UPDATE: ‘A victory for domestic violence survivors across Ohio’: Aisha’s Law moves forward after Ohio House approval

Updated: May. 20, 2020 at 10:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WOIO) - More than one year after Aisha’s Law was first introduced in Ohio, the priority legislation that would reform the state’s domestic violence laws is finally gaining traction.

On Tuesday, House Bill 3 was unanimously passed by the Criminal Justice Committee. The bill then passed out of the House Finance Committee with a vote of 31-1.

On Wednesday, the bill passed in the Ohio House.

The bipartisan bill was named after Aisha Fraser, a former Shaker Heights school teacher who was brutally murdered by her ex-husband following years of domestic abuse.

Lance Mason, a former state lawmaker and judge, stabbed Fraser to death in front their two children in November 2018.

Mason pleaded guilty to the murder in August and was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 35 years.

In 2015, Mason pleaded guilty to domestic violence after a brutal attack on his then-wife while the couple was driving.

Investigators say Mason punched Frasier in the face several times and choked and bit her on Aug. 2, 2014. The couple’s two children were also in the vehicle during the attack.

“I promised Aisha’s family, her friends, her colleagues and her students that I would leave no stone unturned,” said State State Representative Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights), who sponsored HB 3 with Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton). “This is a victory for domestic violence survivors across Ohio,” Boyd said.

Aisha’s Law would change how law enforcement agencies respond to domestic violence cases, give risk screenings to domestic violence victims, and send certain cases to high risk teams.

Victims would also be able to request emergency protection orders 24/7.

“Aisha’s Law represents nearly 18 months of interested party meetings with dozens of stakeholders, multiple redrafts, some very heart breaking calls with survivors and advocates and eye opening calls with various centers of excellence on domestic policy across the country," said Boyd.

Investigator Sara Goldenberg spoke to Rep. Boyd over the phone after the bill passed both committees.

“It doesn’t end domestic violence, it helps us identify the most lethal, highest risk most dangerous situations, and then be able to protect the victims,” she said.

Boyd made changes to the bill over the last few months, working with prosecutors and public defenders.

The bill would start a task force with survivors, advocates and attorneys to study how what happens-- or does not happen in the court room can lead to cases of domestic violence and even murder.

Boyd hopes Aisha's law will pass, protecting future victims in her name.

“Short term and longer term, I do believe that we will save lives,” Boyd said.

There is a one-time cost of $150,000 with this bill to train law enforcement on high risk screening for victims.

If you are a survivor of domestic violence looking for resources and referrals in Ohio, you can visit ODVN.org or call 614-781-9651.

If you are in an emergency, call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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