COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It has been a relatively short road for the Reagan Tokes Act, but it certainly has felt long for many at times.
The bill came to the People’s House after 21-year-old Reagan Tokes was found naked in Scioto Grove Metro Park, a victim of kidnapping, rape, and murder.
Her killer Brian Golsby was convicted earlier this year. He had been released from prison homeless on a GPS ankle monitoring device with no restriction or limitation in place.
After charging Golsby with the Tokes’ murder, investigators linked him to several other crimes in the weeks before her death.
He was not linked before because of the lack of restrictions and the monitor.
Introduced late in the first half of the 132 General Assembly, sponsors of the legislation were hopeful the bills could be passed out of their perspective chambers by the end of 2017.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, the Senate version of the bill was split into two bills, one of which has stalled in its committee while the other has already passed the Senate floor and is waiting in a House committee for hearings.
Meanwhile, the House version of the bill took until May to be finalized in its House Committee and has been waiting for a floor vote since then, caught up in the logjam of legislation that resulted from the resignation of the former Speaker of the House.
The month-long delay has not made it easy for the Tokes family.
“It’s fair to say that because of some of the hold ups with the work going forward in the statehouse that they were nervous that we weren’t going to be able to get this done,” said Rep. Kristin Boggs, one of the bill’s sponsors.
According to Boggs, the Tokes have been in contact with new Speaker of the House Ryan Smith who assured them the bill would be a priority, which put their minds at ease.
That promise was kept Wednesday when the House version of the bill was given a floor vote as part of a massive 22 bill agenda that took 4 hours to complete.
The bill passed with 3 dissenting votes and now heads to the Senate where it will be assigned to a committee and begin the second half of its legislative journey.
With the legislative summer break practically upon us, the bill may have to wait for hearings until after the General Election in November.
Despite the small window of time to get the bill passed, since all legislation must pass or die by December 31, 2018; the bill’s sponsors are optimistic.
“We’re going to take the time that we have off here to talk to the four sponsors, include the family, and continue so that way if there’s any minor differences we can get it done,” said Rep. Jim Hughes. “We will get this done by the end of the year.”
The part of the bill that has been hung up in the Senate deals with GPS monitoring, something Boggs says is the less controversial part of the bill.
“I think the fact that the Senate passed the sentencing piece of their version of the bill first, they kind of did the heavy lifting,” said Boggs. “Now that we’ve gotten this passed the house I think that it’ll sail through the Senate.”
Whether those legislative waters will be calm, or turbulent, remains to be seen.