COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) today announced the passage of legislation that provides common sense criminal justice reforms giving victims of human trafficking an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Senate Bill 4, co-sponsored by Obhof, offers hope to human trafficking victims who are often forced to commit crimes while being victimized. Arrests stemming from coerced behavior, such as prostitution or drug use, can negatively impact the victim's ability to apply for a job or seek permanent housing. This legislation would allow for expungement from the victim's criminal record of certain offenses committed under duress. Additionally, the bill would permit victims of compelled prostitution to apply for intervention in lieu of conviction.

"Sadly, human trafficking is a growing criminal enterprise," said Obhof. "As we continue our efforts to stomp out this form of modern-day slavery, we remain committed to helping victims rebuild their lives and ensuring that our civil justice system treats them fairly."

Senate Bill 4 now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. Today's legislation complements a series of bills passed over the last several years focused on combating human trafficking by increasing protections for victims as well as strengthening punishments for offenders. For more information on Ohio's human trafficking laws and resources, visit www.humantrafficking.ohio.gov.

Investing in Safer Schools
The Senate also passed legislation today providing Ohio's school districts a new, alternative option for accessing state support for facility needs like technology infrastructure, safety features or additional classroom space for a growing student population. Senate Bill 8, also co-sponsored by Obhof, creates a new 1:1 match option for schools that have not yet received state support or entered into an agreement with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. Since 1997, Ohio has dedicated more than $11.5 billion in state aid to update and improve school facilities across the state.
 

Commemorating the Holocaust
President Obhof today joined Governor Kasich, Speaker Rosenberger and members of the Ohio Jewish Communities at the Statehouse for the 37th Annual Governor's Holocaust Commemoration. 

Obhof said, "While we reflect on one of humanity's darkest times, may God grant each of us the courage to stand up in protest when we are confronted with evil and hate."
 
 
 
  
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