COLUMBUS—State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) issued a statement today following the House passage of House Bill (HB) 109, Republican legislation that would increase penalties and create new criminal offenses related to riots.
HB 109 would, in effect, discourage Ohioans from participating in lawful protests and civil demonstrations for fear of running afoul of the proposed law’s broad and vague language. The bill’s wide-reaching provisions would also put philanthropic organizations at risk of prosecution due to unintended association with bad actors at a protest.
“House Bill 109 is a solution in search of a problem, since current Ohio laws already punish those engaged in a riot. The National Republican Party has gone out of its way to support the lawless behavior of the rioters of the January 6 Insurrection. Yet, here in Ohio, the GOP seeks to chill lawful, peaceful demonstrations of free speech,” said Rep. Galonski.
HB 109 now proceeds to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.