This article originally appeared in the Buckeye Flame

Members of the Ohio House voted 65-28 to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto on Ohio House Bill (HB) 68 Wednesday evening – taking one step closer to banning healthcare for transgender people under the age of 18 and preventing transgender girls from competing in sports from kindergarten through college.

DeWine announced the veto during a press conference last week, where he instead proposed a set of new administrative rules restricting access to healthcare for all transgender Ohioans.

DeWine addressed the potential override directly during the Dec. 29 briefing, telling reporters he hoped that the three administrative actions he was proposing would satisfy the legislature.

“In several instances, [these three proposals] go further than Rep. Click’s bill,” the governor said.

Still, DeWine has received exceptional backlash and political pressure from conservative Republican lawmakers for his decision to veto the bill – which rejects the general medical consensus of every major healthcare organization.

In the wake of the governor’s veto, conservative Republican members of the House and Senate announced their intent to override it via official statements and various social media platforms – often including incorrect, unverified and medically inaccurate language and information regarding transgender people.

Senate votes next

The Ohio Constitution requires a three-fifths – or 60% – vote of the members of the House and Senate in order to override the governor’s veto. 

Currently, Republicans hold a supermajority: a 67% majority in the House and a 78% majority in the Senate, where the bill now heads for another vote before completing the override process.

Senate President Matt Huffman (District 12 – R, Lima) told NBC4 the full Senate is likely to return Jan. 24 to concur with the House’s decision.

Since 1969, Ohio governors have vetoed 101 bills; the legislature has attempted to override 29 of those vetoes, but succeeded only 11 times. 

Of the eight bills Gov. DeWine has vetoed since taking office in 2019, the legislature has successfully voted to override just one – a 2021 law giving legislators the power to nullify public health orders like COVID-19-related mask mandates or stay-at-home orders

DeWine rules pile on additional restrictions

Separately, the governor’s new proposed rules will not take effect until they are approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) – a bipartisan committee that reviews rules from over 100 government agencies “to ensure they do not exceed the rule-making authority granted to them by the General Assembly.”

In addition to HB 68’s near total ban on healthcare for transgender youth, Gov. DeWine’s newly proposed rules will also:

  • Restrict the ability of hospitals and clinics to diagnose gender dysphoria in transgender adults.
  • Require healthcare providers to report all transgender patients’ “deidentified” medical information to the state of Ohio every 30 days, including any diagnosis of gender dysphoria and “any medical or surgical service (including physician services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, or prescription drugs or hormones).”
  • Require transgender adults to obtain a detailed care plan and medical consent from a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist and a bioethicist before the “prescription, initiation or provision of treatment for a gender-related conditions” can take place, including access to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
  • Require transgender adults under the age of 21 to “receive a comprehensive mental health evaluation” over the course of “not less than six months” in order to access gender-affirming healthcare.

If approved, Gov. DeWine’s proposed administrative rules would be the harshest and most restrictive in the United States for transgender adults seeking healthcare.

A bill based on medical inaccuracies

Rep. Jena Powell (District 80 – R, Arcanum) – the original primary sponsor of the “Save Women’s Sports Act” – also provided public testimony ahead of the vote. 

Both during public hearings and in official statements, Powell has consistently struggled or refused to use correct and medically accurate language and information regarding transgender Ohioans – often sharing incorrect, unverified and medically inaccurate language and information regarding transgender people.

Rep. Mary Richardson (District 86 – R, Marysville), Rep. Melanie Miller (District 67 – R, Ashland) and Rep. Gail Pavliga (District 72 – R, Atwater) each provided public testimony before the full Senate, rejecting medical consensus – including that of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association (OCHA), which represents every major children’s hospital in the state of Ohio.

Rep. Joshua Williams (District 41, R, Sylvania Township) spoke at length about the bodies and genitals of minors, including transgender children, sharing incorrect and medically inaccurate information regarding hormone replacement therapy (HRT), primary and secondary sex characteristics and common gender-affirming healthcare practices.

Extreme Christian groups pushed bill from out of state

Via social media posts, public interactions and official statements, Rep. Williams appears to have close personal and political ties to the Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) – a Columbus-based Christian nationalist political advocacy organization that met the Southern Poverty Law Center’s criteria for a designated anti-LGBTQ+ hate group between 2015-2017.

HB 68’s primary sponsor, Baptist pastor Rep. Gary Click, also appears to have close personal and political ties to CCV, along with public ties to the Family Research Council (FRC) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – two powerful designated anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups working to pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country.

“A political hateful agenda was pushed through. Why? Because of money given by radical Christian groups to push an agenda that does not help a single family,” said Rep. Anita Somani (District 11, D, Dublin), who is also a licensed medical doctor.

Somani also noted the abnormal number of out-of-state witnesses who testified in favor of healthcare restrictions for transgender Ohioans, including Matt Sharp, an attorney representing the ADF.

‘Bullying our children’

Rep. Jessica Miranda (District 28 – D, Forest Park) rose in opposition to the vote, directly addressing Republican lawmakers working with designated anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups on the bill.

“I hope all of the money that CCV raises off of bullying our children keeps them up every single night of their low lives,” Miranda said.

House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) also condemned the passage of the veto override along with Dewine’s proposed healthcare restrictions for all transgender Ohioans.

“HB 68’s veto override and Governor’s executive order makes it virtually impossible for Ohioans to access care and make their own medical decisions with their doctors.” Russo said in a written statement Wednesday evening. “These bans targeting LGTBQ+ individuals will endanger the lives of children, normalize the hate the transgender community continues to face, and make Ohio a leader in extreme political bans on families’ and individuals’ freedom to make their own medical decisions.”

James Knapp – Chair of TransOhio, Ohio’s only statewide transgender-led organization – said he and other LGBTQ+ advocates are deeply disappointed with the apparent outcome of the governor’s veto.

“This legislation directly impacts the lives of trans youth, infringing upon their existing rights to participate in sports and access vital medical care,” said Knapp.

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Beth Liston (District 8, Dublin), who is a licensed pediatrician, addressed the full Senate “with a heavy heart.”

“Today is a dark day,” she said. “I know many of you are hurting and afraid.”

“I am sorry that we are here today to take away your rights, to target a small vulnerable group and to undermine healthcare for all children in Ohio,” Liston added. “I’m sorry we couldn’t stop this.” 🔥


  • To register to vote or to check your voter eligibility status in the state of Ohio, click here.
  • To find contact information for your Ohio state representative, click here.
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  • To access the full Trans Legislation Tracker, click here.
  • For more information on active designated hate groups across Ohio, click here.
  • If you are a young person struggling, contact the Trevor Project: 866-4-U-Trevor.
  • If you are an adult in need of immediate help, contact the National Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860