On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich officially joined the 2016 presidential race as the 16th Republican candidate, and he's pretty conservative on most issues (no surprise there). The benefit of having a former or current governor run for president is that the nation can clearly see how they lead and what types of reforms they champion. Unfortunately for Kasich, this ideological transparency might not work in his favor — he's signed some troubling bills into law during his four and a half years as the governor of Ohio. He obviously wasn't the only person responsible for these laws, as the state legislature had to pass the bills before they reached his desk, but he supported their passage.
Since taking office in 2011, Kasich has supported multiple abortion restrictions, as well as pro-gun and anti-renewable-energy bills. These laws took away women's reproductive freedom, made guns more easily accessible, and halted climate change efforts in his state, highlighting just how alarming his beliefs are. The worrisome laws he signed as governor give a glimpse into what his presidency would look like, and it doesn't look good.
Here are four of the most troublesome bills Governor Kasich signed into law in Ohio, which prove that he's a very, very conservative leader.
A 20-Week Abortion Ban
In 2011, Kasich signed an Ohio law that banned abortion in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy if a doctor determined the fetus viable. The law didn't even have an exception for rape or incest, and contained only a narrow exception if the mother's life was in danger (i.e. a doctor could only legally perform an abortion if the mother was about to die). Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the governor, said at the time: "The governor is pro-life, has been pro-life throughout his career and believes strongly in the sanctity of human life."
Abortion Restrictions In The State Budget
When Kasich signed the next year's state budget in 2013, he also signed multiple abortion restrictions into law. The budget included provisions that required women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound, made it more difficult for abortion providers to secure admitting privileges (which are required by law in Ohio) with nearby hospitals, and limited funding for family planning groups. Since Kasich took office, seven of Ohio's abortion providers have either closed or stopped offering abortions.
Kasich signed an expansive pro-gun bill into law in 2014, much to the delight of Republicans in his state. Originally meant only to legalize sound suppressors on guns for hunting, the bill grew to include provisions that made it easier to get a handgun license, extended the concealed carry law to visitors, and allowed Ohio residents to buy or sell guns in any state.
Renewable Energy Freeze
Last year, Kasich signed a law that froze the state's 2008 mandate for public utilities to add renewable energy to their energy mix for two years, meaning the renewable energy standard was temporarily eliminated. This was a huge step backward for Ohio's clean energy and climate change efforts, and Kasich effectively gave more power to the fossil fuel industry for two years.
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