Bill expands sealing of records of low-level drug offenders

COLUMBUS (AP) — The House has approved a bill making it easier for Ohioans to seal records involving low-level nonviolent and non-sexual offenses to help them move forward with their lives.

The legislation passed Wednesday and headed to the Senate is meant to curb the impact of the state’s addictions epidemic.

The bill allows offenders with two eligible misdemeanors and two eligible third-degree felonies to seek the sealing of their records.

Under current law, offenders can only have one misdemeanor and one third-degree felony conviction to make the request.

The bill also reduces how long offenders must wait to have offenses sealed from three years to one.

The proposal also expands the use of a program allowing judges to order treatment instead of prosecution for defendants facing low-level drug charges.