Obhof Announces Passage Of Legislation Targeting Fentanyl Traffickers
Agreement Also Reached on Ohio's Transportation Budget
March 29, 2017
 
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COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced the passage of Senate Bill 1, which strengthens Ohio's drug trafficking laws and is aimed at curbing the trafficking of fentanyl, a leading cause of overdose deaths.

“Fentanyl is killing people all across Ohio," said President Obhof, a co-sponsor of the bill. "This legislation goes after traffickers while ensuring addicts get the help they need."
 
Fentanyl is often laced with heroin without the user's knowledge and is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin alone. The number of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased again in 2015, driven by a sharp rise in fentanyl-related deaths, according to a recent report released by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Fentanyl-related deaths in Ohio have skyrocketed from 84 in 2013, to 503 in 2014 and rose to 1,155 in 2015. For comparison, the Highway Patrol reported 1,110 traffic fatalities in 2015.

Under Senate Bill 1, those selling fentanyl will face tougher punishments. This legislation would lower the amount of fentanyl needed to receive higher-level felony convictions that carry longer sentences. Offenders charged with the possession of smaller amounts of the lethal substance will have the option to undergo drug treatment at the time of sentencing. 

This legislation passed the Ohio Senate with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 1 will be referred to the House where it will receive further consideration.

Investing in Ohio's Roads and Bridges
Also in today's session, the Ohio Senate agreed to the House and Senate conference report on House Bill 26, the state's $7.8 billion transportation budget. This bill funds the construction and maintenance of the state's transportation system. It enhances safety on Ohio's roadways, promotes commerce across the state and puts tens of thousands of Ohioans to work.

Among other provisions, the bill reauthorizes the Ohio Bridge Partnership Program, a construction initiative to provide resources for county bridge projects. It also establishes a pilot program to encourage high-volume, commercial vehicle fleets to register in Ohio, resulting in more job opportunities and economic development in Ohio's trucking industry.

Additional funding was also included for public transit options across the state. The bill received bipartisan support and now goes to the Governor for signature.
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