August Update

And the Survey Said….

A recent survey of more than 100 legal aid attorneys in Ohio identified lack of good employment opportunities and low wages as the biggest issue facing clients.Barriers to emplyoment continued to be a big challenge. The legal aid attorneys  reported that increasing access to affordable safe housing and maintaining Medicaid coverage would most benefit their clients.

The Ohio Poverty Law Center continues to work to enact policies that remove barriers to employment. The General Assembly recently passed several bills that will help.

Legislative Updates

SB 4 Expungement for Survivors of Human Trafficking 

Update: This bill goes into effect on September 29, 2018 and expands expungement for survivors of human trafficking. A survivor with a soliciting, loitering, or prostitution conviction can apply at any time to have their entire record expunged, except for murder, aggravated murder, and rape convictions. Human trafficking survivors will now have an opportunity to avoid barriers that criminal records can present, including access to employment, safe-housing, and more.

HB 336 Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative
Update:  House Bill 336 will require the registrar of motor vehicles to establish a six-month driver’s license reinstatement fee debt reduction and amnesty program, called the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative. The bill will allow low-income Ohioans to have an opportunity to reinstate their driver’s license without further jeopardizing an already-precarious relationship with the judicial system, and provide many with an opportunity to improve their quality of life. House Bill 336 will be effective in early November.  OPLC staff were able to attend the bill signing with the Governor.


Members of the The Ohio Poverty Law Center attend the bill signing on June 29, 2018

SB 66 Record Sealing
Update: Senate Bill 66 expands sealing eligibility to five eligible felonies and an unlimited number of eligible misdemeanors. Sealing means that the record is taken away from the public eye, but remains available to prosecutors, judges, police, state licensing boards, and others with an interest in investigating crimes and keeping the community safe. SB 66 makes it possible for more Ohioans to seal their records and continue living law-abiding lives. Approximately one-in-six Ohioans has a misdemeanor or felony charge; by granting these citizens an opportunity to expunge their record, they now have a greater chance for securing stable housing, furthering their education, and obtaining employment. The new law will increase access to the tools necessary for self-sufficiency. The bill was signed by the Governor on July 30, 2018, and goes into effect on October 30 2018.