(Columbus) - Gov. John Kasich has signed the state's new budget. He used 24 pens to sign the $62 billion spending plan for the next two years. He vetoed 21 provisions in the 6,000-page budget.
But it's what he didn't veto that has many Democrats fuming.
Kasich left provisions that put Planned Parenthood at the back of the line for public funding and that would require doctors perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions and then explain if they detected a heartbeat.
"Elected officials are supposed to protect the health and safety of the people they serve, not impose their personal beliefs on them. Today Governor Kasich enacted measures that prescribe medically unnecessary procedures, force doctors to mislead their patients and will force quality medical centers to close,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.
Ohio Right to Life had a different take.
"Low-income pregnant women will now receive greater care and their unborn child will have a much greater opportunity to be born healthy. It took great compassion and courage for our Governor and pro-life legislature to stand up to the abortion industry that blatantly pressured them," said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis. ""For all their bluster about equality among the genders, Democrats have a policy of inequality towards women. If you're a woman living outside the womb you're respected and cherished but if you're a woman living inside the womb not only do they threaten your life, they pretend you don't exist."
Kasich vetoed 22 items in the nearly 6,000 page budget which was wheeled in on a cart and set on the governor's desk in the Statehouse ceremonial office. Among them was one that prohibited him from pursuing Medicaid expansion. Kasich has said having the federal government fund $13 billion of expansion is the right thing to do. The federal government has promised to pay for 100 percent of the costs for three years and at least 90 percent after that. Many Republicans fear Washington may not be able to uphold their end of the bargain.
Also among the vetoes, a provision to create a new workforce development program. It would have targeted the "economically disadvantaged." Kasich wrote that it was a duplicate program and that providing one time funding wouldn't "address the challenges this amendment seeks to fix."
The governor vetoed a provision that would have allowed natural gas companies to recover the cost of cleaning up any contaminated or obsolete facility. Duke Energy had been pushing for the issue to help clean up two manufactured gas sites in Cincinnati and other natural gas companies were on board as well. Kasich wrote that while he thinks cost recovery for those sites is appropriate, the language in the budget would have had unintended consequences.
Another veto nixed a provision that would have allowed people living along municipal reservoirs to mow the grass along the shoreline. This has been a big issue in Columbus along the Scioto River. People living along the river argue they should be able to trim the grass to preserve their access to the river, but cities like Columbus maintain that tall grass helps to catch pollutants like pesticides and insecticides from getting into drinking water systems. Kasich wrote that the issue is important and deserves additional discussion and study.
Kasich also vetoed a provision removing spider monkeys from the state's list of dangerous animals.
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