COLUMBUS (WCMH) — 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 Strauss’ victims to sue The Ohio State University for what happened to them decades ago, long after the statute of limitations has passed.
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 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 in order to keep their seats.
In 2018, another election year, little to no legislative action was taken to move bills until after November.
That leaves the rest of this year and next 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, it will have to pass the entire House, and if successful there, it will start again in the Senate.
The Senate prides itself on being a much more deliberative chamber and there is no companion bill currently being heard on this matter there.
This will put HB249 at square one if it gets to the Senate, and it will be at the whim of the Chairman of whatever committee it is assigned to.
Inquiries of the bill’s sponsor State Rep. 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 Strauss and OSU.
Gov. 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.