State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) applauded the concurrence of Senate amendments to Substitute House Bill 151, legislation she sponsored that addresses cyberstalking and harassment in Ohio.
Sub. HB 151 works to bring state law up-to-date with today’s technology by expanding the offense of “menacing by stalking” and telecommunications harassment. With the use of technology, such as email, social media and text messages, growing rapidly every year, the tools available to offenders who wish to threaten or harass others is also growing. This bill prohibits a person from intentionally posting a message using written communication (i.e. e-mail, Facebook, text message) or verbal graphic gestures to lead another to believe they are in danger.
“The bill brings our current laws on menacing and stalking up to date and will provide more peace of mind to the victims and families of those who have experienced these terrible situations,” Rep. Anielski said. “Thank you to my colleagues in both chambers for your support of this vital piece of legislation. I am truly confident that Substitute House Bill 151 has the potential to save lives and greater protect those innocent Ohioans who may be in these threatening situations.”
Rep. Anielski introduced, and the House passed, a similar measure in 2013, which was inspired by one of Rep. Anielski’s constituents from Broadview Heights, who was a repeated victim of cyber stalking and harassment in the mid-2000s. At the time, local law enforcement was unable to assist since the type of harassment she was experiencing was not specified in state law.
Lori Siwik, a constituent of Rep. Anielski’s and proponent of the legislation, said, “I am thrilled with the passage of HB 151. Today, victims of stalking and harassment crimes in Ohio have a new tool in the toolbox to help protect them from their perpetrators. The hard work that Representative Anielski, John Murphy of the Ohio Prosecutor’s Association, and I have put in over the last several years has paid off. Seeing this bill become law, and knowing the impact that it will have, is very gratifying.”
House Bill 151 will now go to the Governor for his consideration.