COLUMBUS -- Hang around the Statehouse long enough and you'll hear certain phrases repeated over and over again.
Like "slippery slope." That's a favorite of lawmakers and lobbyists during debates on bills that could have far-reaching implications -- take this one step and you might find yourself slipping downhill and moving subsequent legislation or policy changes that naturally result.
Or "It's not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue" -- another favorite, used with hopes of swaying support on bills that backers believe are good for the populace as a whole and not one political party or the other.
And then there's this: "Unintended consequences." That's all of the stuff that happens when lawmakers push through legislation without considering the potential ramifications of their actions.
Sometimes, one part of revised code is changed, but another is neglected, leaving loopholes and confusion.
Sometimes a word is added or omitted, leading to interesting legal interpretations by courts that are far from the legislature's original intent.
And sometimes, there's a bill that is enacted even though everybody knows, practically speaking, it's a dumb idea.
Enter last session's HB 154, which required drivers to maintain a passing distance of at least 3 feet around bicyclists on roadways, a provision that makes a lot of sense.
There was other language in the bill, however, that allowed drivers to enter intersections if they believe traffic signals are not functioning properly.
Off the cuff, the legislation is not necessarily unreasonable. Every driver has sat for lengthy stretches at intersections where the sensors are bad. You shouldn't be penalized for going through a broken stoplight, if you follow the proper applicable traffic laws in the process.
But spend any time with me and you'll know I have little love for drivers in this state in general and in Ohio's capital city in particular.
There are few days that pass when some knucklehead doesn't make a left turn in front of me from the right lane or hit the brakes in terror at the thought of merging onto a highway.
More often than not, I see Ohioans pushing and shoving their way down the road, gaining two or three car lengths in the process rather than sitting in line and waiting their turn -- something even preschoolers on their way to the drinking fountain are taught.
Lawmakers moved HB 154 during last year's lame duck session. A couple of months later, they're thinking better of it.
Enter HB 9, which would narrow the scope of that legislation to cover only bicycles -- meaning bicyclists could proceed into intersections with malfunctioning signals, not other vehicles.
"After passing the previous legislation, I believe that some motorists will assume they can run through a stop light after thinking they have waited long enough," state Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) said in a released statement. "We live in a hurried society, and quite frankly, I am convinced very few signal lights function properly when I'm in a hurry. However, this is not a valid reason for running a red light, and the bottom line is this loophole must be fixed."
The Ohio House passed the bill on a unanimous vote a few days ago, sending it to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.