House Committee Removes Gun Crime Items from Budget Bill
The newly released Substitute House Bill 110, which is the state's two-year operating budget, no longer includes several items regarding sentences for crimes that involve firearms. The items were included in Governor Mike DeWine's Executive Budget but were not retained in the House version of the budget bill that is under consideration by the House Finance Committee.
Once the House has approved HB 110, the Ohio Senate will begin deliberations on the budget. Following Senate action, the two chambers will negotiate agreements on areas of difference between their respective versions of the budget before sending it to the Governor. The whole process must be completed by June 30, 2021.
Many legislators were hesitant to include gun policies in the budget bill due to the immense size of the legislation, which covers funding and spending authority for the entire state of Ohio. While the Governor sought to increase penalties for gun crimes, legislators felt it was important those items be fully vetted and receive proper public debate.
"BFA fully supports making sure that criminals are justly punished for any violent crime, including those committed with a firearm," said BFA Executive Director Dean Rieck. "At the same time, it is especially important to make sure that sentences are fair and proportionate to the crimes that are committed. That is hard for the legislature to fully commit to in such a massive document as the state budget."