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Ohio Lawmakers Push Again for Increased Penalties for Importuning

photo of Reps. Schaffer and Smith

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, they want to pass a bill to toughen those punishments.

Sponsors of the bill say predators often are sentenced to little or no prison time. Republican Representative Tim Schaffer’s bill 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. And the threat of a mandatory prison term hanging over the perpetrator’s head, I hope would help deter them,” he said.

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.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.