COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed Substitute House Bill 74, legislation that expands protections for victims of cyber stalking and telecommunications harassment.


Under current law, it is prohibited to cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm or mental distress to the other person. Substitute HB 74 adds the immediate family members of the person to the prohibition.


In addition, it prohibits a person from knowingly causing someone to believe that the offender will cause his or her immediate family will be terrorized by physical or mental harm. The legislation also would prevent someone from urging or inciting another to commit a violation of menacing by stalking through any form of written communication, including the use of a telecommunications device or using any intentionally written or verbal graphic gestures.


“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,” said Rep. Anielski, who sponsored the bill. “With today’s evolving technology, all avenues of stopping menacing will be addressed.”


The idea for the legislation came from a northeastern Ohio resident who, beginning in 2005, received hundreds of threatening e-mails and faxes from a neighbor, as well as being on a website that featured a picture of her and her husband hanging in effigy. While testifying in favor of the bill in committee, the victim said she was terrified. At the time, there was very little refuge or legal protection that the victim could take.


Substitute HB 74 will now head to the Ohio Senate for additional consideration.

 
 
 
  
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