Cutting unemployment benefits, creating new abortion restrictions, stopping cities from raising the minimum wage, and preventing cities from stopping puppy mills is all on the menu for Ohio’s Republican legislature this lame-duck season.
It’s a holiday grab bag of hurt from the party Ohioans just rewarded with an expansion of their power and control in the Buckeye State. That’s right, the Republicans expanded their already preposterous majorities by one seat in each chamber of the Ohio General Assembly.
But outgoing lawmakers are looking to get in their licks while the licking remains good, and the folks Cleveland.com were kind enough to provide us a look at their plans.
Unemployment compensation reform
… House Bill 394 would raise the amount on which employers pay into the program but cut benefits by about $475 million a year, according to an analysis by the Legislative Service Commission.
But lawmakers decided earlier this year to further study the issue. A new bill is expected to be introduced from that process.
It makes you feel some sort of way when you suspect that Republicans who’ve decided to “study” cuts that hurt government safety nets will just end up finding new ways to cut more.
What of that whole renewable energy freeze?
Renewable energy and energy efficiency standards
… Gov. John Kasich said he will veto any bill that scraps the standards, and continuing the freeze indefinitely is not an acceptable solution.
Lawmakers are still debating possible solutions in their respective chambers: the House favors a 10-year freeze, while the Senate wants to make efficiency standards optional.
President-elect Reality Television is already planning to scrap the Paris climate agreement, but the U.S. isn’t on track to reduce emissions by 2025 in accordance with the agreement anyway. Ohio’s House Republicans wanna make sure they’re doing their part. Onward and upward! Toward certain demise!
Three abortion-related bills are pending at the Statehouse:
House Bill 135 would ban abortions obtained because of a Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill passed a House committee and awaits a full floor vote.
Senate Bill 127 would prohibit an abortion after 20 weeks into a pregnancy instead of the current 24 weeks. The bill passed the Senate last year and hasn’t had a hearing in the House since October 2015.
Republicans’ fascination with other people’s genitals and reproductive systems puts me in mind of the Energizer bunny.
Minimum wage restrictions
Lawmakers are considering legislation preventing cities from raising the minimum wage above state-set amounts. Such language could be added into Senate Bill 331.
We won’t be giving the working poor a livable wage at the state level and don’t you namby pamby cities try it either, dadgummit!
Pet store regulations
Senate Bill 331 would override local laws banning stores from using puppy mills. It would set state standards for where pet stores could buy dogs and cats.
Seriously? Y’all are pro-puppy mills now? It’s not enough to screw over the unemployed, push the planet headlong toward disaster and invade the medical rights of women? I think y’all need to be Clockwork Oranged with Sarah McLachlan PSAs.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s RouteFifty.com, the National Journal’s The Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.