Ohio House passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks was approved by the House on Thursday as the Legislature was wrapping up its two-year session.

The House voted 64-29 to approve the bill. The ban will be added to legislation already on its way to Republican Gov. John Kasich that would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That so-called heartbeat bill could give Ohio one of the nation’s most stringent abortion restrictions.

Kasich opposes abortion rights but hasn’t said whether he plans to sign either measure.

The House also planned to vote Thursday on legislation to expand Ohio’s concealed-weapons law to allow guns in places such as colleges and day cares and on private aircraft. The bill still permits those places to ban guns if they want. The Senate approved that bill Wednesday night.

Among other action before the Legislature Thursday and late Wednesday:

—The Ohio Senate approved a bill aimed at making it harder for authorities to seize assets like cash or vehicles if the owners aren’t involved in criminal activity. At issue are state forfeiture laws that often are used to seize assets that were originally taken by police during crime investigations but sometimes are the property of innocent third parties.

— Lawmakers considered a bill that would make concealed weapons permit holders a protected class under employment discrimination law. Gun-rights advocates back the legislation allowing permit holders who keep guns locked in their vehicles the same type of protections the Ohio Civil Rights Act provides against race, gender, age or religious discrimination, The Columbus Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/2h0kLf9 ).

Supporters say permit holders should be allowed to keep their guns in cars, which are private property, regardless of the location of the vehicle. Business groups including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association oppose the bill.

— Lawmakers approved legislation proposed by Kasich as part of efforts to battle Ohio’s addictions epidemic. The bill that got final House and Senate approval requires thousands of pharmacy technicians to be registered by the state.

Other measures would allow more methadone clinics and permit the state pharmacy board to license sole medical practitioners.

The bill also expands the use of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, sold as Narcan, to schools, homeless shelters, halfway houses and treatment centers.

— Ohio lawmakers also passed legislation that could provide more benefits for firefighters who get cancer as a presumed result of their work. The measure addresses how causes of such cancer are viewed when it comes to getting benefits through workers’ compensation and the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.