The Ohio Senate approved legislation to form a registry of convicted arsonists.
The Ohio Senate has unanimously approved legislation that would create a registry of those convicted of arson, similar to the state's sex offender list. The registry would be maintained by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
"Arson is one of the most economically damaging, injurious, and least prosecuted crimes in our state," said State Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster).
Schaffer got the idea for the registry after California launched one. He says it has been successful in that state.
Many arsonists are repeat offenders, according to Schaffer. Anyone convicted of arson would be required to register with their local sheriff's office within ten days of being released from jail. They would remain on the registry for ten years. Juvenile offenders are exempt from the requirement.
"Currently fire investigators have no means to track where convicted arsonists work and live in our state," Schaffer said.
According to the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office there were more than 8,500 arson fires in Ohio in 2010. 91 people were killed in arson fires that year. The fires caused $144 million in damage.
The measure moves on to the Ohio House for their consideration.