COLUMBUS: Ohio lawmakers have adjourned for the year, leaving a number of bills effectively dead — at least for the moment.
When the newly elected General Assembly convenes next month, some of the issues that were hanging are likely to be resurrected and debated again.
Republicans will continue to hold majorities in the state House and Senate when the legislative session opens Jan. 7. Here’s a look at some topics that could resurface at the Statehouse:
A bill to send Planned Parenthood to the back of the line for public family-planning money saw last-minute action by a House committee, but its momentum fizzled after the Senate’s leader indicated that the chamber had no plans to act on the proposal.
Supporters of the measure say other quality providers of women’s health care have sprung up around the state and the bill would give those centers a chance at government funds. But critics, including Democrats, argue Planned Parenthood provides needed preventive health care to low-income women that would be jeopardized by the bill.
Underlying the debate is Planned Parenthood’s role as a provider of abortions, a procedure supporters of the bill oppose funding with public dollars.
The proposal could pick up steam again now that Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus has left the legislature because of term limits.
His departure could also free up another measure for action: the so-called heartbeat bill. The legislation would ban most abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It cleared the House, but stalled in the Senate.
State lawmakers had been mulling whether to update Ohio’s election law after the campaign season was marked by several lawsuits over rules in the presidential battleground state.
A group of senators also had been studying possible changes to the law at the year’s end, though a proposal wasn’t introduced.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has suggested that Ohio’s voting hours and days should be written into law, along with its rules on provisional ballots.
Senators scrapped an effort to expand how the state’s attorney general enters into agreements with other states to allow Ohioans with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms in those states.
The proposal was removed from a gun bill at the year’s end so lawmakers could spend more time on it.
Currently, the attorney general must negotiate written reciprocity agreements with states. The idea would allow automatic reciprocity with states that offer such a provision in their law. It would work in a way similar to how states recognize out-of-state driver’s licenses.