(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined Governor John Kasich at the Ohio Statehouse this afternoon as the Governor signed two major bills into law that will combat methamphetamine and synthetic drug abuse, as well as create an Ohio arson registry.
House Bill 334 allows for additional law enforcement monitoring of purchases and attempted purchases of products that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE). PSE is an ingredient used in many cold and allergy medicines and is also the primary component in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Attorney General DeWine's office worked to add a synthetic drug provision to the bill that toughens previous laws banning synthetic drugs known as bath salts or herbal incense. House Bill 334 closes a loophole used by clandestine chemists that gave them the ability to slightly alter the illegal synthetic drug's components into a new, legal substance.
"It will now be easier for law enforcement to arrest those abusing or selling synthetic drugs like bath salts or herbal incense," DeWine said. "We also hope that the increased threat of an arrest and jail time will act as a deterrrent."
Senate Bill 70's arson registry law will require all convicted arson offenders to register with the state. The Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) will then make that information available to all law enforcement officers through the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OHLEG).
"Every time someone intentionally starts a fire they put our residents and our firefighters' lives at risk, and we must do everything possible to protect our neighbors and first responders," said DeWine. "The new registry allows OHLEG to alert an officer to a convicted arsonist's criminal history, which will be tremendously helpful when questioning those in the immediate area of a structure fire."
The arson registry will be available to law enforcement and arson investigators on July 1, 2013.
The synthetic drug provision of House Bill 334 immediately went into effect upon signing due to an emergency clause written into the legislation at the recommendation of Attorney General DeWine. The rest of the law will go into effect in 90 days.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840