Lawmakers Amend the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ to Accept Birth Certificates

Ohio lawmakers amended a bill Tuesday that stops biological men and boys from high school and middle school from participating in women and girls’ sports. The amendment removed a provision that could have required students to undergo “internal and external” exams to verify their sex.

Instead, House Bill (HB) 151, The Save Women’s Sports Act, sponsored by State Representative Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) (pictured above), now would require an athlete whose biological gender is disputed to present a birth certificate under the amendment adopted by the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee.

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Ohio House Approves $615 Million for Nursing Homes

Lawmakers in the Ohio House attached an amendment to a bill that would send $615 million to skilled nursing facilities to assist with staffing shortages and keep establishments open.

The amendment was attached to Senate Bill (SB) 110 sponsored by State Senators Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) which already appropriates $465 million for rental assistance programs.

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Ohio Lawmakers Unanimously Pass Firefighter Amendment in Cases of Vehicular Manslaughter

Following the tragic death of a Cleveland firefighter, Ohio lawmakers unanimously passed an amendment to Senate Bill (SB) 185 to set higher mandatory prison sentences for individuals convicted of striking and killing firefighters and emergency personnel on the road.

State Representatives Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) brought forward the amendment to address a concern in current state law that sets a higher minimum sentence for those convicted of vehicular homicide but omits firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

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Ohio House Joint Resolution Amended to Include Increasing Threshold to Legislative Ballot Initiatives

The Committee of Government Oversight amended a resolution Thursday to require all proposed ballot issues to receive 60 percent of the vote in order to amend the state constitution, not just citizen-led amendments.

State Representative Brian Stewart (R-Ashville), requested the committee to adopt an amendment to his resolution, House Joint Resolution (HJR) 6, to include legislative ballot initiatives to also require 60 percent of the vote on election day in order to be enacted.

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Ohio State Senate Passes Bill Reducing Training for Cosmetologist and Barber Licenses

State Republican lawmakers are moving a bill forwards that aims to reduce the amount of required training it would take to get a cosmetology and barber license.

House Bill (HB) 542 sponsored by state Representatives Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) began as a piece of legislation aimed to create a unified barbering/cosmetology school license, to eliminate duplicative applications for facilities that teach both cosmetology and barbering and to lower the age of applicants for barber school to 16 years old.

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Ohio House Passes Bill Protecting Firearms Rights During Declared Emergencies

Republicans in the Ohio House passed a bill Thursday, on a 55 to 22 vote, that will prevent state and local governments from closing gun stores, stopping processing background checks, or confiscating firearms without cause during declared states of emergency.

Senate Bill (SB) 185, sponsored by State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), aims to prevent state and local governments and elected or appointed officials from infringing on Second Amendments rights during declared emergencies. This would include required gun registrations, seizing weapons, banning the sale of ammunition, limiting the operating hours at shooting ranges, or prohibiting otherwise lawful hunting.

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Ohio Senate Passes Major Criminal Justice Reforms

The Ohio Senate voted 27-2 on Wednesday in favor of a criminal justice reform bill that aims to change how quickly inmates can earn time off of their prison sentences, expand immunity from prosecution for minor drug possession offenses, and strengthens penalties for domestic violence offenders.

Senate Bill (SB) 288 sponsored by Senator Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) aims to provide alternative services to people in lieu of jail or prison or to divert people from an already overburdened prison system.

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Ohio Senators Propose Increasing Penalties for Disrupting Religious Services

State lawmakers are proposing stiffer penalties in cases where an individual disrupts a religious service. The measure passed the Ohio House in April and is now progressing through the Senate.

In a hearing of the Judiciary Committee last week. Mike Rodgers, director of policy and legislation from the Attorney General’s office put forward the concept behind the “Sacred Spaces Act.”

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Ohio House Passes Bill to Close Loophole that Can Shield Bad Educators from Investigations

The Ohio House has approved legislation that will close a loophole in disciplinary investigation procedures for teachers and school employees.

House Bill (HB) 403 sponsored by Representatives Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Ashtabula) and Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) aims to close a loophole enabling a teacher or school employee who retires under threat of disciplinary investigation or termination to avoid further investigation. Under this bill school districts would report these teachers to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) even if they retire.

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Ohio Lawmakers Prepare for the First Week of Lame-Duck Session

After taking a break over the summer and part of the fall for the general election, lawmakers are returning to the Ohio Statehouse to consider many different bills before the two-year session of this general assembly ends in December.

The committees and floor votes which occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, work to conclude urgent or unfinished bills that lawmakers have introduced. Once the session ends, lawmakers will either overlook or reject the bills and legislators, returning incumbents, and newly-elected officials will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

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Ohio Voters May Be in New House, Senate, and Congressional Districts Due to Redistricting

Ohio’s journey to develop maps for the legislative and congressional voting districts has put many voters in new Ohio House, Senate, and Congressional districts for the upcoming election.

When voters go to the polls next week they may notice that they have different lawmakers representing them at the Statehouse and in Washington.

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Democrat Tim Ryan Now Says He’s in Favor of Ohio State Issues 1 and 2

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) now says he is planning to vote “yes” for State Issues 1 and 2 making him the fourth and last leading statewide Ohio candidate to do so.

When asked previously about the state issues Ryan stated he had not “read them” and intends to “dig into them before I make a decision.” Vance has endorsed both state issues, calling them “common sense.” Republican Governor Mike DeWine and his Democratic contender Nan Whaley have also said they will vote for both ballot initiatives.

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Ohioans Can View What’s on the Ballot Before Going to the Polls

With only a week left until the midterm election and early voting well underway Ohioans can access, review, and mark their selections on a sample ballot prior to election day.

The November 8th election is a midterm, so a number of federal, state, and local candidates will be on the ballot as well as two important statewide issues.

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Ohio Businesses Could Get $25K in Tax Breaks to Train Truck Drivers

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would give employers $25,000 in tax credits to train new drivers in an effort to help companies across the state alleviate a growing truck driving shortage.

House Bill 197, backed by trucking and business organizations, now heads to the Senate. It passed the House, 97-0, this week.

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Ohio Closer to Establishing Electric Vehicle Commission

A bill passed in the Ohio House would help the state prepare for a future with electric vehicles.

House Bill 292, which was passed in the House on Thursday, establishes the Electric Vehicle Commission, consisting of elected officials and industry leaders, to study electric vehicle production and the steps needed to take to adapt to potential growth in the industry.

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Critical Race Theory Debate Heating Up in Ohio General Assembly

Ohio State House

School districts, teachers unions, student groups and parents lined up at the Ohio House to testify against two bills that would stop schools from teaching what sponsors called “divisive concepts” in the classroom.

The House State and Local Government Committee heard more than three hours of testimony Wednesday during the third hearing for both House Bill 322 and House Bill 327. Each prohibits teaching concepts that are part of the nationwide critical race theory movement critics say purports the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country.

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American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Sues the State House of Representatives Over for Redistricting

Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio wants a court to force Republican lawmakers to turn over records related to redistricting it says it asked for five months ago and never received.

The group has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Ohio, seeking the records as the state closes in on the release of U.S. Census Bureau data and a constitutional mandate to redraw congressional and state representative district boundaries.

House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, have not responded to open records request made in February, the lawsuit said. The ACLU said the records will help it monitor the redistricting process.

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Representative Candice Keller Targeted by Activists at Save Our Children Rally

Counter-protesters wearing black activism gear targeted Representative Candice Keller (R-OH-53) after her speech this past weekend at a Save Our Children Rally in Columbus. Keller is an avid pro-life legislator and creator of the Ohio Heartbeat Bill.

Keller and her husband Kent – a write-in candidate for the Ohio Senate – attended the rally. In interviews with The Ohio Star, Keller states that she and her husband were walking back to their cars when they noticed people recording and following them. Every time the couple looked back, the group stopped and stared – but continued taping.

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Ohio House Democrats Introduce Bill Aimed at Repealing House Bill 6

Ohio House Democrats introduced a new bill this week that would repeal House Bill (HB) 6, which bailed out nuclear power plants in the state. HB 6 was at the heart of the $60 million corruption scandal that led to state Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) being stripped of his House speakership position.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) arrested Householder and four other people on July 21 for allegedly having “worked to corruptly ensure that HB 6 went into effect by defeating a ballot initiative to overturn the legislation,” according to the DOJ press release.

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Conservative Organizations Call For Next Ohio House Speaker to Have Character, Be Supporter of Faith and Family

Even as the Ohio House of Representatives looks to replace disgraced Speaker Larry Householder, a coalition of conservative organizations is urging lawmakers to be thoughtful in how they do so.

Householder and four others were arrested July 21 in connection with a $60 million federal bribery probe in connection with the Legislature’s 2019 bailout of FirstEnergy and its nuclear power plants.

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State Reps Introduce Bill to Ban Police Use of Chokeholds in Ohio

Two Ohio Democrats introduced a bill Friday to criminalize the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers in Ohio.

“Chokeholds can cause serious injury or even death. The NYPD ban on chokeholds didn’t prevent the death of Eric Garner. We cannot leave this up to cities and individual departments any more. The state must act. We need greater law enforcement accountability in Ohio,” said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown), who introduced the bill with Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron).

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Ohio Dem Accuses State House Republicans of Failing to Address ‘Hostile Work Environment’

An Ohio Democrat claimed last week that current House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and his two predecessors “ignored requests dating back several years” to address “a hostile work environment in the Ohio House.”

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Ohio Democrats Ask Gov. DeWine to Ban Police Use of Tear Gas

Ohio Democrats asked Gov. Mike DeWine to indefinitely ban the use of tear gas by all county, municipal, and township police departments in a letter sent last week.

According to the letter, law enforcement agencies across Ohio used tear gas, pepper spray, and mace on peaceful protesters during recent demonstrations.

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Ohio Dems Call for Banning Sale of Confederate Memorabilia at All Fairs

Ohio House Democrats unsuccessfully attempted last week to ban the sale, display, possession, or distribution of Confederate flags at county and independent fairs.

During a Thursday night debate on House Bill 665, a bill related to agricultural societies and public safety, Democrats introduced two amendments in an effort to crack down on Confederate memorabilia.

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Ohio House Dems Call for Additional Security After Threats on Black Lawmakers

Ohio House Democrats called on Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) to publicly condemn the threats of violence made against their leader and provide “additional security measures” for lawmakers.

“As Speaker and in recognition of your leadership role in the Ohio House of Representatives, you are granted additional security while in the statehouse,” House Democrats said in a letter to Householder last week.

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Ohio House Approves Bill Legalizing Sports Wagering

House lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill to legalize sports wagering in Ohio, a move that could generate millions in tax revenue for the state.

House Bill 194 levies a 10 percent tax on gross gaming revenue with proceeds to  benefit education in the Buckeye State. The measure could bring in $17.7 million in additional revenue for the state during the 2022 fiscal year and $23 million during the 2023 fiscal year, according to the Legislative Service Commission (LSC).

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Ohio Dems ‘Outraged’ by Gov. DeWine’s Plan to Address COVID-19 Racial Disparities: ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Ohio Democrats said they were “outraged” by Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposal for addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s black population.

African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of positive COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 17 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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Ohio House Democrats Call for Statewide Mail-In Voting, Eliminating Application for Absentee Ballot

Ohio House Democrats want to mail a ballot to every voter in the state and skip the “confusing application step,” according to an election proposal put forward Friday.

“Our members have worked intensely over the last several months pushing for improvements in the primary election and now proposing needed fixes to ensure a fall election that goes much more smoothly than the primary,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) (pictured above) said in a statement.

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Buckeye Institute Supports Businesses Being Immune to COVID-19 Lawsuits

The Buckeye Institute submitted written testimony Wednesday to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee on the policies of Senate Bill 308, which would provide businesses and workers with immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits.

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State Rep. Grendell Drafts Bill to Force More Data Transparency from Dr. Amy Acton on COVID-19

State Rep. Diane Grendell (R- Geauga County) wants Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton to be more forthcoming about COVID-19 statistics.

Grendell drafted the “Truth in COVID-19 Statistics” bill, the Record-Courier reported. She said the bill will be introduced in the House later this week, and she expects it to gain bipartisan support.

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House Democrat Criticizes Ohio Economic Recovery Task Force for Focusing Solely on Reopening

A top Democrat on the Ohio House’s coronavirus economic recovery task force criticized its Republican chair for gathering “one-sided testimony that only supported the idea of opening Ohio as soon as possible.”

In a statement released last week, Rep. Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland), vice chair of the Ohio 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force, voiced frustration with the fact that the committee hasn’t heard from “minorities or women.”

“We were under the impression by the majority that this task-force would be a bipartisan, collaborative effort to map out next steps for the General Assembly’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in Ohio,” he said. “However, it became almost immediately apparent from the agenda and the chosen speakers that this task force was actually designed to gather one-sided testimony that only supported the idea of opening Ohio as soon as possible. This was never a democratic process.”

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Ohio Dems Call Attorney General ‘Opportunistic’ and ‘Despicable’ for Telling Abortion Clinics to Close

Ohio Democrats called Attorney General Dave Yost “opportunistic” for urging abortion clinics to close during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health issued an executive order Tuesday that required health providers to cancel all non-essential or elective surgeries that utilize personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Dark Money Group Promoting DeWine’s Gun Control Platform Has Connections to Governor

A recent report found that a dark money group promoting Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun control platform has connections to the governor himself.

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Sheriff Partners with Ohio Lawmaker After Another Baby Born in Jail Experiences Withdrawal

  Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is looking to increase legal penalties for drug dealers who sell to pregnant women after another baby experiencing withdrawal symptoms was born to a female prisoner this month. “It’s come to a tipping point when you have two in less than nine days,” Jones…

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Brings Anti-Vaccination Crusade to Ohio

  Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, has been recognized by Time Magazine as a “hero for the planet” for his environmental activism, but he’s also become one of the most recognizable faces of the anti-vaccination movement. On Wednesday, Kennedy took his anti-vaxxer message to…

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