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'Heartbeat Bill' Among Legislative Priorities For Ohio Senate

Larry Obhof is sworn in as president of the Ohio Senate on Jan. 7, 2019.
Ohio Senate
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Larry Obhof is sworn in as president of the Ohio Senate on Jan. 7, 2019.

The leader of the Ohio Senate says the “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, is one of his chamber’s priorities. It’s just not at the top of their list, which includes proposals aimed at cutting state regulations, adding environmental protections and reforming criminal sentencing laws.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) says the chamber will revive the controversial abortion ban, which was twice vetoed by former Gov. John Kasich. The bill now has the backing of Ohio Right to Life, and Gov. Mike DeWine has said he’ll sign it into law.

The “Heartbeat Bill” was recently re-introduced in the Ohio House with a majority of the chamber signed as co-sponsors. But House Speaker Larry Householder says he’d rather see the legislation begin in the Senate.

Obhof says the Senate will take up a number of bills focused on economic growth, fighting human trafficking and investing in education.

“Our focus here in the Senate over the next two years will be to continue to create an environment in this state that opens up opportunities for every Ohioan," Obhof says.

Among the proposals:

  • SB 1, which would reduce the number of state regulations by 30 percent over three years
  • SB 2, which would create and fund a statewide watershed planning structure
  • SB 3, which would seek to boost addiction treatment and help low-level offenders re-enter the workforce
  • SB 4, which would provide $100 million in funding for school buildings
  • SB 5, which would increase criminal penalties for individuals convicted of promoting prostitution
  • SB 6, which would allow children of “parents in a crisis situation” to be placed with temporary host families
  • SB 7, which would allow temporary occupational licenses to military spouses
  • SB 8, which would incentivize investments in “Opportunity Zones”
  • SB 9, which would give small businesses access to information about health care claims
  • SB 10, which would expand penalties for theft in office

Republicans hold a super-majority in the Senate, so they set the agenda. Minority Democrats will outline their agenda soon.