This week, lawmakers are scrambling to pass legislation to slow down the problem of runaway private school vouchers that are draining millions of dollars from our public schools as a result of misguided policy changes expanding the school choice program. The problem — and a potential legislative fix that is under discussion — are explained well in this article in the Marion Star.
On the Innovation Ohio blog, Education Policy Fellow, Stephen Dyer explains in four charts how Ohio’s voucher problem got to where it is today and why, even with a short-term fix, it remains out of control.
The most likely scenario for a legislative patch is a bill already passed by the House will be amended in a Senate committee as early as today, and quickly move to the Senate floor. If it passes, the House must then vote to concur with Senate changes. The bill also requires a legislative supermajority in order to take effect immediately rather than in the normal 90 days.
This all needs to happen before Friday in order to prevent another round of funding losses to hit public school districts.
Elsewhere in the Statehouse, House leaders scheduled–and later postponed–a committee hearing featuring testimony on the House version of the Ohio Fairness Act (HB369), prohibiting discrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Ohio still has no anti-discrimination law on the books. The new hearing date is now planned for February 4.
Also this week, two House proposals to weaken Ohio’s gun safety laws (HB425 and HB381) are getting sponsor testimony in committee. See below for schedules.
Below are the bills that were introduced last week that we’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming months:
- House Bill 475 (K. Smith, Galonski) – Presidential Candidates – to require a candidate for President or Vice-President of the United States to submit copies of the candidate’s five most recent federal income tax returns for publication on the Secretary of State’s official web site.
- House Bill 478 (A. Miller, Miranda) – School Vouchers – to make changes regarding the eligibility criteria for the Educational Choice scholarship program.
- Senate Bill 260 (S. Huffman) – Abortion Drugs – regarding abortion-inducing drugs.
>> You can monitor the status of all the bills we are watching here.
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