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Bill Increasing Penalties for Repeat Domestic Violence Offenders goes to State Senate

Published By Lancaster Eagle Gazette on December 20, 2023
Jeff LaRe In The News

The Ohio House recently passed a bill that would strengthen penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders. The bill will now go to the Ohio Senate for a vote. If the Senate passes the bill it will go to Gov. Mike DeWine to sign into law.

House Bill 111 would raise the penalties for domestic violence offenders from a low tier third-degree felony to a high tier third-degree felony.

Currently, when repeat domestic violence offenders are charged with a third-degree felony, they are subjected to a low tier sentencing range of 9-36 months. House Bill 111 would increase the third-degree felony to a high tier sentencing range of 12-60 months.

The bill would also recommend a prison term for third-degree felony domestic violence offenses if the offenders knew that the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense.

State Reps. Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.) and Kevin Miller (R-Newark) sponsored the bill.

Local resident Nicole Schultz was also instrumental in the bill's passage as she worked with both LaRe and Miller. She also gave testimony to state officials.

"That came as a pleasant surprise to me just because historically domestic violence bills have struggled to get through to the finish line," Schultz said. "So I think everyone there recognized the need for this primarily based on the testimony that was given by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and Lou Tobin of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association."

LaRe in a statement said the bill is an active step in protecting Ohioans from domestic violence and making sure offenders are punished.

“There is no doubt this legislation will make Ohio a safer and better place to live and flourish," he said.

Miller said the state has to amend current laws to protect and defend domestic violence victims.

“Increasing the minimum sentencing range for repeat domestic violence offenders and favoring a prison term for offenders who knew their victim was pregnant actively works to protect victims of domestic violence," he said.

Schultz said she hopes the Senate passes the bill and that DeWine signs it into law before the end of next year.

"This is truly a Fairfield County bill," she said. "It was a team effort with our prosecutor's office and the Lighthouse, Paul Martin (city service safety director), Jennifer Sitterley (local attorney). We had a number of folks come together to help draft the legislation and help figure out what was going into the guts of the bill."

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