Veto override votes likely on horizon for Ohio legislature in 2024
The Ohio House will convene for session Wednesday, two weeks earlier than it originally intended to—and it could be for a vote to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of House Bill 68.
HB 68 cleared both legislative chambers last year, and would block trans youth from access to gender-affirming care and from participating in girls’ athletics. DeWine vetoed the bill last Friday, saying he saw it as a life-or-death matter for some Ohioans.
But HB 68 is not the only bill the Republican-dominated legislature wants to formally break from DeWine, who is also a Republican, on in 2024.
Before they went on recess, the Ohio House voted to override legislation DeWine vetoed months before. What DeWine blocked would have disallowed cities, towns and villages from exercising local control of tobacco—including through enacting flavored tobacco bans. Some central Ohio communities had bans on the books that went into effect on Jan. 1.
Leo Almeida, with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, has been advocating local governments ban retail sale of flavored tobacco. In an interview, Almeida said aside from different cancers, another big concern is children's health.
“If they start using them, they could get addicted and have a lifetime of addiction,” he said. “If we can change the policies to take away the products that are directly marketed at kids, products like fruit and candy flavored e-cigarettes and other other tobacco products, that will go a long way in reducing that number.”
But some organizations in favor of the override, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, have said the bans are anti-business.
“Although this veto may have carried well-intentioned health outcomes, the exercise of such a piecemeal approach applied to 938 municipal governments only drives consumers to adjacent retailers beyond city and state limits,” spokesperson Amanda Ehrmantraut wrote in a December media release.
Veto overrides need to clear both chambers, meaning the tobacco override is waiting on a senate vote.
A spokesperson for Senate President Matt Huffman said Wednesday that there’s a good chance it is brought to the floor this year, but they have yet to decide when that will be.