Statehouse Preview: It’s Theme Week At The Statehouse

It’s Theme Week At The Statehouse

Tuesday is All About Abortion

On Tuesday morning, three different bills aimed at creating new barriers to legal abortion will be heard in legislative committees. At 9:30 am, the Senate Health Committee will hold its first hearing on SB27, a proposal from Senator Joe Uecker to require the burial or cremation of aborted (but not miscarried) fetal remains.

The committee will also take testimony from opponents of SB23, the 6-week abortion ban, back this week for its third hearing, but not for long. The committee will recess for session and to allow members to attend other hearings, then it will resume at 4pm to hear testimony from witnesses opposed to the bill. The committee hearings will be held in the Senate South Hearing Room.

Meanwhile, the House Health Committee will be hearing testimony on its own version of the 6-week abortion ban. Bill Sponsors Reps Keller and Hood will speak to HB68 in its first hearing. The hearing will be held in Statehouse Room 116.

Wednesday Is Bring Your Guns To The Statehouse Day (J/K that’s illegal)

On Wednesday, a planned morning “debate” on gun ownership has been scrapped by the chair of the House Federalism Committee, but the day still has much in store for gun rights advocates.

At 1pm, the full House is expected to vote on a bill (HB86) to fix a drafting error in the lame duck gun legislation that some argue may have made certain popular guns illegal. The problematic legislation has not yet taken effect and is not being enforced, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from moving fast to fix the perceived problem.

After session, members of the House State and Local Government Committee will hear testimony from State Rep Dave Greenspan whose HB49 would make a concealed carry permit a valid form of ID for purposes of voting. It’s worth noting that a U.S. Passport or Student ID from a State College or University are not legal for voting purposes, thanks to an Ohio law requiring it to display a home address — even one that is not current. The hearing will take place at 3pm in Statehouse Room 122.

New Legislation

Some of the new bills introduced last week that we’ll be watching in the coming months:

House Bill 91 – Paid Family Leave (Boggs, Boyd)– Creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance benefit program.

House Bill 92 – Sales Tax Increases (Antani, T. Smith) – Prohibits counties from imposing a sales tax increase without voter approval. Worth noting the measure would not change the ability of state lawmakers from increasing sales taxes without voter approval. 

House Bill 93 – Public Transportation (Skindell, Upchurch) – Requires the state Department of Transportation to spend $150 million annually on public transit programs.

>> You can monitor the status of all the bills we are watching here.

Committee Hearings To Watch

Tuesday

9 am – House Finance Committee – Fifth hearing on HB62 (2020-21 Transportation Budget) featuring all testimony in Statehouse Room 313.

9:30 am – Senate Health Committee – Third hearing for opponent testimony on SB23 (abortion ban) and first hearing for sponsor testimony on SB27 (fetal tissue disposal) in Senate South Hearing Room. The Committee will recess after morning testimony and reconvene to hear additional testimony on SB23 at 4pm.

10 am – Senate Government Oversight – Second hearing and possible vote on SB30 (State Commission For The Women’s Suffrage Centennial). The committee will also hear proponent testimony on SB1 (regulation), a proposal to force the elimination of various state regulations, and hear testimony and vote on SB53 (guns),the Senate version of legislation to fix the lame duck drafting error making certain guns illegal to own. The hearing will be held in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.

11 am – House Health Committee – First hearing for sponsor testimony on HB68 (abortion ban) and HB40 (STD testing) in Statehouse Room 116.

3:15 pm – Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee– Presentations from ODOT and the Department of Public Safety on transportation infrastructure in anticipation of Senate consideration of the Transportation budget. The hearing will be held in Senate South Hearing Room.

Wednesday

9 am – House Finance Committee – Sixth hearing on HB62 (2020-21 Transportation Budget) featuring all testimony in Statehouse Room 313.

10:30 am – Senate Ways & Means Committee – Second hearings featuring proponent testimony on SB8 (opportunity zones) and SB26 (educator tax deduction), and first hearing featuring sponsor testimony on SB37 (motion picture tax credit) in Senate North Hearing Room.

1:00 pm – Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee – Presentations from the Public Works Commission, Development Services Agency, Turnpike Commission and public testimony on transportation infrastructure. The hearing will be held in Senate Finance Hearing Room.

3:00 pm (or after Session) – House State and Local Government Committee – First hearing featuring sponsor testimony on HB49 (voter ID) in Statehouse Room 122.

Note: a previously scheduled hearing on HB78 (prevailing wage) in House Commerce and Labor Committee has been cancelled. The committee will hear sponsor testimony on HCR6 (Lordstown plant) and HB21 (unemployment compensation) in room 114 at 3pm.

Thursday

9 am – House Finance Committee – Seventh hearing on HB62 (2020-21 Transportation Budget) featuring all testimony in Statehouse Room 313.

Full House Committee Schedule
Full Senate Committee Schedule

In Session

Senate – Tuesday, 2pm
House – Wednesday, 1pm

Senate session calendars are set by the Senate Rules and Reference Committee and House session calendars are set by the House Rules and Reference Committee. Check committee websites before the start of session for a final Rules agenda.

Budget Update

Last week, the DeWine administration introduced its long-awaited Transportation Budget as a substitute version of House Bill 62. Included in the proposal:

  • An 18-cent per gallon gas tax increase, effective July 1, adjusted annually for inflation
  • Large increases in spending on highway maintenance and construction and corresponding reduction in new borrowing.
  • Flat-funding for airports and rail transportation.
  • Small increase in federal funds for certain, limited transit uses (dedicated high-occupancy lanes and park and ride facilities are among the uses), with a continuation of language stating that gas taxes may not be spent for transit operations or bus purchases.
  • A nearly 10-percent increase in funding for the Highway Patrol

Hearings on the Transportation Budget (HB62) continue in the House Finance Committee this week. All hearings of the committee are streamed live online at ohiochannel.org. Amendments to the bill are due to the Chair by Thursday at noon.

Simultaneous to House consideration of the measure, the Senate Transportation committee is taking testimony on the state’s transportation infrastructure. See committee hearings of note (above) for details.

The main operating budget, a vast outline of over $70+ billion in state spending and policy changes for fiscal years 2020-21, is expected to be introduced by the DeWine administration on or before March 15.

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