Terra Goodnight · May 9, 2017
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The House last week adopted its version of the two-year state budget, and the end product is a significant deviation from Governor Kasich’s original proposal, but still fails to make the needed investments in the state’s education system and threatens healthcare security for low-income Ohioans.
The House scrapped Governor Kasich’s tax shifting proposals and adds much-needed funding for the state’s addiction crisis. However, the package also holds funding for Ohio’s public colleges and universities flat, and ends the tuition caps which have kept costs low. Primary and secondary schools will receive $835 million less in the next school year, adjusted for inflation, than they received 8 years ago. House members also put major obstacles to the continuation of the state’s Medicaid expansion, the only viable form of coverage for over 710,000 Ohioans.
This week, the budget formally gets taken up by the Ohio Senate, which should conclude its work in early June, sending the package to a conference committee to work out differences between the two chambers and the Governor. View the complete schedule for Senate budget deliberations.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary committee will hold a vote on SB4, a proposal to allow the expungement of criminal charges for victims of sex trafficking. There is word that the organization representing County Prosecutors, which opposes the legislation, has produced an amendment that would limit the bill’s applicability 1st or 2nd degree felonies. This would have the effect of leaving many sex trafficked victims with felonies on their records that will haunt them as they try to move forward. Please call your Senator and urge them to reject the prosecutors’ amendment to SB4.
Also on Tuesday, the House Federalism & Interstate Relations committee will hold its first hearing on HB93, the TRUMP (Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public) Act. The bill, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Clyde in February, would mandate the public disclosure of a presidential candidate’s tax returns before they could appear on Ohio’s ballot.
The House Economic Development, Commerce & Labor committee will hold a vote Tuesday on HB2, a proposal to significantly weaken Ohio’s protections against employment (read our earlier coverage). If your lawmaker sits on the committee, be sure to tell them to reject HB2, which represents a significant setback for Ohio workers.
On Thursday, Senate Finance Health and Medicaid subcommittee will hear public testimony on the mental health, developmental disabilities, Medicaid and board consolidation provisions in the budget (HB49) at 10am. If you’d like to submit written or in-person testimony, contact the office of Chairman Hackett.