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Ohio lawmakers prepare for busy first week of lame duck session

Ohio Senate session on March 8 2022
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Senate meets for session on March 8, 2022.

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

The committees and floor votes that occur after an election, known as a lame duck session, puts a ticking clock on the bills that have been introduced. Once the session ends, those bills will be left on the cutting room floor and legislators, returning incumbents and newly-elected officials, will have to reintroduce the pieces of legislation and restart the committee process.

Committees in the Ohio House and Senate are scheduled to start back up on Tuesday.

Currently, there are more than 100 bill hearings scheduled over the course of next week. Those bill hearings will take place in 28 scheduled standing committee meetings and 25 bills are marked with a possible vote out of committee.

One measure scheduled for a possible vote is the distracted driving bill, HB283, that would expand the laws to prohibit drivers from holding electronic devices while driving and takes the penalty from a minor misdemeanor to an unclassified misdemeanor. That change allows for higher fines based on multiple violations.

Other bills that could get a vote out of committee includes the measure that would allow political candidates to use campaign funds to cover their child care costs (HB593) and a proposal to allow Medicaid to cover doula services (HB142).

Leaders have suggested that bills that ban abortion at conception and ban transgender athletes from participating on girls’ sports teams will likely get consideration before the end of the year. Those measures have not yet been scheduled for additional committee hearings.

However, the bill that prohibits prohibit physicians and other medical health care professionals from providing gender transition procedures to any person under 18-years-old, HB454, is scheduled for a committee hearing to allow for opponent testimony on Wednesday morning.

A high-profile bill to expand gun regulations is set to receive its first hearing. Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) has proposed legislation, SB357, that create safety protection orders, allowing a judge to confiscate a firearm from someone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

The end of session is also a time for bills that have been put on the back-burner to get at least one hearing.

Senate Democrats will have the opportunity to present a few of these bills such as measures that prohibit conversion therapy for minors (SB50) and declare racism as a public health crisis (SCR4).

There are also 10 bills being considered that either memorializes someone by naming a section of a highway after them or creates a new state license plate, such as the Ohio Bird Sanctuary license plate.

Contact Andy at achow@statehousenews.org.