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New bill undercuts local power, outlaws bestiality in Ohio

State lawmakers on Tuesday moved to undercut local government control over pet stores and minimum wage regulations. To gin up support for the controversial bill, legislative leaders folded in an anti-bestiality measure.

Senate Bill 331 was originally designed to block local governments from passing ordinances to regulate the purchase of puppies from high-volume dog breeders — a bill that is unpopular with animal rights groups and cities that back strong home rule authority. Grove City outside Columbus and Toledo passed such local ordinances.

On Tuesday in the House Finance Committee, the bill was amended to also prohibit cities from setting a minimum wage rate different than the state’s rate. Worker advocates in Cleveland are pushing for a $15 an hour minimum wage there. Ohio’s minimum wage has been indexed to inflation since voters passed a ballot initiative in 2006. The state minimum wage is $8.10 an hour for non-tipped workers.

So how does bestiality fit into the picture?

Often lawmakers will add popular measures to unpopular bills to gain support.

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Ohio is one of a handful states that doesn’t explicitly outlaw bestiality. State senators voted 31-0 last week for bill that would outlaw sexual contact with animals. http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/state—regional-govt—politics/sex-with-animals-step-closer-becoming-illegal-ohio/dJ993LHQB0sV3tQLw20iKK/

Senate Bill 331 is expected to receive a House floor vote this week and return to the Senate for consideration of House changes. Lawmakers are passing a slew of bills this week, trying to wrap up the two-year legislative session by Thursday.

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