Statehouse Preview: House to Adopt Budget Amendments, Move Abortion and Gun Bills

Budget Update

The House will adopt a substitute version of Governor DeWine’s two-year budget proposal (HB166) this week, incorporating many — potentially hundreds — of the over 2,000 amendments proposed by members. Some proposals we’ll be watching for include changes to (or replacement of) DeWine’s proposal for funding schools, the scaling back of tax breaks for business owners or the creation of new tax breaks. It’s also not uncommon to see standalone bills moving separately in the legislature get tacked on to the budget bill to ensure their passage by the end of the fiscal year. One such proposal that could go that route is the Speaker’s priority legislation (HB6) to create a new surcharge to support the state’s nuclear power plants. We may also see cuts to funding levels in the Governor’s budget proposal to bring it in line with the legislature’s more conservative revenue estimates.

The House Finance committee will adopt the substitute on Wednesday, hear public testimony on Thursday and continue its work early next week before sending the bill to the full House of Representatives, which has scheduled sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (if needed) next week. The Senate continues its committee hearings on the budget despite the House not yet formally sending them the bill.

Abortion and Guns

The Ohio General Assembly has remained laser-focused on its twin goals of making it easier to access guns and harder to access abortion. This week, we have two anti-abortion bills getting hearings in House committees. One, House Bill 90 (Antani) would require the state to develop a curriculum for teaching students about the “humanity of the unborn” in 3rd through 12th grade, while requiring legislative review before the curriculum is implemented. The other, Senate Bill 27 (Uecker) would require the burial or cremation of fetal material resulting from abortion, but not miscarriage or other causes of fetal demise.

The House Federalism committee will hear proponent testimony on House Bill 178 (Hood, Brinkman), permitless carry legislation long sought by gun rights proponents that would eliminate Ohio’s training and licensing requirements for carrying concealed firearms, and open the door for even some convicted criminals to legally aquire deadly weapons.

New Legislation

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

House Bill 216, Employment Practices (Skindell, Kelly) – To require fair and predictable scheduling practices by chain retail and food services employers.

House Bill 221, Wage Discrimination (Boyd, Crawley) – To require the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to establish a system for individuals to make anonymous complaints about wage discrimination.

House Bill 223, Wind Setbacks (Strahorn, Skindell) – To reduce the minimum distance a wind farm of five or more megawatts must be located from a neighboring property.

Senate Bill 133 (O’Brien, Manning) and House Bill 215 (Boggs, Carfagna) – The “Reagan Tokes Act;” To modify Ohio law for reentry of certain offenders, maximum workload and caseload standards for parole and field officers, GPS monitoring of offenders released from prison, and entry into LEADS of specified information about GPS-monitored offenders, and to require the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission to appoint an Offender Supervision Study Committee.

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