GOP lawmakers say they’ll work to override Kasich’s vetoes next week

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a gun bill Wednesday, saying it wasn’t the legislation he wanted to see on his desk.
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a gun bill Wednesday, saying it wasn’t the legislation he wanted to see on his desk.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed one controversial bill on guns Wednesday, while two others on abortion await his signature or veto pen.

Ten months after reversing his position on gun control, Kasich Wednesday vetoed a gun rights bill, saying it wasn’t the legislation he wanted to see on his desk.

Kasich reiterated his call for a “red flag law” in Ohio — a measure that would allow police and family members to petition the courts to seize firearms from someone exhibiting warning signs that they’re a danger to themselves or others.

“That the General Assembly has been unwilling to even debate the idea is baffling and unconscionable to me,” Kasich said about his fellow Republicans in the legislature. “This idea’s omission from this legislation is a shortcoming that I cannot accept.”

Meanwhile, decisions are expected soon from Kasich on two controversial abortion bills on his desk. House Bill 258 would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected and Senate Bill 145 would prohibit abortions using a common surgical procedure used to terminate second trimester pregnancies.

Kasich vetoed a similar heartbeat bill at the end of the last legislative session.

Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said he anticipates his chamber will attempt to override the gun bill veto.

“Our burden of proof is wrong and 49 out of 50 states recognize that it’s wrong and you’re innocent until proven guilty. Ohio law, by whatever mistake of history, needs to be changed,” he said.

Laura Lewis of the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America said in a written release: “The governor saw this for what it is — an extreme attempt to punish Ohio cities and towns for trying to address gun violence.”

Related: Ohio moves to ban female genital mutilation

House Bill 228 would shift the burden of proof in self-defense shooting cases from the defendant to the prosecutor; strengthen prohibitions against straw-man gun purchases; allow off-duty police officers to carry concealed weapons; and allow individuals or groups to sue local jurisdictions that try to enact and enforce their own gun control measures.

Before it was sent to Kasich, lawmakers stripped out the most controversial measure in HB228: removing Ohioans’ duty to retreat from danger in public places. The provision is often called “Stand Your Ground.”

If the General Assembly fails to override Kasich’s veto on the gun bill, Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said, “You will see all these issues again (next year) and they will move through this chamber expeditiously.”

Related: Bill would give schools 2 hours to notify parents when child is absent

A flurry of activity accompanied one of the final days of the two-year session. The governor signed 31 bills into law on Wednesday, including:

  • granting unemployment compensation benefits to spouses of active duty military service members who transfer to Ohio;
  • creating a violent offender database;
  • extending alternative graduation requirements for the high school Classes of 2019 and 2020 and adding options other than passing state tests;
  • requiring that peace officers report suspected child abuse and neglect to protective services;
  • making material available to schools to teach cursive writing; and
  • increasing penalties for financial fraud against older Ohioans.

Kasich also signed an Executive Order revising Ohio’s anti-discrimination policy to protect state employees or candidates for state employment from discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, national origin, military status, disability, genetic information, or sexual orientation.

Related: Kasich promises to veto bills he doesn’t agree with in a “deep way”

Also on Wednesday, the Senate voted on several bills, including ones that would:

  • make it a crime to perform female genital mutilation on girls under age 18 or transport them for the procedure;
  • require school districts notify parents within two hours if their child doesn't show up for school;
  • exempt judges and magistrates' addresses and family information from disclosure under public records laws and allow spouses of public employees whose addresses aren't public record to remove their names from county auditor and tax records.

Other pending legislation could pass next week, along with any attempts to override Kasich’s vetoes. Overrides must start in the same chamber where the bill began. An override requires 60 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate.