COLUMBUS — Yesterday Ohio’s House of Representatives passed reforms to civil asset forfeiture, which, under current law, allows government to take property from individuals who have not been charged with crimes. The Buckeye Institute, Ohio’s free-market think tank, applauded the reforms.
House Bill 347 eliminates civil asset forfeiture in most cases involving property worth less than $25,000, and strengthens what the government must prove for property to be forfeited. The measure, also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, passed the House 67-24.
“This policy is a significant step forward in protecting property rights,” Daniel Dew, The Buckeye Institute’s Criminal Justice Fellow, said. “At the same time this reform preserves the ability of the government to seize property from those actually convicted of crimes.”
The Buckeye Institute testified before the Ohio House Judiciary Committee about cases in which property was wrongly seized by the government costing innocent citizens thousands of dollars.
“Government exists to protect private property of the innocent, not to confiscate it,” Robert Alt, president and CEO of The Buckeye Institute, said. “More can and should be done to protect the property rights of innocent Ohioans. Buckeye will continue to champion additional reforms to protect these rights.”
House Bill 347 will next go to the Senate, where it will likely be reviewed after the November election.
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Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution–a think tank–whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.