FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER

Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative 

The driver’s license reinstatement fee amnesty initiative was created by the legislature to allow the BMV to forgive reinstatement fees of eligible driver’s license suspensions for qualified participants. The temporary program began on January 31st and will run for 6 months. We have received several requests for clarification on the program, particularly regarding any waiting period that must take place. 

Here are the details you should know: 

For individuals who qualify for amnesty (full relief of reinstatement fees for qualifying suspensions): 

  •  Must complete all court-ordered sanctions related to the eligible offense
  •  Demonstrate proof of indigency by providing SNAP documentation to the Registrar

For individuals who do not qualify for amnesty but qualify for debt reduction: 

  • Must complete all court-ordered sanctions related to the eligible offense 
  • At least 18 months have expired since the end of the period of suspension ordered by the court 

A full list of qualifying suspensions can be found here. Suspensions related to alcohol, drug abuse, or a deadly weapon are not eligible. 

Local media outlets have been covering the amnesty initiative incorrectly. We are in contact with the BMV, and they have assured us they will correct the errors. If you have questions, contact Megan O’Dell at modell@ohiopovertylaw.org or Melissa Dutton at mdutton@ohiopovertylaw.org.

General Assembly Update

Ohio House of Representatives
The House elected its leadership teams last week. Joining Rep. Larry Householder, who was elected Speaker of the House in early January, is Rep. Jim Butler (R-Dayton) as the speaker pro tempore, Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) as majority floor leader Rep. Anthony DeVitis (R-Uniontown) as assistant majority floor leader, Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) as majority floor whip, and Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) as assistant majority floor whip. 

The Democratic leadership team consists of Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) as minority leader, Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) as assistant minority leader, Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) as minority whip, and Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) as assistant minority whip. 

The House also seated Adam Holmes to the vacant 97th House District. Rep. Holmes succeeds Rep. Brian Hill (R-Zanesville), who moved over to the Ohio Senate to fill now U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson’s (R-Zanesville) former seat. 

Committee assignments were announced on Friday. No bills have been introduced yet, but we could see bills as early as this week with committee hearings starting next week. 

Ohio Senate
The Senate’s leadership team includes:

  • Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina)
  • Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Courthouse), President Pro Tempore
  • Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima), Majority Floor Leader
  • Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), Majority Whip
  • Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D- Richmond Heights)
  • Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), Assistant Minority Leader
  • Senator Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), Minority Whip
  • Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), Assistant Minority Whip

The Senate seated Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) to fill the seat vacated by Senator Randy Gardner who joined the DeWine Administration as Chancellor of Higher Education. 

President Obhof named Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) as finance chair and named Senators Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) as finance committee vice chair and ranking minority member, respectively.

No bills have been introduced yet but expect to see Senate Republican priority legislation introduced this week.