HB 315 – Election Complaints (2011-2012)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_HB_315
A bill to increase the penalties for making a false statement in campaign materials for state office, or in regard to any campaign for or against a ballot question or issue. It requires the person who made the false statement to pay reasonable attorney’s fees.
Primary Sponsors:Rep. Baker (R), Rep. Sears (R)
Secondary Sponsors:Rep. Blair (R), Rep. C. Hagan (R), Rep. Derickson (R), Rep. Gonzales (R), Rep. Grossman (R), Rep. Henne (R), Rep. Huffman (R), Rep. Landis (R), Rep. R. Adams (R), Rep. Stebelton (R), Rep. Thompson (R)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/hou129.nsf/House+Bill+Number/0315?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
The ACLU of Ohio is concerned that this legislation would be used as a tool to chill political speech. HB 315 makes the penalties for false speech far more stringent, raising it to the level of a felony with a possible fine of up to $100,000. Further, the allegations are not settled in a court, but by the Ohio Elections Commission, raising additional serious constitutional concerns.