Senate Bill 54 has been introduced to the Ohio Senate by Senators Eklund (R) and Williams (D). The same bill has been introduced in the Ohio House as House Bill 136 by Representative Brett Hillyer (R). HB 136 passed out of the house by a 76-17 vote on June 6, 2019. Hearings in the Senate for SB 54 are starting the week of June 10th. These bills would stop executions for those with serious mental illness. Click here to find your legislator and give them a call urging them to vote in favor of SB 54 and HB 136. It’s time for Ohio to stop executing people with severe mental illness.
What SB 54 and HB 136 do:
- Gives protection for individuals with one of five diagnoses: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Delusional Disorder;
- Allows for conviction and legal responsibility;
- Follows the same legal process as landmark US Supreme Court cases;
- Gives judges discretion;
- Fixes flaws with capital trial mitigation phase.
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Background on mental illness reform
The Ohio General Assembly is considering SB 54 and HB 136 which would prohibit death sentences for individuals with serious mental illness. The bill was first recommended in 2014 by an Ohio Supreme Court Joint Death Penalty Task Force in collaboration with the Ohio Bar Association.
Reforms were introduced in 2015 and 2017. Now a bi-partisan reform is poised to move forward. The reforms are widely supported by mental health advocates, faith-based groups, editorial boards and the majority of Ohioans.
Also see what former Ohio Governor Bob Taft has said in The Washington Post
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