A banned procedure that could largely end second-trimester abortions, likely pay raises for lawmakers and local officials, and variable punishment for high-level felons based on their behavior highlighted a busy Thursday of Statehouse action as the Ohio Legislature wound down the final days of this session.

Lawmakers from the House and Senate continued to meet after 11 p.m. to finish up voting on some pending bills.

Reagan Tokes Law

Taking Ohio back to a time before truth-in-sentencing laws, lawmakers on Thursday gave final passage to a bill allowing prison terms to be shortened or lengthened depending on an inmate’s behavior.

First- and second-degree felons could have their sentences increased by up to 50 percent if they cause trouble while incarcerated. Model prisoners, meanwhile, could see sentences reduced by up to 15 percent.

“The department believes this will help control the prison population better, because the prisoners are going to have time hanging over their heads,” said Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva Park, a prime sponsor of the bill.

The bill is a piece of the Reagan Tokes Law, named after the Ohio State University senior who was kidnapped as she left work in the Short North on Feb. 8, 2017. She was robbed, raped and shot by Brian Golsby, who is serving a life sentence.

Golsby had been released from prison shortly before the killing, despite numerous problems while incarcerated. He also was wearing a GPS tracking device while committing the murder and a half-dozen aggravated robberies in Columbus.

Senate Bill 201 does not include pieces of the initial proposal that dealt with improving electronic monitoring and setting new standards, including caseload limits, for parole officers.

“You have people with concerns about how it’s going to work and how much it’s going to cost,” Bacon said, adding that he hopes they will be addressed next year in the new state budget.

The bill requires a study of the feasibility of real-time GPS monitoring and sets up a process for victims to track the progress of rape kit testing.

Abortion

Lawmakers gave final passage to a bill that would ban dilation and evacuation, a procedure also known as “dismemberment abortion,” typically used between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy — even in cases of rape or incest.

A doctor that uses the procedure would face a fourth-degree felony, and Senate Bill 145 creates a potential civil action. The ban does not apply if it involves a fetus following a miscarriage.

Gov. John Kasich has not said whether he will sign the bill, though he has typically signed bills backed by Ohio Right to Life, which supports the measure, calling it a "barbaric" procedure.

He will again, however, veto the heartbeat bill, which lawmakers also were expected to send his way Thursday night. It prohibits an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six or seven weeks, again even in cases of rape or incest.

Pay raises/death benefits

After two House votes, the Senate was likely to give final late-night approval for Senate Bill 296, extending longer and greater benefits to the survivors of fallen law enforcement and firefighters, while allowing them to participate in state insurance programs.

If passed, the bill may still be a struggle to get put into law. Kasich has threatened a veto after lawmakers attached an amendment to the bill, generally granting annual increases of 1.75 percent through 2028 to statewide elected officials, plus county and township elected officials. Some state and local officials, including those who haven’t seen raises since 2008, would see larger increases in the first few years.

State lawmakers earn a base salary of $60,584 annually, and Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, called the pay raises long overdue, but others were critical.

“I have a big problem with the process,” said Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville. “I didn’t come to Columbus to work on pay raises, or because of the pay. We poisoned a very good bill.”

Kasich appears likely to veto the measure, calling it "ridiculous" and saying it should have been addressed prior to the waning days of the legislative session. "It's one thing to do it in the light of day ... (but) there should be no such thing as a lame duck," he said Thursday.

Kasich said he would wait until “the very last second” to issue any vetoes, utilizing the full 10 days. That means lawmakers would have to come back a few days after Christmas to cast a veto override.

The plan is for the Senate to return on either Dec. 27 or 28 for a veto override, and Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, said he also thinks he can get enough members in for a vote, despite struggling Thursday to surpass the 66 votes needed for the bill.

The Senate late Thursday also added $5.5 million to a separate bill to pay for the expanded survivor benefits, plus up to $1 million to pay for the insurance.

Pike County murders

A late Senate-added amendment would provide $100,000 in short-term assistance to help Pike County with the costs of prosecution of six people, including four members of the Wagner family charged with the death penalty in the murder of eight members of the Rhoden family.

Sex offenders

Serial sex offenders could face more jail time under legislation which unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday.

House Bill 96, by Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington, doubles the maximum penalty for sexual imposition to 360 days in jail when the offender has been previously convicted three or more times of a sex offense.

The bill was inspired by Lonnie Sturdivant, who has a decades-long history of groping women, most recently in incidents near Ohio State and Capital universities.

“There is a very high rate of recidivism in unfortunate incidents like this, and you have to keep them in jail longer so they cannot continue to re-offend,” Bacon said.

Revenge porn

The Senate also unanimously passed a bill criminalizing so-called revenge porn or the distribution of private images of an ex or anyone without their consent, making it a misdemeanor for a first offense and felonies for subsequent offenses.

Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, said House Bill 497 mirrors his bill, which passed the Senate earlier this week and would criminalize posting revenge porn and provide protections for victims.

Crew money

The Senate gave final approval to a bill providing $15 million for the new $230 million Columbus Crew stadium.

Dispatch Reporter Randy Ludlow contributed to this story.

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