November 30, 2012

Ohio Lawmakers pass bill to create arson registry

11-30-2012 Ohio:

A local firefighter who helped push the idea of an arsonists’ registry is glad to see a bill might soon become law creating one.

The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 291, which represents Lancaster firefighters, proposed the idea to Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, fire inspector Jason Coy said.

The Ohio House of Representatives voted 89-2 Wednesday to send the measure back to the Ohio Senate for concurrence on a few amendments, but Schaffer, sponsor of the bill, said the House amendments to the bill do not appear to be major and the bill should quickly be passed and sent to Gov. John Kasich’s office.

The bill first passed Nov. 14 in the Ohio Senate. The legislation would create a statewide registry of arsonists and would require them to register annually with the sheriff in the county where they live. That would apply to people convicted of arson in Ohio or elsewhere.

Coy, an arson investigator with the Lancaster Fire Department, got the idea when he attended a national training seminar a couple of years ago during which registries were discussed.

“There were only about three states that had established them back then,” Coy said. “But it made a lot of sense to me and would be a good tool to help us find arsonists when a fire occurs.”

Coy later approached the firefighter’s Local 291 political action committee about the issue.

“They got a hold of Sen. Schaffer and his staff,” Coy said. “Before long, the attorney general’s office came on board and started supporting the measure. But then it kind of stalled about a year ...continued... by Carl Burnett Jr.

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