House Bill 74, introduced Wednesday, would make it illegal to urge or incite menacing by stalking through any form of written communication, including electronic communication. It also includes any written or verbal graphic gestures.
The bill also would prohibit a person from knowingly causing someone to think the offender will cause his or her immediate family physical or mental harm. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio prosecutors and the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio support it.
State Rep. Marlene Anielski, a Republican from Walton Hills, on Wednesday shared the story of a constituent who suffered through electronic harassment by a neighbor without any legal recourse.
The woman said she received hundreds of threatening emails and faxes, and was shown on a website that featured a picture of her and her husband hanging in effigy. She told a House committee she was terrified and couldn’t do much about it.
“The bill brings our current laws on menacing and stalking up to date and will provide more peace of mind to the victims and families of those who have experienced these terrible situations,” Anielski said.