Ohio House approves FORCE Act


The Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 366, also known as the Fight Organized Retail Crime & Empower Law Enforcement (FORCE) Act, legislation prioritizing the safety and well-being of Ohio retailers and their customers, June 26 during their final scheduled session ahead of the district work period.

Introduced by State Rep. Haraz N. Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg), the as passed House version received strong bipartisan support.

“Ohio has an opportunity to lead the nation in combatting organized crime within our communities through the passage of the FORCE Act,” Ghanbari said. “The repercussions of such crime extend beyond financial losses. Increased criminal activity disrupts businesses and threatens the safety of consumers and employees alike.”

House Bill 366 enhances the legal framework to safeguard both retailers and consumers against large, intricate Organized Retail Crime (ORC) networks. A key feature of the FORCE Act is the establishment of a statewide task force in collaboration with the Ohio Attorney General and the Organized Crime Investigations Commission. This task force will offer vital resources and assistance to local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

In addition, HB 366 provides resources for a statewide real-time information sharing platform so loss prevention executives and law enforcement can communicate and respond to ORC incidents as they occur and act accordingly. The FORCE Act also makes the necessary updates to the law to aggregate offenses and show a clear pattern of behavior that differentiates ORC from petty shoplifting.

When it comes to funding, the bill modifies the existing law pertaining to the requirement for retail sales businesses to possess a vendor’s license, subject to sales tax. Applicants must apply for this license with the county auditor in each county where they intend to operate, accompanied by a $25 fee per fixed place of business. The bill increases this fee to $50 and specifies that $25 of each fee must be forwarded by the county auditor to the State Treasurer for allocation into the state treasury, specifically earmarked for the Organized Crime Commission Fund.

No posts to display