The Ohio House introduced House Bill 6 among its priority legislation last Wednesday. This bill extends the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape and sexual battery cases. Yesterday, the same proposal was in the Senate in the form of Senate Bill 13.Since Attorney General Mike DeWine launched the Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative in 2011, law enforcement agencies have been forwarding old DNA samples for testing. However, due to the 20 year statute of limitations, many sexual offenders are escaping prosecution. If passed, HB 6 or SB 13 would extend the statute of limitations to allow the prosecution of a sexual offender once the result of the DNA analysis is confirmed, rather than when the crime occurred. This proposal was introduced as Senate Bill 324 during the last General Assembly, but failed to emerge from the Criminal Justice Committee. According to the Columbus Dispatch, committee chair John Eklund opposed the bill, which may have prevented the bill from coming to a vote. Eklund retains his chairmanship in the new General Assembly, and may remain an obstacle in the Senate. However, the inclusion of HB 6 in the House’s package of priority bills, may signal that it will pass through that chamber effortlessly. As always, a complete list of Ohio legislation impacting women can be found on our Women’s Watch page. We will add information and analysis on bills as they emerge during the 2015-2016 legislative session. Follow Ohio Women’s Watch on Twitter and Facebook to receive updates and alerts on legislative action.
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