The Ohio House of Representatives is considering a bill that would mandate prison time for people convicted of felony assault against on-duty nurses.
The bill, HB 450, sponsored by Democratic State Reps. Linda S. Bolon of Columbiana, and Denise Driehaus of Cincinnati, would treat a physical assault on a nurse—or her unborn child—the same as an assault on school employees, police, fire, and EMS workers, which under Ohio law is a fourth-degree felony with a mandatory one-year prison sentence.
The proposed law would apply when the victim is an on-duty registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, who the attacker knows is working as a licensed medical professional.
"I want to do everything in my power to not only protect these hard-working men and women as they do their jobs, but also to aid this vital profession in its efforts to recruit the next generation of nurses," Driehaus said in a media release.
The bill was introduced on Feb. 11 and has yet to be assigned to committee. A fiscal note that would identify any financial impact to the state has not been published.
The Ohio Nurses Association says HB 450 recognizes that violent acts against nurses in the workplace occur more frequently than in any other profession.
"ONA has long advocated for legislation to protect nurses from violence in the workplace, and we are proud to support House Bill 450 as a key part of ONA's overall workplace violence prevention initiative," said Elise Geig, ONA director of Health Policy. Geig says the bill has received bipartisan support from across the state.