BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — A local state senator has signed on to a new bill aimed at cracking down on hazing, specifically for Ohio colleges and universities.
Senate Bill 126 was introduced Wednesday, following the tragic death of BGSU sophomore Stone Foltz.
Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, says that Foltz's death and the alleged hazing incident on BGSU's campus hit too close to home.
"I've got a son who attends Bowling Green State University. The same age as Stone Foltz. I'm a BGSU alum myself and that's my hometown," said Gavarone.
The state senator says she's committed to making changes at higher education institutions across the state.
She along with state Senator Stephanie Kunze have co-sponsored new legislation that targets hazing at colleges and universities.
There are changes in this new bill that's been introduced since House Bill 310, commonly known as Collin's Law, did not pass in the Senate last year.
Specifically, Senate Bill 126 focusing on hazing on campuses and providing statewide education on hazing.
"We've made sure there's going to be the educational piece, which we feel is so important. The transparency piece which we also feel is important," Kunze said.
The new bill, if passed, would make hazing a felony. Currently in Ohio, it's a misdemeanor.
Both senators say no parent should have to hear their child died as a result of hazing.
They want to break this dangerous tradition that's been silenced.
"This bill is about changing a culture where hazing is accepted and even expected. This bill is about saving lives," said Kathleen Wiant, mother of Collin Wiant, who died from a hazing incident at Ohio University. The original bill, Collin's Law, was named for her son.
Gavarone says she has talked to her fellow lawmakers and they are devastated by Stone's passing.
She believes this bill will have bi-partisan support.