State Senator Tom Patton, who represents Westlake, introduced legislation Wednesday to increase penalties for anyone who assaults an Ohio transit system employee.
The legislation, Senate Bill 107, is jointly sponsored with State Senator Nina Turner, representing Cleveland, according to a press release.
“Unprovoked attacks on Ohio’s transportation service personnel must not be tolerated,” Patton in a letter to his colleagues, pushing for support of the bill. “All workers deserve to feel safe on the job, specifically those responsible for the safety of others. This legislation protects transit workers during the performance of their duties and will increase the safety for everyone on the road, including passengers.”
Patton felt this bill was needed after the unprovoked assaults on transit employees that occurred in late 2012 in the Cleveland area, and has been formally requested by the Cuyahoga County Council.
The most notable of these attacks was an incident between an RTA bus driver and a young woman, that ended with the driver punching the passenger.
If put through, assaulting a transit employee would be a fifth-degree felony, up to a $5,000 fine and a six-month ban from using public transportation.
Repeat offenders could be punished with a fourth-degree felony and a lifetime ban from public transportation in Ohio.
In October 2012, Senator Patton stated that he would introduce legislation to curb this problem. Read Senator Patton’s statement here.