5 changes to Ohio law you need to know for 2017

The end of the year is near and the Ohio Legislature is working quickly to tie up loose ends ahead of its winter break. Over the last week, a lot of changes have been proposed, introduced, and voted on in the Ohio House and the State Senate. In order for a bill to become law, it must first pass both the Senate and the House, at which point it becomes an act and goes to the Governor for approval. The Governor has ten days to sign the bill in to law or to veto it. If the Governor does nothing, after ten days, the bill becomes law without the Governor’s signature. Below are 5 key policy changes you should know:

1. Heartbeat Bill

The aptly named “heartbeat bill” which would prohibit abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, after the first detectable heartbeat, has passed both the House and the Senate. The bill now goes to Gov. John Kasich, who has ten days to sign or veto the bill. The bill first developed in 2011 and has since struggled to gain traction. If it passes, it likely faces a constitutional challenge.

House Bill 48, which increases the number of locations where concealed carry permit holders can carry guns, passed the Ohio Senate with a 23-9 vote. Furthermore, the Bill enables permitholders to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, so long as that college’s board of trustees permits it.

>> Related: Ohio Lawmakers pull trigger on new gun laws

3. Klonda Richey Bill

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State Sen. Bill Beagle fought for Klonda Richey Act. Dayton Daily News

State Sen. Bill Beagle fought for Klonda Richey Act. Dayton Daily News

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State Sen. Bill Beagle fought for Klonda Richey Act. Dayton Daily News

A bill that seeks to close loopholes related to owners of dangerous dogs and raise penalties for violation of vicious dog laws, unanimously passed the Ohio Senate. However, the Ohio House made no plans to touch the bill before the final legislative day of the two-year legislative session. The bill is named after Klonda Richey, who, in 2013, was fatally attacked by her neighbor’s dogs. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, plans to reintroduce the bill again next year and is optimistic that the momentum it has gain recently will propel it through the House.

>> Related: Changes to dog laws still sought one year after fatal attack

>> Related: Bills fly through legislature at dizzying pace

4. Petland Bill 

Senate Bill 331, known as the “Petland Bill” passed out of the Ohio House. The bill covers a lot of ground, touching on everything from minimum wage rates, pet store regulations, bestiality, cockfighting, and even high-speed cell phone technology. The bill puts restrictions on cockfighting and bearbaiting and bans sexual contact with animals. In addition, the bill bans local governments from setting minimum wage rates which are different from the state rate.

5. Renewable Energy Standards 

House Bill 554, which makes renewable energy standards voluntary instead of mandatory over the next three years. The bill passed the house 54-40. The bill is just another piece in the larger puzzle to eventually expand the use of renewable energy in Ohio by 2027.

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