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Morning Headlines: Lawmakers Attach Transgender Ban to Popular College Athlete Bill; Ohio House Passes Controversial Vaccine Bill

The Ohio statehouse.
THE OHIO LEGISLATURE
The bill to allow college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness passed the Ohio House, but not before Republican lawmakers attached a last-minute amendment to the bill that bans transgender women from participating in high school and college women sports.

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, June 25:

  • Lawmakers attach transgender ban to popular college athlete bill
  • Ohio House passes controversial vaccine bill
  • GOP-backed bill clamping down on protesters in Ohio advances
  • Ohio proposals would let high schoolers redo pandemic year
  • GOP House bill would change public corruption jurisdiction
  • Fired football coach, assistants stripped of noncoaching jobs
  • Ohioans for Gun Safety dissolving, encourages supporters to back Whitney/Strong
  • Karamu House donates archives to CWRU

Lawmakers attach transgender ban to popular college athlete bill
The bill to allow college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness passed the Ohio House, but not before Republican lawmakers attached a last-minute amendment to the bill that bans transgender women from participating in high school and college women sports. The transgender athlete ban was already its own bill making its way through the House committee process. But Rep. Jena Powell moved to add the language as an amendment to the NCAA likeness bill, which had bipartisan support. Then, the Senate ended up sidestepping the House's move by taking the original language of the bill relating to college athletes name, image, likeness, and putting it in different legislation, which passed. It now goes back to the House for approval before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

Ohio House passes controversial vaccine bill
Earlier this week, a controversial Ohio House bill that would prevent businesses and schools from requiring employees or students to get vaccinations stalled in committee. Now, the House has passed a similar measure by tacking it onto a Senate approved bill that allocates federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to local governments. The amendment would prevent employers, both public and private, from requiring that employees be vaccinated if the shot hasn't received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, like the COVID-19 vaccine. Once the Senate approves the change, the bill faces a possible veto by Gov. Mike DeWine, who has said he doesn’t like the idea of lawmakers telling businesses how they can run their operations.

GOP-backed bill clamping down on protesters in Ohio advances
A GOP-backed bill aiming to expand the definition of obstructing justice in Ohio to include failure to follow a lawful order or diverting a law enforcement officer’s attention moved forward. Republican lawmakers voted the House bill out of committee Thursday after weeks of intense opponent testimony, where critics said the anti-protest proposal will be selectively enforced and disproportionately impact Black people. The bill is one of four proposals by the majority party aimed at criminalizing or increasing penalties associated with behavior at protests in the wake of mass demonstrations that swept across Ohio last year in response to the death of George Floyd.

Ohio proposals would let high schoolers redo pandemic year
Some Ohio lawmakers are proposing that high schoolers should get a do-over after their pandemic-troubled school year, even if they qualified to graduate. New legislation in the Senate would give students who just finished senior year a chance to re-enroll in 12th grade this fall to repeat classes and get another round of eligibility for sports. A separate bill in the House would set up a program in which high schoolers could seek to repeat or supplement the courses they took and pursue athletics eligibility. The Ohio High School Athletic Association says it doesn't support giving students a voluntary fifth year of athletic eligibility.

GOP House bill would change public corruption jurisdiction
An Ohio House committee has approved a bill that would affect how public corruption charges against state officials could be prosecuted. Rep. Bill Seitz is a Republican from Cincinnati and the legislation sponsor. If passed, the bill would require a public administration offense to be prosecuted in the county of the alleged offender's residence. The practical effect of that would be that jurisdiction over wrongdoing by state lawmakers would be removed from the Franklin County prosecutor in Columbus where the Statehouse is located. Democrats say the GOP is pushing the bill because a Democrat was elected prosecutor in Columbus after decades of Republican control.

Fired football coach, assistants stripped of noncoaching jobs
Fired Canton McKinley High School football coach Marcus Wattley has now been placed on unpaid leave from his academic and athletic liaison job with the district. The Canton School Board took that action in response to an incident earlier this month in which surveillance video showed Wattley and his staff punishing a player by forcing him to eat pork against his religious beliefs. Board members also voted to fire three other former assistant coaches from their noncoaching jobs. Wattley's lawyer calls the accusations false.

Ohioans for Gun Safety dissolving, encourages supporters to back Whitney/Strong
A grassroots group formed to push for a change in Ohio's gun sale rules is ending operations. Ohioans for Gun Safety focused on collecting signatures to get a background check bill on the ballot in 2021. A spokesperson for the group tells member station WVXU the pandemic stifled its efforts and it felt too difficult to restart in the current climate. Ohioans for Gun Safety is encouraging its supporters and advocates to join forces with Cincinnati's Whitney/Strong Organization. The group, which focuses on responsible gun ownership and ending gun violence, formed following the deadly 2018 shooting on Fountain Square. Group co-founder Whitney Austin was shot 12 times during the attack. Whitney/Strong says Ohioans for Gun Safety is dissolving at the end of the month.

Karamu House donates archives to CWRU
Cleveland’s Karamu House, the country's oldest African-American theater, has donated its archives to Case Western Reserve University. The collection of photographs, programs, and letters will have a permanent home at the school's library where it will be accessible to the public for research and education. Among the items donated will be the theatre's historic register, including photographs, drawings, posters and the collected letters of Karamu alumnus and playwright Langston Hughes.