‘Sierah’s Law’ passes Ohio House, on the way to Senate

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed Senate Bill 231, sponsored by State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, which would establish a statewide violent offender database to help law enforcement track offenders and keep Ohio communities safe.

The database would track geographic information on those convicted of aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping and abduction.

Currently, law enforcement lacks access to a geographic database of violent offenders. Under SB 231, they would be better able to know where violent criminal offenders reside, help solve crimes and potentially keep future crimes from happening.

Senate Bill 231 is known as “Sierah’s Law.” In 2016, 20-year-old Sierah Joughin of Fulton County was riding her bike when she was attacked, kidnapped and murdered. The attacker was convicted by a Fulton County jury earlier this year. During the trial, the jury learned that the perpetrator spent time in prison years before for an abduction in the same area.

State Representative Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, presented SB 231 on the House floor Wednesday, where she spoke in favor of the bill.

“Out of this tragedy, we’ve learned that Ohio law could be changed to provide better information for law enforcement and the opportunity for citizens to better protect themselves by knowing where convicted violent felons live,” Gavarone said. “I want to thank Senator Gardner for his leadership on this important issue and to Sierah’s family for their courage and involvement in helping pass this legislation.”

Senate Bill 231 now heads back to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.