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Gov. DeWine weighs options of whether to veto or sign into law several bills passed by the legislature

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Posted at 7:00 AM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 07:00:09-05

BEXLEY, Ohio — The holidays are a busy time of year for all of us and that's most especially true of the governor. The final weeks of the year mark the end of his first term, the preparations for the start of his next but before that consideration of the measures passed by the legislature in the final days of the session.

At the Governor's Mansion in Bexley on Tuesday News 5 asked Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine where he stood on a number of those bills we've covered in recent weeks, whether they'd get his signature or a veto.

The governor appeared inclined to veto a law that would block local governments from issuing bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products.

"You know I have a long history of fighting for kids and particularly in fighting for kids to not becoming addicted to tobacco. What these big tobacco companies have figured out is the way we get kids started is through flavors," DeWine said. "If any of our viewers say 'well look that's up to the individual whether they start or not,' I understand that but I would point out one thing that Ohio spends through Medicaid hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars every single year to deal with diseases and problems that are caused by smoke."

"What we ought to do frankly is have a statewide ban of flavored cigarettes. We ought to have a national ban and we would save a ton of money."

When asked if that means he will definitely veto the measure:

"Well I haven’t announced anything but I kind of joke with the news media when I was asked about this, I said well you need to look at my history and people will have a pretty good idea," he said.

Another measure are the changes to Ohio's voting laws, specifically a measure that would require photo ID to be shown at the polls to vote.

"We’re still looking at a lot of different provisions, we’re consulting with some local officials, Democrats and Republicans trying to get their take on what impact that this might have on voting. I start though with an understanding or a belief I think based on evidence that Ohio does it very well," DeWine said.

"We count our ballots quickly, we're not like some other states that are going on day after day after day. We have very few incidences of real problems connected with cheating so we have a good system it is based on Democrats watching Republicans and Republicans watching Democrats at the local level, at the precinct level, at the county level and it works exceeding well. We have voting for almost four weeks prior to the election people can vote, they can vote for 13 hours on Election Day, we got a good system," DeWine said.

DeWine says the new law allowing for oil and natural gas drilling under state parks and property is complicated and is still being studied with a decision on a veto or signature coming next week.

"A number of years ago the state legislature passed a law which is still on the books which provides for drilling in our state parks and anyplace else the state owns. What this bill apparently does is compel that drilling or compel any administration to move forward on that. So we're still looking at it, and I'll have more to say about that next week."

One piece of legislation where DeWine says there is no doubt what he’ll do is the new distracted driving law that allows officers to pull over a driver just for holding or looking at a cell phone or electronic device.

"I will sign this bill. It is something that I have pushed for for a long time and there will be many Ohioans lives that will be saved, we’ll never know who they are but a lot of families will avoid the pain and the horror of having someone come to their door and say that your son or your daughter is dead."

RELATED: Inconsistencies in Ohio's home rule authority highlighted by tobacco legislation

Last week, the City of Columbus banned flavored tobacco products, saying the corporations responsible for them have targeted children and Black Americans, thus causing a new epidemic of tobacco and nicotine use.

The next day, a provision was added to a bill on tobacco taxes to prevent any city or municipality from regulating smoking, vaping and other e-cigarette usage and sales. Watch more about the bill in the player below:

Inconsistencies in Ohio's home rule authority highlighted by tobacco legislation