Ohio lawmakers are considering a wide array of issues at the Statehouse — everything from guns to dogs to education to abortion. Here is a look at what’s in the legislative pipeline.
Education: Gov. John Kasich, and previous governors, have long held that the state Department of Education should be under the governor’s control — not the Ohio State School Board. House Republicans rolled out a plan Wednesday to give Kasich what he wants. The new bill calls for creating an Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement, which would merge the K-12, higher education and workforce training agencies and put it under the direction of a governor’s appointee.
Abortion: The battle over access to abortion is still being fought in Columbus. The ACLU of Ohio and Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is holding a press conference Thursday to announce its next steps in the fight. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering bills that would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion using a surgical procedure commonly used in second trimester abortions; ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks gestation; and require cremation or burial of aborted fetuses.
Guns: Gun advocates are pushing for House Bill 228 — a so-called “stand your ground” bill that would change the law on the duty to retreat and the burden of proof in self-defense cases. Under current law, the defendant has to prove he acted in self-defense. It is one of about a dozen gun bills pending in the General Assembly.
Drivers: Lawmakers are hammering out details on a bill that would change the driver training requirements and restrictions imposed on teenagers. The bill calls for extending the time teens must hold a temporary instruction permit before they get a full probationary license, and extends the night-time window when they are prohibited from driving without parental supervision.
Dogs: State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, and Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, are joining fellow Republican state Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, in the effort to add teeth to Ohio’s vicious dog laws. Rezabek and Huffman are sponsoring a companion bill in the House to the one Beagle is pushing in the Senate. The move comes four years after Dayton resident Klonda Richey was mauled to death by her neighbors’ two mixed-mastiff dogs, despite making repeated complaints to local authorities.
Child marriage: Rezabek says the Ohio House will soon begin considering a bill to raise the legal age for marriage to 18 for both males and females and allow marriage at age 17 with court approval. Current law sets the age at 16 for girls and 18 for males but allows children to marry at any age as long as they secure judicial and parental approval. The bill is in response to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News on the number of child marriages in Ohio. A similar bill is pending in the Ohio Senate.