COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives on Friday passed Substitute House Bill 22, which expands the offense of obstructing justice.
Sub. H.B. 22, sponsored by State Representative Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Twp.), expands the offense of obstructing justice to include failure to follow a lawful order from a law enforcement officer or diverting a law enforcement officer’s attention.
“The purpose of this bill is to not to infringe upon individuals’ freedom of speech and assembly,” said LaRe. “But rather to create a safe environment for our citizens and our men and women in blue while performing their daily duties and interacting with the public.”
Under current law, as assault involves knowingly, attempting, and/or recklessly causing serious physical harm. Sub. H.B. 22 would extend the law to throwing objects, failing to follow a lawful order, and inhibiting or depriving a law enforcement officer of control over a detainee to what constitutes an obstruction of justice, and ties penalties for a violation to the current penalties found under the state’s obstruction of justice law.
LaRe noted that the bill does not prohibit an individual from video or audio recording a law enforcement officer performing their duties.
Sub. H.B. 22 passed the House with a vote of 61-32. The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.