Heartbeat Bill Is Dead, And Two Veterans Of Ohio Politics Share Stories

The lame duck session of the General Assembly has been busy – both for what’s been happening and what we now know won’t happen. Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-Richmond Heights) says he's shutting the door on bringing the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" and the bill to strip state funds from Planned Parenthood to the floor. Janet Folger Porter of the group Faith 2 Action, which created the Heartbeat Bill, says she is still hopeful that the bill could pass by the end of the year, and that she thinks the decision to stop it might be "personal".

House lawmakers passed a bill that would give schools letter grades of A through F, replacing the rankings that rate schools in six categories from excellent with distinction to academic emergency. The floor debate featured comments from co-sponsor Rep. Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster), Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) and Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson). Lawmakers also passed a bill to give school districts more flexibility in making up snow days and other lost time, and approved a long awaited crackdown on high-volume dog breeding operations or “puppy mills”.

Lawmakers have also set up their leadership teams for the new session that starts in January. Among Republicans in the Senate, Keith Faber (R-Celina) was unanimously elected president, with Chris Widener (R-Springfield) as president pro tem, Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) as Majority Floor Leader and Larry Obhof (R-Medina) as Majority Whip. In the House, Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) was re-elected to his post, with Matt Huffman (R-Lima) moving up to replace the term-limited Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati) as speaker pro tem. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) will be majority leader, John Adams (R-Sidney) will be assistant majority floor leader, Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) will be majority whip and Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) will be assistant majority whip.

Democrats re-elected their leadership teams in both the House and Senate last week. In the House, Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) stays on as minority leader with Matthew Szollosi (D-Toledo) as assistant minority leader, Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) as Minority Whip and Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) as Assistant Minority Whip. And in the Senate, Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati) keeps the position as minority leader, again joined by Assistant Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman), Minority Whip Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and Assistant Minority Whip Edna Brown (D-Toledo).

The districts that state House and Senate members ran in in this election will stand, now that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the maps are legal. And a law that's meant to help the state deal with prison overcrowding has Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) speaking out.

The election of 2012 is history, but Secretary of State Jon Husted is still taking heat for some of the things that happened – or were thought by some to have happened – during the campaign. Perhaps no one understands what that’s like more than the person who occupied the office before him, overseeing the 2008 presidential campaign. Jennifer Brunner has written a memoir called “Cupcakes and Courage” – the latter word hearkening back to her 2010 campaign for the Democratic nomination for US Senate. She talks about the book and her reasons for writing it in the first of a two-part interview.

And this week featured a conversation between two greats - former WOSU radio host Fred Anderle sat down with Bill Cohen from the Statehouse News Bureau of Ohio Public Radio and Television to talk about coverage and watching politics and stories of major interest over the past few decades.

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