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Patton Votes to Support Protecting Domestic Violence Victims and Family Pocketbook Protection Act

Both Bills Passed Unanimously in the Ohio House
May 20, 2020
Thomas F. Patton News

State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) voted to support two bipartisan bills that passed unanimously within the Ohio House of Representatives, one known as Aisha’s Law and the other as the Family Pocketbook Protection Act. Patton is a co-sponsor on both pieces of legislation.

“It really has been a busy week down here in Columbus,” said Patton. “It’s great to see lots of bipartisan and significant bills move forward in our chamber to help Ohioans moving forward through this pandemic and beyond.”

House Bill 3, known as Aisha’s Law, was introduced after Aisha Fisher was repeatedly abused and eventually killed by her ex-husband in front of their small children. The legislation provides more protections for victims of domestic violence.

Some provisions within the bill include:

  • Allows law enforcement, with the consent of a domestic violence victim, to request an emergency protection order from a judge anytime the court is not open for regular business;
  • Requires the court to issue an emergency protection order if there is probable cause to believe that the victim is in immediate danger based on allegations of recent domestic violence incidents;
  • Expands the offense of domestic violence to include strangulation;
  • Makes an individual eligible for a charge of aggravated murder if the victim was a prior victim of domestic violence at the hand of the perpetrator;
  • Requires high risk victims of domestic violence to be referred to local or regional domestic violence advocacy services;
  • Provides funds for the training of law enforcement to use the newly mandated domestic violence risk assessment tool, which will evaluate both an offender’s risk of re-offending and a victim’s risk of lethal assault; and
  • Creates a study committee on the prosecution of domestic violence cases.

“It has also been reported that there has been a dramatic increase in DVI cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes its passage all more important,” said Patton.

Patton also supported the Family Pocketbook Protection Act, legislation that helps solve the problem of surprise billing. Surprise medical bills are unexpected charges patients face after receiving care from an out-of-network health care practitioner at an in-network health care facility.

Under the bill, an out-of-network health care professional, who provides care during an in-network procedure, could elect to be paid the in-network rate by the insurance company or could negotiate a different rate with the insurance company. If no agreement is reached, the health care provider can pursue “baseball style” arbitration. Under this approach, each side would submit documentation supporting their position to a neutral, third party arbiter who would make a final, binding decision.

According to Stanford University researchers, surprise billing is on the rise across America and so is the expense, with average costs tripling over a seven-year period to more than $2,000 per bill.

Both Aisha’s Law and the Family Pocketbook Protection Act now move to the Senate for further action.