POMEROY — The Meigs County Commissioners took a unanimous stand against State Issue 1, passing a resolution during their regular meeting regarding the ballot measure.
The resolution outlined Issue 1, what it would change, and what the board sees as the negative impacts to Meigs County and it’s residents as a result.
Issue 1 would:
• Cut prison time for offenders who complete rehabilitation programs, except those convicted of murder, rape or child molestation;
• Reduce the number of people in state prison for low-level, nonviolent drug possession or drug use offenses or for non-criminal probation violations;
• Convert felony 4 and felony 5 drug possession and drug use crimes to misdemeanors with no jail time for first and second offenses committed within a 24-month period;
• Prohibit judges from sending people to prison if they violate probation with something other than a new crime, such as missing an appointment.
In the resolution, the commissioners stated in part,
Issue 1 will not increase treatment options for Meigs County citizens, past experience with grant funding has demonstrated that the one size fits all approach doesn’t work in Meigs County;
Issue 1 will not protect Meigs County neighborhoods, by removing the negative consequences of drug use, addicts will have the freedom to use with impunity, and further, Issue 1 reduces sentences for violent criminal and drug dealers, thereby putting them back on our streets;
Treatment for addiction is not provided or required by Issue 1, an addict is on his own in getting sober;
Also adding to the commissioners’ stance against Issue 1 is concerns over the impact on the county budget.
“Issue 1 will shift the financial burden from the State to Meigs County, thereby damaging Meigs County’s fiscal health and increasing the tax burden on Meigs County citizens.”
The potential impact on children in the county and the foster care system were also noted by the commissioners.
“Issue 1 will likely increase the number of children in the custody of the Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services by leaving addicts in crisis on the streets to continue to use, and Meigs County taxpayers will be left in care for the children affected by their parents’ conduct.
Earlier this month, Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, Prosecutor James K. Stanley, and others from neighboring counties held a press conference to stand united in their opposition to State Issue 1.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.