Legislators have certainly been ambitious in this new session, and state Rep. Ross McGregor, a Republican from Springfield, is no exception. He plans to revive Ohio’s failed Equal Housing and Employment Act in the current legislative session as a bipartisan effort.
His Democratic joint cosponsor is likely to be newly elected state Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood, Ohio’s first openly gay state-level elected official.
The EHEA would ban discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the previous legislative session, McGregor was cosponsor of the EHEA. The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House in 2009 with the support of four other Republicans.
That was the first time the Ohio Legislature ever approved such a bill, but it later died in the Senate, controlled then as now by Republicans.
Currently, Ohio has a Republican-controlled House and Senate. Republican Gov. John Kasich extend sexual orientation non-discrimination protections for state employees in an executive order, but failed to include gender identity in his policy.
To McGregor and Antonio, the EHEA is about economic development and securing jobs, the issue that Kasich, the Republicans who control the legislature and nearly everybody else agree must be at the top of the state’s agenda.
“If we’re trying to really attract companies that are on the edge of technology and everything else, they’re going to be progressive,” Antonio said to the Dayton Daily News. “The majority of them are trying to attract the best and the brightest. They want their employees to be in an inclusive atmosphere.”