COLUMBUS- House Bill 151, sponsored by State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills), was favorably reported by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.  The legislation is known as the Cyberstalking and Harassment Legislation.
 
With the use of technology growing rapidly every year, the tools available to offenders who wish to threaten or harass others is also growing. HB 151 is a step toward bringing state law up-to-date with today’s technology.
 
For example, the 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,” Representative Anielski said.  “Thank you to Chairman Eklund and members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee for your unanimous support.  Looking forward for HB 151 to be presented on the Senate floor in 2016."
 
The legislation expands the offense of “menacing by stalking” and telecommunications harassment. It also prohibits a person from knowingly causing someone to believe that the offender will cause physical or mental harm to that person’s family.
 
HB 151 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 due to the type of harassment  was not specified in state law.
 
Lori Siwik, local Broadview Heights resident, said, “I am happy to hear that H.B. 151 was unanimously voted out at the Senate hearing.  H.B. 151 is a much needed change to Ohio’s current law.”

 
 
 
  
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