COLUMBUS—Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced that the governor signed legislation this week aimed at strengthening penalties for violent offenders. House Bill 63 would increase penalties for felonious assaults where the perpetrator uses an accelerant to burn his or her victim. The new law was introduced by Representative Jim Hughes (R-Upper Arlington) after Gahanna resident Judy Malinowski was doused in gasoline and set on fire in August 2015 by her estranged boyfriend.
 
Judy passed away in June after undergoing more than 50 surgeries in the 22-month period following her attack.
 
“Judy's tragic story highlighted a particularly heinous type of crime, which leads to permanent disfigurement or even death,” said President Obhof, who co-sponsored the bill. “No one should have to suffer through what she experienced over the past two years. This new law will ensure that prison sentences more accurately reflect the severity and cruelty of these types of attacks.” 
 
House Bill 63 creates a six-year specification to be added to the attacker’s prison term. This would apply to felonious assaults, where the offender uses an accelerant in committing the offense and the harm suffered by the victim results in a permanent, serious disfigurement or permanent, substantial incapacity. 
 
Despite her condition before her passing, Judy Malinowski continued to speak out about domestic violence and made every effort to make others aware of the dangers of domestic violence. She bravely recorded video testimony encouraging lawmakers to adopt House Bill 63.
 
House Bill 63 goes into effect October 15, which is 90 days after the governor signed the bill into law.
 
Making Government More Efficient
 
President Obhof also announced that the governor has signed House Bill 103, which makes changes to the membership of financial planning and supervision commissions that assist local governments in escaping from fiscal emergency. Obhof co-sponsored the bill, which revises who makes appointments to planning and supervision commissions. Importantly, the bill also requires that appointees to the commissions be appointed in 15 days, whereas it can now take up to a year to seat a commission.  
 
“House Bill 103 gives local governments options as they take steps toward solvency,” said President Obhof. “These changes will help local governments recover more quickly from fiscal distress.” 
 
The bill was supported during the legislative process by State Auditor Dave Yost and passed the Senate in late June. It goes into effect October 15.

 
 
 
  
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