In 2015, representatives of the Office of Criminal Justice Service (OCJS), the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Ohio Supreme Court got together and compiled a report that concluded Ohio needed to make improvements at the local level in order to get required data uploaded to the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) in a timely and accurate manner.
Around that same time, it was reported that the system for receiving that data at the Attorney General’s Office was in need of upgrade.
There were reports that thousands of entries were missing, and some have claimed that when they submitted a file there received no indication whether doing so was successful or not; so they had no idea it had failed.
Since then a few things have changed.
Attorney General Mike DeWine requested and was granted millions of dollars to get new hardware and software to replace the aging infrastructure the state was working with. That will not be fully operational until 2020, according to the AG’s office.
Another change is in how Mental Health Adjudications are submitted. The original report found that data was being submitted in a paper hard copy form. This delayed entry and opens the door for the data to be misplaced, lost, or simply input into the system incorrectly.
This has been rectified and now, according to the Attorney General’s office, all mental health adjudications are submitted online.
Further, all submitters are able to request a report of receipt to make sure the files they have uploaded reached their intended destination, according to the Attorney General’s office.
They also say, currently there are a number of courts in Ohio that are not in compliance with reporting guidelines. The AG’s office says those counties are Columbiana, Knox, and Marion.
This is partially a result of attempts to continue to file paper hard copies of the required information, but other factors may be a reason for the lack of compliance, according to the AG’s office.
Kasich wants the three agency working group to reconvene, and take another look at the situation statewide to identify areas that need improvement.
It is the first step in making sure gun background checks have the most accurate data to draw from when someone from Ohio wants to buy a gun; and it leads directly into the background check proposal that is one of six the Governor made several weeks ago.
Since the announcement of his six measure plan, they have been lumped into one single bill that has been introduced by Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate.
Those bills have not had their first hearing yet, but according to Kasich one of them should be getting a hearing next week.
But those bills, as they currently are, could be going nowhere fast.
According to the President of the Senate Larry Obhof, the Senate bill will get its hearings but that’s it.
“Will all of the Governor’s proposals pass as a stand-alone bill? No, that’s not going to happen,” said Obhof.
Does that mean the bill has no future? Not necessarily.
The bill could be broken up in individual pieces, but ultimately there is something in the proposals that the Republican caucus is telling Obhof they are not in favor of.
As we have mentioned before, passage of any legislation through the Senate comes through the Republican caucus. If they have no desire to pass a bill, they will just let it die in committee; they only bring things to the floor of the Senate for a vote they know will pass.
That is the luxury of a super-majority in the chamber and easier to do when you only need to get about two dozen people to agree.
Kasich for his part is trying to keep things moving.
“I’m not going to pick a fight with anybody, but what I’m going to tell you is; this is not going to go away,” said Kasich.
He also warned that the solidarity of the Republican caucus on this particular bill may be in question.
“We have terrific sponsors in the Senate with Senator Kunze and Senator Eklund; they’re not to be trifled with,” said Kasich.
Ultimately though, the Kasich cannot approach this from a position of strength because his power is waning.
Kasich has 8 months left in office, the Senate has passed just about all the things they want to pass this General Assembly so he can’t threaten to veto anything; and even if he did, the Republicans have a super-majority in both the House and the Senate so they could simply overrule his veto if he tried.
The only thing he has left to use as leverage is his title as Governor and the supporters amongst the people of Ohio.
When asked if people should vote for candidates who support his common sense measures, Kasich hesitated to affirm the idea. He’s not a fan of single-issue voting.
But by the end of his response he did say this, “I think that anybody that doesn’t want to support common sense gun laws ought to be thought of when it comes to the ballot box, of course.”
For now, Kasich will continue to try to catch more flies with honey as he tries to get his measures passed into law.
And in the meantime, we get to find out where the state could be doing better to supply the federal background check system with accurate timely information, and how much it is going to cost to make sure that is happening reliably.
Kasich wants to hear back from the workgroup in 30 days, if possible.