COLUMBUS -- Individuals who violate civil protection orders could face charges so long as they were made aware of those orders, under legislation moved by the Ohio Senate March 7.
SB 7 passed on a vote of 32-0 and heads to the Ohio House for further consideration.
It's the third time the Senate has passed comparable legislation, counting votes in the past two consecutive general assemblies. The past bills have died in the Ohio House for lack of action.
Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus), primary sponsor of the legislation, said the law changes are needed to protect residents.
Under current law and a court decision, individuals can avoid charges for violating protection orders if they have not been formally served related legal notices. SB 7 would expand current law to enable prosecution of protection order violations if their targets are aware of the orders and reckless violate their terms.
Bacon cited cases where individuals were made aware of protection orders but avoiding being officially served, thus avoiding resulting charges.
" If the person's walking onto your property or they're within 500 feet of you or violating [a protection order], you surely then can have the ability to call law enforcement and they can come and enforce it and arrest the individual and put them in jail and you have a cooling period to which then you could pursue charges," he said, adding of existing law, "The prosecutors will tell you, people are getting constantly let off."
SB 7 was one of three bills approved by the Senate Tuesday. Another would designate Sept. 12 as as Jesse Owens Day, in honor of the gold medalist track and field athlete.
Senators also OK'd SB 27, which would designate March 13-April 15 as Ohio Deaf History Month.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.