What will DeWine sign? Lawmakers passed more than 30 bills on last day of session
The Oho Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Only republish photo with original story.)
Barring an emergency, Ohio’s lawmakers have headed home for the holidays. That puts the ball in Gov. Mike DeWine’s court to sign or veto the final burst of legislation passed in the Statehouse. If the governor does nothing, legislation will take effect without his signature. But he has ten days after receiving the bills — not counting Sundays — to take action if he chooses.
He’ll have a lot to work through between now and then. During the legislature’s overnight final session, they approved more than 30 pieces of legislation now heading to the governor. The highlights have gotten extensive coverage, but there was a lot of other legislative action as well.
Thursday, DeWine’s office received a raft of 24 bills. The deadline for action on those is January 3.
Here’s what passed:
HB 513: Tax deduction for cigarette wholesalers when retailers fail to pay. A late amendment tacked on prohibitions for local tobacco regulations.
HB 45: Began as a two month amnesty window for delinquent state taxes. Amendments appropriated $6 billion in federal COVID relief.
HB 66: Numerous tweaks to local taxing authority and reporting as well as $30 million for minor league sports teams.
HB 254: Established domestic violence fatality review boards.
HB 558: Modified state’s donated drug repository program
HB 107: Revised Ohio’s elevator laws
HB 343: Modified crime victim’s rights
HB 353: Ohio’s “Testing Your Faith Act” which directs higher ed institutions to develop accommodations for students who need to be absent for religious reasons.
HB 392: Authorized transport of police dogs injured in the line of duty. An amendment made provisions for riding in a fifth wheel trailer and mounting safety devices on a windshield.
HB 578: Created new specialty license plates and memorial highway designations.
HB 567: Required common pleas courts post their docket online.
HB 504: Raised penalties for disrupting religious services.
HB 545: Privileged peer support communications.
HB 554: Allowed state board of education to issue temporary licenses to teachers with expired certificates or licenses.
HB 281: Updated statutory terms related to people with disabilities or suffering from mental illness.
HB 569: Allows higher ed institutions to offer scholarships to people serving as family caregivers.
HB 575: Set policy for regulating the solvency of fraternal benefit societies.
HB 35: Permitted Ohio mayors to solemnize marriages.
HB 279: Shortened timeline for filing certain wrongful death claims.
HB 487: Altered bidding process for Ohio ballot printing contracts to allow out of state vendors/printers to participate.
HB 462: Prohibited “swatting”
HB 150: Establish a rural practice incentive program to pay student loans for attorneys working in public offices or underserved communities.
SB 63: Allowed county probation offices to accept credit card payments. A House amendment added on a new liquor permit for auto-sports facilities.
SB 131: Required the issuance of certain occupational licenses if a person has experience in that field in a different state.
SB 202: Prohibited restricting parental rights due to the parent’s disability. House amendments gave lawyers credit toward judicial eligibility for out of state practice time and created a bail study task force.
SB 302: Made changes to the state unemployment compensation system.
SB 288: Made numerous changes to the criminal code.
SB 33: Changed Community Reinvestment Area policy to allow greater deduction to 529 education savings plans.
SB 164: Altered animal cruelty laws and prohibited shelters from using gas chambers to put down pets.
SB 16: Increased penalties for assault or menacing when the victim is a first responder. The measure also gave local governments explicit authorities when dealing with a riot or mob and prohibited any limitations on firearm rights due to a state of emergency.
HB 405: Clarified rules of county hospital boards, gave coroners access to a law enforcement database and allowed treasurers to send bills electronically.
HB423: Designated the American Soap Box Derby Ohio’s official gravity racing program.
HB 501: Made a series of changes related to township authorities including allowing them to regulate small solar facilities.
HB 509: Updated numerous occupational licensing provisions.
HB 458: Began as a measure eliminating August special elections except for Congress. The Senate amended the bill to include strict new photo-ID requirements for voters as well as tighter limitations on returning absentee ballots.
HB 364: Changed application process for sewer and water infrastructure surcharges
Plaudits and veto calls
Already, forces are gearing up inside the statehouse and out urging Gov. DeWine to veto certain measures. Others are lending their support.
Attorney General Dave Yost applauded the anti-swatting legislation saying, “these prank calls are designed to do one thing — cause a panic.” The Ohio Association of Election Officials meanwhile thanked lawmakers for a $7.5 million appropriation for electronic poll books.
Democrats zeroed in on a different part of the same bill. The measure would disqualify developments using the federal low income housing tax credit from using a state credit for rehabbing historic buildings.
“These provisions, added at the eleventh hour of a lame duck session, were added with zero input from developers and affordable housing advocates. The policies are bad for Ohioans and bad for Ohio business,” they wrote in a press release.
Democrats also urged DeWine to veto HB 458 which would impose strict new photo ID requirements for voters.
At the city level, mayors have criticized the bill barring local tobacco regulations. The city of Columbus approved a flavored tobacco ban just days before state lawmakers acted. And the mayors might be in luck. DeWine has hinted at a potential veto, citing his past work fighting big tobacco.
Clarification: an earlier version of this story stated DeWine’s deadline for vetoing any legislation was December 26. That calculation was incorrectly based on when the legislature passed legislation rather than when DeWine receives it.
Follow OCJ Reporter Nick Evans on Twitter.
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