A ban on transgender girls playing for female sports teams failed in the final hours of Ohio’s two-year legislative session, but major changes to election laws passed. No new laws were passed on abortion, nor was a plan to make it harder to amend Ohio’s state constitution.
We break down what it all means in this week’s episode of Ohio Politics Explained.
A podcast from the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau that catches you up on the state’s political news in 15 minutes or less. This week, host Anna Staver was joined by reporter Jessie Balmert.
1) The unraveling of a massive education bill
A plan to change who oversees K-12 education in Ohio unraveled early Thursday morning.
The 2,200-page bill would have taken control over statewide education policy from the partially elected State Board of Education and given it to the governor’s office. Both Democrats and Republicans had reservations about the change and the speed with which this bill moved.
“This is not the way to do education in the state of Ohio … ,” Rep. Phil Robinson, D-Solon, said. “Passing something at 1 or 2 in the morning that no one has read, that no one has seen.”
More:Ohio Statehouse roundup: Which hot-button bills passed at end of 2022 session
The Ohio Senate added the language into a bill to ban transgender girls from playing on female sports teams and protecting children who haven’t had the covid-19 vaccine, but still couldn’t push it across the finish line in the Republican-controlled House.
“I was disappointed those things failed…,” Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, told reporters Thursday morning. “There probably is a lot more due diligence that needs to be done on that issue.”
2) Up in smoke
Cities like Columbus won’t be able to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products if Gov. Mike DeWine signs a bill passed by state lawmakers this week.
House Bill 513 says “the regulation of tobacco products and alternative nicotine products is a matter of general statewide concern that requires statewide regulation.” And therefore local communities can’t vote to restrict smoking or e-cigarette tobacco sales.
State Sen. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, called the move by Republicans a “dramatic removal of local control.”
Gov. DeWine didn’t directly answer when asked what he planned to do with the legislation.
3) Too many opinions on abortion law
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections in June, conservative lawmakers started talking about plans to ban the procedure from the moment of conception.
But those proposals also fell apart as the legislative session drew to a close.
“I think there’s just too many moving parts, too many opinions as to exactly what that would look like,” Huffman said Tuesday.
4) Big changes for Ohio elections
Ohioans won’t be able to use a utility bill or other non-photo forms of identification in the next election if DeWine signs House Bill 458. Only state-issued photo IDs, U.S. passports or Military IDs would be permissible.
The election bill would also shorten the window for mail-in ballots that arrive after an election, permit one ballot dropbox per county and eliminates in-person early voting on the Monday before Election Day.
One thing HB 458 won’t do is make it harder to amend Ohio’s constitution. That effort stalled out.
Listen to “Ohio Politics Explained” on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio. The episode is also available by clicking the link in this article.
The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau serves The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.