June 23, 2022

Ohio Politics Explained podcast: Gas taxes, a post-Trump Ohio PAC and the wait on abortion

Gas prices were $5.09 on the East side of Columbus on Tuesday, June 7. Mandatory Credit: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

Ohio won’t suspend its gas taxes anytime soon. Renewing your driver’s license is about to get easier, and the ongoing wait for a decision on abortion.

We break down what it all means on this week’s episode of Ohio Politics Explained.

It’s a podcast from the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau where we catch you up on the state’s political news in 15 minutes or less. This week, host Anna Staver was joined by reporter Jessie Balmert.

1) Waiting on Roe

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark decision on abortion, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine plans to immediately ask a federal judge to institute the state’s ban on all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

The law, known as the heartbeat bill, was signed in April 2019 but has been on hold ever since. 

The restriction on abortions after about six weeks would be immediate, but a full ban on abortions could take another few months. State lawmakers will have to return, pass legislation banning the procedure and then wait 90 days for the law to take effect. 

2) Gas taxes

President Joe Biden has called for a three-month holiday on federal gas taxes, but DeWine won’t be following suit

The governor says those taxes are needed to fund road, bridge and other construction projects across the state.

DeWine’s Democratic opponent, Nan Whaley, disagreed. She said suspending Ohio’s gas tax would be an “easy, but important step towards cutting costs for working families.”

The proposed federal suspension would lower gas prices by 18.4 cents per gallon and 24.4 cents for diesel. A statewide suspension would drop the price of a gallon of gas by 38.5 cents and 47 cents for diesel.

3) Online renewals

Renewing a driver’s license or identification card is about to get easier in Ohio. 

Starting June 27, Ohioans will be able to visit BMV.Ohio.Gov, click on the “DL/ID Renewal” link and fill out the paperwork online.

“With every service that becomes available on the website, InnovateOhio is chipping away at any reason why Ohioans might have to go into the BMV,” Lt Gov. Jon Husted said in a statement. “We have moved services online, so you never have to stand in line.”

4) Moving on from Trump?

Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan didn’t win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate this spring, but he still thinks it’s time for his party to move on from former President Donald Trump. 

And he’s started a new political action committee that will fund issue-focused Republicans. He’s calling it Ohio Matters PAC.

“If we’re going to continue to just focus on the past, we’re going to fail as Republicans,” said Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians. “I would hope others would stand up and say the same thing and just say, it’s time for the Republicans to move on.”

Listen to “Ohio Politics Explained” on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio. The episode is also available by clicking the link in this article.

The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau serves The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

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