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Franklin County Officials are Creating an Issue 1 Alternative

The City of Columbus
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein

Former Franklin County rivals have combined efforts to create an Issue 1 alternative that they say will change the criminal justice system.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein lost a bid to unseat Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien in 2016. Despite that, both men wanted to come up with a better plan than Issue 1 offered.

Klein says “there would have been unintended consequences” had Issue 1 passed.

Klein and O’Brien began drafting a new proposal in September that will address the concerns present in Issue 1.

“The reality is the status quo is a failure, the war on drugs is a failure, and that we cannot incarcerate our way out of addiction.”

Under their proposal, minor drug offenses would become misdemeanors, felony records could be sealed, prisoners can petition court for a reclassification, and judges would retain their ability to impose a jail sentence.

Klein says this proposal addresses some of the concerns of Issue 1. Fentanyl and Carfentanil offenders won’t be eligible for a reclassification nor will major drug offenders.

Klein and O’Brien will seek out a bill sponsor to take the measure through the legislative process.