An advocate for Marsy’s Law, proposed legislation granting more legal rights to crime victims, updated the Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday regarding the law’s status in Southwest Ohio and asked the board for an endorsement.
According to its website, Marsy’s Law was named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, a University of California Santa Barbara student who was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.
Only a week after Nicholas was murdered, some of her family members walked into a grocery store after visiting Nicholas’ grave and were confronted by the accused murderer, who had been released on bail without any notification to the family.
The law, which has now been passed in five states, requires courts to consider the safety of victims and families when setting bail and release conditions for suspects. Family members would have legal standing in bail hearings, pleas, sentencing and parole hearings, according to the website.
The issue is set to be on the ballot in Ohio this November.
Joey Boggs, a field manager for the campaign in Southwest Ohio, said if Marsy’s Law passes here, it would give “a little bit more teeth” to portions of the Ohio Revised Code that already protect victims’ rights.
“There’s a few cases across Ohio where either the victim isn’t notified or they’re not allowed to speak or to be present during a trial,” he said. “This doesn’t happen all the time, but we would like to take down the amount of these cases.”
Boggs said the campaign has gained more than 200 endorsements from commissioner boards, law enforcement and justice system officials throughout the state, some of which came from the 16 counties he’s visited as an advocate.
The board did not make a determination Wednesday, but president Shane Wilkin asked Boggs where an endorsement could be sent.
In other business Wednesday, the board passed a resolution transferring $400,000 to the county’s Children Services Fund. Wilkin said the money was set aside for childrens services expenses, and he anticipates another similar transfer toward the end of the year.
Commissioner Terry Britton said the board is still waiting for the state senate to make a determination on Gov. John Kasich’s veto of an amendment to the state budget bill that would provide a long-term solution to the county’s anticipated loss of $807,000 in Medicaid-funded managed care organization tax revenue.
“They are leaning towards an override,” Britton said.
According to Britton, the senate has an official session set for Sept. 20.
The commissioners also heard from representatives of Appalachian Growth Capital, a Communty Development Financial Institution that lends money to small businesses and entities in Appalachian Ohio in need of gap financing.
AGC is set to start lending near the end of the month.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan was not in attendance.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.