Lawmakers Back At Work; Some Plan Ahead, Some Regroup After The 2018 Vote

Lawmakers wasted no time in getting back to work after the election with hearings on more than a hundred bills, including one that would restrict speakers and groups to small “free speech zones” on public university campus and set rules for what the sponsors say would be equal treatment of speakers of all viewpoints.  Another was a measure that its sponsor says only puts into state law the US Supreme Court Janus decision ending the forced collection of union dues from public employees.  But unions that fought back against the collective bargaining reform law known as Senate Bill 5 in 2011 showed up, concerned that this is the first step toward enacting so-called “right to work” legislation.

There were also votes in the House on a self-defense bill that critics call "Stand Your Ground", and on the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" six-week abortion ban. Lawmakers also overrode one of Kasich’s vetoes from earlier this year on a fairly technical bill. But it’s a reminder that all of Kasich’s vetoes could be overridden in this lame duck session, including his stop to the plan to freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion.

Incoming Gov. Mike DeWine has named his transition team, including the newly created Director of Children’s Initiatives. And he had some thoughts about recent speculation about whether Ohio is still a swing state or whether it’s simply turned bright red.

Meanwhile, Democrats are regrouping after the third straight loss of the five executive offices. The bright spots were the election of Supreme Court justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart – the first African American female Democrat directly elected to statewide office in Ohio. And there was the re-election of Sherrod Brown to his third term in the US Senate. And now he’s considering where he goes next.

Also thinking about what’s ahead after an election that was supposed to go his way is Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper.

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