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Next On Ohio's Legislative Agenda: 'Stand Your Ground' And Gun Control

James D. Case

The House and Senate are working on moving bills through their chambers through the next two weeks before going on summer break. This is a critical time for bills lawmakers want to pass, assuming that they’re next chance won’t be till after the November election. 

The so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill, HB 228, which makes it easier to use lethal force in self-defense, is seeing some new momentum in the House after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida forced the legislation to go on hiatus for two months. HB 228 would also stop local governments from passing their own gun control laws, something both Columbus and Cincinnati have already done.

Gov. John Kasich threatened to veto the legislation if the General Assembly put it on his desk, but Senate president Larry Obhof said he thinks it could pass with a veto-proof majority.

On the other side of the gun debate, legislators will also give another hearing to HB 585, the gun-control bill to implement Kasich’s proposals. That bill, backed by state Rep. Mike Henne, includes banning bump stocks and armor-piercing ammunition and creating a “red flag” law, which keeps guns from people the courts deem as threats. It would also require gun purchases be entered into the statewide law enforcement database, something Kasich has pushed for all local agencies to do.

Two bills that could move through committee and possibly to the House floor include HB 296, a measure that increases penalties for people who deal drugs near rehab centers, and HB 511, which reinforces 18 as the legal age to marry.

The bill that overhauls Ohio’s renewable energy laws, HB 114, is getting long-awaited new hearing in the Senate, which could signal passage through the chamber before they go on break in June.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.