YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed numerous bills into law. Below is a breakdown of some new laws that will take effect in Ohio:

Increased minimum wage

Ohio’s minimum wage has been increased from $9.30 per hour to $10.10 per hour for non-tipped employees and from $4.65 to $5.05 for tipped employees.

Animal euthanizing and selling animal remains as food

Senate Bill 164 was amended revising the law and penalties associated with animal cruelty. The law prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing a domestic animal by use of a gas chamber. Other changes to Senate Bill 164 include preventing the remains of companion animals to be used and sold in pet food. Prior to this amendment, this was legal in Ohio.

Protection of parental rights for people with disabilities

Gov. DeWine signed into law Senate Bill 202, which prohibits a person’s disability from being the basis to deny or limit custody, parenting time, visitation, adoption, or service as a guardian or foster caregiver of a minor.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving will become a primary offense, and police can pull someone over without them having to commit another traffic violation first. People can be pulled over for just holding a cell phone.

Criminal justice system

The same lengthy, newly-inked law adds offense charges, such as strangulation, and tweaks others, such as downgrading underage drinking to a third-degree misdemeanor. It also broadens the process for getting a criminal record sealed or expunged, and makes it easier for some incarcerated people to shave time off their sentences through changed earned credit programs and judicial release. 

Dementia training

A new law will require emergency medical service personnel and peace officers to undergo dementia-related training.

Testing Your Faith Act

Ohio state institutes of higher education will now be required to adopt a policy providing students with religious accommodations.

Ambulances for dogs

House Bill 392 was signed into law authorizing ambulance transport of an injured police dog when the dog is hurt in the line of duty.

New designations

Several days and weeks were newly designated in a bill DeWine signed into law. They include:

  • Ohio Burn Awareness Week during the first full week of February
  • Ulysses S. Grant Day on April 27, his birthday. The 18th U.S. President, from southwestern Ohio, served directly after the Civil War
  • Pollinator Week. National Pollinator Week is scheduled for June 19-25, 2023
  • Eugene ‘Gene’ F. Kranz Day on Aug. 17. Kranz was a NASA engineer from Toledo who directed a number of major missions
  • Ohio Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is on Sept. 23

Occupational licensure

If a job applicant in Ohio holds an occupational license or certification in another state, licensing authorities will extend that license or certification to them when they move to Ohio — creating universal occupational license recognition. The law aims to ease worker shortages, particularly as companies such as Intel and Honda aim to build their workforces in the state, according to previous testimony.

Printing election ballots

Lawmakers struck down a prior requirement that all election ballot printing contracts be awarded to in-state vendors — those contracts can now go to vendors outside of Ohio, and the ballots themselves can also be printed out-of-state.

Solemnizing marriages

The governor’s office said another recently ratified law means that Ohio mayors can now solemnize, or perform, marriages anywhere within the state, while previously they were only permitted to do so within county limits, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

Swatting calls

Swatting — or when a person places a false call with emergency services in an effort to prompt a heavy response from law enforcement — is now defined as a third-degree felony in Ohio and could be a second-degree felony if the swatting call results in physical harm. 

If a person was accused of placing a swatting call prior to this law, they might have faced misdemeanor making false alarms and inducing panic charges, or certain felony charges, if the call resulted in physical harm.

Water pressure at pools

Under the newly signed Makenna’s Law, the state government will limit the water pressure features at swimming pools — such as splash pads — can use. It is named after a child from Cincinnati who was seriously injured by a water feature that she was standing over as it activated.

Overhaul of elections

DeWine had yet to take action on House Bill 458 as of Tuesday afternoon. H.B. 458, which cleared both chambers along party lines, would alter Ohio elections in a number of ways. It would mandate photo ID at the polls, limit ballot drop boxes to one per county, and shorten request and return times for absentee ballots.  

“We have about five bills that we are looking at very closely,” DeWine said of outstanding legislation, which could include the elections bill.

Below is a list of other bills signed into law by Gov. DeWine:

  • Senate Bill 33, sponsored by Senators Jay Hottinger and Andrew O. Brenner, modifies the law governing community reinvestment areas and expands the income tax deduction allowed for contributions to Ohio’s 529 education savings plans to include contributions to 529 plans established by other states.
  • Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Senator Sandra O’Brien, creates the D-9 liquor permit, which authorizes an establishment to sell beer, wine, and mixed beverages for on-premises consumption under specified circumstances; allows a board of county commissioners to authorize a county department of probation to accept payments by credit card; and makes multiple designations.
  • Senate Bill 302, sponsored by Senators Bob D. Hackett and Bill Reinecke, makes changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law.
  • House Bill 66, sponsored by Representative James M. Hoops, revises the tax laws and to makes certain operating appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2023, and capital appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2024.
  • House Bill 107, sponsored by Representative Brian Baldridge, subsequently eliminates the licensure of elevator contractors and mechanics in ten years.
  • House Bill 150, sponsored by Representatives Brett Hudson Hillyer and David Leland, establishes the Rural Practice Incentive Program; establishes a task force to study Ohio’s indigent defense system, and makes an appropriation.
  • House Bill 254, sponsored by Representatives Kristin Boggs and Cindy Abrams, provides for the establishment of domestic violence fatality review boards.
  • House Bill 405, sponsored by Representatives Brian Stewart and Mark Johnson, makes changes to county hospital trustees law; allows the coroner’s office to access the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway; and allows a county treasurer to electronically deliver tax bills.

WCMH’s Sarah Donaldson contributed to this report.