The List: Predicting Ohio's next 'progressive' piece of legislation

Andy Downing
adowning@columbusalive.com
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine walks into a coronavirus news conference on April 16, 2020, at the Statehouse in Columbus wearing a mask his wife, Fran, made him.

On Monday,Gov. Mike DeWine described Ohio as a “progressive” state. The governor’s word choice was jarring for a number of reasons, chief among them being: 1) The term “progressive” has long existed as a slur within Republican circles, and 2) there are virtually no metrics by which Ohio could actually be defined as progressive.

This is particularly true in terms of the legislation the right-wing majority has passed in recent years,which critics have said disproportionately hurts LGBTQ and minority communities. As just one example, look at the “Stand Your Ground” bill DeWine signed into law earlier this month in spite of earlier veto threats and studies that connect these types of laws withracial bias andan increase in homicides.

But, hey, who needs to adopt and promote policies that might appeal to these young progressives that DeWine said he hopes to lure to the state when you could instead budget $50 million for an ad campaign designed to try and entice them here? I mean, what young progressive wouldn’t celebrate the chance to live in heavily gerrymandered districts controlled by Republican legislators like Rep. Jim “I Just This Month Learned the Word Unity” Jordan?

Regardless, we thought we’d take a cue from DeWine and try to predict the next “progressive” piece of legislation undertaken by the state’s controlling party. 

The Fetal Voter Freedom of Registration Act

At conception, every fetus is now automatically registered as a Republican voter under this new law. A waiver to switch parties can be obtained by the voter at the age of 18, though the bill stipulates that anyone who opts to change their designation to the Democratic Party will be automatically purged from the voter rolls. To re-register, the voter must then provide four types of photo ID, proof of address, a handwriting sample, two character witnesses and a personal essay, in addition to submitting to a two- to four-year waiting period.

The Firearm Dependents Act

This straightforward bill decrees that every third firearm can now be registered as a dependent for tax purposes. (Note: An earlier cap of 30 dependents was removed when several Republican lawmakers balked at the limitation.)

The Freedom of Education Act

This new law, which passed with a simple majority, replaces most textbooks with an updating collection of YouTube links culled from Tucker Carlson, One America News and Newsmax.

The HB6 Opportunity Act

One might think thatthe massive bribery scandaltied to the passage of the controversial energy bailout bill would be grounds enough for its repeal. Well, you’d be wrong! Rather than overturning the corrupted legislation, which will see taxpayers footing $1 billion-plus to bail out a pair of nuclear power plants, this symbolic act includes apologies to FirstEnergy officials and Republican legislators caught up in the scandal, which can legally no longer be referred to as such. (It’s now to be described as an “opportunity,” as in, “Ohio’s Republican legislature is forever linked to massive HB6 opportunity.”)

The Employer Freedom of Encumbrance Act

Under this bill, employers are freed from burdensome operating costs such as minimum wage. 

The Coronavirus My Body My Choice Act

Passed under the banner of “personal freedom,” this bill rescinds any and all mask mandates established by localities. At passage, Republicans cited “a long-held belief in protecting an individual’s right to choose” as a key factor driving the legislation. The bill also included funding to solicit country singer Neal McCoy to rework his 2017 anti-protest song “Take a Knee, My Ass (I Won’t Take a Knee)” as the pandemic-era “Wear a Mask, My Ass (I Won’t Wear a Mask).” The song did not chart.