2018 Lame Duck Session

Andy Chow

The Ohio House and Senate worked to pass a pay raise for themselves and other state and local government officials before the end of the year by attaching the measure to a bill, SB296, that would increase benefits for families of first responders who died on the job.

Andy Chow

The Ohio House has passed a bill, SB51, full of projects the lawmakers wanted approved before the end of the year. The so-called “Christmas Tree” bill, includes millions of dollars for different repairs and developments. 

Gov. John Kasich (left), Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) all spoke at the unveiling of the permanent display of Ohio's two constitutions at the Statehouse in November. But they did not appear together.
Karen Kasler

As state lawmakers race toward the end of this lame duck legislative session, they’ve been considering two bills that Gov. John Kasich opposes – the six-week “Heartbeat Bill” abortion ban and the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense bill.  And if he vetoes them as promised, lawmakers would have to come back to vote on them again during the holiday break.

Andy Chow

Community organizers are rallying against the resolution that would make it harder for citizens to put an issue on the statewide ballot. They say the measure would deliver a huge blow to democracy. 

Adora Namigadde

State lawmakers have proposed sending $15 million to the Columbus Crew to help build their new stadium in an effort to ensure the team could never be moved without striking a deal with government leaders.

House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) spoke at the winter gathering of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the County Engineers Association of Ohio.
Daniel Konik

State lawmakers could return during their holiday break to override vetoes on the so-called Heartbeat Bill abortion ban and on the Stand Your Ground self-defense bill, though they did remove a provision Gov. John Kasich didn’t like. But the Republican leader of the House is suggesting there may be another veto in the works that they could push back on.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) speaks at the winter gathering of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the County Engineers Association of Ohio.
Karen Kasler

The Ohio House and Senate are preparing for a busy week of legislating in Columbus with a couple of controversial measures up for debate.

Evangelical leaders and Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance)  at Ohio Statehouse
Jo Ingles

Backers of the so called “Heartbeat Bill,” legislation that bans abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected, are getting some help from evangelical leaders. And they are sending a strong message to Gov. John Kasich and Ohio lawmakers.

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) speaks on the Ohio House floor in March 2018.
Ohio House

A veteran conservative lawmaker wants a raise – and wants his elected colleagues at the local, county and state levels to get one too.  And he says it’s urgent that the idea moves forward right away.

Supporters Of Heartbeat Bill Outside Recent Trump Rally
Karen Kasler

The so-called “Heartbeat Bill”, which Gov. John Kasich promises to veto, had been likely to come up for a vote today in an Ohio House committee. But there were too many questions about the controversial bill that would ban abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected for it to proceed to a vote. 

Karen Kasler

A proposal to make it more difficult for citizens and groups to put amendments to the Ohio Constitution before voters may be running out of time. It didn’t get a vote in a House committee today. State lawmakers had wanted to make changes in the process because of recent big-money ballot issues that failed overwhelmingly.

Kiattipong/Shutterstock

The controversial legislation no longer includes an elimination of the "duty to retreat" for people who find themselves in threatening situations. Opponents argued that removing that language from Ohio code would make it for people to use lethal force in self-defense.

Shane Walker

Democratic lawmakers in the Ohio House who have been pushing for years to eliminate sales tax for feminine hygiene products were finally able to get it through – and nearly unanimously. But this time, it was part of a larger tax related bill.

Ohio House of Representatives
Jo Ingles

Bills can move quickly in the lame duck session of the legislature. That was the case with a bill that was pulled from consideration by lawmakers last week, but passed both chambers unanimously today. 

Karen Kasler

An Ohio Senate committee has approved "alternate pathways" to graduation for high school seniors and juniors who are not on track to earn their diploma through the current method of using standardized test scores. 

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) speaks at a November 2018 press conference on her bill to reform step therapy.
Karen Kasler

The bill doesn’t ban so-called "step therapy", but would allow for exemptions such as if medication causes an allergy or if the patient has already tried the treatment and it didn’t work.

Senate Government Oversight and Reform holds hearing on HB228, the "Stand Your Ground" bill.
Andy Chow

Republican senators are planning to discuss the possible changes they would like to make to HB228, the so-called "Stand Your Ground" bill which might include more specific language on when to use lethal force in self-defense situations.

Ohio's 1802 and 1851 constitutions are now on display at the Statehouse.
Karen Kasler

A hearing is set Thursday morning on a proposal designed to make it harder for citizens and groups to put constitutional amendments on the Ohio ballot. The plan would have to be approved by voters if lawmakers okay it, and the leaders of the Ohio House have very different ideas about it.

Opponents of Heartbeat Bill gather on the Statehouse steps, a few hours before a hearing on the bill in a Senate committee.
Jo Ingles

"Ho, ho, hey, hey, Roe v. Wade is here to stay." That's what opponents of the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" chanted on the steps leading into the Ohio Statehouse. The activists said the bill would deny legal abortion before many women know they are pregnant. 

People gather in Dayton to protest against the "Stand Your Ground" bill.
Scott Cornell/Shutterstock

The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee plans to pass the "Stand Your Ground" bill by the end of the week. The bill would make it easier for someone to use lethal force in self-defense by removing the duty to retreat in cases where a person feels threatened.

Karen Kasler

It’ll be a busy day at the Statehouse with the so-called “Heartbeat Bill” abortion ban in the proposed legislation on the agenda. State lawmakers are hoping to be done by mid-December with all they’re going to do in this legislative session.

Karen Kasler

High school seniors not meeting the testing benchmarks to graduate next year could have extra options on the table, such as good attendance and GPA. That is if Ohio lawmakers can pass a change before the end of the year. 

Andy Chow

The Ohio House and Senate are rolling along with bills they want to pass before the Session ends. But they’re also considering overriding some of Gov. John Kasich’s vetoes, for instance, his rejection of their proposed enrollment freeze for Medicaid expansion. 

Statehouse News Bureau

A bill that would help sexual assault survivors track their rape kits through the legal process has been pulled from consideration in the lame duck session of the legislature.

Andy Chow

A bill that sponsors say ensures religious freedom when it comes to marriage ceremonies is moving through the Ohio Legislature. However opponents are urgently trying to stop the so-called “Pastor Protection Act”, saying it overreaches and creates more opportunities to discriminate. 

Daniel Konik

State lawmakers have overridden a quarter of Gov. John Kasich’s 48 vetoes. And they could do more in the next two weeks.  And Kasich has said he’d also veto the so-called "Stand Your Ground" self-defense bill and the six-week abortion ban called the Heartbeat Bill that recently passed the House.  Those vetoes and what lawmakers do about them could say something about the outgoing governor's relationship with his fellow Republicans in the legislature.

Andy Chow

Democrats state lawmakers are using these last few weeks of session to try and eliminate school district takeovers by the state. This process has allowed the state to assign a CEO to take control of an academically failing district. 

Jo Ingles

A bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations in Ohio for criminal and civil case involving rape and sexual abuse is getting a little help from a nationally known attorney. The bill would not affect past victims of sexual abuse, like those who have filed suit against Ohio State University but would affect cases after it passes…..if it passes.  

Andy Chow

Lawmakers are considering a dramatic change to the way Ohio issues licenses for people in certain professions and industries. Supporters say this measure would help clear out unnecessary licensing boards. 

Andy Chow

Lawmakers are pushing bills through the General Assembly as the clock winds down on this session, which ends next month. But it appears one high-profile issue may be left out of the mix. 

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