Lawmakers are moving swiftly to fix a clerical error on a gun bill that was signed into law last year.
The error is technical in nature and will make some shotguns and rifles illegal if the law is not changed before it goes into effect next month.
Bills have been passed by both the Ohio House and Senate to address the problem.
Once one of those bills is passed by the opposite chamber and gets to the governor’s desk, and he signs it, the error will be resolved.
Some Democrat lawmakers blamed a chaotic legislative process during lame duck sessions for causing the problem.
“This kind of last-minute lawmaking is bad for our democracy. It undermines good public policy and it leaves room for mistakes that could have been prevented,” said State Representative Brigid Kelly.
Fellow State Representative Joseph Miller III, a Democrat, also voiced his displeasure on the floor of the Ohio House.
“This is a story that is played out time and time again,” said Miller. “Bills are changed in the dead of night with no time for review, with no time for public input and the constituents we’re sworn to serve end up suffering the consequences.”
This time the consequences look like they will be avoided completely, but that may not have been the case had the election turned out differently.
Because the Republicans control both legislative chambers and the executive branch, there shouldn’t be an issue resolving this matter to their satisfaction.
However, all it would have taken to delay the process would have been for the GOP to lose one of those chambers or the governorship.
Then it could have been possible, however unlikely, that the law may have gone into effect as is.
Democrats have been pushing for stronger gun laws and holding this fix up could have been an opportunity to gain ground in that area.
In such a scenario, constituents would have suffered the consequences of the error and that is why State Representative Adam Miller says attention to detail is so important.
Democrats, in general, could do little more than point out the mishandling of the bill accurate completion due to their minority party status, and implore their colleagues across the aisle to tackle important, and at times controversial, topics earlier in the General Assembly.
“It just goes to show what happens when you do something that is so very important in a very short amount of time. You end up having to come back to the legislature requesting a quick fix and that is just not how we should be operating,” said House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes.
After the vote to pass the bill as an emergency measure, Speaker of the House Larry Householder told reporters he appreciated that some Democrats voted to approve the bill to fix the clerical error.