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Ohio Victim Witness Association
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Public Policy


In keeping with OVWA's history of successful public policy initiatives, OVWA continues to promote public policy that enhances and promotes the rights of crime victims and advocate services. Our goal is to discover and address current issues that are relevant to victims and witnesses of crime. 

Here, you will find legislation we are currently watching and comments from our leadership and Public Policy Committee. 

 

New Laws

In December 2018, Governor Kasich signed four bills into law that will directly affect Ohio crime victims. They are as follows:

 

HB 96 (Hughes): Increases the penalty for sexual imposition when the offender previously has been convicted or pleaded guilty three or more times of any of several specified sex offenses and enhances the penalty for disorderly conduct involving voluntary intoxication when the offender has previously been convicted of the offense three or more times.

HB 497 (Rogers-Manning) - Prohibits the nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, provides that certain property involved in the offense may be criminally forfeited, and creates certain legal rights and protections of a victim of the offense.

SB 201 (Bacon-O’Brien) - Enacts Reagan Tokes Law and provides for indefinite prison terms for first or second degree felonies, with presumptive release of offenders sentenced to such a term at the end of the minimum term; generally allows the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction with approval of the sentencing court to reduce the minimum term for exceptional conduct or adjustment to incarceration; allows the department to rebut the release presumption and keep the offender in prison up to the maximum term if it makes specified findings; requires the Adult Parole Authority to study the feasibility of certain GPS monitoring functions; prioritizes funding for residential service contracts that reduce homeless offenders; names those provisions of the act the Reagan Tokes Law; includes conduct involving an impaired person within certain sex offenses relating to conduct involving a minor; requires the attorney general to create and maintain a statewide tracking system for the processing of sexual assault examination kits; and eliminates the requirement that one of the judges of the Wayne County Municipal Court sit within the municipal corporation of Orrville.

SB 231 (Gardner) - "Sierah's Law - Created a violent offender database and addresses offender releases. Legislation Homepage. Learn about Sierah HERE

Sub. SB 20 (Hackett) - 
Requires an additional prison term of six years for an offender who is convicted of felonious assault and a specification charging that the victim suffered permanent disabling harm and was less than ten years old at the time of the offense, regardless of whether the offender knew the victim's age. 

Am. Sub. HB 38 (Greenspan) - Provides that purposely causing the death of a first responder or military member is aggravated murder and requires an offender serve a mandatory prison term for certain types of attempted aggravated murder when the victim is a first responder or military member.

Am. HB 137 (Kent) - Makes peace officers mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect and expands the types of peace officers authorized to receive reports of child abuse and neglect.

Am. Sub. SB 158 (Wilson) - Develops best practices and educational opportunities to combat elder fraud and exploitation, modifies the membership of the elder abuse commission, and to fine and require full restitution from offenders who are found guilty of certain fraud-related crimes against the elderly.

Sub. HB 92 
(Schaffer) - Requires public indecency before minors offenders to register as a sex offender. 


History of the Victims’ Rights Movement


"Landmarks in Victims' Rights & Services"

Marsy's Law


On November 7, 2017, an overwhelming majority of Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law in a record breaking 83% show of support. Marsy’s Law grants Ohio’s crime victims specific rights in the criminal justice process. Many of these rights already exist in Ohio statutes and evidence rules. However, Ohio’s voters have made a clear statement that they want to ensure that Ohio’s victims’ rights are protected and enforced. In addition, in passing Marsy’s Law, Ohio voters have prioritized victims’ rights and the idea that these rights should be enforced no less vigorously than the rights of the accused. Consideration of victim dignity, privacy, and safety must be elevated in the criminal justice process. In addition, remedies are now explicitly available should victims’ rights be violated.

More Information

  • Marsy’s Law Rights Request Forms
  • Marsy’s Law Webinar and FAQ — In February 2018, OVWA partnered with the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association to bring you a webinar reviewing Marsy’s Law.
  • Marsy’s Law Summary
  • Marsy’s Law Draft Bill Summary


Roberta's Law (SB 160)


Senate Bill 160, commonly referred to as “Roberta’s Law”, became effective March 2013 and expanded notification rights for crime victims and victim representatives regarding certain types of release proceedings for certain categories of offenders incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. For inmates who were convicted of Aggravated Murder, Murder, a first, second or third degree felony offense of violence (as defined in Ohio Revised Code Section 2901.01), or are under a life sentence, automatic notification of specified release proceedings will be made to the victim or representative, whether or not they have requested notification.

Roberta’s Law does provide for an opt-out mechanism for crime victims or victim representatives who do not wish to receive the mandatory notification. To opt-out of automatic notification, a victim or victim representative must submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form to the ODRC Office of Victim Services.

To meet the mandates of Roberta’s Law, the Ohio Parole Board and ODRC Office of Victim Services have greatly expanded outreach efforts to identify and search for crime victims whose incarcerated offenders fall into the specified categories. It is crucial for those victims and victim representatives to either register for notification, or, submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form. It is also important for crime victims and victim representatives requesting notification to update their name, address, email and/or phone number information should changes occur.

To register for notification regarding the status of an inmate incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, or, to access a copy of the Opt-Out of Notification Form please visit www.drc.ohio.gov/web/victim.htm.

For questions about notification, registration procedures, the Opt-Out of Notification Form, or post-conviction supportive services, the ODRC Office of Victim Services may be reached by phone toll-free at 888-842-8464, or by email at drc.victim.services@odrc.state.oh.us.

Ohio House and Senate Bills to Watch

HB 56: Expungement - Human Trafficking 

  • Representatives Dever and Gavarone
  • Current Status: House Criminal Justice Committee – 4th Hearing
  • Legislative Homepage

HB 96: "Increase Penalties for Sexual Imposition"

  • Representative Hughes
  • Current Status – Passed Senate 12/13/18 with 31-0 Vote
  •  Legislation Homepage

HB 305: "Protection Order Firearm Turnover"

  • Representatives Antonio and Boyd
  • Current Status – 1/31/18 House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, 1st hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 327: "Online Importuning Penalties"

  • Representatives Schaffer and Smith
  • Current Status – House Criminal Justice Committee, 3rd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 451: "Crime Victim Privacy Protection"

  • Representative Retherford
  • Current Status – Senate Judiciary Committee, 3rd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 523: "Animal Abuse"

  • Representatives Lanese and Perales
  • Current Status – 11/208 Committee on Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid

  • Legislation Homepage

HB 561: "Remove Spousal Exceptions for Certain Sex Offenses"

  • Representatives Boggs and Lanese
  • Current Status – Reported out of House Criminal Justice Committee 12/4/18

  • Legislation Homepage

HB 627: "Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault"

  • Representatives Smith and Galonski
  • Current Status – December 2018 House Criminal Justice Committee, 1st Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 724: "Abusive Civil Action Plaintiffs"

  • Representative Pelanda
  • Current Status – December 2018 House Criminal Justice Committee, 2nd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

SB 171: "Protection Violation Penalties"

  • Senator Hottinger
  • Current Status – December 2018, House Criminal Justice Committee, 4th Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

SB 278: "Extreme Risk Protection Orders"

  • Senators Schiavoni and Williams
  • Current Status: May 2018, Senate Government Oversight Committee, 1st Hearing

  • Legislation Homepage

SB 315: "Identifying Information - Sexual Assault Victims"

  • Senator Yuko
  • Current Status: September 2018, Senate Government Oversight Committee

  • Legislation Homepage



Contact Your Legislature


To support OVWA’s public policy initiatives to improve the lives of crime victims and their advocates across Ohio, please consider contacting your state representatives, providing testimony to proposed legislation, or contacting us with your thoughts.