition to Issue 1, citing what they believe would be the negative effects from their various positions.
Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment on November election ballots that would change sentencing guidelines for some drug crimes and affect other aspects of those crimes.
Recorder Linda Oda, Treasurer Barney Wright, Prosecutor David Fornshell, Auditor Matt Nolan, Judges Donald Oda II and Timothy Tepe and Clerk of Courts Jim Spaeth gathered on Thursday morning in Oda’s courtroom to announce their opposition.
“We all come from different backgrounds and different perspectives,” Donald Oda said.”This touches our offices and homes in different ways.”
Issue 1 would:
• Convert felony 4 and felony 5 drug possession and drug use crimes to misdemeanors with no jail time for first and second offenses committed within a 24-month period
• Keep drug trafficking crimes as felonies
• Prohibit judges from sending people to prison if they violate probation with something other than a new crime, such as missing an appointment
• Cut prison time for offenders who complete rehabilitation programs, except those convicted of murder, rape or child molestation
• Put money saved by fewer people going to prison into drug treatment and crime victim programs
• Allow people convicted of certain drug crimes to petition the court for re-sentencing or release or to have the charge changed.
The officials indicating their opposition are all Republicans. None face a challenge in the November election.
Nolan predicted higher costs for government and taxpayers if Issue 1 passes.
MORE: Voter’s Guide on Issue 1
“As a mom and a grandma, I’m telling you this is bad for our kids,” Linda Oda said.
Those from a law enforcement perspective warned they would lose “the hammer” of potential jail time or other punishment to ensure defendants pursue treatment.
In cases where, rather than getting treatment, defendants return to drug use and overdose, “My belief is more people are going to die,” Fornshell said.
Early voting began on Wednesday.