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Sherrod Brown Slams Ohio Legislature For Lame-Duck Priorities

J. Scott Applewhite
Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is disappointed with the legislation he’s seeing pushed through the Ohio General Assembly, such as efforts going into the “Stand Your Ground Bill” and “Heartbeat Bill.” He says these polarizing issues end up reflecting poorly on the state.

Brown, who began his public service career as an Ohio House representative in the 1970s, says this is the most corrupt state legislature he’s ever seen. He points out recent issues with failing charter schools and investigations into payday lending kickbacks to back that claim.

“I think that people around the country see an Ohio state government that doesn’t deliver the goods, it doesn’t fund higher ed the way it should, our economic growth’s below the national average, our infant mortality rate is too high,” Brown says, also noting Ohio’s high opioid overdose death rate. “And we have a state government that would rather work on abortion and gun bills.”

Republican leaders in Wisconsin and Michigan have been criticized for trying to jam conservative bills before Democratic governors come in. Unlike those states, Ohio Republicans swept the statewide offices and kept their House and Senate supermajorities.

Brown was the only Democrat to win a high-profile statewide race in Ohio. He’s now considering a possible presidential run in 2020.

Despite objections from Brown and other opponents, state House and Senate leadership have said that a large portion of Ohioans want to extend gun owner rights and more restrictions on abortion.

While there was a lot of focus on “Stand Your Ground” and the “Heartbeat Bill” at the beginning of the month, those efforts have seemed to stall. The Senate stripped the “Stand Your Ground” language out of HB 228. And the chamber delayed committee hearingson HB 258, the “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortions as early as six weeks.

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.