Statehouse Preview: Week of June 4

Back in Business

This week, lawmakers are back at it, with the logjam in the House expected to finally break with a Wednesday vote (scheduled for 1:30pm) to name a new House Speaker. Representatives are set to return on Thursday to vote on the backlog of bills that are awaiting action in the chamber.

That’s good news and bad news.

As we noted last week, it means important legislation–payday lending reform, campus sexual assault policies, textbook taxes and more–can finally move. It also means that some very harmful legislation may also be advanced to the Senate or even the Governor. Here’s a short list of what we’re watching for:

Bills Awaiting House Action

  • SB28 – Fetal Tissue Disposal; this bill, which would require burial or cremation of fetal remains resulting from abortion (but not miscarriage), has already passed the Senate. With House approval, it could become law with Governor Kasich’s signature.
  • HB402 – Telephone Deregulation – this bill to loosen regulation of the state’s landline telephone providers would allow for rate increases and could result in loss of affordable service for senior and low-income households and coverage for rural customers.
  • HB258 – 6-week (“heartbeat”) abortion ban – would prohibit abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, often as early as six weeks of gestation, before most women know they are pregnant.
  • HB228 – Stand Your Ground – a sweeping reform of Ohio’s gun laws, this bill would eliminate the “duty to retreat” before using deadly force, and would also outlaw local ordinances aimed at reducing gun violence, subjecting local communities to civil lawsuits.

For a full list of bills and their status, view the Legislative status report

On The Agenda This Week

Committees will see a lot of activity, with several bills up for a committee vote:

The Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 9:45am on three gun safety reform measures, including SB279, a proposal from Senators Tavares and Sykes to require the safe storage of firearms when a person reasonably should know that a minor child is able to gain access to the weapon.

The Senate Energy and Environment committee will hear testimony on an amended version of HB114, a compromise that would retain but weaken Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency mandates. An alliance of 20 organizations sent a letter last week to the Senate President asking them to protect Ohio’s renewable standards

To see the full line-up of bills being heard this week, check out:

House committee schedule
Senate committee schedule

As was made painfully clear by the tragic school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, firearms need to be stored safely to prevent access by minor children. Ohio is one of just 23 states without a so-called Child Access Prevention law. Contact your lawmakers and urge them to support hearings and a vote on SB279 and its companion, HB33 which could help to prevent needless gun violence and harm.

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