Final pushes being made on bills as legislative session comes to an end


    DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) - The next three weeks will be a sprint for Ohio lawmakers.

    There are more than 1,000 bills at risk of heading nowhere with the legislative session set to end at the end of the year, but a handful of bills still have a chance to make it to the governor’s desk.

    “This is the third general assembly that legislation to close this loophole has been introduced,” Sarah Wolf-Knight said, referring to House Bill 561.

    Wolf-Knight is the Grants and Advocacy Manager for YWCA Dayton. She said HB 561 would eliminate spousal exceptions for rape and sexual battery. It's one of more than 1,100 bills introduced during the two-year legislative session.

    "We’ve had meetings from everyone from the Senate President to the House Speaker to the bill sponsors,” Wolf-Knight said.

    The road to passage is usually a long one.

    “The process to pass a bill is and should be difficult,” State Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) said. “We’re talking about changing Ohio law.”

    He said a little more than 100 bills have become law this session, and that you'll likely see about 50 more pass in the next three weeks alone, but there's good reason for the last minute push for passage.

    “The first six months of the General Assembly we spend on the budget,” said Rep. Antani. “So really you got a year and half to get them done, and so right now people are trying to negotiate last minute differences.”

    YWCA Dayton knows the odds of bills passing are slim, but they're not giving up the fight if it happens to fail again.

    “Since we only have a couple of weeks left of lame duck, we’re looking at next year and how we’re going to strategically get it reintroduced and passed if we’re not successful right now,” Wolf-Knight said.

    Several other big bills are also still at play to pass this year.

    The “Heartbeat” bill, which bans abortions after a detectable heartbeat, is one of them. The “Stand Your Ground” bill could also pass by year end. The bill would eliminate a person’s duty to retreat, allowing an individual to protect themselves by using deadly force.

    On Wednesday, the Ohio House passed the "Pink Tax" exemption bill, which repeals taxes on feminine hygiene products, such as tampons, sanitary napkins and similar products.

    Its chances of passing by the end of the year is still up in the air.

    YWCA Dayton said it hopes the General Assembly passes legislation like HB 561 sooner than later.

    “We need to really take a hard look at all of these laws that are on the books,” Wolf-Knight said, "so we are able to stand up as a state in support of women.”

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