As a member of the House Criminal Justice Committee, I am called on to vote for a range of topics in our hearings from broad criminal justice reform to prison terms to the death penalty. Oftentimes, legislation that gets assigned to our committee is prompted by current events, particularly when something happens that reveals a loophole in law that needs addressed.

Unfortunately, that was exactly the case with House Bill 365, legislation that was drafted in response to the brutal killing of Reagan Tokes, a 21-year-old college student. The Reagan Tokes Act would make reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system to fix shortfalls that could have prevented Reagan’s murder. The man charged with her death had been recently released from prison on parole and was being monitored by a GPS tracker and yet he was still able to commit another crime.

The bill would make four key changes within our criminal justice system. First, it makes sentences indeterminate for first and second degree felonies and third degree violent felonies. This change not only gives judges more discretion, but it also encourages inmates to work harder towards rehabilitation while behind bars. Second, it requires the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) to create a reentry program for violent felons who are not accepted into other reentry programs. Before her death, Reagan’s murderer had been rejected by certain rehabilitative programs in central Ohio.

Third, House Bill 365 requires the DRC to establish stronger parole officer guidelines, helping to ensure more reliable monitoring of parolees. Finally, the legislation creates a new policy regarding the observation of offender GPS devices, creating an improved process for identifying suspicious activity based on location.

It’s unfortunate when needed changes to Ohio law are discovered through such tragic circumstances, like Reagan’s death. But it brought our attention to issues that weren’t apparent before, and with the passage of this bill, Ohio’s criminal justice system will be stronger for it. It is my hope that the Reagan Tokes Act, named in her honor, will help keep others from her same fate.


Featured Posts

Representative Lanese Named As Assistant Majority Whip By Speaker Householder


COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese was chosen at today’s House session to be the
Assistant Majority Whip for the Ohio House Republican Caucus by Speaker Larry Householder and
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Guest Column From State Representative Laura Lanese: National Clean Energy Week: It's About Improving Our Future

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This week is National Clean Energy week and in recognition of that, I believe we should open the conversation to discussing renewable energies and what that technology would mean for our state. The way I view it, there are three main reasons to turn our focus and begin investing in Ohio’s energy future. Not only does the transition into renewable energy translate into more job opportunities and economic diversity, it also is cost effective for our citizens and ultimately improves the day-to-day quality of life. 


Rep. Lanese Commends Legislature's Approval Of Payday Lending Reform Legislation

Columbus - 

State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) commended the Ohio House’s concurrence on Senate changes to House Bill 123, legislation sponsored by Reps. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) and Michael Ashford (D-Toledo). The bipartisan bill will reform the state’s payday lending industry and is aimed at lowering interest rates on loans and helping borrowers avoid endless debt cycles.


Representative Lanese Sworn In As State Representative Of The 23rd House District


State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. She represents the 23rd Ohio House District, which includes portions of Franklin County.