State Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced the passage of legislation today to protect Ohioans from repeat violent offenders.

Senate Bill 97, better known as the Violent Career Criminal Act, would provide increased penalties for felons already convicted of two violent felonies in the past eight years. For such persons, the bill would also increase prison time for additional crimes involving firearms. 

"Senate  Bill 97 will give law enforcement an important tool in fighting violent crime," said Obhof. "A very small number of repeat offenders commit a high number of these crimes."

This legislation incorporates findings from the Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Group, convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2011 to study the problem of gun violence and recommend more effective prevention strategies. A report commissioned by the group found that people with two or more violent felony offenses make up 0.91 percent of Ohio adult population yet commit 57 percent of Ohio's violent felonies. 

The Senate also passed Senate Bill 7, which would prohibit the sale of pure caffeine powder. Such powders can be very potent, with a single teaspoon containing an amount of caffeine roughly equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. The dangers of powdered caffeine gained the attention of the legislature and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, following the death of a Lorain County teenager who allegedly used the substance.

Both bills will now go to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

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