Statehouse Preview: December 10

Last week, the threat of two looming proposals diminished somewhat as changes were made to the gun legislation (HB228) formerly known as “Stand Your Ground” before it went to the Governor, and a Senate committee delayed a vote on the 6-week abortion ban (HB258), making its passage during the lame duck session improbable.

That said, the Lame Duck threat is not over. This week, both chambers are putting the finishing touches on several bills and look to be preparing to load up a few Christmas trees in the process.

Legislation To Watch

House Bill 119 (Henne, McColley) – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) Imposes additional eligibility requirements for SNAP and Medicaid recipients. The bill is up for a 5th hearing and possible vote in the Senate Health & Human Services committee today. It will likely receive a vote by the full Senate this week.

House Bill 258 (Hagan, Hood) – 6-week Abortion Ban. Postponed last week, the bill will be up for another committee hearing featuring amendments and a vote in the Senate Health & Human Services committee today. The bill could be on the Senate floor for a chamber vote tomorrow. That would start a 10 day (not including Sundays) clock in which Governor Kasich must act or the bill automatically takes effect. Most think the prospects of a successful veto override by lawmakers between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays is unlikely.

House Joint Resolution 19 (LaTourette, Holmes) – Citizen Initiatives. The proposal to make citizen-initiated ballot measures harder to pass has hearings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday and is flagged for a Wednesday vote in the House Government Accountability and Oversight commttee. The measure could be taken up by the full House if committee members decide it should advance.

Senate Bill 145 (Huffman, Wilson) – 2nd Trimester Abortions. This abortion ban targeting the most common form of 2nd trimester abortion, has be revived the House Criminal Justice committee, likely as a result of the apparent stall on the 6-week abortion ban. The bill will receive a hearing and vote this afternoon and could be on the House floor on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 341 (Obhof, Ecklund) – Drug Sentencing. This placeholder bill, introduced by Senate President Obhof, expresses the intent of the General Assembly to overhaul Ohio’s criminal sentencing laws, inspired by the unsuccessful Issue 1 campaign to decriminalize certain drug possession offenses. The Wednesday hearing in the Senate Judicary committee is for invited testimony, and could provide a sense for what legislative leaders have in mind in 2019.

It’s Christmas Tree Season

At the end of every two-year legislative term we celebrate the holidays with something known as legislative “Christmas trees,” so named because they get loaded up with presents in the form of amendments unrelated to the original intent of the legislation. These amendments often contain language from other bills that haven’t made it through the legislative process, but are a priority for legislative leaders to pass.

At least three such bills are being loaded up with amendments so far this lame duck season:

Senate Bill 86 (Hackett) – Day Designation has become a benign collection proposals to name commemorative days (“Jesse Owens Day”), special license plates (“Stop Bullying”) and memorial highways, cobbled together from various standalone bills into a single package to save legislative time and effort. SB86 will be finalized by a conference committee which meets Wednesday.

Senate Bill 51 (Skindell, Ecklund) – Lake Erie. Originally intended to provide funding for shoreline improvements, the bill now appears it will be the vehicle for various spending proposals, as well as a hostile anti-city measure to prohibit Ohio cities from taxing contributions to executive retirement accounts as income. The bill is opposed by the cities, the Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Mayors Alliance due to the considerable revenue impact it will have for strained city budgets. SB51 will be amended in a meeting of the House Finance committee on Tuesday, with a hearing and vote scheduled Wednesday.

Senate Bill 273 (Hackett) – To define “Rating Agency” was amended last week to include the so-called “Scrooge Act”, a proposal originally introduced as House Bill 390 to speed up the residential eviction process, requiring Ohio counties to allow eviction proceedings to take place on holidays and Sundays. The bill will get a hearing and a vote in the House Rules and Reference committee today.

This Week’s Session Schedule

The Senate meets twice this week: Wednesday at 1:30 and Thursday at 11. The Rules committee, which sets the agenda for those session, meets at 11 am and 10 am on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

The House also meets twice: on Wednesday at 1:30 and Thursday at 1:00. Its Rules committee meets this week on Tuesday at 12:15 and Wednesday at 12:00.


Complete House Committee Schedule
Complete Senate Committee Schedule

We will be tracking any new updates and sharing timely legislative updates on significant legislation on Twitter using the #LameDuckOH hashtag. Follow us to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the Statehouse.