Republicans retain veto-proof majority in Ohio House, Senate


By Samantha Hendrickson - Associated Press/Report for America



COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republicans have maintained their veto-proof majority in both chambers of the Ohio Legislature for the next session, while Democrats will add Ohio’s first two Somali American state lawmakers.

The GOP needs 60 seats in the House and 20 in the Senate to override a governor’s veto of a bill, assuming a vote along party lines. Republicans cleared those thresholds as vote tallying continued in some races. All 99 seats in the House of Representatives and 17 of the 33 Senate seats were up for reelection Tuesday.

The next session is expected to include debate about a state budget and possible additional restrictions on abortion in the state.

Republicans currently have 64 House seats and 25 Senate seats.

They used that veto power to override their own party’s governor, Mike DeWine, during the COVID-19 pandemic on a measure weakening the governor’s ability to respond to public health emergencies.

The legislative district maps for this election were used despite an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

States go through a political mapmaking process every decade to reflect population change, and Ohio’s latest redistricting fight stretched into election season. A divided federal court panel ordered that the state’s elections go ahead using the third set of Statehouse maps approved by the GOP-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission.

In an active second legislative session year, redistricting played out alongside lawmakers legalizing sports betting, allowing school district employees to carry guns, and debating measures about vaccination requirements, abortion, gun rights and school vouchers, among other bills.

The 2023-24 session is expected to include debate about a state budget and possible additional restrictions on abortion.

Democrats Munira Abdullahi and Ismail Mohamed will become the state’s first Somali lawmakers in the Legislature, both representing Columbus-area House districts. The city has the second-largest Somali population in the United States, behind the Minneapolis area

Jim Obergefell, a Democrat whose landmark 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, lost to Republican incumbent Rep. D.J. Swearingen in a northern Ohio House district.

By Samantha Hendrickson

Associated Press/Report for America