The Ohio House passes a bill to make hoax emergency calls a felony

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Intentional false reports about school shootings and other hoax emergency calls could be prosecuted as a felony under legislation passed by the Republican-led Ohio House.

The bill would create a felony offense for “swatting,” which is when someone knowingly reports a false emergency that prompts a response by law enforcement.

Supporters of the bill say such situations cause unnecessary panic, disruption and expense, and can end with innocent people being arrested or harmed.

The legislation would make “swatting” at least a third-degree felony.

The state public defender’s office opposed the bill, arguing there’s no need, as penalties for false reporting of crimes already exist.