Penalties for fleeing police officers and making false 911 calls would increase if a pair of bills aimed at first-responder safety introduced in the Ohio House become law.
House Bill 580, which has had one hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee, increases penalities for fleeing from a law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle from a first-degree misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony at a minimum in all cases.
A push to have Ohio judges consider public safety when setting bail took a step forward when the House Criminal Justice Committee advanced legislation supported by prosecutor and business groups across the state.
House Bill 607 adds the risk of public safety into bail consideration in direct response to an Ohio Supreme Court decision in Debuse v. McGuffey, a ruling that upheld an appellate court’s decision permitting the reduction of a murder suspect’s bail without considering community safety.
A bill that would expand Ohio’s definition of obstruction of justice in response to protests around the state last summer passed the House Criminal Justice Committee on Thursday but drew sharp criticism from the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.
Caucus President Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) said House Bill 22 would increase division between communities and police and create potential for conflict.