The very latest on the status of HB45/SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) & HB54/SB61 (Restoration of Rights)
By Jim Irvine
We have received many emails regarding the status of concealed carry reform bills in Ohio. While HB45/SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation) and HB54/SB61 (Restoration of Rights) have all passed their respective chambers, House and Senate, they are not headed to Governor Kasich - yet. None of the bills have been signed into law and no changes are in effect for Ohio gun owners.
Before a bill goes to the Governor, it must pass both chambers of the General Assembly in identical form. Car carry and restaurant carry reform is contained in HB45 (House Bill 45) and also in SB17 (Senate Bill 17). These bills were identical when introduced. Each of these bills has gone through the committee hearing process and been passed by their respective chambers. They have both been assigned to committees in the opposite chamber from where they started. SB17 is now in the House and HB45 is now in the Senate. While still in the Senate, SB17 was amended to provide a way for someone who was convicted under current law to obtain relief if they would have been legal under the new law defined in SB17.
Because the bills were not identical when passed, they are not ready to move to the Governor. Additionally, even if they were identical, they would still not go to the Governor, because they are different bills. One is a House bill and one is a Senate bill. The same bill must pass both houses before it moves to the Governor.
One of these bills will become the vehicle that will be sent to Governor Kasich for his signature. Judging by recent comments to the press by Speaker Batchelder, it appears that SB17 will be the vehicle for the restaurant & car carry rules fixes.
Normally, the bill would undergo the normal three committee hearings before a committee vote, thereby sending the bill to that branch's floor. But each committee has already heard proponent/opponent/interested party testimony on the bill by virtue of the companion bill that started on its side. There is little to be gained by more hearings where the same people and groups take the same position on the same language in front of the same committee members where this took place a few months ago.
It is our hope that because each committee is familiar with the bills' language, and the support and opposition to the proposed changes in Ohio Revised Code, that the upcoming committee process can be expedited. SB17 will have at least one, and possibly many more committee hearings. HB45 will likely "die" and never have another hearing, as only one bill can go to the Governor’s desk. HB54 and SB61 are in the exact same situation as HB45 and SB17. One bill will move, and the other will die. Which bills move is of little concern to the gun owner, but does matter to the bill's sponsors, who all would like credit for the work they have done to improve Ohio's firearms laws.
Regardless of the number of hearings, what is important is that one bill must pass out of the committee where it currently resides, and then move to the floor for a full vote. Assuming no changes are made to that bill, it would then head to Governor Kasich for his signature. If there are any changes to the bill, it will need to return to its chamber of origin for a concurrence vote. There is a procedure with a conference committee to work out differences in the two houses, but that is unlikely with these particular bills.
New laws become effective 90 days after the Governor's signature.
We continue to advocate that these cleanup issues which are left over from last session should be completed before the legislature breaks for their summer recess.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.
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