DeWine gives no hints on whether he’ll sign or veto Ohio lawmakers’ leftover bills

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Gov. Mike DeWine has signed around two dozen bills since the end of the lame duck session in mid-December, and has vetoed one measure. But there are some controversial pieces of legislation still on his desk, and time is running out for him to decide to sign them, veto them, or let them become law without his signature.

Gov. Mike DeWine talking about his campaign in the Ohio Republican gubernatorial primary sitting in his home.
Gov. Mike DeWine talking about his campaign in the Ohio Republican gubernatorial primary. [Daniel Konik | Statehouse News Bureau]
At a press conference after he signed a bill making dozens of changes in state law to distracted driving and other areas, DeWine said he’s looking at a handful of bills from his fellow Republicans very closely.

“The legislature sent us over 40 bills. We’ve gone through them. You know, some of the ones that we signed are pretty easy,” DeWine said. “We have about five that we have some questions about, some serious questions about.”

The bill that would limit ballot drop boxes, require voter photo ID and make other election law changes is one of them – Democrats and voting groups have urged a veto.

Another bill would ban communities from outlawing flavored tobacco – DeWine has hinted he might strike that one.

But in an interview for “The State of Ohio” this weekend, he suggested he could sign a bill that could more quickly allow oil and gas drilling on state lands.

“There was a bill that was passed under Gov. Kasich, and the bill mandated that the state Department Natural Resources set up a commission and that that commission come up with a procedure by which fracking could take place. The commission has has met, but they’ve not come out with their final rule,” DeWine said. “But, you know, there’s already a bill on the books even before this bill, which says we have to allow fracking in our state parks.”