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Anti-hazing ‘Collin’s Law’ bill passes Ohio House with minor amendment

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Kathleen Wiant lost her son Collin two and a half years ago when he died after a hazing incident at Ohio University.

She was greeted Friday with a standing ovation from the Ohio House of Representatives just before it unanimously voted to pass a bill aimed at strengthening the state’s hazing laws.

Its name: Collin’s Law

The legislation also unanimously passed the Senate, but it has to go back to that chamber after it hit a minor snag on its journey toward becoming law. Legislators discovered language in Collin’s Law, SB 126, that unintentionally could be interpreted to unduly punish the families of hazing victims. Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said the amendment had the support of the bill’s original sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green).

It’s on track to head to the governor’s desk after the Senate officially approves the minor change.

Gavarone and Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) reintroduced the bill in March just days after the hazing death of BGSU student Stone Foltz. It stalled in the legislature last year.

Collin’s Law would increase criminal penalties for people who participate in hazing and those who know it’s happening but don’t report it. The bill also aims to increase hazing education in the state and requires the Ohio Chancellor of Higher Education to create a statewide plan to prevent hazing at colleges and universities.

Family members of Foltz and Wiant each testified in support of the bill to lawmakers as it made its way through the committee process.

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