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Ohio lame-duck statehouse session ends with high-profile bills not passed

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OHIO PUBLIC RADIO
An exterior of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Ohio lawmakers closed the book on the current legislative term after a marathon session that ran into the early-morning hours of Thursday. At the end, several of the high-profile pieces of legislation ended on the statehouse cutting room floor. Those pieces of legislation that failed to make it through both chambers: a plan backed by Secretary of State Frank LaRose to raise the voter threshold to pass a constitutional amendment to 60%. A proposal to take most of the educational policy-making power from the state school board and put it with a new department under the control of the governor also failed to pass as did a measure to ban transgender girls from girl’s sports.

Items that did pass and move on to Governor Mike DeWine include a bill that changes voting laws in Ohio, including requiring a state issued photo-ID, passport or military card to vote in person.

We will recap in-depth the lame-duck session at the Ohio Statehouse on this week's Reporters' Roundtable.

Former MetroHealth System CEO, Dr. Akram Boutros has filed a second lawsuit in connection with his firing. The MetroHealth Board last month, fired Boutros after it said an investigation determined he took nearly two-million dollars in unapproved bonuses. Boutros has denied the board’s claims and counters that his firing was retaliation by the board.

Akron City Council voted this week to approve the controversial White Pond Reserve development proposal. By a narrow 7 to 6 vote, council agreed to sell the 65 acres of unused land, which includes forest and wetlands, to Triton Property Ventures for a mixed use residential and retail development. A number of vocal Akron residents says development will ruin the White Pond Reserve’s wetland and ecosystem.

And, Akron’s school board approved this week spending $3.7 million dollars to enhance security and boost mental health support at the district’s schools. The request to the board came after a number of incidents within Akron Public Schools that raised questions from teachers and parents about school safety. Those incidents included one on December 5 when a 7th grader was found with a gun inside a fanny pack.

Guests:
- Anna Huntsman, Akron-Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media - Gabriel Kramer, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media - Andy Chow, News Editor, Ohio Public Radio/TV, Statehouse News Bureau

Leigh Barr is a producer for Ideastream Public Media's the “Sound of Ideas” and the “Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.”