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Don’t let special interest buy Ohio’s constitution

By Dick Stein • Oct 31, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Marsy’s law talks about amending Ohio’s constitution and should be approached with great care and with an open dialogue.

Issue 1, Marsy’s Law, proposes a flawed victim’s rights overhaul whose petition language presents both direct concern and the ambiguity for unintended consequences. If voted into law, Issue 1 would replace one paragraph in our state constitution with five pages of unfunded mandates. These mandates will cost our local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars and be nearly impossible to correct later.

Since the first citizen-initiated constitutional amendment in 1913, Ohioans have rejected 74 percent of the 67 issues proposed. Constitutional amendments are special in that the only way to correct consequences is to propose and pass another constitutional amendment.

Ohio’s Revised Code already contains many of the provisions outlined in Marsy’s Law. Ohio Public Defender Tim Young had this to say, “Issue 1 amends Ohio’s constitution to give victims the rights to refuse to turn over potential evidence and to petition the court of appeals. Issue 1 conflicts with essential guarantees in the Bill of Rights, including double jeopardy, confrontation, and speedy trial --rights fundamental to our Founders. This amendment will result in increased litigation, increased costs to taxpayers, and will delay cases, only hurting victims. This amendment is wrong for Ohio.” His viewpoint is echoed by many who fight for justice and understand the law.

In closing, we all want fair treatment of victims and their families. I am more than happy to discussion real legislative steps to address deficiencies in victims rights in Ohio. For these reason, I believe Issue 1, Marsy’s Law, is bad for Ohio. I urge a no vote.

Dick Stein is state representative for the 57th District.

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