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Ohio News

Bill That Creates Harsher Penalties For Importuning Is Back In Ohio Legislature Again

Representatives Kent Smith (left) and Tim Schafer (right) with backers of their bill behind them
Representatives Kent Smith (left) and Tim Schafer (right) with backers of their bill behind them

Some state lawmakers say current law allows those convicted of importuning or soliciting a minor for sex over the internet, to escape serious penalties. Now there's a bill to toughen those punishments.

Sponsors of the bill say predators often are sentenced to little or no prison time. The bill from Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) would create a mandatory six-month minimum prison term for anyone convicted of the crime. “Nobody wants to go to state prison. I think that’s fair to say," he said, chuckling. "And the threat of a mandatory prison term hanging over the perpetrator’s head, I hope would help deter them.”

The same bill passed the House unanimously last year but there wasn’t time to get it through the Senate before the two-year session ended. Lawmakers now have until the end of next year to pass it this time around.

Copyright 2017 The Statehouse News Bureau