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Final hours of General Assembly see sweeping changes as House votes to override governor's vetoes

December 27, 2018
Democrat Newsroom

The Ohio House met today in a rare session to override a number of vetoes by Republican Gov. John Kasich. Democrats largely backed a proposal to extend benefits to spouses and children of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty, but fought back as GOP lawmakers pushed to override vetoes on measures to restrict abortion access and loosen gun safety laws.

“While it’s important we came back to deliver benefits to the families of those killed in the line of duty, it’s a shame the House majority used this opportunity to push a divisive, ideological agenda,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Infringing on the rights of medical professionals to deliver care to women and limiting citizens’ freedom to decide what is best for their communities is not what we were sent here to do. Democrats, like millions of Ohioans and the majority of gun owners, want to see responsible gun safety laws. Today was not that. I hope that in the new year we can put the politics aside and work together to support commonsense ideas that put people first.”

House Republicans voted to override the governor’s veto of House Bill (HB) 258, one of the most restrictive measures in the country that would prohibit abortions after as early as six weeks. There are no exceptions for instances of rape and incest in the bill—and only limited exceptions for the woman’s health.

Despite passing the House, the override measure failed to receive the three-fifths support of the Senate to become law.

“Medical decisions should be left between patient and doctor, but in Ohio, that confidentiality falls by the wayside when it comes to women deciding when to start or grow a family,” said House Minority Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “This six-week ban is an unconstitutional assault on the freedom of women, the consequences of which will fall hardest on communities already struggling to access quality, affordable healthcare.”

House Republicans also voted to override the governor’s veto on HB 228, a Republican-sponsored bill to loosen gun safety laws by changing the burden of proof in alleged self-defense shootings and preempting local gun safety ordinances.

“Millions of Ohioans, including our Republican governor, want commonsense gun safety laws, but this Republican majority continues to push unconstitutional attacks on self-government that make us all less safe,” said Assistant Minority Whip Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati). “HB 228 is part of an agenda driven by the gun lobby that makes it harder for families affected by gun violence to seek justice. Overriding this veto is a grave disservice to Ohioans who want change.”

In addition, state lawmakers voted to override the governor’s veto on HB 296, a bill to extend benefits to the surviving spouses and children of public safety officers killed in the line of duty. The bill also had a provision attached that would institute a cost of living adjustment for various state and local elected officials.