The stage is set for a vote in the Senate on the so-called Stand Your Ground bill Thursday. All that needs to happen is for the final details of the bill to be worked out.
The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee still needs to add last minute amendments and vote the bill out at a hearing scheduled for the morning.
At this point, barring any major dissent in the Republican caucus, the committee chairman says that vote is likely to happen.
Wednesday both supporters and opponents of the bill testified after hours of testimony were given the previous evening by opponents of the bill.
“Testimony yesterday went to about midnight,” said State Senator Bill Coley II, the committee chairman. “Good points were brought up; those are being incorporated into the amendments that we’re working on.”
The bills primary sponsor State Representative Sarah LaTourette is keeping a close eye on those amendments.
“We don’t have a ton of wiggle room,” said LaTourette. “My main concern has remained for the past couple weeks at least that we maintain our 65 vote threshold over in the house. I don’t want to lose votes, because as we’ve heard the Governor does plan to veto this bill.”
Right now, the amendments she is hearing about don’t cause her too much concern.
“We’re gonna bring clarity to the situations under which you may utilize a deadly force to protect yourself,” said Coley.
He’s talking about putting forward three pillars that would have to be met before deadly force would be authorized in self-defense.
First, the aggressor must demonstrate a clear intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm.
Second, the aggressor must have the capability to cause that harm.
Third, the potential victim’s life must truly be in jeopardy.
“Everybody will run those three scenarios through their head before they think about pulling the trigger,” said Coley.
During the hearing, Coley pointed out that if a person can escape a deadly situation their life may not be in jeopardy.
While the bill would remove a person’s duty to retreat, doing so may still be in their best interest to avoid any legal trouble and a legal debate over if their life was in jeopardy.
Coley made it very clear, this bill will not allow someone to kill someone in self-defense for the sole reason that they feared their life was in danger.
If the amendments to the bill are added and it passes out of committee, it is highly likely the bill will be added to Thursday afternoon’s Senate Agenda for a floor vote.
If it passes that vote, and the bill was changed with amendments in the Senate, it will head back to the House for a concurrence vote.
If the House concurs, a final document of the bill will first be produced and then sent to the Governor.
Once that document arrives on the Governor’s desk the clock starts on a 10 day timer for him to decide what to do with it.
If the bill is on the Governor’s desk by Friday, he would have to make a final decision around December 18th.
If it doesn’t get to his desk until Monday, the Governor wouldn’t have to make his decision until December 20th.
Knowing Governor Kasich plans to veto the bill, lawmakers would prefer to get the bill on his desk as soon as possible so they can hold their veto override vote on the 19th or 20th, and won’t have to try and bring members back to the Statehouse the week of Christmas.
The Heartbeat Abortion bill is in the same boat, and getting that bill to the Governor too late in the last General Assembly left lawmakers without enough time to wrangle enough members to override his veto at the end of 2016.