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Transgender student-athlete ban, State Board of Education overhaul fail to pass Ohio House

Ohio lawmakers postpone bill that limits health care for LGBTQ+ youth
Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 14, 2022

COLUMBUS, Ohio — At 2:40 a.m., Ohio House lawmakers prevented a controversial education bill from passing.

House Bill 151 did not reach the designated amount of votes to concur with the Senate's amendments. The bill passed along party lines in the Senate. Since the Senate made so many changes, it had to head back to the House to be debated.

In a tight 46-41 vote, GOP lawmakers joined the Democrats to shoot down the bill. Now, the bill goes to conference committee. The lawmakers could choose to spend time debating that Thursday morning, the Senate can choose to pass it without the amendments or they all can try again next year.

Originally just a bill about Ohio’s Teacher Residency Program, the House snuck in language from another bill that would ban transgender girls and women from participating in middle and high school and college athletics. This occurred in June.

RELATED: Ohio GOP passes bill aiming to root out 'suspected' transgender female athletes through genital inspection

This bill caused national backlash after a News 5 investigation that looked into the provision that would require genital inspections for any student “accused of being” transgender. The Senate lawmakers took that part out of the House bill, which News 5 broke a few weeks after it passed in June, but they now substituted in language that would require a birth certificate check.

Now, however, no type of "check" will take place, according to Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware), who is chairman of the Primary & Secondary Education Committee.

The Senate decided to one-up the House, adding in Senate Bill 178, which would strip away most of the State Board of Education's powers. The only responsibilities left for the board would be selecting the state superintendent, licensing teachers, handling staff disciplinary issues and making school territory transfer decisions.

A News 5 analysis found that one week after Democratic-affiliated candidates won control over the school board, the Republican lawmakers moved a bill forward to strip their powers. For the first time in years, progressive candidates will control the elected seats on the executive agency, regulating if a resolution is able to pass or not.

However, the GOP-dominated board was extremely chaotic and neglected their actual duties, according to Senate President Matt Huffman. Instead of finding a new superintendent, the board members spent hours debating issues that they have no jurisdiction over.

RELATED: Ohio GOP moves forward bill to strip powers from Board of Ed. after losing control to Democrats

Another bill, House Bill 739, was also shoved into the now 2,000+ page bill. It would prohibit schools from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, one that does not currently exist and legally wouldn't be able to take place in public institutions anyway.

RELATED: Ohio lawmaker proposes prohibition on non-existent vaccine mandate

This story will be updated.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.