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2022 Year in Review: New bills passed by Ohio Lawmakers

Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau

Bills passed in 2022 mean big changes coming next year in voting and gun laws. Plus, Ohioans will soon see new state-funded developments in their communities.

Ohio lawmakers passed appropriations this year to make way for new job developments like the $20 billion dollar semiconductor facility coming to Central Ohio. In January, Governor Mike DeWine claimed that the Intel agreement amounts to the largest economic development deal in Ohio history.

“We worked, we fought and we won to bring these jobs to Ohio," he said.

Lawmakers also approved money for other developments including a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant from Honda and LG Energy solution, an operation that is slated for Fayette County.

Policymaking at the beginning of 2022 was hampered by a long and drawn-out redistricting process. House and Senate leaders spent days going over proposals for new state legislative district maps. The saga extended into May when lawmakers had to hold a vote to delay the primary for House and Senate races until August.

One issue legislators were able to address during that time was gun regulation. Lawmakers passed bills to make it easier to carry and use guns – allowing Ohioans to carry concealed firearms without a permit. And they lowered the amount of training teachers and school staff would need to carry guns in schools. Few districts are arming teachers but DeWine said the law gives them the flexibility.

“Ultimately, that school is going to have to ensure the safety of the child. They're going to have to do the best they can. My job is to give them the best I can to help them do that," DeWine said.

Voters will have to take a photo ID with them when they go to the polls in the future after Ohio lawmakers passed a sweeping elections bill.

“I think a photo ID is a much more secure form of identification than some utility statement that some college manufactures that is probably fake, frankly, and a bank statement that may or may not be valid, frankly," Seitz said.

Lawmakers passed a bill to make using a phone while driving a primary offense. That means police can stop you if they see you using a phone while driving – unless the phone is up to your ear.

The legislature also voted to decriminalize fentanyl testing strips and other materials used to help prevent overdoses.

Insurers will be soon be required to pay for more detailed mammography screening for patients with dense breast tissue under another bill passed by lawmakers this year.

And legislators took action on something known as swatting. That’s what happens when someone reports a fake emergency to incite panic. The bill, which increases criminal penalties for anyone who engages in swatting, garnered bipartisan support.

“Not only are these incidents extremely dangerous but they also waste a tremendous amount of taxpayer resources," Republican Kevin Miller (R-Newark), the bill's sponsor, said.

Ohio lawmakers also passed a new law that levies harsher penalties for people who disrupt religious services with protests.

At the end of this year, lawmakers passed a bill that spends $6 billion in federal COVID relief dollars for schools, nursing homes, day care, and food banks among other things, including $35 million for capital expenditures for the Cleveland Guardians and Dayton Dragons.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.