Winners and losers: New Speaker of Ohio House lays out agenda


As some bills are primed to move forward and others may have run their course and fallen short, a new legislative agenda is being shaped by Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Ryan Smith.

Smith met with journalists at the Statehouse Tuesday to discuss a vast array of topics.

Some of what was discussed centered around the future of specific bills, like the Stand Your Ground Bill or Tyler’s Law.

Other topics delved into general areas of interest such as right to work, abortion, and gun based legislation.

Because lawmakers are one foot out the door with summer break about a week away, reporters wanted to know what was going to be on their plate for the final two House Sessions, and what they planned to move for the remainder of the year.

The 45-minute question and answer session provided perspective on where the House is headed.

As for the next couple of weeks, it has been promised that the Reagan Tokes Act (House Version) will be getting a vote on the floor Wednesday.

This bill which combines both Senate bills into one standalone bill, has been tweaked and trimmed for months, and has been forced to wait for a floor vote delayed by the resignation of former Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger and the rigmarole that followed for months as they tried to elected a new speaker.

The House version of the Reagan Tokes Act will still have to go through the legislative process in the Senate where half of the Senate version of the bill has been hung up in committee, while the other half has been voted out and is already in a House Committee.

 We’ve also learned that despite heavy opposition from activists, the Stand Your Ground bill which also allows for permit-less concealed carry and a change to who bears the burden of proving self-defense, will likely get a vote the following week.

Potentially on the chopping block, a bill inspired by Governor Kasich’s 6 common-sense proposals to address gun violence.

State Representative Mike Henne will be given a chance to convince fellow Republicans in a caucus meeting that the bill will be changed to satisfy their concerns over protecting the second amendment.

Smith says he has issue with the Red Flag portion of the bill and what he calls a lack of due process involved.

If Henne cannot convince his colleagues that the bill will meet their approval it could be dead in the House, which in turn means the Senate version of the bill would likewise be dead on arrival if it ever makes it through that chamber.

Confident that the Stand Your Ground Bill will pass, Smith says he believes he can get the 60 votes necessary to override any Kasich veto of the bill.

Kasich, who has stated publicly that he will not sign the Stand Your Ground Bill, released a statement through his office today.

According to Jon Keeling, Kasich’s spokesman, “The governor hopes the legislature will focus their energy on laws that will help keep guns out of the hands of individuals deemed to be dangerous. That’s it. This shouldn’t be controversial.”

Other controversial issues like abortion and right to work are being placed on the backburner for now.

Until lawmakers can get through campaign season and the election in the fall, those topics are not going to be taken up.

Depending on who wins the governorship in November, things could shift. Faced with the possibility of Democrat Richard Cordray winning in the fall Smith said, “That would certainly change the dynamic if that were to happen.”

Finally, as we head into the heart of summer, Smith was asked about Tyler’s Law.

The bill would make changes to safety of amusement park rides, and has been pursued as a result of last year’s tragic accident at the Ohio State Fair.

The House Agriculture committee was assigned the bill weeks ago but has yet to give it a hearing despite only having to deal with 8 bills total in the last 18 months.

Smith says he has requested that it gets its first hearing and expects that it will next week before lawmakers are gone for the summer not to return until after the General Election in November.

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