State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) today issued the following statement regarding his upcoming testimony before the Ohio Senate Finance Committee Tuesday on House Bill (HB) 5, his bipartisan bill to give lawyers who become public defenders tuition loan assistance of up to $85,000 for five years of service in underserved areas of the state:
“While this will help young law school graduates by assisting them with their student loans, ultimately HB 5 is about justice. Our Constitution guarantees counsel in criminal cases, but when counsel is so overwhelmed by the caseload, there can be no justice. In Ohio, 70 percent of those facing jail time are indigent. HB 5 will go a long way to make sure in these cases justice is served,” said Rep. Leland.
The bill, which was given priority status for the 133rd General Assembly by Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford), passed the House in June with a nearly unanimous vote.