Story by Laura Hancock

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate adopted a bill that would make strangulation and attempted suffocation of partners or family members felonies under the state’s domestic violence laws.

The crimes are currently misdemeanors, and judges have discretion over whether — and for how long — an offender spends time behind bars, said Stephanie Kunze, a Columbus area Republican who is sponsoring Senate Bill 207.

“If you’re strangled by your domestic partner, you’re 750 percent more likely to be murdered by them, so it’s a really strong indicator that your life is in danger,” Kunze said.

“Obviously any domestic violence situation is egregious and we care about all of them, but once your partner has strangled a victim, it just increases the likelihood that they’re probably going to be murdered by them.”

The research correlating strangulation and murder has sprung states into action. Forty-two now have strangulation as a felony and Kunze said it’s time for Ohio to be the 43rd state.

SB 207 passed the Senate 30 to 0. It now heads to the Ohio House, where it will compete for attention against dozens of other bills in the last weeks of the legislative session, known as lame duck.

The 132nd General Assembly officially ends Dec. 31, although the two chambers will likely formerly adjourn before then.

Click here for the link to the original story.