COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – For the second time this year, lawmakers at the Statehouse will hear the stories of people and their families claiming to be victims of Dr. Richard Strauss. The speakers will be attempting to convince members of the House Criminal Justice Committee to support House Bill 249.
The bill would allow victims of Dr. Strauss to sue the Ohio State University for what happened to them decades ago, long passed the statute of limitations.
Lawmakers heard from victims at the end of June at a similar hearing, and several more hearings after this one are likely to be necessary before lawmakers decide what to do about the bill.
Like all legislation, HB249 has to get through both chambers before the end of the General Assembly in December 2020. That may seem like a long ways off with plenty of time, but it may not be.
Lawmakers are just now getting back from their legislative summer break with the majority of committees picking up again next week. Next year’s summer break is expected to last even longer than this year’s because it is an election year and lawmakers will be campaigning deep into the fall ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election in order to keep their seats.
We saw last year that after leaving for the summer little to no legislative action was taken to move bills until after the election was over in November. That leaves, the rest of this year and the spring to get the majority of the work done on this bill, if not pass it completely.
If the bill makes it out of the House Criminal Justice Committee then it will have to get passed the House Chamber as a whole, and if successful the entire process starts over again in the Senate.
The Senate prides itself on being a much more deliberative chamber and there is no companion bill currently being heard over there on this matter. That will mean that HB249 will be starting from square one if it gets there, and be at the whim of the Chairman of whatever committee it is assigned to.
Inquiries of the bill’s sponsor State Representative Brett Hillyer were made at an earlier hearing of the bill to gauge his willingness to add the elimination of the statute of limitations for all rape cases, not just those pertaining to the incidents involving Dr. Richard Strauss and the Ohio State University.
Governor Mike DeWine has called for an end the statute of limitations on rape, and Democrats have introduced a bill to do so. That bill was assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee on the same day HB249 was getting its first hearing.
This will be the third hearing in total for HB249. The Democrats bill (HB279) has yet to be given a hearing.
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