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Ohio House Passes Legislation Updating County Coroner Laws

Two former coroners sponsor bill to make system more efficient and responsive
February 24, 2016
Republican Newsroom

Press Release Poster

State Representatives Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) applauded yesterday’s House passage of legislation they joint sponsored that updates county coroner laws in the state of Ohio through the modification of various provisions.

House Bill 240 implements various changes to the Ohio Revised Code in reference to county coroners including:

• Clarifying various technical definitions such as defining the term “legal residence” as a permanent place of abode used or occupied as living quarters at the time of a person's death and also expanding the definition of “coroner” to include a charter county medical examiner
• Specifying that if a county coroner resigns or passes away, and no one runs or is appointed to fill the open vacancy, a county can contract with another county’s coroner to assume that role
• For charter counties only, eliminating the requirement that a coroner has to have practiced for at least two years in the state of Ohio to be eligible to serve as coroner
• Ensuring that if a firearm is needed as evidence in a case, the coroner shall deliver the firearm to the police chief of the municipal corporation where the body was found or to the county sheriff if it is not found in a municipal corporation. Law enforcement must return the firearm to next of kin if requested when the firearm is no longer needed as evidence.
• Making various salary clarifications including stipulating that law enforcement officers acting as coroner investigators will be eligible to receive compensation from the coroner’s budget. The legislation also specifies that additional compensation can be provided to forensic pathologist coroners. These salary changes are revenue neutral and simply allow counties to best utilize their funds for coroners.
• Specifying that if an autopsy is performed on an inmate in a state correctional facility, it will be paid for by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections or the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

“This is a great step forward to modernize the coroner system in Ohio and to make it more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the citizens of Ohio,” said Huffman, who is a practicing physician.

“I’m happy to partner with Dr. Huffman on this bill,” Rep. Johnson said. “As two former county coroners, we have been in a unique position to understand the needs of this vital service that county coroner’s play for Ohio citizens. I’m particularly happy to help modernize and streamline the office in a way that preserves the crucial coroner functions that Ohioans have come to count on.”

House Bill 240 now goes to the Senate for further consideration.