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Ohio House, Rep. Koehler Pass Fresh Start Act

June 9, 2020
J. Kyle Koehler News

COLUMBUS – State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) today announced that House Bill 263, the Fresh Start Act, has been passed by the Ohio House of Representatives.

HB 263 is an occupational licensing and criminal justice reform proposal created in consultation with civil rights advocates, research institutions and public policy organizations across the ideological spectrum. Its purpose is to remove barriers to occupational licensing for individuals with criminal histories. Nearly one in five Ohioans needs an occupational license to do their job.

Current Ohio law allows boards to subject applicants to varying character requirements and may require those applying to be “of good moral character” or to have “a good reputation for integrity.”  It also permits licensing boards to deny an applicant due to any criminal conviction, regardless of the amount of time that has passed, nature of the crime or its relevance to the sought profession.

“The Fresh Start Act is a long overdue reform of Ohio law. It addresses a serious issue in the way Ohio’s licensing boards treat Ohioans with criminal records,” said Koehler. “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Ohioans who have paid their debt to society do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens for the rest of their lives.”

Under the provisions of HB 263, non-violent, non-sexual offenses may not be considered by a licensing board if more than five years has passed since the date of conviction or release from incarceration (whichever is later). The legislation further requires licensing boards to state which specific convictions disqualify a person from obtaining a license, ultimately eliminating “blanket bans.”

“If we are to truly reform criminal justice in Ohio, improve our workforce and empower individuals to have a second chance at the American Dream, we must reform Ohio’s occupational licensing structure,” said Koehler.

The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 85-2 and now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

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State Representative Kyle Koehler is serving his third term in the Ohio House. He represents the 79th District, which includes portions of Clark County.

For more information, contact Rep Koehler’s office at (614) 466-2038 or Rep79@ohiohouse.gov.