Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ohio House Passes Legislation to Better Safeguard Residents of Nursing Homes Against Sex Offenders

St. Rep. Combs speaking on the House floor in support of H.B. 24
COLUMBUS—In an effort to protect many of Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens, the Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 24, which would require long-term care facilities to notify residents and resident sponsors when a convicted sex offender is being admitted to the facility.

The legislation addresses a loophole in which the residents of a neighborhood where a long-term care facility is located are required to be notified by a sex offender residing there, but the residents living within the facility are not required to be notified by the managers of the facility.

“This is a common-sense piece of legislation that will have a tremendous impact on our most vulnerable population—those living in nursing homes,” said State Representative Courtney Combs, who sponsored House Bill 24. “It will give peace of mind not only to those who reside in these facilities but to their families as well. I am very pleased to see House Bill 24 pass on the House floor with unanimous support because it will help keep our communities and our loved ones safe.”

When enacted, House Bill 24 will require a manager of a long-term care facility to notify all residents of the facility, as well as the sponsor of each resident, when a specified type of tier III sex offender/child-victim offender has moved in to the facility.

It will also direct the Ohio Department of Health to compile, maintain and update twice per year a list that contains the name of each long-term care facility, the county in which it is located, and its address and telephone number. The Department of Health must provide the list, upon request, to the sheriff who is required to provide community notification.

House Bill 24 will now be sent to the Ohio Senate, where it will receive further consideration.