Ohio legislators pass new bills

Bills passed in 2022 mean big changes to voting and gun laws next year. In addition, Ohioans will soon see new government-funded projects in their communities.

This year, Ohio legislators provided funds to create new jobs, such as the $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant coming to Central Ohio. In January, Gov. Mike Devine said the agreement with Intel represented the largest economic development deal in Ohio’s history.

“We have worked and fought and won to provide these jobs in Ohio,” he said.

Lawmakers also approved funding for other developments, including a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant from Honda and an LG Energy solution planned for Fayette County.

The adoption of the policy in early 2022 was hampered by a long and drawn-out redistricting process. House and Senate leaders spent days debating proposals for new maps of the state’s legislative districts. The saga lasted until May, when lawmakers had to vote to delay House and Senate primaries until August.

One of the issues that legislators were able to solve at the time was gun regulation. Legislators passed bills to make it easier to carry and use guns, allowing Ohioans to carry concealed firearms without a permit. And they have reduced the amount of training required for teachers and school staff to carry guns in schools. Few counties arm teachers, but DeWine said the law gives them leeway.

“Ultimately, this school will have to ensure the safety of the child. They will have to do their best. My job is to give them everything I can to help them get there,” DeWine said.

Voters will have to bring a photo ID with them when they go to the polls in the future after Ohio legislators passed a sweeping election law.

“I think a photo ID is a much more secure form of identification than some college-issued utility statement, which, frankly, may be fake, and a bank statement, which may or may not be be real, frankly,” Seitz said.

The deputies passed a bill according to which the use of the phone while driving will be considered a predicate offence. This means that the police can stop you if they see you talking on the phone while driving, unless the phone is at your ear.

The legislature also voted to decriminalize fentanyl test strips and other materials used to prevent overdoses.

Insurers will soon be required to pay for more detailed mammography screenings for patients with dense breast tissue, under another bill passed by lawmakers this year.

And legislators took action on the so-called spanking. This is what happens when someone reports a false emergency to create a panic. The bill, which would increase the criminal penalties for anyone who slaps, has received bipartisan support.

“These incidents are not only extremely dangerous, but also waste huge amounts of taxpayer resources,” said Republican sponsor Kevin Miller (R-Newark) of the bill.

Ohio legislators also passed a new law providing for harsher penalties for people who disrupt religious services by protesting.

Lawmakers passed a bill later this year that would spend $6 billion in federal COVID relief funds on schools, nursing homes, day care centers and food banks, among others, including $35 million in capital spending for the Cleveland Guardians and Dayton Dragons.

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