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Government & Politics

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.