As possible transgender veto looms, no immediate sessions planned

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(The Center Square) – As a potential veto override of Ohio’s transgender health care bill looks, neither the Senate nor House of Representatives have a session planned for next week.

The House scheduled an “if needed” session for Jan. 10, and its next regular meeting date is Jan. 24. The Senate is not expected to meet again until Jan. 24.

The General Assembly can override the veto of Republican-led House Bill 68 at any time during the session, which ends at the end of this year. An override must start in the House and receive a three-fifths vote from each chamber.

Republicans hold three-fifths majorities in both the House and Senate.

As previously reported by The Center Square, House Speaker Jason Stephens expects veto discussions in his chamber.

Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, called on both the Senate and House to override the veto of the bill that would create single-sex athletic teams and ban gender-affirming care for minors.

Roegner chaired Senate hearings on the legislation.

“I’m disappointed that the governor chose not to protect girls across the state of Ohio by vetoing HB68,” Roegner said. “I certainly hope that the House and Senate will override his decision.”

Senate Democrats applauded the veto, saying the bill would have removed parental rights regarding their child’s health care and targeted six youngsters who play on girls teams after the Ohio High School Athletic Association established a policy to allow participation.

“I am glad to see that the governor has chosen to listen to the science and the people, not Republican and religious ideologues,” said Sen. Bill DeMora, D-Columbus. “A veto was absolutely necessary in this case; HB68 would have been a devastating piece of legislation that would have directly led to a loss of life. While the fight is not over, this was a huge victory for trans people all over our state and over the right to bodily autonomy overall.”

In his veto message, DeWine said his decision was about protecting lives.

“Ultimately, I believe this is about protecting human life,” DeWine’s message said. “Many parents have told me that their child would be dead today if they had not received the treatment they received from an Ohio children’s hospital. I have also been told, by those that are now grown adults, that but for this care, they would have taken their lives when they were teenagers.”

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