COLUMBUS— State Reps. Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison) and Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) today gave sponsor testimony on House Bill 109, legislation that creates new criminal offenses to combat rioting, looting, and violence in Ohio.
“This bill does not limit the ability to speak and peacefully assemble,” said Carruthers. “The purpose of this legislation is to hold accountable the reckless and violent actions of those who break the law.”
The Ohio Law and Order Act creates the following offenses:
- Riot assault for recklessly causing physical harm to another person during a riot, punishable by a fifth degree felony or a fourth degree felony if the action is against a peace officer
- Riot vandalism for recklessly causing harm to government property, including a tomb, monument, or gravestone, punishable by a fifth degree felony
- Bias motivated intimidation for maliciously harming a person or property based on the victim’s status as a first responder, punishable by a third degree felony
In addition, the legislation allows peace officers to bring civil suits against persons participating in a riot and increases the penalties for disorderly conduct when the offender hinders the movement of people if the violation occurs during a riot or illegal protest.
“This past summer, downtown businesses sustained major losses, and damages to our own Statehouse totaled over $158,000 in repairs,” said Abrams. “The Ohio Law and Order Act supports law enforcement, first responders, small businesses, and law-abiding Ohioans.”
The bill awaits additional hearings in the House Criminal Justice Committee.